Why You Probably Don't Need A New Smartphone

Image: Raul Marrero (Gizmodo)

The way we use our phones has changed vastly since the days of an old school Nokia brick. We screen our calls and opt for messages. We use them as video game consoles. We rely on them for everything from directions through to the weather forecast.

And despite having that world at our fingertips, we still feel the need to replace these phones almost annually.

But that's not the best thing in the long run, and here's why.

This article has been sponsored by numobile.

#1 Your current phone is probably fine

Image: Getty Images

Part of the hype culture surrounding annual smartphone releases depends on the perception that new means better. And sure, a lot of the newer phones will come with upgrades that make them slightly better than their predecessors, but don't conflate 'new means better' with 'older means defunct'.

The camera on your current phone might not be as good, and it won't be as fast, but it's still perfectly fine. Apple's iOS supports phones all the way make to the iPhone 5, and you can always extend the life of an Android phone with a new battery, or a system refresh.

The reason we keep upgrading is because we buy into FOMO, wanting the newest, shiniest thing that everyone on the internet is talking about.

#2 Environmental concerns

If you thought your bank account was mad at you for forking out thousands of dollars on a new model, just wait till you hear how landfills are reacting. Here's a cold, hard truth: because of turnover, electronic waste has risen massively in the era of the smartphone.

There's around 25 million unused phones in Aussie homes, with about 20 million of those still in working order, according to Mobile Muster. We've got perfectly good devices, but we're still buying for the sake of buying.

Whether your previously owned smartphones wind up living in the deepest corner of your desk, gathering dust, or they can end up piling in unsustainable landfills, the bottom line is that there's a serious amount of excess that isn't being dealt with.

#3 The money you'll save can go to something more worthwhile

Image: Getty Images

If we're getting financial, the price sticker on most new model smartphones is enough to raise your eyebrows at. Year on year, prices are increasing to the point where a brand new iPhone will cost you roughly the same amount as an overseas holiday.

And the thing is, buying a phone is just as much of a luxury - but that luxury has started feeling more like a necessity. However, if you really need a phone you can now opt for a good quality pre-owned phone from numobile – and you’ll be saving enough to splurge on areas that you really do regard as luxuries.

You know that camera on your year-old smartphone? Use it to take photos while holidaying in South Korea or Japan. Better yet, use part of the money you'd put towards your phone and donate it to a charity that aims to reduce the waste produced by the electronics industry.

The bottom line is that we don't really need to keep buying and buying in this cycle. There are stacks of alternative options - you could simply keep your current phone, or opt for a provider like numobile who you can get a quality pre-owned phone from, and you can swap or return your phone anytime you want.

Sure, if you're really set on getting a brand new phone there's nothing stopping you. But the important thing is that you don't feel like you HAVE to.


    Thats great and all, except thanks to moore's law our technology becomes increasingly incapable of operating modern software until an upgrade basically becomes mandatory. And given the average lifespan of a smartphone contract here in Australia is 2 years, that's about on par with the recommended upgrade schedule for a desktop. We can't slap in a new cpu or gpu or motherboard for a mobile phone, so we have to upgrade if we want to be able to maintain the electronic standard of living.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now