Do I really need a new smartphone?

It has been many years when a cell phone was nothing more than an expensive tool for executives, a symbol of only of their power. Today they are part of every element of our life, and we are inseparable from our technology. Technology which changes and evolves at a massive rate, leaving us often feeling as if we have been left behind and that we need to constantly upgrade.

However, do we really need to do this? Apart from the troop of people who will, whenever Apple release a new i-anything, queue outside their nearest Apple store ready to be the very latest to have the shiniest tech. If you are not an uber-geek do you really need a new phone and if so which way do you go?

Is there anything wrong with my current cell phone?

If you are careful, look after your smartphone and are not a clumsy type who is apt to drop their expensive electronics on the floor or down the toilet, you may well be quite happy with your phone. It does everything I need, what is the point of making the change?

You may think that it is a pain to change over contacts and apps. Of course nowadays the process of upgrading is simple you can almost automatically transfer all of your data, photos and contacts. In fact, with an older phone you may well be putting your important data at risk. Modern phones transfer data to cloud servers so a lost or damaged phone does not mean you have lost your precious photos or important phone numbers.

You may have noticed that your phone no longer lasts as long between charges, indicating that you may have a worn out battery. Standard Lithium-ion smart phone batteries have a life of between two to three years. There is a maximum number of charge cycles and they will start to show signs of age. If you phone has a removable battery you can order and install a replacement yourself. Many phones however do not have a battery you can replace easily.

You may not be aware that there is a resale value for almost every single phone. Your service provider may well offer a trade-in offer. Alternatively you could sell it to one of a number of companies who will offer cash for phones or sell it yourself on eBay. You could find that your old phone is worth some money!

Finally, you will start to find that, as your phone gets older that some apps are no longer supported on your operating system so you may lose functionality and there are likely to be risks as security flaws may no longer be fixed with software updates.

What to do when you reach the end of your contract?

A while ago, if your mobile contract came to the end of it is term most people would upgrade automatically. Now, however, with changes to the mobile market in the US there are now more and more providers who offer contracts which separate the purchase of the phone from the monthly data cost.

When you see this, there is no doubt a temptation to keep your existing phone for longer. As technology changes, upgrading will allow you to keep abreast of these changes. Your contract will allow you to purchase a new phone without a large upfront cost and many will include insurance to protect your phone should it slip from your fingers.

So, if you do decide that an upgrade is the right thing to do, you need to look at what sort of phone to chose.

Apple vs. Android

For some, this is not even a question, they will be reading this post in the overnight queue at the Apple store and will not be swayed! However, when it comes down to numbers, there are now more Android users than any other operating systems including Windows. This is a growth from just 2.4% of the market five years ago to almost 40% and growing.

The major difference between Apple and Android phones is that you have considerable more choice of hardware available when it comes to Android. Instead of a very limited number of smartphones there are a wide number from a range of providers and an even wider range of apps and add-ons. Going forward Google (the developers of Android) and major manufacturers have signed an agreement to share all patents associated with “Android and Google Applications”. It allows an open sharing of innovation and allows smaller companies to get involved.

This level of choice may be in itself an issue for you. There is a risk that you have too many handsets to choose from when all you want is something which will do the job! Of course, if you don’t have the time to decide then Apple provides a simple solution. They bring style as well as substance to the world of mobile technology, however, more and more people are demanding more choice. You know that, Apple maintains both the build quality and software for its own phones you can be sure that you will have a highly reliable phone and that you can always go to an Apple store for face to face support should you need it.

Choices, choices…

When it comes to upgrade time, you have a number of choices. If you are going down the Apple route your choice is simpler, the latest iPhone will provide you with the latest innovation and technology.

With Android phones you have a wider choice of handsets from a variety of manufacturers. It allows you to decide exactly what you require from a handset.

You need to consider how you wish to use your phone, is long battery life a necessity, large memory capacity or high quality screen.

Finding the right phone

First of all, ask yourself how you are going to use your phone. If photos and selfies are vital you should look for high quality cameras. Generally, the higher the megapixel rating the better quality the images the camera produces.

Screen size and resolution are important, consider going for a smaller screen if you generally use your phone with one hand as it will be easier to use. Higher screen resolutions will give a better on-screen image, however you should look for at least 1080p as an absolute minimum.

Battery life is essential for any phone and this will depend very much on how you use the phone. For convenience, wireless charging can save you having to carry extra cables, allowing you to simply place your handset down on a charging plate to recharge the battery.

Android phones will often come with a card slot which will allow you to insert a microSD card to expand the handset memory and allow you to load up with more apps and games!

Three of the leading phones on the market

To get you started on the route to upgrade here are three of the most popular phones.

Apple iPhone 7

The latest of the Apple smartphone range brings a 12 megapixel camera and splash resistance to the phone as well as the longest battery life of any of the iPhone range and a screen which is 25% brighter.

The iPhone is a must for users who use other Apple equipment as it fits seamlessly with your iPad or Mac.

Samsung S8 and S8+

Samsung has been the highest selling manufacturer of Android phones for a number of years with their highly successful Galaxy smartphones. Their latest version is the S8 and S8+ which brings number of new innovations to the smartphone market.

The new Infinity display removes the borders from the phone screen allowing the display to flow around the edges of the phone giving you a larger full HD display without having to get a more bulky phone. The S8 has a 5.8” screen and the S8+ has 6.2”.

Having a high quality camera is a must on any smartphone and the Samsung doesn’t disappoint. The rear camera can shoot 4K video and 12 megapixel stills. It has been specially designed to work as well in low light conditions so that you can be sure of being able to take great pictures any time of the day or night.

Security is essential however you don’t want it to slow you down so the phone can be quickly and simply unlocked using iris or facial recognition or using a built in fingerprint sensor. The Samsung Knox security is built in from the chipset up and has been accepted by governments worldwide offering hardware based encryption. You can be sure that your business and personal data will be safe.

The processor is one of the fastest on the market, yet uses 20% less power than previous models giving an extended battery life.

It is also made for whatever life can throw at it with water and dust resistance.

Nokia 3310

This is more of a retro handset as it about from a smartphone as you can get. However, the Nokia 3310 was a design classic from the early days of mobile use and it has now been relaunched for 2017.

No Facebook, Twitter or internet access, however this is a phone which can last for a month in standby on a single charge! Priced at less than $50 this is not likely to be your main mobile, however it is a go anywhere standby which is perfect for emergencies or for people who just want to get away from the internet and use their handset for something unusual, making telephone calls, who would have thought it!

Finally

If you are like me, your phone is your life! Almost three quarters (71%) of us now sleep with our phones and 35% of wake up thinking of our phone as the first thing in the morning (only 10% think of their significant others!). We are hooked on the technology so we need to be sure we have the right tech in our hands.

Don’t think of a new and upgraded smartphone as an unnecessary expense, we use our phones almost every minute of the day, we always have them and so rarely put them down. Don’t you deserve the best?

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