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How Often Do You Upgrade Your Smartphone? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Dave Parrack 08-06-2014

Smartphones are the devices many of us use to communicate with the rest of the world on a daily basis, whether through calls, texts, or apps. Which means there is always a strong temptation to own the latest and greatest smartphone on the market.


Do you resist upgrading for several years? Or are you one of those strange brave souls queuing outside stores Why You Should Never Queue For New Gadgets [Opinion] I personally cannot fathom the mindset of people who queue for the latest gadget on launch day. I've tried, I really have, but I think it's a bizarre choice to queue up for hours or... Read More every time a new model is released? It’s time to find out via the MakeUseOf Poll.

Windows Wins

To answer this week’s question please scroll down the page until you see the poll staring back at you. But first, we need to look at the results from last week, when we asked, “What Device Are You Using Right Now? What Device Are You Using Right Now? [MakeUseOf Poll] In this week's MakeUseOf Poll we want to know what device you are using to read these words. And these words. And indeed these words. Read More

Out of a total of 762 votes, 54.3% chose Windows PC or Laptop, 10.4% chose Apple Mac or MacBook, 7.5% chose Linux Computer, 2.1% chose Chromebook or Chromebox, 11.4% chose iPad or Tablet, 12.7% chose Smartphone, 0.3% chose Smart TV, 0% chose Games Console, 0% chose Set-Top Box, and 1% chose “another option” not listed in the poll.

Windows won by a long way, which actually comes as something of a surprise. We’re constantly being told that mobile is the future of, well, everything, and yet more than half of all those who voted in the poll did so using a PC or laptop. Add those using a Mac or MacBook and you’ve accounted for two-thirds of the total. Which is astonishing.

Also intriguing was how evenly matched smartphones and tablets ended up being, with the former only 10 votes above the latter. It would be interesting to see how those figures break down into the different mobile operating systems, but that’s a poll for another day.



Comment Of The Week

We received a lot of great comments, including those from Mayagrafix, K.I. Matthews, and Xoandre. Comment Of The Week goes to Rick, who won with this comment What Device Are You Using Right Now? [MakeUseOf Poll] In this week's MakeUseOf Poll we want to know what device you are using to read these words. And these words. And indeed these words. Read More :

I switched over from Windows to a Chromebox a couple months ago because I wanted to simplify my desktop computing. I realized quite a few months ago that I was already keeping most of my stuff in the cloud, and was also doing 75% of my desktop computing in a Chrome browser. I was already deeply enmeshed into Google’s ecosystem – Chrome, Android, their web apps, etc. – and Chrome OS and Chromebooks were becoming intriguing to me. I knew I could do even more without Windows, which I was becoming increasingly frustrated with on a number of levels.
But I still wasn’t sure I wanted a tiny laptop like most of the Chromebooks are, since I already enjoyed using my Nexus 7 for portable needs and like using a big monitor when trying to be productive. Then the Asus Chromebox came out. I loved the idea, and spent some time investigating whether or not I could really make the switch. I decided I could – and I have done so almost entirely now. I really like the OS, and it is fun to watch this fledgling OS constantly improve and add more and more abilities. Of course I use my Android tablet and phone a lot too, dabble with Linux – and at the moment still boot up Windows if I need to use my scanner or interface with my gps.
But what is really nice now is that I can go to virtually any machine, fire up almost any browser (Chrome preferred, of course – especially if I can log in to it), and do almost anything I need to do.

Upgrading Your Smartphone

This week we want to find out all about upgrade patterns for smartphones. We are talking specifically about smartphones too, but if you’re one of those sensible people who have chosen to resist buying a smartphone 5 Reasons Not To Buy A Smartphone You may feel pressured into buying a smartphone, even though you're perfectly happy with your (so-called) dumbphone. Don't be. Read More you can still get involved thanks to the answer included just for you.

New smartphones are being released all the time, and the range of options open to anyone looking to upgrade can be overwhelming. This makes it all the more tempting to upgrade before your contract comes to an end. If you upgrade randomly rather than following any kind of pattern then just tell us for how long you held onto your previous phone.


The last time we ran this poll, back in September 2012, the majority answered “Every two years, I tend to skip a model.” We’re interested to see if we get the same result this time around, or whether the increased ubiquitousness of smartphones has led to a change.

Please let us know how often you upgrade your smartphone by voting in the poll above and then take to the comments below to explain why this is the case. Remember, there’s an awesome T-shirt in it for the person responsible for the coveted Comment Of The Week.

Image Credit: Karlis Dambrans via Flickr

Related topics: Opinion & Polls, Windows Phone.

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  1. P. Summers
    June 11, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    Before making any technology changes, ask the fundamental question with regards to Computers, Laptops, Smartphones, etc: Does what you currently have do what you want it to do, in the way you want to do it? If the answer is Yes - leave it alone (If it ain't broke, don't fix it). If the answer is No, then we talk about those changes.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Never a truer word has been spoken.

  2. James
    June 11, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Pay as you go... so I get my parent's old contract phones every two years (they usually have the same phone but in a different colour so I get to choose). It's a good deal I feel as I get a decent phone for free

  3. Over 50
    June 11, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    I use my phones until they get flaky.

    Phones are part of the "Tech Toy" cycle, so whatever I buy will be "obsolete" within a few months of when it gets purchased. Frankly the upgrades aren't worth the hassle. You get the phone tuned for how you want to use it, why change?

    So much of what a phone does just works better on a tablet or laptop. Easier to read and put data into.

    If the newest new wasn't heavily advertised I'm not sure how many people would buy it.

  4. pmshah
    June 11, 2014 at 3:44 am

    First of all I differentiate between want and need. Generally this is a very faint grey line which I darken to black !

    I upgrade to a newer phone ONLY under a few defined conditions.
    1. When I find the performance of the current device unacceptably slowing down.
    2. Something goes bad withe device itself.
    3. I find someone who can definitely benefit from and make good use of my current device AND I can budget/justify the cost of the new device.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      That's a good checklist to follow. Other people get suckered in by what is new and shiny though, and good luck to them!

  5. MikeB
    June 11, 2014 at 2:49 am

    I don't even consider an upgrade as long as it is still working as it should or I have not broken it.

  6. Helen
    June 10, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Some of these comments were obviously written by IMMATURE ADOLESCENTS. ( can't ya tell? )
    I think most people tend to upgrade every 2 + years and usually a new model has been skipped. I look to see if the newer model offers something "very special" if not...I wait a while longer.
    So far all my cells have been Android, and each one has been better than the last one. Currently have Samsung G S4.

  7. Rob
    June 10, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    The government agency responsible for telecommunications in my country responded to incredible numbers of complaints about locked-in plans of 36 months. The carriers were forced to go to 24 month plans so now amortize the cost of phones over the shorter period. Plan costs have jumped about 20 dollars per month. My plan is now so much cheaper that it isn't worth my while to upgrade as long as my phone still functions. I'm in no hurry.

    Besides, the newer phones are ridiculously huge to fit in a pocket, unlike the compact model that I will soon have paid off.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      Not a fan of phablet (tablet-sized phones) then?

  8. Evandy Gibson
    June 10, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Because 2 years is when my contract expires. Also, I am not sure whether I will stay with the same carrier.

  9. Don Neale
    June 10, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I upgrade every 2 years (or less) according to my Sprint plan. I have stuck with Sprint primarily because I am grandfathered into a truly unlimited data plan. Based upon my actual data use, I enjoy the biggest bang for my buck! By the time I am eligible for a full upgrade my smartphone suffers from the wear and I have lost needed functionality. This past month I took the plunge and switched from an iphone to an android, choosing the Samsung GS5 primarily for its camera. There's been a learning curve for sure but I have no regrets!

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      Switching from what you know to something new is always difficult. Now you're used to Android, how are you finding it compared to iOS?

  10. Joe G. (Ia)
    June 10, 2014 at 11:28 am

    I kept my LG chocolate for 3 years or so when the battery went bad and screen was somewhat scratched. I also had Verizon for service. When work decided I needed a smartphone they got me an IPHONE 4....which I've never overtaken. Its starting to not hold a charge so I may be talking to them about giving it to another employee or making it a general use phone It rings once a month or every two months usually. between midnight and 5 AM. I went to a Samsung Brightside flip phone for personal use for years. (rotten phone) also had Verizon. Recently went to a used Samsung Galaxy SII which I got via Glade and switched to 2 months ago. I spent $146 for the phone. Ting service uses Sprint (and Verizon) networks
    Also you post-pay based on usage tiers.

    Excellent Service and coverage for my contract firstmonth was free due to referral and this month bill is $23.00 $28 with other fees (taxes, etc.) I have a referral code to share if anyone wants to sign up and save.

    Plan on keeping SII as long as possible

  11. Doug
    June 10, 2014 at 10:59 am

    When it breaks... I'm still using the first Samsung Galaxy model (...but I have scrubbed it several times and experimented with different ROMs.)

  12. Raj
    June 10, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I upgrade it only when necessary

  13. TheQ47
    June 10, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I got my iPhone 4 for my 40th birthday, and still haven't changed it, 3yrs 6 mths later. Main reason, is price. A new phone is just too costly (at least here in Ireland), although I fear it's nearing the end of it's life at this stage. The screen has been replaced 3 times, the back once (but needs replacing again), the volume and mute buttons aren't working, and it's just getting creaky and old.
    My current contract with my provider expires in December, and I will definitely look at upgrading then, so that'll be 4 years.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      Replacing the screen and other components must have been expensive, so there must come a point at which getting all new hardware is cheaper, no?

  14. Tendekayi S
    June 10, 2014 at 8:40 am

    I tend to upgrade when its absolutely necessary.I still have the Samsung Galaxy Note N7000 and it still works fine.Maybe when the Note 4 comes out I will consider but as longs as the Note works I may still hold on to it.Maybe will change ROM and still continue using it.

  15. Lucky
    June 10, 2014 at 6:56 am

    it depends upon features of smart phone...

  16. Susan Carlton
    June 10, 2014 at 5:44 am

    So many responses indicating upgrade when contract is up. I have NO CONTRACT. When I decided to go for a smartphone a year and a half ago, it was because I wanted the ability to accept credit card payments via the Square device. The little fob plugs into the phone and is only about an inch or so 'square'. You then swipe the card through the device and voila, you have your payment. Customer is emailed the receipt.

    I always research things to death, and in doing so for this latest phone, I came upon the 'ting' alternative. I purchased a Samsung Transcend Ultra 3G phone refurbished from ting for I forget exactly how much but around $150. It looked new and came with their service installed and all you have to do is call them and they will walk you through the setup process. The really great thing about it is that I pay under $10 every month for my phone service. They use the Sprint network. You pay according to how much you use the phone, and it's set up in 'buckets' of minutes, data, etc. I have had no problems with the phone or the service. I did buy a new premium battery on Amazon that lasts much longer than the one that came with the phone, and a micro SD card for extra memory.

    I saw that one other person mentioned they were not tied to a contract using Freedom Pop. That's one I haven't heard of, may be the same kind of thing, I don't know.

    • Joe G. (Ia)
      June 10, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Freedom pop uses wife a lot if I recall. It didn't have good coverage in my area...same with Republic Wireless

    • Hunter
      June 15, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Apalling, I did NOT realize FreedomPop was using my wife! I should have read the fine print more carefully. I'm going to cancel immediately. Seriously, it piggybacks on the Sprint network, so it's great if you're in a major city in the US, but it gets spotty or fails completely when you head out to the boondocks.

  17. ?????? ?
    June 10, 2014 at 4:53 am

    I still don't understand the meaning of smart phone?
    because in some people terms smart phone has following capabilities
    more than 1 G Hz processor
    Dual core
    operating system
    Multi core Multi threaded
    App support
    Wi-Fi or 3G or 4G or 5G
    Touch screen
    Any way usable phone
    But It never includes following features
    Unicode support
    Battery backup
    Basic Phone functionality failure like unable to end call, non availability of sms feature in some cases no retry of failed sms unless user invokes, phone connectivity failure
    Unable to report the failure reason of these functionalities

    I switched to Nokia asha 503 from android phone because
    I need just normal 3G not high end
    I need power backup even 2000mAh I get 2 days battery backup
    Audio quality is good
    call quality is good
    Better power saving settings
    funny part it supports all languages eventhough it's not high end smart phone.
    I am never sure what advantage I have with a smart phone which fails the basic mobile phone functionality but supports gaming?

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      It's ironic that the actual basic features of mobile phones have worsened with smartphones, but it's all about putting time and energy into developing things people actually want. Which is apps and fancy features. You may be better off sticking with an old feature phone. There is certainly no shame in it.

  18. Mackonline
    June 10, 2014 at 3:39 am

    I have a dumb phone (a lat century model Kyocera) and an iPod Touch 5s. I have all the benefits of a smart phone without the expensive data plan. And, when I run my battery down playing games, I still have a phone!

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      I like your thinking. The iPod Touch is a good compromise for those who want apps without a data plan.

  19. Dave
    June 10, 2014 at 2:48 am

    I am on my second smart phone: a Sony Xperia Z1. My first was an HTC Wildfire - if you do the math that gets you around 4 years. I only changed over as the OS was not getting updated and I had outgrown the abilities of my phone. The unit was in perfect condition due to the use of a flip case and screen protector. The salespeople at Telstra remarked that they could have resold my phone it was in such good condition - shame it required so much coal to keep it going...

  20. Robert B.
    June 10, 2014 at 2:31 am

    I usually upgrade/change phones every 6 months or so. I tend to buy my phones outright, so I don't have a contract to tie me to a particular device. I like to play with the latest/greatest phones. I guess I'm a phone geek (according to the spouse).

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      You buy your phones outright? That has to work out expensive.

  21. Chris M
    June 10, 2014 at 2:06 am

    I would think the reason that "every 2 years" is leading is because that
    is how long contracts normally last. I know that is what drives my replacing the phone...

  22. Michael Evans
    June 9, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    At age 70 years, I regard my smartphone as a diabolical affliction. A year ago I upgraded my trusty flip phone because my children and grandchildren insisted I had to be able to exchange text messages. For me, the screen is too small to do much on the Internet and is very slow compared to my PC. I have email in my offices at work and at home and don't need it while driving between the two. The keys are so small, accurate typing is laborious at best and impossible most of the time. It also doesn't work great with my hearing aides (sigh). I'm not sure I'll ever update it.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      It sounds like you should revert to using an older phone rather than a new one. Tell your offspring that this one isn't working for you. Technology is there to help, not to hinder.

  23. Graham
    June 9, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    I only upgrade when the existing phone fails or breaks physically. My previous phone was a Galaxy S and now I am using a Lumia 520 which I think is just fantastic value and I get better battery life than I ever did under Android.

  24. Rob
    June 9, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    It had been every two years for the free upgrade but Im grandfathered on Verizon's unlimited data plan. So no more feebies. After I drowned my Razor Maxx I bought a used Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I lust after the new stuff but it works too well. I think this tech has been out four years now? As shiny as the new features are, there just wouldnt be enough added utility to buy one.

  25. Terry Straehley
    June 9, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    My first smartphone was the iPhone 4, which I still use. I've been tempted to upgrade for a better camera, but haven't. I'll have to upgrade to the iPhone 6 because iOS 8 won't work on an iPhone 4.

  26. hohum
    June 9, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    I had a Nokia E71 when everyone had eyePhones, even after using a work HTC droid phone. The reason was simple - I never got enough time to use my phone so I just needed my phone to be a phone. But eventually I got hooked so now whenever my contract finishes I have a look at what's around. Was so happy to leave my iPhone - the M8 is bloody awesome.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      Another iPhone to Android convert!

  27. Joanzi
    June 9, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Having a "shared" plan with a family member makes it an almost daunting task to pull the long straw that allows for an upgrade. Sooo, I've had my beloved Android Thunda since 2011 while the other user has enjoyed too many for me to think about. Just beware, that when the next upgrade occurs, I will be locked & loaded.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      That sounds like a threat?! They've won three out of three draws then? Wouldn't it be better to take it in turns.

  28. Carol Fortlage
    June 9, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    I checked "every three years," but that hardly captures the experience. Got first mobile phone with Verizon in 1990 and upgraded immediately upon eligibility (NET=new every two) from 1992-2010. It was about then the non-smart phone became boring. Kept and used my Samsung Alias2 for nearly 4 years, then ended a 23-year relationship with Verizon by switching to Consumer Cellular, for amazingly lower monthly bill for 3 lines. Right now we are using iphones 4S and 3GS, using data for first time because the price is no longer rapacious! Phone service is great, and customer service is terrific too.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      It sounds like switching away from Verizon worked out well for you. The more people who do that the more competitive the big firms would have to be.

  29. Wanda Brown
    June 9, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Since I am a diehard HTC customer, I only upgrade when I absolutely have to. My last upgrade was from the HTC EVO to the HTC EVO 4g LTE only because the charging port got damaged. I opted for the 4g LTE because it has more memory and a memory card slot. I'm not really impressed with the m8 just yet. My upgrade is in November, if HTC puts out something impressive, I may change. If not I'll hang on to what I have.

  30. Deb S
    June 9, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Love my jailbroken iPhone 4S. It does everything I want. I'm eligible for an upgrade with my carrier, but, while the new phones look great, they don't seem to have all the functionality that has been hacked into my present phone. It's still working the way I like. When it doesn't anymore, then I'll get a new one.

  31. Carol H
    June 9, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    I upgrade when my iPhone no longer will update to the lastest OS version. No need to do it any sooner as long as it does the job I need it to do (that's just throwing money away).

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      That's a good point, especially where the iPhone is concerned. I doubt many iPhone users upgrade every year, especially with Apple offering only minor upgrades every second year.

  32. Craig Ellison
    June 9, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    The results are interesting. It looks like a bell curve, for the most part centered at 2 years.

    I tend to upgrade when there's a good reason to do so. I upgraded my droid X to a Razr Maxx to move from 3G to 4G LTE. At the time I upgraded, I also wanted GSM capabilities that Android was promising in a future release.

    I'm currently grandfathered into VZW unlimited data plan, and would lose it and be forced into a more expensive shared metered plan if I upgrade.

    While the Samsung S5 is tempting, I'll probably hold off and see what shakes out with pricing plans over the summer.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      I put that down to the majority of people falling in line with the length of their contracts. Some prefer to upgrade early, while others don't feel the need to upgrade until their hardware stops working.

  33. JDGretz
    June 9, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Since my main reason for having a smart(?)phone is to have a good working mobile telephone, I don't "upgrade" when the next feature hits the store. My reasons for a new phone usually have something to do with the current one no longer allowing me to be productive.

    I'm currently using a Droid 4 (third or fourth one) that has terrible battery life. Previously I was using the original Droid with battery life of about two days. Unfortunately it became underpowered as the software and the few apps I use became larger.

    Going back a bit, the Treo 650, Kyocera 6035 and 7135 were all excellent phones (first job for a phone after all), had voice recognition, batteries that would last days, and access to productivity software that was compatible with what I used in the office. No, they didn't play Angry Birds, but they were great productivity tools.

    So, yes, I'm going to "upgrade" again. Hopefully to something that has real business world use battery life.


    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      Do you have an idea of what you're going to upgrade to yet? Unfortunately, battery life sucks across the board where smartphones are concerned.

    • JDGretz
      June 15, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      It looks like the top condenders at the moment are the Droid Maxx, Samsung S5 or the HTC One M8. Those three consistently get over 8 hours of heavy use (continuous downloads or video streaming) in tests by several different review sites. Although the Maxx in the winner by a noticable margin, I wish it had a replaceable battery. Then again, I wish one of them had a physical keyboard.

      The one that really piques my interest is the Lenovo P780, which unfortunately is not available in the USA.

  34. BV
    June 9, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    My smartphone isn't even signed up for mobile phone service. I've had an LG Optimus V since 2011 and mainly bought it because the PalmOS platform was getting to the point where new software was no longer being produced and the devices, other than a couple of smartphones that didn't look promising, were no longer produced.

    Having VOIP phone access anywhere there is WIFI available made not activating this smartphone a no-brainer for me. It's got an early version of Android (2.2.1 - Froyo) running on it and I rooted it quite a while ago.

    The vast majority of Android apps continue to be compatible with this platform. It does everything I need for it to do, and more. Why on earth should I seek out another smartphone when the one I have meets all my needs?

    I follow the same decision path when it comes to upgrading any of my technology. As long as the question, "Is this meeting my needs?," can be answered, "Yes," the very thought of an upgrade is just plain stupid. Electronic tools are still tools, and very often old tools are the best ones.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      That's a good rule of thumb. If what you're using now does everything you need it to do then you obviously don't need to upgrade. Others take a different approach, and good luck to them too :)

  35. Frosch P
    June 9, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    On average, I upgrade about every 18 months. Mainly because my phone gets a lot of nicks, bangs, scrapes, abuse and... I like to try some of the new tech from time-to-time to see if it's really as 'cool' as the reviewers say it is!?! So far I haven't experienced anything on ANY of the phones for the last 2, maybe 3 upgrades that would make me want to stay with a particular model phone and/or manufacturer for the 'long haul'!

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Stop abusing your phone! ;)

  36. Paul M
    June 9, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Only when my contracts up, last one was 18 months but the new contract is for 2 years. To date I then pass my old phone down to the kids. Always looking for a deal so generally a couple of generations behind but liking my Samsung S3 at present. Alot cheaper than the newer versions but works for me.

  37. Paul M
    June 9, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Only when my contracts up, last one was 18 months but the new contract is for 2 years. To date I then pass my old phone down to the kids. Always looking for a deal so generally a couple of generations behind but liking my Samsung S3 at present. Alot cheaper than the newer versions but works for me.

  38. Michael McKay
    June 9, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    I have had my Droid Razr Maxx for 21/2 years now, it's still working well and I have no plans to change to a different phone anytime soon. What also makes me keep this phone is that I have a Lapdock 500 that I use quite often and I don't think there is another phone that will properly connect to the Lapdock. I paid to much for the Lapdock to simply toss it away because I wouldn't be able to hook up a different phone. I'll admit that I sometimes think about different phone upgrades but the cost of the Lapdock brings me back to reality.

  39. TedB
    June 9, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    I usually consider updating my smarty-pants phone when the 2 year contract expires. But that is dependent upon whether the current phone's performance isn't such that I feel like throwing against the wall. If it's still good, or if there is a new model with much improved performance near the time of contract renewal, I may wait.

    The most recent example was upgrading from Moto Droid RazzrMax to Samsung Galaxy S5. Night and day performance comparison. I tried everything but rooting the Razzr to maintain acceptable performance...impossible to keep it out of the Frustration Zone. It was getting so annoying I almost jumped the gun to have it g-o-n-e. Now I have a tool I can use, not the other way around.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      Oh, regardless of desire there is always a point at which it becomes absolutely necessary to upgrade.

  40. Matt
    June 9, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    I upgrade about twice a year (6 monts). Why it was a no brainer to utilize T-Mobile's Jump program (Jump 1 anyways). With technology changing as rapidly as it is, I like to keep on top of it.

    • Matt
      June 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Pardon my spelling error, I meant 6 Months.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Do you feel 6-monthly upgrades are necessary though? Do they always improve the hardware?

  41. g.m.nelson
    June 9, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    only half-smart phone (NOKIA C-2 w/Symbian OS). only update when I have to and with luck the minimum time has passed to use points for discount/free replacement. previous phone was a NOKIA 6700 slide which died shortly after minimum contract time expired so got new one free with providers points. phone has all the functions I need (camera/BT/SMS/MMS/3G/web if absolutely necessary).

  42. Steven Bloom
    June 9, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Unless problems occur, usually about every 2 years when cellular contract is due and eligible for new phone. That's usually a skip of 1 generation, and it's usually at least 2 generations for phone changes to really be worth the upgrade, so this works out well.

    Just upgraded to Samsung S5 from S3 - didn't "need" to, but enjoy the improvements such as better processor speed, better battery life and control. Easier if stay with same company's phone usually. I still thoroughly read multiple reviews and comparisons prior to purchase, but I'm usually the early innovator of my friends and family (who all have iphones, the lemmings they are)

    Every upgrade usually involves though recustomizing whatever didn't transfer, new case, new screen protector if desired, etc. , so another reason for me at least not to do it just to have the "best."

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      Reading reviews and comparing all of the various models is very important. Good advice!

  43. Paula
    June 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    My family updates every two years as our contract ends. I'm on my third smartphone (Palm Pre, Pre2, HTC Droid Incredible), youngest son is on his first (HTC Rhyme) and husband is also on his first (Casio Commando). I prefer the smaller phones but it looks like we will all be going bigger this time with an S5, G3 or M8 except for maybe the husband who will probably get the next generation Commando. We also purchase our phones through other vendors such as Amazon and Walmart to get the better deals when we upgrade our contract!

  44. Steve
    June 9, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    I normally update when my contract is up and or there is a phone that I really feel I will benefit having. Right now I am waiting for reviews from friends on their new Samsung Gallaxy 5's before I make the jump to that model.

  45. Deborah Graham
    June 9, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    In the past (who can predict the future?), we have skipped a version. I was even, my son was odd and Dad gets the hand me down as we switch to a new phone. Somehow right now, we both have iPhone 5 versions (and Dad has our son's old iPhone 4), so one of us (oh, that would be ME) gets the iPhone 6 next. :-) Or, depending on the new features and timing, we might both get the iPhone 6 and we'll be in sync and Dad will get his choice of our "obsolete" iPhone 5 phones. We usually ignore the "mini" versions, 4S, 5S, 5C...not enough changes to make it worth the switch.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Thanks for mentioning passing old hardware onto family and friends. I wish more people would do that.

  46. Antonio N
    June 9, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    I get one through work so it doesn't get updated very often because of the cost that it takes to upgrade a device.


  47. vferg
    June 9, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    I actually have the option to get a new one about once a year but I choose to wait the 2 years. I try to get as much use out of the device as I can. After 2 years the device seems to have taken enough beating to warrant a new one. Besides 1 year difference in phones isn't really a huge change anymore, you really need the 2nd year to see a big boost. I also believe the contract of 2 years for most providers influences when people will upgrade.

  48. Xoandre
    June 9, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Unlike most people, who seem to have thousands of dollars to splurge on their phones every year, I cannot afford to buy even the most basic of brand-name phones, much less upgrade every time a new iteration comes out.

    I avoid Apple at all costs, because they charge way too much for exclusivity to their technology. I'd love to have a Samsung Galaxy (whatever the latest model is), but that is way beyond my price point as well.

    I guess my ultimate answer to this question hinges more on affordability of the overall plan and phone more than it does specifically on the phone itself.

    I currently use Tracfone Prepaid Wireless (they own Net10, Smart Talk, and others) which utilizes EVERY brand of network for the most comprehensive coverage of all. Tracfone does not charge an arm and a leg and a few extra fingers and toes just for the phone itself, and it does not charge a monthly fee of any kind, unless subscribers choose to have a monthly auto-renewal.

    All told, including the cost of my phone, I have spent perhaps $480 over the past 5 years of owning a Tracfone. Yes, that works out to about $8 a month, including phone upgrades.

    I have upgraded only when the model I am using stops working, or slows to the point of complete uselessness. With my current phone (the very first Android I have owned) I have been reasonably pleased, and more frustrated than ever when the Android system just stops responding or slows to a completely useless crawl, as it does any time I log onto Wifi. I have used the task Manager app for Android to kill off the programs running in the background (like Google+, Location Services, Facebook - which is perpetually running 24/7 - and others). This speeds it back up and makes it usable as a phone again.

    The takeaway is ultimately affordability for those of us who have zero credit or bad credit or have to choose between 2 months worth of food or paying 1 month of cell phone service. Not everyone can afford those fancy gadgets that "everyone" seems to have in their hands all the time.

    • ken
      June 12, 2014 at 10:34 am

      Don't know if you've thought about doing a hard re-install of your phone which will wipe out all data on it making it brand new again instead of buying a new phone- every time it slows. Another thing that might help is if you empty your internet cache which might speed it up again. I guess you know that there are some apps that'll allow you to phone others for free provided they have the same apps installed. Another thing is some phones have hotspot wifi feature that'll broadcast the phone's signal out so you can use your laptop to surf the internet though you'd have to be on a monthly plan on your phone to benefit from this allowing you to cancel your home internet service if you're a light data user.

    • Xoandre
      June 12, 2014 at 2:05 pm


      Thank you for your feedback.

      I empty the cache daily and have moved all apps that can be moved to my 32GB MicroSD Card. It does work to a point.

      I have no interest in trying to figure out how to do a "hard re-install". I just hate that Android forces the Google+ features on every aspect of the OS. That seriously impedes speed and usability. Suffice it to say, I do not use G+, regardless of the fact that Google automatically sets up an account (based on IP address) for anyone who uses their search engine.

      I have tried a few of the apps for "free calls" and "free texts", but those also require an internet connection. When traveling or at work, that is not available. I don't like burning my "data" on my prepaid account, if I do not have to. Of course, I'm one of those guys at work who goes berserk when half the employees whip out their cell phones to text somebody. We're there to WORK, not socialize.

      But - on your last point, I have no laptop, and my tablet has the same capabilities of my phone, so it does not apply to my situation. If it does for others, great! That is what these comment forums are for in MakeUseOf - to expand knowledge, share experiences, and embrace options.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      You seem to have it all sorted. I condone people only spending what they can afford. Technology should take a backseat to the essentials of life. obviously.

  49. Jim Gibson
    June 9, 2014 at 11:15 am

    These days most contracts allow you to replace your phone mid-contract by means of paying up the cost of the phone. It's simple and easy usually cost is miniscule.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      That depends on the contract and the country. I know in the UK the costs are considerable if you want to upgrade mid-contract.

  50. Vasilis
    June 9, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Whenever there is one! Usually people who look at this stuff know when something comes up.Alas those who don't update only when prompted,i think.

  51. Hunter Wesson
    June 9, 2014 at 4:55 am

    I usually try to stay up to date with whatever was state of the art about two years ago. I got my first smartphone a Motorola Droid X, which came out in 2010, in 2012, and I just upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy S2, which came out in the summer or 2012. As an unregenerate cheapskate, I buy strictly used phones on eBay and pay zero per month for service thanks to FreedomPop. I do however keep the firmware meticulously updated, so now I am rocking the latest and greatest Kitkat Cyanogenmod.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      I like your style. Do you never feel envious over the latest and greatest handsets being released? It must be hard knowing you'll have to wait a couple of years before getting your hands on it.

    • Hunter
      June 15, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      I did drool a bit when I saw the first reviews of the nexus 5, but ultimately a bump in processor speed and resolution is not enough to justify the price tag. As for envy, my social circle consists of mostly are flip-phone or iPhone users, so I feel relatively advanced (smirk).

  52. Urses57
    June 8, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Seams like when my contract is up, my phone is always showing signs of dying. So every two years it is!

  53. wp7
    June 8, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    When it breaks. Still rocking my Samsung Focus with Windows Phone 7.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      Not tempted to upgrade to Windows Phone 8?

  54. ReadandShare
    June 8, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Still using (and liking) my HTC Sensation 4G - circa 2011.

  55. Tara M
    June 8, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    I would like to upgrade my phone about every 3 years but right now it has been every 5 years or so. The cellphones are always changing about every 2 years or so. I do like to try and have the latest technology but it is always moving so fast. before you know it new technology comes out. you really need a lot of money to keep up with all that technology that comes our way. Yeah the contracts also limit you to keep your phone or you are charged full price to buy a new cellphone. if you wait until the contract ends then you get the phone sometimes for free or half price.

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      You're right, you can never keep up with every model change, so it's best to buy the phone which fits your needs and not worry about upgrades until you can afford it.

  56. Matthew U
    June 8, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    I never upgrade my smartphone because I don't have one.
    I will get the Oneplus One when it comes out though and with the low rate of advancements now it will probably be 3 or more years till I upgrade unless there are some massive advancements

  57. Alan W
    June 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I have'nt updated my Nokia 6110 in a very long time :)

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      Old-skool. Nice!

  58. Peter F
    June 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Due to the (seemingly) ever increasing costs of "the latest" models, I choose to only upgrade when my mobile contract is due. This tends to be two years. I'm only on my second smartphone and currently use the Nexus 4. My previous phone was a Sony Arc S. I'm always looking for the next big thing to invest my hard earned money into ( I always pay for the phone in full as contracts can be a rip off!) and am currently looking forward to what is on the market in January next year when my contract is up for renewal and I can hopefully grab a bargain!

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      You're certainly not alone there. Most people appear to upgrade as and when their contracts are up.

  59. Saket
    June 8, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    I would rather prefer installing a custom ROM for new features, than buy a new phone. Use the last bit of phone till it dies natural death

    • kiveau
      June 10, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      This. I think I was confused at first though. Took upgrade for update. I still use an S2, but I run 4.4.2

    • kisukadas
      June 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      I must agree with kiveau, I also stick with my S2 with the 4.4.2 it fulfills all my needs and when I need more processing power I always have the nexus 7

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Good point. As long as the hardware can cope with the demands of the software then why not hang on to it.

  60. Brian P
    June 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    I actually get a new one about every three months.

    • Elvis
      June 8, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      I get a new phone everyday.

    • Chinmay S
      June 9, 2014 at 3:47 am

      I get a new phone every 12 hours.

    • Debanjan S
      June 10, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      I get one every hour :P

    • Dave P
      June 15, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      Brian P - How come?

      LOL at the replies...

      I get a new one every 30 minutes.