Do you really need that upgrade?


I get a little grumpy when I’m told it’s time to upgrade. Mobile phones are big upgrade targets, but any other widget or gadget thing is fair game too.

It doesn’t seem to matter if the so called ‘old’ device is fresh off the sales floor, last year’s model, or a durable piece of electronics holding tight after five years of use. Everything, always, needs an upgrade.

We upgrade when stuff still works. We upgrade when flyers promoting hot deals on must-have models hit our inboxes. And we upgrade when our friends boast the latest and greatest doodads with blinking buttons too.

I love this chummy Virgin Mobile brochure. It’s addressed to You, my friend with Carl’s and my name printed throughout.


“Upgrading is super simple. Get hooked up with a hot new smartphone,” says Virgin inside the ad.

Wanna see Carl’s hot phone? My smart *cough* phone sits right beside his.

cell phones

Super hot, right?

Upgrade culture.

Virgin Mobile isn’t the only ‘friend’ who thinks I’m due for an upgrade. My social circle wonders why I’m talkin’ to them on a relic too.

They all wanted to text, Tweet, and Facebook me while we were out for coffee the other day. I just wanted to chat face-to-face without the aid of technology. I lost that conversation, on Twitter.

You’re so vain!

Vanity is (apparently) a big reason to spend the bucks on a boast-worthy upgrade. Virgin spells out your ticket to showmanship in step three.

Virgin’s Vanity: “Start showing off your hot new smartphone.”

You hot show-off, you. So much hot.

Cool curmudgeon?

Sure, you can call me a cranky technophobe for failing to embrace new mobile technology by taking a six-year pass on upgrading my mobile. But you would be wrong.

I love new mobile technology, and I do my best to support it on my blog. In fact, supports your handheld device, whether it’s an iPhone, runs Android OS, or is a tablet. I embrace it all.

I just have my reasons for not upgrading to these devices.

Reasons to press the pause button.

Before pulling the trigger on that new upgrade, maybe stop and think.

1. How much are you spending? Swapping up to the latest toy every release can be an expensive endeavor. I guarantee you won’t keep up to corporate release schedules. Companies have the next ‘big thing’ planned before your current model hits the marketplace.

2. Hello, landfill? Are you there, garbage heap? It’s me, the electronic waste upgrader! Our insatiable need to consume more communications devices is bad news for the environment. According to the Electronics Takeback Coalition, 152 million mobile devices were scrapped in 2010 in the U.S. alone, with only 11% of these being recycled (source (PDF)). Is yours stacked onto that heap?

3. Needs vs. wants. Most of us screw up on this one. Is that new gadget an essential tool you can’t live without? Or are you a tool for wanting a silly feature to help you win FarmVille? It’s time to learn about delayed gratification, people.

Delayed Gratification
A delicious lesson in delayed gratification

Learning to wait can be good for your brain and bank account. It all starts with marshmallows.

4. Does it still work? My crazy cell phone still works. It rings when someone calls, and sometimes I answer it. Sure, technology changes fast and old systems are eventually deprecated, but holding off a few releases between upgrades can save you a lot of money over time.

5. Beware of cascading upgrades. Upgrading my pocket camera to a full-on digital SLR seemed a straightforward spend. But then I wanted more hard drive space to accommodate higher resolution pictures. Then my laptop needed *cough* more memory to run better photo programs. And then the cascading effect pissed me off, so I stuck with just the camera. Upgrading one gadget in your technology ecosystem can have a watershed effect, costing you dearly.

So where am I going with this?

I’m skipping out on a mobile upgrade again this year. At this point my old phone is such a cool ‘conversation piece’ that I can’t bear to part with the awesome.

Since I spend most of my days sitting in front of a computer, I’m pretty thrilled when I can turn the beeps and ringers off in favor of some fresh air outside. Freedom from being connected to everyone, all the time, is pretty hot.



  1. Emmy August 1, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I had the Nokia that Carl had before I changed providers and got an iPhone. I loved that phone- especially the fact that I could make calls over the WiFi for free! I changed providers because my reception was horrible when traveling and all of my family had a different provider. Switching providers saved me money talking to my family but I have a higher cell bill (+30) because of the data plan which I never had before. I do love the iPhone, if only because of the GPS since I get lost quite often.
    I agree with sticking with your current phones until they die. Nokias are great and get the best reception of any cell phones (so I’ve been told by cell companies). My cell phone went to a very happy lady from Craigslist.

  2. Rob August 1, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I don’t upgrade my phone that often, but the switch from a feature phone to a smartphone was huge. My iPhone 4s, thanks to Apple, is tied to my iPad and my Macbook Pro, so the contacts I change on one change on the others, photos auto-transfer to the macbook pro from the iPhone, etc.

    And the phone itself is a GPS, web browsing, email reading, facebook monitoring tool. Really it’s a pocket computer that can also make phone calls.

    The upgrade to a smartphone is game-changing. And worth it.

  3. Echo August 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    My first cell phone was bought and paid for by my employer back in ’05. Since then, even after changing careers, I’ve always had my smart phone plan paid for through work. I figure, if you want me to stay connected 24/7, then you’d better pay for that privilege.

  4. Jules August 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    We’ve been contemplating the merits of getting an iPhone for a while, now. They add up to: well, it’s cool. And Angry Birds.

    The fact is, our lives wouldn’t be dramatically enhanced by the purchase of an iPhone. If I need a grocery list, I write it out. We both keep pretty good tabs on our money, so it’s not like a banking app would help us. Keeping track of our energy usage would be pretty cool, but it’s not like we’re not going to run the dishwasher. And while I like getting the news online, I still prefer to read longer essays on paper.

    We’d like nothing better than to get an iPhone or an iPad (Karel’s thinking about replacing his curmudgeonly desktop with a MacBook when it dies), but it wouldn’t actually do anything for us.

  5. Heather August 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Love it! I was recently at a restaurant getting take out, when I whipped out my flip phone to call my hubby (they were out of what he wanted). The young woman behind the counter said, “I love your throwback phone” Like I was trying to be retro-cool. I laughed out loud and told her that I was old and cheap – my cell phone is a pre-paid plan that costs just over $100 US a year. She mumbled something about texting (yes, I do that too) and got on with making our tacos.

  6. Neel@Parentedge August 2, 2012 at 1:41 am

    I don’t think we need to upgrade often. Once we are at Iphone, we are done with it unless we get a phone that is better than Iphone.

  7. Nancy Navkar August 2, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Besides saving money, think of the beneficial impact on the environment of sticking with things that work as long as they do instead of replacing them.

  8. Olivia August 2, 2012 at 2:22 am

    I am a complete Luddite. We have a dial phone (land line) upstairs. Built like a tank, so why toss it? The downstairs phone has an answering machine and is not built to last, we’ve been through 3 in the last 17 years. Still don’t have a cell.

  9. april August 2, 2012 at 4:35 am

    “Can’t bear to part with the awesome” love it! I feel funny about my flip phone BECAUSE I think it makes me look “old and cheap”. My husband had to switch to a “smart phone” for work and was given a small stipend to help cover the cost of it…we still pay at least $20 extra for it each month. It really hurts the budget and I wonder how everyone else justifies the expense if work doesn’t cover it and they aren’t making big bucks. I will now embrace the awesome of my sleek silver and white Samsung. Our next upgrade is moving on from dial up. Gulp…wifi is so expensive!

  10. Rob August 2, 2012 at 7:23 am

    I’ve heard this “justify the expense” question before, and never understood. My iPhone costs me about $75/month with all the talking and data I need.

    I don’t have a landline, so I’m not paying the $50/month for that. My smartphone has a free app that allows me infinite talking for free within north america over wifi, and free wifi is available most everywhere.

    Plus you have a pocket computer and a pretty good camera with you – not just a phone. More and more the world is being spattered with QR codes for your phone to read, deals where you “check in” with your smart phone – the smart phone and “checking in” has earned me $50 so far this year with deals on things that I was buying anyway.

    And your phone is with you wherever you are. Hop a flight to Europe? Buy a cheap prepaid SIM card and you’ve a phone. Or don’t and you’ve a camera/GPS/VOIP phone to use with free WiFi there. My iPhone GPS & free wifi kept me from getting totally lost in Istanbul in the spring,

    Upgrading to a smart phone is not just upgrading your phone. It’s upgrading from a phone to a pocket computer with capabilities you never knew you wanted.

  11. Terra Stephenson August 2, 2012 at 8:11 am


    Good for you for keeping your old celly.

  12. Merlin August 2, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Many poor people aren’t that way because they don’t earn enough, but becuase they spend too much.

    I finally replaced my old flipfone after 10 years, was tempted by a smartphone, but couldn’t stomach the cost of the data plan. I knew after a couple of days I wouldn’t miss it, and I don’t. My mobile bill didn’t change – about $25/month, a little more if I indulge in texting with my kids.

  13. Sue August 2, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Got my beloved phone in 2006.
    It died!
    All the phone numbers on it are gone.
    Also gone are the days of having to memorize a person’s phone number…
    And was forced into getting one of those ‘smart’ phones.
    What a headache!

  14. […] Squawkfox says, Do you really need that upgrade? […]

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    […] Our culture loves an upgrade but Squawkfox wants you to ask yourself, Do You Really Need That Upgrade? […]

  16. Tracey H August 3, 2012 at 4:01 am

    Rob, who pays $50 a month for their landline? I pay $9.99 for mine and $100/year for my cellphone (and I always roll over most of it each year!). There’s very little free wifi in my city (I can think of 4 locations and I’m seldom there). My iPod Touch takes care of many of those other features.

    There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

  17. Jeremy August 4, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Sounds like Rob either doesn’t get the point of the article or is trying to justify an unneeded upgrade.

    Tracy H: agree completely.

    Rob: that’s fine for you, but see if you can sit on that iphone 4s for 6 years. Apple will stop supporting you after 2 and your “computer” will become e-trash.

  18. Ron August 4, 2012 at 6:10 am

    I totally get the point of the article and do keep my phones for years. I have friends with the original iPhone so I’m not worried. I’ll upgrade my phone when there is a reason in. 4-5 years.

    As for unneeded? Perhaps. But I’m typing this in an airport thousands of moles from home. Should I become a Luddite just to save a few dollars, and suffer being disconnected when I travel? Airports are dull enough, even sitting in the lounges, without pretending it’s still the 20th century…

  19. Jeremy August 4, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Ron: “Luddite”? “Pretending it’s still the 20th century”? You’re showing your lack of understanding as well as your insecurity by being insulting to those who make different (and potentially better environmentally and fiscally) choices than you.

    I have a smartphone but fully respect those that choose not to. I hope you do keep your phone for 5 (or 10) years. As the article points out, this is not only rare but frowned upon. You’re helping to frown upon it.

    As a side note, 2006 is still the 21st century πŸ˜‰

    Lighten up, and have a good trip. There’s lots to see and do when travelling (even in an airport!) that doesn’t involve a phone.

  20. Tracey H August 4, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I sat in 2 airports thousands of miles from home typing email and posting on blogs on my iPod Touch (with no monthly fee). I really don’t need a smartphone. I can understand some people do NEED a smartphone. I think a lot of people who simply WANT them have them.

  21. Rob August 4, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Tracy H – I haven’t had a landline since 1999, so I based my $50 on the price listed on the local phone company website. It may be that other places have cheaper landlines.

    An iPod touch is a great tool, but why have an old cellphone *and* an iPod touch, and a land line, when having it all in one device is easy and cheap?

    Anyway, we’ve segued from the point of the article, which is not to replace your stuff unnecessarily, with cellphones being the example. Everyone’s view of “necessary” is different, of course. First on my list is convenience for me. I care less about environmental factors since I don’t have kids and thus the world ceases to exist when I die. And the cost isn’t so important since its all a tax deduction and I’m reasonably wealthy.

  22. Tracey H August 4, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Why have an old cellphone and an iPod touch and a landline? First of all, the iPod Touch has no monthly cost (and I’ve had it for years), the cellphone costs just $9.99/month and the cellphone costs $8.33/month. And more than one of us use the landline. And I do care about the environmental cost of everything I do (that doesn’t mean I don’t create waste, but I do think about it ahead of time and try hard to minimize it).

    That’s an interesting concept about not caring about the environment since you have no kids. I’m glad I’m not that selfish.

  23. Rob August 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    It never occurred to me that multiple people would use the landline, since everyone I know has their own phone. And it’s still more weight to carry a phone and an iPod touch than just one device, which is key to my life.

    One can argue that by not breeding I am much more of an environmentalist than anyone who claims that title but chose to have kids. My total resource usage during my life is going to be substantially less than that of people with kids, who will presumably also breed and use up resources.

    My not caring about a little electronics waste isn’t on the same scale as the damage being done by people having kids! Those are the truly selfish people.

  24. april August 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Great deal on your cell, do you mind mentioning the carrier? Is it a prepay? Our land line is $30/ month, but I think the price depends on competition and there is none here. Thus,
    The high price. Poor Rob, I think you better give the guy a break. Smiley face

  25. Sue August 4, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    who are u with to pay under $10 per month for cell phone?
    Lucky person
    My bare minimum deal costs nearly $80 per month!

  26. Jeremy August 5, 2012 at 2:55 am

    For cheap cell service, in Canada there’s Petro-Canada Mobile (Rogers network) or President’s Choice (Bell network) that are each $100/year pay-as-you-go.

    If you want data, too, 7-eleven speak out wireless (also Rogers network) is a good deal where it’s $10 per month for unlimited browsing (plus $1 or so for 911 fee). Voice and text are still payg, but $25 fill up will last a year if you don’t do data, too. is a fan/forum site that has more details.

  27. ronna August 5, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Emmy said, on August 1st, 2012

    … I do love the iPhone, if only because of the GPS since I get lost quite often.

    For whatever reason, your comment here got me thinking – if Christopher Columbus had GPS, I wonder what would have become of the North American Continent and the country we call USA? lol.

    I don’t upgrade until the cellphone I have dies, the last one being 18 months ago. The cellphone I had until then had a green screen with black letters. lol. Like Kerry, all I really need/want my cellphone to do is ring when someone calls, and texting is nice.

  28. Amanda August 5, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I’m going to bet that if you trace Rob’s IP it’s not going to be from Canada. Living in the US, I will say that the offered phones seem to be a generation or two ahead of the Canadian ones, while certain functions (like most Kindle books, which smartphones can read) are only available if you’ve got a US address. Also, US carriers seem more likely to charge like you’ve got a smartphone even if you don’t, so at some point, you’ll likely end up pushed into an upgrade, mean to or not. For me, between Kindle, GPS, the decent digital camera, Skype (the rest of my family is in ON, and my husband’s is all over the place), and not really having other options when my old phone died, it’s worth it.

    All that said, I do miss my old flip phone, and I won’t be getting my next phone through our cell provider. At some point I realised that the same case or charger Verizon wants $30 for can be had for a tenth of that cost on Amazon or eBay, and hey, they’re all coming from the same Chinese factory. If you do need new hardware, you’re not necessarily limited to your cell provider.

  29. Rene Francois August 5, 2012 at 10:10 am

    I have no phone and use my computer to make calls. Google, Skype, etc. Much cheaper and no seller bothers me with calls. Peole can reach me on e mail

  30. Angie August 5, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I’m also a person who likes to keep things until I absolutely have to replace them. I just find it wasteful. I have a friend who works in a recycling depot, and it sickens him how many computers, TVs, etc. come in that are still working and only a few years old, but the person just HAD to upgrade to the latest and greatest. And as someone said, nothing you buy today is going to last 10 years.

    That being said, I do love my iPhone 4 – I got it last year when my seven-year-old Sony Ericsson started literally falling apart and experiencing hardware failures. And I’m with Fido where you accumulate dollars to help with new purchases, so I got it for free.

    I’ll use my iPhone until it dies though… just was brought up to be thrifty and not wasteful I guess!

  31. Mel August 5, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Well, Rob, as one of those “truly selfish” people who had kids, I will be sure to let my kids know that they’d better refrain from propagating in order that the human race become extinct more quickly. Yup, the earth won’t be damaged as soon as we’re all gone. We’ll have been true environmentalists.

  32. Katie August 5, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I think this applies to home furnishings too. You get one piece of furniture, and then it’s nicer than the other furniture or doesn’t match or something etc. so you get this slow home deco creep.

    As for cell phones, I have gotten 3 years of life out of my iPhone 3GS, and I’m looking forward to upgrading to the 5 this fall πŸ™‚

  33. Bonnie August 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I am connected at home and at work, but I still wanted a smartphone, just not a contract. I wanted to keep my $11.30/month cellphone fee. I did it. Here’s how. I bought a pay-as-you-go model that was about $120. It’s the LG Optimus One, a middle of the road phone. I use my cellphone very rarely, as I only have it for emergencies because I do a lot of highway driving. I use it as little as possible, thereby rolling over the minutes every month. That rollover pays for my data plan. Once every six months I top up my data plan by $10. So, a smartphone costs me $20 more per year than my old phone, and I only ever use the computer part of it when I’ve got wi-fi. So I figure I can stay like this for years, iPhone be damned (you can’t do pay-as-you-go iPhone in Canada, it costs at least $50 per month and that’s a ripoff)

  34. sheda hudda August 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I have to say that I love my nexus 2.
    since i got in september 2011 I have had 2 FREE upgrades.
    the phone is not only updated but upgraded.
    So now I have the newest android operating system ( jeyybean) and i am thrilled to bits. That is how it ought to be done! Right?

  35. sheda hudda August 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    oops – I should have said it is the samsung nexus 2

  36. Mary August 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Boy Kerry, did you ever get a chat going on this post…:-) I couldn’t agree with you more about needing to upgrade, especially on phones & computers. My cell phone is only carried when I remember it (I know…shame!) and I probably use it more for text than anything anymore. I am with a provider most people don’t know here in Canada (Cityfone) but it’s a decent cost and handles all I need it for.

  37. Jeremy August 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Bonnie: you can do pay-as-you-go iPhone in Canada. Check out the site. People have it working on $10 per month with data, and less without.

  38. Jody August 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Did you know that all cell phones will dial 911 without a sim card? I have a lovely old Sony phone – probably about as old as your Nokia – which I keep in my car. I charge it every once in a while, and if I ever run into trouble it is there to call the police. I am a mom of three – and yes – I do not use a cell phone. My husband knows that if he can’t catch me at home, he can call my Mom, my sister or my closest friend and he can pretty much figure out where I am. In the 10 years since I last had a real pay as you go phone I can think of about 6 incidents when I honestly should have had a cell phone with me – but I survived. The lesson learned – always borrow a cell phone when traveling to Detroit πŸ˜‰ Also, there are VOIP phone systems available in Canada where you buy the set up equipment for $50ish and then everything is pretty much free from there on out. I only have one friend who isn’t on the network – and I just have her call me instead of me paying the whopping 5 cents a minutes to talk! We pay less then $20 for a year of land line now.

  39. Kathy August 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Well, my dog munched on my first cell phone, so I got another boring $45 prepaid flip phone from Virgin Mobile, $100/year. It was originally the “emergency use” phone — if something happens away from the house — but even with our occasional use, we still don’t use the full $100/year.

    My son has a flyer route, and got tired of taking my pink phone….so I told him I’d pay $50 for a prepaid phone, and $100/year for calls. He went with Telus and upgraded to a $100 smart phone, and signed up for an unlimited texting plan for $15/month — using his flyer money to make up the difference. Since his monthly plan includes NO minutes, he gets mad when I phone him because I’m “using up his money”….tee hee hee.

    His best friend has the lastest iPhone with the unlimited plan…..the plan is $60/month. ouch. Methinks his parents are subsidizing….

    We use the landline as primary contact for all of us. It’s $40/month.

    BTW — My hubby’s in IT….he got the military spec Samsung flip phone for the on-call phone — the smart phones used by other teams would barely last a day for a charge, and needed to be replaced after a year — scratchs, screen, etc. Rather ironic.

  40. Meghan August 7, 2012 at 4:24 am

    Two weeks ago I upgraded my LG flip phone from 2004! I defiantly had the oldest phone around; the talk time was terrible and as my friends all got smart phones was texts only caused errors. I’m in love with my new Samsung Galaxy SII, that’s right, not the newest release.

    It took me a long time to choose a new plan and as I discussed it with my friends I found so many people on the wrong plan. For example my sister was being charged overages on her minutes while she used 1% of the data she paid for. Most people I know are using a tiny fraction of the data they pay $50+ per month for. I found a carrier with flex data, use 0MB and pay $0, it’s an unusual concept and I’m in love πŸ™‚

  41. Nathalie August 7, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Hm; well, I can’t say I agree with Rob’s tangential points, but I do agree with the point about simplicity. My husband and I purchased four iPhones last December (one for each of us and one each for our teenagers as their Christmas present). He had a Samsung, I had a BlackBerry, and the teens each had a cheap phone that caused no end of headaches with their poor quality and constant failures.

    We each pay roughly $50 a month; the teens pay for their own plans with their part-time jobs though it’s all bundled under one contract. We have unlimited texting (KEY for keeping tabs on teenagers), unlimited calling after 5pm and all weekend long, 100 Canada-wide long-distance minutes (which none of us ever uses), we can call each other as a family any time of the day or night without affecting minutes, can program ten additional numbers each to call any time of the day or night without affecting minutes or long-distance charges, and each have 5mb of data each month (ridiculous – for crying out loud, the kids can watch movies on their phones without even coming close to bumping up against that limit).

    We analysed and discussed this purchase for months. We studied 24 months of family phone usage. The math made sense for us.

    We eliminated our land line (saving us $50 a month for a basic plan), donated our old phones to a women’s shelter to avoid producing unnecessary waste, sold our cd’s for a profit now that we’re entirely digital (LOVE iTunes), the kids sold their iPods for a tidy profit (they were originally gifts) and now have a streamlined plan that can be paid for with three or four clicks of the mouse (no more calling to “top-up” stupid pay-as-you-go plans that always ran out of minutes at the most inconvenient time).

    Love the different points of view which are obviously reflective of differing lifestyles and needs. But for us, the iPhone’s ease-of-use factor, coupled with all the gadgets and ‘stuff’ we were able to eliminate as a result (with profits!), upgrading was by far the best decision we made in 2011.

  42. TwoYellowDogs.Terri August 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Hey, I thought I was the only person in the world that was able to resist those madly touted HOT upgrades. My current phone is also about 6-yrs. thanks for posting all that sanity about reasons to not upgrade. Right-on! I absolutely want a “smart phone”. But when I analyze the costs, I TOTALLY think it is NOT SMART (not just the cost of the phone, but the monthly fees–which are AIR and nothing really in the end to show for it!). Still I am getting ready to leap toward some newer technology… As a way to SAVE money overall. Love the comments by others here. I will be thinking how to leverage newer (not the newest) phone, define what I need and how I’ll be using it, and what other things ( like land-line) that can be consolidate. Many good points offered up in your post as well as comments–to give some great ideas to SAVE money overall, and still get some newer technology.

  43. MakintheBacon$ August 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    My bf, cousin and I used to have a club that we called the Ghetto Phone Club cause none of us had smart phones. I had a flip phone. Everyone and I mean everyone, my friends, sister, people at work would make fun of my phone. One by one, we each upgraded our phone to a smartphone. Now, I wonder how I was able to live without it.
    I currently have a blackberry and mostly use it for emails, but its bugging the crap out of me and now I want an android or iPhone, but I am trying to be good and wait till it dies. That may be a very long time from now though….

  44. Jules September 15, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I have an addendum to my comment about upgrading: although my cell plan is kinda dinky, my boyfriend was paying 35 euros a month for his plan. At that rate, he could have a basic smartphone plan, as he rarely uses his cell phone to make calls and isn’t that much of a techie that he would readily go over his Internet limit. So for him, it makes sense to upgrade, which he did today. The plan he went with was actually cheaper than his current plan.

  45. iPhone 5: What’s the Big Deal? September 24, 2012 at 4:02 am

    […] As my friend Kerry once asked, do you really need that upgrade? […]

  46. Zhu October 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I typically only go for big upgrades that will actually change something for me.

    I had a Virgin flip-phone for about four years with a pay-as-you-go plan. When I started a freelancing career earlier this year, I decided to go for a BlackBerry for two reasons:

    1) I’m barely using the “phone” part of smartphone but emails is an invaluable tool for my business as I need to be able to answer requests fast.
    2) The smartphone plan was actually a better value overall.

    That was an upgrade that made sense to me. Other than that, I still have the one and only iPod nano I bought in 2008 (not upgrading, why would I?) πŸ™‚

  47. Drew December 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I’m still using my Nokia 3390 from 2002.

  48. shipcarpenter305 December 27, 2012 at 9:28 am

    One additional feature/convenience I routinely use is I can do all my banking on my smartphone including taking a picture of a check and depositing it instantly. Really, really convenient. No more trips to the bank/ATM (where predators go to feed), lines, parking, gas & patience! Banks and brokerage houses do their business over the same telephone lines so why shouldn’t I?

  49. Sue December 29, 2012 at 8:41 am

    I would still have my flip phone. If it just didn’t quit on me one day.

    Got a Samsung Galaxy phone and also had to buy a stylus cause my finger tips are too cool to register pressing on the blasted phone!

    Also lost my phone list when my flip phone broke. Maybe a good idea to also keep a paper copy of your phone numbers…

    Does any one memorize phone numbers any more?

  50. Catherine January 12, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Nope. When Sandy happened there were huge lines of peoples waiting to charge their phone.

    There were landlines available to use (phone lines carry their own power) but nobody knew the phone numbers of loved ones. They had to look them up in their cell phone.

    Anyway, I’ve found this topic very interesting as I’m looking at upgrading to a smart phone from my Petro Canada Nokia ($100/yr) due to memory issues (mine not the phone’s). There are some iphone apps that would really help me cope.

    I am hoping that I will be able to buy an unlocked iphone (used) and then cut down my SIM card to fit but I haven’t done any research into this yet.

  51. Nick @ BayCrazy April 14, 2013 at 5:30 am

    I was actually in a similar position not long ago…

    I didn’t upgrade my phone for years; I never particularly stayed up-to-date anyway, just more-so out of lazy disinterest than anything. I love technology, but phones never turned me on that much, I don’t like browsing on mobile devices and so I only use a mobile for calls and texts anyway.

    However, after having my trusted Sony Ericsson K800i (seriously long-lasting, solid, badass phone) finally give in after many many years of knocking-about… I got the Samsung Galaxy S3, on contract with orange…

    Now, first off; it’s an awesome phone.

    Beyond that, I agree with most of the things you say here – I don’t use a personal Twitter, message my closest friends only via FB (on a PC, I don’t sit endlessly communicating whilst out etc.) and don’t need a phone for much, and also don’t want to be eternally connected 24/7 to people.

    However… nobody said that you have to use your phone for that so, it’s not just about the extra communication potential. If you ever record any personal videos or take any pictures: a good phone, such as the S3… has a superb camera quality and is a handy media wallet, which is good to have in your pocket for whatever occasion; then, there’s endless little benefits, apps and potential with your base screen such as specialized news updates (aka, you could just set it to ‘science news’ stories), and just lots of cool things you can’t achieve with a ‘dumbphone’.

    Overall, I am glad that I got the phone; I don’t use it for anything you suggested you wouldn’t need it for, as I don’t need or want it for that either… but it is a nicer device to use, has a lot of potential, features, is multi-functional as a camera, cam-corder and a million other things through the use of apps and is just a nice little mini-computer for emergency info, or whatever may come up.

    And, whilst it’s nice to save money… if you upgraded once every… 3-4 years… it’s not really that significant in my opinion; as technology is not just about price either – it’s about the experience, quality, what you get from it… it’s a shame to reduce EVERYTHING to a monetary value as if that’s all that matters… I agree with most points here but… I do think an upgrade at significant points in technological development is worth it.

  52. Rick May 2, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I must be somewhat of an oddball when it comes to cell phones – I guess it’s just not all that important to me to keep up with all the latest gizmos – it’s not that I don’t like technology or that I don’t embrace it, I just don’t see the need to be “in touch” 24/7.

    One thing I have noticed in the past few years is that the art of “personal conversation” is almost non existant.
    I often sit at a mall food courts (or anyplace for that matter) and observe people sitting together at a table where they have gathered for lunch.
    Each person will sit with their phone on – in view, waiting for a call or a text message. If one doesn’t come in then they all seem to feel the urge to start texting like mad (I swear sometimes to each other at the same table). This will go on for the entire lunch hour. It makes me wonder what they did years ago when this technology wasn’t even available?
    I can’t help but feel that it’s just downright rude to sit there with someone and attempt to have a decent conversation while they have their face buried in their cell phone doing any number of things except talking to you.
    Why do we even bother to sit at the same table????

    I still have my old trusty Motorola flip (dumbphone) and I’m sure it’s over 12 years old.
    Works like a charm and does what it’s supposed to do – make phone calls.
    No built in camera or internet connection – I don’t even text on it.
    When I’m at lunch or out and about, I very seldom even have it on – no one needs to get in touch with me that urgently and if they do, they can leave a voice mail message and I will get back to them when I can. Saves having to answer the phone while driving too – πŸ˜‰
    Another great thing about the old “fliphones” – NO POCKET DIALING!
    I can’t even beging to count the number of calls I’ve received from someone’s phone when it’s stuck in their pocket making calls on it’s own. How annoying is that?

    My phone is NEVER on when I go to lunch or when I’m in a social setting with someone – I mean really – it’s not going to kill me to be “out of touch with the world for an hour”?
    My phone company keep bugging me to “upgrade” and I keep refusing to do so – I mean why should I?
    I’m on a great plan with lots of minutes (that I seldom use to the max) yet I can communicate anywhere, anytime I need to with my simple little flip cell phone and it only costs me $24.00 per month.
    If I really need to make a phone call, I can – if I need to take a picture or a video – I have a camera for that, If I’m lost, I have a GPS and if I really need to look something up on line – I have never found it urgent enough that it couldn’t wait until I got home.
    My little cell phone is just fine and I can even get replacement batteries for it so I should be good to go for many more years to come.

  53. Les July 28, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Thank you for writing this article.

    I had a QWERTY phone (NOT a smartphone), until about last year or so. My parents gifted me a new phone for my birthday last year (it has “features” of a smartphone, but not quite a smartphone). I’ve been using that “new” phone (that my parents gifted to me) for almost 10 months now. However, with the increasing “bombardment” of marketing of newer models of androids, and iphones, and whatnot, I’ve been getting increasing urges to invest in a full-fledged smartphone. But, here is the rub – I cannot financially afford to buy one (smartphones are too expensive for me). However, I decided to buy a “budget smartphone”. But, I’m also getting second thoughts as to whether it is really worth it. I’m completely in two minds as to whether I want to buy a smartphone simply to look “cool”. Mind you, I never really demanded any hi-tech gadgets (as a teenager) from my parents. Therefore, I’m also feeling guilty about even having thoughts about investing in another phone in the first place. This article is a complete godsend for me. I now know what decision I have to make.

    Thank you!!

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