Will that expensive smartphone last longer?

That brand new, very expensive smart phone won’t last any longer than a cheap phone. But it will look great while you pay for it.

I think the days are long gone since people honestly believed that if they paid more for a smartphone they were buying a product that would last longer.

I used to think that too. When I bought my Samsung S2 (and paid a LOT of money for it!) a few years ago, I was convinced that, by buying a “quality” phone, it would last longer and I’d get better value for my money.

The phone barely outlasted the expensive 24 month contract I signed up for when I bought it…just barely. Apparently I had “done well” to get my phone to last longer than 24 months…most didn’t last that long.

So much for quality.

When I went back to Vodafone and complained, the salesperson didn’t bat an eyelid. He merely tried to “upgrade” me to yet another $1000 phone.

No way!

Paying more just means…you’re paying more.

I think most of us still like to believe that by paying more we’ll get a product that will last…but we’d be very wrong. Especially when it comes to electronics.

In the case of smartphones, these products are designed to have a short lifespan. Nobody dares to even whisper the words planned obsolescence when they’re shopping for a new phone, but that’s precisely what’s going on.

After all, if these products were robust and built to last, we wouldn’t be up to the iPhone 6 already…and the Samsung S6, would we!

Slick marketing...but how long will these devices last?
Slick marketing…but how long will these devices last?

Making sensible purchases in a crazy marketplace

When my S2 died, just two years into its very short life, I decided against getting suckered in to buying another $1000 phone.

I felt like I’d been ripped off with my old phone. I didn’t want to repeat the experience. Funny, that.

Instead, I bought a cheaper phone (less than $200 – I bought a Motorola Moto-e) that had a good quality camera and screen and that suited my needs.

I also refused to sign up for any contracts, opting for a $16-a-month no contract, pay-as-I-go plan with all the data I’d ever need.

There are, of course, much cheaper phones around than what I bought (I’ve seen them for as little as $10 here in New Zealand), but I wanted something that felt and looked good. I was surprised at how good a phone you could get for less than $200.

I’m still assuming that my new phone will last 2 years – or less. In other words, I’ve wised up. But I’ll be paying 1/5th the cost of buying a new Samsung or iPhone. That’s a win in my book.

Do all phones have a short lifespan? Maybe I was just unlucky?

I’m not saying that all smart phones have this ridiculously short lifespan. There may be one phone, somewhere, that lasts longer. But I don’t know anyone who has a mobile phone that has lasted significantly longer than 2 years and that is still very usable.

Do you?

If we assume that our new purchase won’t last long, then maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised if it outlasts our expectations. But if we budget on expectations that, according to our experience, are rarely (if ever) met, we’re lining ourselves up for financial hardship and disappointment.

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