You could easily be excused for getting excited when a company unveils the successor to the model of smartphone you are currently cradling. After all, the new device could boast a faster processor, more RAM, better battery life and a few other thrilling, headline-grabbing features.
Still, you should probably be wary of buying into the hype — especially in our current age, with both economic and climate concerns in abundance. Besides, breathing new life into an existing smartphone is easier than you might have realized.
Are new phones really all that exciting these days?
If you have tended to buy yourself a new phone regularly, you have probably become accustomed to the initial rush of excitement as you get that shiny new device out of its packaging before this joy somewhat fades as a feeling of déjà vu sets in in its place.
Yes, the rate of innovation in the world of smartphone development has noticeably slowed over the years — meaning that, if your current handset is only a year or two old, you might want to hold off getting an upgrade until it would be one where the improvements feel noticeable.
Let’s imagine, for example, that you are tempted by the prospect of picking up the new iPhone 14 Pro. In a Guardian review of this Apple offering, Samuel Gibbs acknowledges that it “features upgraded cameras, a new always-on display and some funky animations around a new smaller, floating notch design.”
However, he also warns that, in the UK, the iPhone 14 Pro is pricier than its predecessor, the iPhone 13 Pro — leading him to despair that “£1,099 is an awful lot to spend, particularly in a cost-of-living crisis.”
A great-value alternative to buying a whole new handset
Fortunately, Gibbs does have a suggestion for what you could do rather than buy the iPhone 14 Pro, explaining: “A new battery for your old phone might be a better buy this year.”
Another good reason for you to take this route is that you would be encouraging — however subtly — a reduction in smartphone production.
In one study mentioned in a separate Guardian article, it was estimated that building a new smartphone generates 85% to 95% of the total carbon emissions generated by the device in the first two years of its existence.
This means that buying just one smartphone uses up as much energy as recharging and operating one for a full decade.
How could you use your existing smartphone more effectively?
As Apple explains: “All rechargeable batteries are consumables and have a limited lifespan — eventually their capacity and performance decline such that they need to be replaced.”
So, basically, the longer you keep a smartphone without having its battery replaced, the more often you could find yourself recharging that phone.
You could be particularly incentivized to get a new battery if you routinely take the phone with you on business trips. However, in this instance, you could also revitalize the device by using new services — such as the business-grade Gamma Mobile cellular network — with it.