Hold on to your current smartphone for as long as you can

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YouTube/MKBHD

  • Smartphones are really expensive right now.
  • If you keep your current smartphone for as long as possible, you’ll get the most value for your purchase – and it’ll send a strong signal to phone makers as well.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Two years ago, the starting price of the newest iPhone was $650.

Today, the newest iPhones start at $750 and $1,000.

Hold onto your current smartphone for as long as you can. Here’s why.


Apple shocked the world in 2017 when it unveiled the iPhone X.

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Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

But people were more shocked by the phone’s $999 starting price than by its radical redesign.

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Hollis Johnson

Still, Apple’s strategy worked: <a href=”https://techpinions.com/top-takeaways-from-studying-iphone-x-owners/52639″target=”_blank”>Customers loved the iPhone X</a>, despite it having a higher starting price than ever before.

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Hollis Johnson

We also know that Apple’s strategy worked since so many phone-makers followed suit the following year, overhauling their phones to look like, and cost about as much as, the iPhone X.

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YouTube/SAMTIME

Google’s Pixel 3 XL features a “notch” like the one on the iPhone X, and starts at $900.

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

LG’s V40 Thinq also looks like an iPhone X and has a similar starting price at $950.

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 notably doesn’t look like an iPhone X, but it does have the most iPhone-like starting price at $1,000.

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YouTube/MKBHD

Following Apple’s smartphone strategy is nothing new. Apple has inspired the industry countless times, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see rival phone-makers hike prices to stay competitive with the iPhone.

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Thomson Reuters

The side effect, though, is that many of the most popular smartphones you can buy right now have very high starting prices.

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

Phone-makers would argue that higher prices are justified: Since current smartphones perform better, look better, and feature more-expensive components than before, they should be priced higher, too.

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

But not all smartphones are priced this way. In fact, you can find plenty of incredible phones at more than reasonable prices.

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

The best example is easily the OnePlus 6T, a top-of-the-line smartphone that costs just $550.

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Antonio VIllas-Boas/Business Insider

You can read our review of the OnePlus 6T here.


The Moto G6 also features everything you need in a smartphone, including a solid camera, a big display, great battery life, and even fast charging. The price? Just $250.

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

You can read our review of the Moto G6 here.


So, it’s possible to have a great smartphone experience for less money — but most people will continue to buy from the bigger phone-makers anyway.


Aside from the fact that they usually have more money to spend toward marketing, bigger companies tend to provide better customer support and more timely software updates. Availability matters, too, and those top phones are usually available in more locations.

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Tony Villas-Boas/Business Insider

So, if you already own a phone from one of the big names — Apple, Samsung, Google, etc. — try to hold on to it for as long as you can. If you upgrade to one of the latest phones from any of these companies, you’ll likely pay more than you ever have for a new smartphone.

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

If you absolutely need a new smartphone right now, consider it an investment. You can spend less money up front for a great phone, such as the OnePlus 6T, or you can splurge for a flagship smartphone from Apple, Google, or Samsung — but you’ll likely need to spend more money to adequately protect your purchase.

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

So, do the little things to make your current smartphone last as long as it can. Preserve your phone’s battery by monitoring screen brightness and various power settings. Get a case — and insurance, in case you drop it. Treat it like a computer, because it is one!

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Amazon

You should upgrade to a new phone right now only because you need to. There aren’t enough “must-have” features in the latest phones to make them worth the price of upgrading.

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Getty

Today’s phones have more pixels than your parents’ TV, last all day long, and they’re still thin enough to fit in your pocket. But smartphone innovation is maturing.

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

“Wow” innovations, like the Retina display and fingerprint sensor, are few and far between.

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

This means next-generation smartphones usually aren’t all that much different from, or better than, than the current phones. The iPhone 7, for example, is still a killer device three years later in 2019.

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Smartphone-makers will continue pushing the boundaries of what’s technologically possible — they have a business to maintain, after all — but price is one thing that customers have some level of control over.

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Yves Herman/Reuters

So, if you don’t agree with the pricing tactics of smartphone-makers, the most powerful thing you can do is vote with your wallet. Get a phone from a lesser-known maker, or hold off on upgrading entirely.

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Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock

Starting around 2011, I used to upgrade to a new phone every single year. Smartphones were getting drastically better, and it was fun to experience the annual hardware and software advances firsthand. But given the recent price hikes across the most popular smartphone lines in 2018, I’m holding on to my current smartphone for as long as possible now. I recommend you do the same.

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Hollis Johnson