Compare and Recycle

Buying a Brand-New Phone Doesn't Make Sense Anymore and Here's Why

box with new smartphone

For a good few years, we've been seeing a bunch of Android phones and iPhones get released every year, with manufacturers telling us that the phone we currently have is no longer trendy and we need to have the next big thing. Same features come out under different phone brands, making it difficult for a consumer to justify the necessity to part with hundreds of pounds. On top of that the current chip shortage which is threatening with delays in smartphone releases and subsequently higher prices for new phones begs the question do brand-new phones even make sense? Consumers pay a lot of money for a phone that isn’t that much different in specifications to the previous model. That’s not to say innovations are not worth paying for, sometimes they are, but it very much depends on whether the phone you get in the box is as good as the manufacturer's adverts promote or whether you're better off looking for a good deal on something else.

Why Does Buying a Brand-New Phone Make No Sense?

Generally, when something costs as much as £1000, it needs to offer the same amount of value. Recent releases have proven it’s not the case with modern high-end smartphones. Flagships from Apple, Samsung, OnePlus and Google are no longer offering what other smartphones don’t or even their previous generations. On the contrary, for a £500 you can get yourself a decent phone with good performance and battery life which isn’t going to differ from established flagships (and might be even better).

  • Brand-new phones depreciate dramatically after launch

Just looking at last year’s iPhone 12 series, the depreciation rate after just one year on the market is record-breaking and that’s not a good thing. Since launch in October 2020, the iPhone 12 series have lost on average 41% of RRP. That’s more than any other iPhone lineup ever. The biggest loser is the 512GB iPhone 12 Pro Max model, dropping £50 a month. What a waste of money!

  • Similar features can be found in 1-2 year old models

Have you noticed how manufacturers are creating the buzz around one particular feature to get everyone excited about the upcoming model? The high refresh rate and 100X camera zoom hype are examples of the latest craze, but once the phones hit the market and reviews start coming through, it turns out these features bring limitations and something that you pay extra for is just a gimmick. Additionally, brand-new features are never spot on, it takes a few follow up releases for it to be worth the attention and your money. So why not go one year older and save yourself a few hundred quid.

  • There are more savings if you shop refurbished

We talk a lot about refurbished phones, but we’ll say it again: if you want to save money on your next phone and you haven’t considered a refurbished smartphone, you should. They don’t have huge depreciation drops like brand-new phones as soon as you unbox it. They have all the modern features that an avid smartphone owner wishes to have. They function like brand-new and look similar, with the same warranties, but for cheaper. You won’t even notice the difference in daily use. On top of that, refurbished phones save carbon emissions as they weren’t produced from scratch.

Buying a refurbished iPhone 11 instead of a brand-new can save at least £149 off the cost (for example iPhone 11 64GB in Pristine condition £450 vs brand new £599), but you can save even more if you’re fine with it having a few superficial scratches.

Undoubtedly, some people would still prefer brand-new and not everyone will be happy to buy a refurbished phone, but shopping around and looking at alternatives is a good place to start before you get your next phone. For those of us that don't fawn over the latest releases the benefits are plenty.


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