Smartphone Buyer’s Guide: When Should You Change Your Phone?
September 24, 2018 Andrew Cheng

Smartphones have become somewhat of a commodity for many folks. Considering the fact that smartphones are used on a daily basis, wear and tear is a real concern – it’s only a matter of time before they need to be changed.

But smartphones (depending on which particular device you get) can be quite expensive, so it’s important to know when you should really change your phone. Here are some guidelines you can follow to decide whether or not you should get that shiny new smartphone.


If your phone is damaged to the point where some of its functions are compromised, consider purchasing a new one. A cracked display is the most obvious reason you should change your phone; the risk of getting cut from the broken glass also makes it quite dangerous to continue using your device, even if the touchscreen itself still works. This applies to the back glass panel as well, of course, if your phone has a glass back.

That being said, sending in the phone for repair is always an option, but it depends on how expensive the process will be. If the cost goes above RM1,000, it’s generally a better idea to outright purchase a new device. After all, there are plenty of good choices in that price range. While we’re on the topic, make sure that you’re sending your phone to an official service centre; while third-party shops can get the job done for a cheaper price, they may use inferior parts.

Smartphones will inevitably collect scratches and dents over time, but if these damages are only cosmetic, there’s no real reason to change your phone. To prolong the lifespan of your device, it’s good practice to apply a screen protector and use a casing too – it’ll help it survive any unforeseen drops.

And if you want to avoid any potential water damage to your phone, get a device with a good Ingress Protection (IP) rating, though this feature is usually reserved only for flagship smartphones.

Battery Degradation

It’s no secret that batteries degrade over time, but there are still some folks who wonder why their phones don’t last quite as long anymore after a couple years of ownership. if your phone runs out of juice within hours of being unplugged from the charger, that’s not good.

Unfortunately, if you only started noticing this issue, there’s not much you can do to solve this issue on your own – it’s simply how current battery technology works. The easiest solution is to either get a new phone, or send it in for a battery change if you want to save some cash. Again, if you don’t want to risk the chance of getting inferior parts, only send your device to official channels.

To prevent your phone’s battery from degrading too quickly, practice good charging habits. If you can help it, don’t use your phone while it’s charging – extra heat is never good for a battery’s health. That’s the very same reason why you should avoid using wireless chargers frequently. While it’s a convenient charging method, it’s not as efficient as wired charging; a lot of heat is produced when charging wirelessly.


There are a couple of ways how your phone can get obsolete, and software is the most common cause. Basically, once your phone stops getting software updates, it’s on its way to be obsolete. This is especially bad if certain features break, as there will be no software update to solve the issues.

When it comes to mobile operating systems, Android is the worst culprit here. Because of how fragmented the platform is, software support differs from one manufacturer to another. In fact, some Android phone makers stop supporting their devices after only two years of release. Apple, on the other hand, is still providing software support for most iPhones well after they have been discontinued. Take the iPhone 5s: even though it was released back in 2013, it still got the latest iOS 12 update.

There is also hardware obsolescence, and one way that can happen is when replacement parts for your phone are no longer widely available. Thankfully, this only really happens several years after the phone’s official release. By that time, it’s generally a good idea to change to a more modern phone.

Change of Needs

This is entirely dependent on each individual consumer, but it can be a legitimate reason to upgrade – or downgrade – your phone. Say you started off with a decent mid-ranger, but as time goes on, you want…more, out of your phone. Whether it’s higher performance, better camera, or cleaner software experience, if your budget permits, go crazy.

If it’s been a while since you’ve bought your device (I’m talking about more than two to three years), you’ll be surprised at how much the smartphone market has changed. You no longer have to spend upwards of RM2,000 to get a truly good, flagship-tier smartphone.


Personally, I won’t consider changing to a new smartphone in the first two years of ownership. Phones today – especially high-end ones – can last between two to three years easily. Naturally, this still depends on how well you take care of your device; the condition and battery degradation of each device will differ from one user to another.

Of course, if you feel like changing your phone for the sake of it, that is your prerogative. This article is merely a guideline to help you decide whether or not you should take the dive and change to a new phone. Nonetheless, if you’d like to see more smartphone buyer’s guide like this, let us know!