With the price of smartphones increasing above the thousand dollar threshold, you’d think that there should be a limit to how far smartphone manufacturers can charge for a single piece of technology. While the modern flagship packs all the innovations that each respective smartphone manufacturer has to offer, we have to start asking ourselves if these devices are worth the exorbitant prices that tech companies charge consumers.
Well, the short answer is no — most of the time, smartphones aren’t really worth the price tags that are attached to them. In fact, the iPhone X, which was the very first smartphone that came with a $1,000 price tag, actually cost much less to manufacture. Also consider the fact that you were then buying a phone that didn’t have a headphone jack and was also very susceptible to breaking because of the glass back.
We have to start asking ourselves if we’re really buying the latest smartphones because of necessity or out of vanity. There are many compelling reasons why you shouldn’t buy the latest smartphones. Here’s why:
While the latest flagships pack the latest in innovation, compared to last year’s leftovers, the performance differences are marginal. And you have to consider if you really need all that computing power. After all, you’re buying a phone. Productivity tasks will still be done primarily on laptops and computers.
First Gen Problems
One of the most compelling reasons to get the latest flagship is the fact that they often come with new technology. These days, we have notchless, bezel-less displays, 120hz screens, in-display fingerprint scanners, folding screens, and so many camera features. The problem with 1st gen tech is that they will almost always come with bugs and they will also lack refinement. Spending a hefty amount of cash on something that’s experimental is more of a purchase driven by passion rather than practicality.
Another factor that diminishes the appeal of buying the latest flagships apart from the marginal upgrades is the fact that smartphones depreciate in value quickly. You could get last year’s best for the price of a modern mid-range phone and you won’t be missing out much because the specs of older flagships are still comparable to the latest flagships for much less. An added bonus with buying last year’s flagships is that they are more likely to have less expensive components, which means that repairs are going to be less expensive as it becomes a simple matter of buying parts from an electronic components distributor instead of buying overpriced components.
Planned Obsolescence Through Marketing
But that fact that last year’s flagships are still very powerful devices is overshadowed by marketing. Even when the performance levels are comparable between last year’s flagship and its current iteration, the former will almost always be made obsolete simply because phone manufacturers will no longer talk about their old flagships. Thus, old flagships lose quite a bit of desirability when in truth, they are only obsolete in terms of marketing and hype. In all other respects, they are very capable devices and are even better value.
However, despite all of this, there’s nothing wrong with buying the latest flagships, but only if you’re buying them because you’re passionate about smartphone technology. From a practical consumer’s perspective, the asking price of most modern flagships cannot be justified by hype and marginal improvements. At the end of the day, what really matters is what you deem important.