It is almost taken for granted these days that you are eligible for a new cell phone every two years, and many people take advantage of this generous ‘offer’ from cell phone service providers. But how often should other technology equipment be upgraded? Certainly we do not consider replacing our televisions or computers every two years, so I will attempt to establish some guidelines for when you should consider upgrading your equipment.
Features and size are the biggest selling points of cell phones, and as features increase the size gets smaller. The latest trend is for larger screens on very thin phones. For comparison, the top of the line iPhone sold in 2007 was priced at $599 for 8GB of storage, the current iPhone 6 has 128GB of storage for $399, and camera resolution has increased from 2MP to 8MP in that time. Common features offered today like finger print authentication and motion-tracking were not even options that were available eight years ago when the first iPhone was introduced.
If your cell phone is still a ‘flip-phone,’ you may want to consider upgrading to a ‘smart phone’ where you will benefit from features such as text messaging, email and web browsing that are now common to all carriers and models. Your monthly bill may increase by just $10 or $20, and you will find that is money well spent.
It seems that printers now fall into two categories: those workhorses that seem to last forever (which is now anything longer than five years,) and those that last only two or three years before needing replacement. A printer that cost $300 two years ago may go for $150 today, plus have lots of features the older model lacks. If your printer is reporting low paper or a paper jam when neither is occurring, it could be a failed sensor. In cases like this, it’s better to replace than repair. You can be almost certain that your new printer will not use the same ink as your old one, so if you have the convenience of waiting until your current ink supply runs out, by all means do so before getting a new printer that
uses different ink! In my experience, most inkjet printers sold today have a useful life of three of four years before an error or hardware failure deems replacement necessary.
This is a common question. How do you know if your computer is ‘old’? The most common sign, slowness, may be easily and economically fixed by simply adding more memory (RAM) to your machine. Go to crucial.com to find available memory upgrades for your computer. Other signs that your computer is aging is an outdated operating system, which will prevents some newer programs and even web sites from functioning on your computer. Often an operating system update will solve these woes. If your computer hardware is not capable of adding memory or upgrading the operating system, it is time to consider replacing it. Computers are becoming faster, more efficient and less expensive every year, so there is never a bad time to upgrade your machine.
Many of the features offered by the next-generation cameras are not used by most amateur photographers. Sixty-one compared to nine possible focal points are not necessarily useful if you consistently use auto-focus. A frame rate of six frames per second compared to three frames per second is useful, perhaps, if you are shooting a rapidly changing subject like a bird in flight or kids jumping into a pool, but you do not need six (or even three) identical photographs of a rock formation or a bouquet of flowers.
Many photographers recommend putting your purchasing power into lenses, especially ones that you can hold on to and use down the line.
It seems that many of the newest TV features are not often adapted by the majority of manufacturers. Remember the 3D craze of a few years ago? How many people do you know that keep three or four pairs of 3D glasses near their TV? Most of the newer TV sets sold today are ‘Smart TVs’ that can connect to your home network to offer content such as Netflix and Hulu as well as other entertainment sources through a device such as an AppleTV or Roku.
These devices often need an HDMI connection, which is a combined digital audio-video cable that can transmit today’s HD signals from cable TV, media boxes and Blu-Ray players. To use these features, you may need to upgrade your TV set.
Whether you are considering upgrading your computer, television or cell phone, decide when you are ready, do the research and then buy it immediately. If you wait around for ‘the next thing’, you will never replace it!
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