The above image “United Nations of smartphone operating systems” by Jon Fingas
licensed under CC BY 2.0

Some thoughts to consider before paying $500+ for that shiny new status symbol.

Let’s pretend you’re buying a new vehicle.

Before you start shopping, you’re already asking yourself some important questions. What’s the gas mileage? What’s the seating capacity? How much are you willing to pay? But there’s another thing to consider:

Why do you actually need this thing?

Everyone has a different answer. Maybe you’re a parent with sports-playing kids (aka a glorified chauffeur). You might be looking for a sturdy SUV with ample seating. Maybe you’re a single professional who just wants reliable transportation to and from your downtown office. A compact sedan could meet all your needs. Or maybe you’re a fabulously wealthy entrepreneur who needs a sexy sports car to impress potential clients.

It wouldn’t make sense for all these people to buy the same car. And the same is true for smartphones.

2016 — Year of the Budget Smartphone

In a recent AndroidGuys article, Derrick Miyao explained why 2016 will be the year of the budget smartphone. His argument is simple: many people don’t really need (or want) the latest, most expensive tech.

Of course, some folks will always feel an urge to be “cutting edge”. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, Miyao makes the point that, “…there are more people who simply use smartphones for phone calls, text messaging, scheduling, social media, photos, email, internet browsing, shopping, and basic gaming.”

Does that sound like anyone you know?

Some Cold, Hard Facts About Smartphones

Phone in hand

Uh oh, here come numbers!

According to a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center, nearly 2/3 of American adults own a smartphone. This eye-catching statistic supports the anecdotal observation that “everyone’s got a smartphone these days.” But what do people actually think about their phones, and how do they use them?

Here’s where it gets muddier. 46% of people say they “couldn’t live without” their smartphones, while 54% say their phones “aren’t always needed”. And while most people consider their phones a worthwhile investment, nearly 20% say that their phones are a “financial burden”.

The study also highlights some interesting trends in smartphone usage. Text messaging is universally popular — 99% of users aged 18-49 text at least once a week. Email (89%), voice calls (92%), and Internet browsing (94%) are also common. After that, the numbers start to dwindle.

This begs the question: do you really need a $750 iPhone to do all that?

The Opportunity Cost of Buying a Smartphone

For some people, the answer is an unequivocal YES! And they have their reasons — often good ones. It’s not fair to characterize everyone with an expensive phone as vain, trend-obsessed sheeple.

Still, all that glitters is not (rose) gold.

The truth is most people can meet their needs perfectly well with a more affordable device. And here’s an important distinction: an affordable smartphone is not the same as a cheap smartphone. People are right to be skeptical of “cheap” phones — after all, where’s the value in buying a $50 smartphone that stops working after a month?

But affordable smartphones built with high-quality components are a different story. A well-built affordable smartphone gives you the features that matter most for much, much less than a “luxury” phone. In many cases, the price difference can be as much as $500.

What Could You Do With an Extra $500?

You could get a 50-inch smart TV. You could get a diamond engagement ring. You could get two round-trip tickets to the Bahamas.

You could even *gasp* save that money.

And you could sleep easy knowing that you own your phone, and not the other way round.

To learn more about affordable smartphones, check out https://us.nuumobile.com/smartphones/.

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