Upgrade or UpCycle?

With phones becoming ludicrously expensive and mobile technology seeming to have plateaued in terms of feature sets, is it really worthwhile upgrading to the latest flagship model?

If we take a look at the car market in the early 90’s, it was all about whom could go the fastest from 0-100. By the 2000’s most sports cars where doing sub 5 sec runs and by the 2010, you could get more than a few hot hatches doing sub 7 second runs.

So as technology starts to become more accessible, the middle and entry level tiers start catching up in performance. You then start questioning the price to performance ratio of say buying a Ford Focus RS (4.7 secs 0 to 100 kmh) for R699 900 against buying a Porsche 718 Cayman for R920 000 to go slower at 5.1 secs, but having a perceived quicker flashier car.


The vast majority of us use our phones for the “bare” basics – give me a good camera, whatsapp, a decent battery life and an easy enough user interface and I am happy. The days of having the latest phone and proudly displaying it on the coffee shop table to elicit ohhhh’s and ahhh’s from your friends are long over. Today, most of the phones look pretty much androgynous and few deliver little in the way of a revolutionary experience.

When you start paying upwards of R15 000 for a phone you have to start questioning your behaviour. The latest Samsung Note8 is going to set you back R17 899 and the latest iPhone X costing $999 before taxes and duties you will be looking at around R15- 17K.
What can you get for R15K in todays tech space?

A new cool camera? Nikon Coolpix B700 @ R6499
A smartwatch / fitness tracker? Tom Tom Spark 3 @ R1899
A new LED TV? 50″ Hisense UHD LED TV @ R6999
A new decent smart phone? Huawei P10 Lite @ R4999

Justifying a phone over 15K becomes increasingly difficult! But us humans are a funny old species, and having the latest trinkets and desirables is pretty hard grained into some of us. For those such afflicted, we crave the newest, fastest and flashiest gadgets on the planet, all to ensure that we stay ahead of the pack. For an increasingly online, social media driven world our mobile is our gateway to our interwoven digital and physical existence and if we going to have a gateway, it better be damn magical.

So do you succumb to the iPhone 8, wait out for the iPhone X (its referred to as the “ten”) or keep on trudging along with your 7, or even your faithful old iPhone 6? That my friends is the question indeed.
If you have a 7, I wouldn’t bother with the 8, hell even if you have the 6S theirs not much incentive to go rush out and get the 8. My bet is waiting out for the Ten, at least the tech has been enhanced and the new camera features and animoji only work with the new Ten hardware.

Then of course if you throw the price in the mix, paying an extra R3 – R5K cash (roughly R175 a more per month on contract) for the Ten is hard to justify if you are replacing an iPhone 5 or an old 6. The new “old” 8 becomes an option but even more so would be the iPhone 7 which is certain to drop in price.

Best of all, if you have an old iPhone 5/6/7 which is still in great working order but the battery is getting a little tired, the folks from Apple Doctor can “UpCycle” your old faithful with a new battery and make her as good as new. An “UpCycle” costs as little as R289 fully installed – Upgrade or #UpCycle?