You probably don't need to buy a new phone next year

Android figures
(Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

Many a smartphone or tech enthusiast is caught in a cycle where without fail, a brand new smartphone gets bought every year. This applies to me, and I know it applies to a lot of people who read websites like Android Central, where we write a lot of words about a lot of new phones.

I've decided I am going to break the chain and I'm not buying a phone until I actually need to buy one. Unless I lose or break what I have now, that means I'm sitting out for the entirety of 2023. I'm also not going to miss a thing by doing it.

I have a Pixel 6 Pro on the desk in front of me. It's not the best Android phone ever made, and it's not the worst Android phone ever made. But it is a good phone that's been dependable while it's been in my hands. 

Google would really like me to buy a Pixel 7, and will certainly have plenty more reasons to share why I should want to ditch my phone that works perfectly well for another phone that works just as perfectly; only a little more perfectly. Or something. 

Google knows that people who have bought a Pixel are more likely to buy another.

A White Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus next to a succulent plant on a table

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Google isn't unique here. Samsung, Motorola, Apple, and every other company know that when it comes to the enthusiast market, it's easier to entice an existing customer than to lure away a customer who is happy with a product from a different company. 

It really doesn't matter though, because Samsung and everyone else will be doing the same and will try to convince you that you need the next Galaxy S because it's somehow better than your current Galaxy S. Insert Fold, Flip, or even iPhone here, because the same applies. Companies do it because it works.

Think about what you want and need, not what some company wants or needs.

There are plenty of reasons not to buy a new device, but the biggest is that what you have is still great. If it isn't, then forget what I'm saying, find whatever phone you think is best, and it will last you a while. People still using something like a Galaxy S9 are probably ready to move on, and 2023 would be a great time to buy a heavily discounted Galaxy S22.

Not buying a new phone helps the environment, too. Not even counting the stuff that needs to be dug out of the ground to build a phone, there are shipping costs, packaging materials, energy costs, and more associated with building new products and selling older ones. Santa may be able to use elves and magic dust, but in the real world, companies use electricity and diesel fuel to get products to consumers.

Fairphone 4 in pieces

(Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand)

I want to think that the environmentalist in me is why I'm not buying yet another phone, but being eco-friendly is just a side effect. I'm sitting 2023 out because I don't want to spend the money. It's a decision based on my miserly nature more than anything else.

But I can get away with it. My Pixel 6 Pro is going to do everything it did when I bought it throughout 2023. It's going to have software support and even get a new version of its operating system once Android 13 comes along. The same could have been said for the Galaxy S21 I replaced when I got it, but I just didn't give in to the little voice of cheapness telling me to save my money.

Thank Samsung for forcing companies to support phones longer than a year.

This is a big deal though, because not so long ago, you couldn't count on a company supporting its products when it came to Android phones. Yes, Google has a vested interest in doing it, but until Samsung decided this was important it just wasn't a thing. Thankfully, most companies (looking at you Motorola) have realized that people expect a certain amount of after-purchase attention when they are spending so much money.

If you don't buy a Pixel 7 or Galaxy S23, you almost certainly will miss out on something. I'm not trying to say there will be no differences. What I am saying is that unless you see a feature that you know will enrich your life, things like 5% more battery life or "seems faster" are no longer a good reason to part with something that already works for you.

Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro

(Image credit: Google)

I know seeing someone who makes a living writing about new smartphones, and the features that make them great, telling you that you probably shouldn't buy one of them is a bit crazy. But I'm also a strong consumer advocate, and think this really is sound advice. 

Don't buy a new phone unless you absolutely have to. You'll be doing what's best for the planet, saving a chunk of money, and really won't be missing out on much at all.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.