How long do you keep your phone around?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| February 22, 2014

When I ask "How long do you keep your phone around?" I don't mean how long do you hold on to the phone even when you're not using it, and I don't mean how long until you throw it into the junk drawer for a rainy day when your new phone gets liquid damaged. I mean how long do you typically hold on to and actively use one single device? Considering how quickly technology advances, for a lot of people it's hard to keep the same phone for more than 6 months to a year without feeling like you're way behind everybody else. But for others, it's not really a big deal. What I want to know is: Where do you fit in when it comes to all of this?

Once upon a time, although I've always had a fondness for phones, I was completely content with just having a phone. I would use the same phone for about two years. It's kind of like a second childhood for me; you know those were days of innocence where you were just happy to have a real, working phone of your own. You could call and text whoever you wanted, and if you were a lucky one you had a phone with a camera on it. It's funny to me, looking back and realizing that there was a time in my life where I was not constantly looking and budgeting to get a new phone every few months. I would carry my rinky dink flip phone for the entire two year period without any complaints, except for one or two times when the phone suffered wear and tear and even cracked a couple of time - but at that time, I would only get upset because that would mean I had to get a new phone.

"Had to get a new phone" is not a phrase that I use anymore. Ever. I never have to get a new phone, I just do. All the time. It's kind of ridiculous if you think about it, but that's just the way my relationship with phones has gotten to at this point. It's not that I don't like it, nobody is forcing me to get a new phone. It's just a weird itch I can't scratch sometimes. Getting and trying out new phones is kind of like a hobby for me at this point.

I can't remember exactly when my constant need for a new phone every 6 months or so started. I think the last time I truly held on to a phone for a really long time was my iPhone, but even then I wasn't so content with it that I never looked at other phones. I was always wondering if I should switch it out for the Galaxy Nexus, or the Nexus 4, or the Galaxy S III, or phones like that. In the end I always just decided against it, but it was still a fairly frequent thought. After my upgrade from my 4S, though, it seemed that old habits kicked in. After I got the Galaxy S4, I then moved on to the HTC One. Just 6 months later, although pretty happy with the HTC One, I have a Lumia 928. There aren't any phones on the market right now that really draw me in, but if the rumors and leaks going around lately are any indication of what is to come here in the coming months, I have a feeling that it won't be long before I'm on the hunt for a new phone again.

My parents think I'm crazy. My mom has been carrying a Nexus 4 for the past year or so, and every time I ask her if she's happy with her phone she's always very chipper to reply that she definitely is. Before that she was using an iPhone 3GS for a couple of months, and before that a flip phone; so I suppose that for her the experience is still very new. The Nexus 4 is a huge upgrade for her, so of course she's probably going to happy with it for a few years yet. As for my dad, he's using the same iPhone 3GS my mom used, and if anything he's even more happy than my mom is with her phone. They've both been using their phones for about a year, and not one of them has asked for help getting a new phone. My brother is the same way, and as somebody who is also into the tech industry I have no idea how he manages to just stick with one phone for two or three years. Granted, when he switches he usually goes with the latest and greatest, but still. 

I know I'm the odd one out, because the more I think about it, the more I realize that most people I know are completely content with their phones for more than a couple of years. As for me, I feel like some blood-thirsty tech vampire who can't get enough phones in her life. It's expensive, it's a little weird, but I guess that's just how some of us roll in this industry.       

What about you, readers? How often do you actually switch phones? Are you like me and you change phones every few months even if it costs you more than you would like, or do you prefer to wait to get your yearly discount or only upgrade when necessary? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Images via Life Hacker, Latism