When I first started taking a real interest in phones – which was shortly after the iPhone came out – I felt like I was always looking for one reason or another to switch phones. Either the phone was too slow, too laggy, or I was just plain bored with it. It was the same thing every time. As soon as I got my hands on a new phone, I knew that I would be going through the same song and dance just a few months later.
I think another, smaller part of it was knowing that I was technically "locked" into a contract and expected to keep a phone for 2 years. For a lot of people, 2 years was completely doable. To me it felt like an eternity; fortunately, times are different now. While a lot of people have still held onto the 2-year upgrade tradition, there are a lot more programs out now that allow you to upgrade every year, and sometimes you can even upgrade every 6 months. As somebody who always thought that 2 years was too long to wait for an upgrade, these new options were a welcome addition.
Yet, over time I find that I’m less and less inclined to go out and search for a new daily driver as often. I was a frequent phone switcher 6 or 7 years ago, but smartphones have arguably become faster and more reliable than their earlier days. Android in particular is much better than where it started. Due to progressions made to smartphones, I’m just not as interested in switching as often anymore. These annual upgrade programs I feel, while still useful, would have better served us half a decade ago when smartphones were improving in rapid succession.
But even though I’m less inclined to seek out new smartphones, sheer habit still has me on the hunt. Occasionally, I still buy a new smartphone whenever it feels opportune. I switched out my iPhone 6, which I had been using for a little over a year at that point, back in May for the Samsung Galaxy S7 (mostly because my little brother’s phone was on the fritz, and if anybody’s going to get a new phone it’s going to be me; I was otherwise perfectly happy with the iPhone 6). I bought the Huawei Honor 5X during Amazon’s Prime Sale because I wanted to see for myself what a $119 (regularly $199) phone could do. I purchased the Nexus 5X earlier this year with Project Fi, because I was curious about the performance of the phone, Android N(ougat), and how Project Fi worked.
On very rare occasions, a smartphone will come my way for review or testing that I’m allowed to keep. Otherwise, I’m not nearly as insatiable as I used to be; I tend to wait as long as possible before pulling the trigger for a new daily driver. I can’t remember ever being this complacent before, and I can’t tell whether it’s because smartphones have gotten so good, or because I’m becoming an old fuddy-duddy. Probably both.
The longest I’ve ever held onto a phone was the Apple iPhone 4S, which I had for almost 2 years. I held onto it for so long for a couple of reasons. For one, it was one of the last phones of its size. Smartphones were steadily trending towards bigger screens, and the iPhone’s 4S much smaller 3.5-inch display was quickly dismissed as being too small. The following year, Apple would release the iPhone 5 with a slightly larger 4-inch display. Still small, but not as small.
Second, the iPhone 4S was my first experience with the iPhone, ever. Before that, I had been through a slew of Androids, all of which had their fair share of issues. Compared to them, the iPhone seemed so well fleshed out. I don’t remember ever being as impressed and enamored with a phone as I was with the 4S. I eventually traded the 4S out for the Galaxy S4, which I then exchanged for the HTC One.
Although the length of time that I hold onto a daily driver has, when averaged, increased since then, I have not consistently had a daily driver as long as I held onto the 4S. The 4S was the closest I ever got to hanging onto a phone for the 2 years I’m expected to use a phone.
Readers, what’s the longest you’ve ever used a daily driver for? Are you the type to switch them out frequently, or do you keep them until their dying day?