Manufacturers do what they want with us. When is it not worth exchanging equipment for a new one?

Companies launch new products on the market at such a fast pace that even technological journalists can hardly keep up. All this to convince the consumer to put money on the table and exchange the existing equipment for new ones. When is it worth doing?

One of my favorite YouTubers, Matt D'Avella, published a film a few months ago that perfectly reflects the contemporary state of affairs:

When it comes to replacing the equipment with a new one, we have an interesting dissonance here. On the one hand, regular replacement of a smartphone, laptop or camera has a lot of sense, because technology is growing so rapidly that in many areas these products actually become better each year, and thus allow consumers things that were not possible before.

On the other hand ... in other areas, new equipment seems to be exactly the same as the old ones. The differences between successive generations of products are so insignificant for the average buyer that they do not feel the need to replace the device with new ones. So what are the companies doing? They are doubling up and marketing efforts to convince us that the new product will change our lives for the better. Even if in practice, almost nothing differs from what we already have.

We exchange electronics for a new one for various reasons. Because it has worn out and does not work as it should. Because our needs have changed and our product is not very well integrated in it. Because we have such a whim and we can afford it. When, however, it is really worth making a change, and when it is nothing more than a whim; artificially aroused desire to have a new, shiny toy?

When is it worth replacing the equipment for a new one?

Such a decision should always take place at the interface between our real needs and financial possibilities. If the phone, camera or computer you are currently using does not pass the exam, but their exchange would mean packing into loans that you can not afford to pay - do not exchange the equipment for a new one, if you do not have to.

If you can afford any news, who am I to tell you not to buy? Buy for health, the economy must somehow drive. Just remember that the planet is not made of rubber, and the amount of electricity generated by the technological industry is shocking - if you often change electronics for a new one, take care of its proper recycling or transfer / sell it to someone who will still use it.

Another good reason to replace the equipment with a new one is to exceed a certain level of frustration, thanks to which your equipment causes more stress in us than it gives real benefits.

Galaxy S10 Plus or iPhone XS Max

I am currently going through a phase of such frustration with two products: a smartphone and a camera. In the case of this first, the frustration results strictly from the aging of the product. The phone I use every day after more than a year has stopped working as required by my smartphones. And since the phone is - next to the computer - my main tool, every cut, camera problem or degradation of the battery are problems that irritate me much more than irritate the average user.

Technically, I could withstand this time and I will bet that the person I'm going to give this phone after the change will be delighted with it. For me, however, the level of frustration of the device has grown to the point that using the phone gives rise to more anger than satisfaction. And electronics is not something that should generate such feelings in us, there are more serious problems in life.

The only reason why I have not yet exchanged a smartphone for a new one is the boon of my work - for the next few months I will have quite smartphones for testing, so that the purchase of a new smartphone is completely out of the way. When the Prime Minister's oil dries, I will exchange my private phone for a new one without a shadow of regret.

It's a bit harder with the camera . Because if you want to exchange your equipment for a new one at the meeting point of real needs and financial possibilities, I just can not afford it.

Professional photographic equipment costs money, and this raises a huge problem when it comes to replacing the equipment with a new one. Photographers can stick to one camera maker for years, even if its products are objectively much worse than the competition, because they have accumulated a set of lenses for these particular cameras, and replacing the whole system with a new one would simply be financially impossible.

Although I do not have such a rich reserve of glasses, to get stuck with products of one producer for years, but only a year ago I spent several thousand zlotys on a new camera, which after a short time ceased to meet my real needs. He began to frustrate, instead of giving pleasure to use, or - as a work tool, the certainty of the client's order. If financial issues were not a problem, I would exchange my photographic equipment for a new one without hesitation.

However, it would be extremely unreasonable to put huge amounts of money on a new camera year after year. Selling your equipment is also not an option, because if it is a working tool used in my business, I would have to pay tax on sales. And because of this, I would not get almost anything on account of a new purchase.

If so, there is only one thing left: bite your teeth and deal with what I have, while patiently putting aside money for change. I will do it only when it is financially reasonable.

When is it not worth exchanging equipment for a new one?

There are situations when it seems to us that it would be worth replacing the equipment with a new one, but it really does not make much sense. So when should not we decide to exchange?

First of all, when there is no real need for it. Regardless of whether we can afford a change or not (although as I wrote above - you have money, spend it as much as you want, if only with the proper care for the environment).

The worst reason for the replacement of equipment is the ego. As Matt D'Avella rightly pointed out in the above-mentioned video, the smartphone has become a status symbol today, just as it used to be a car. The new, theoretically better version of the product is supposed to make us look richer, better than others. He is to give us respect and social acceptance.

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Extreme

The problem is ... it's just electronics. Even the most expensive new iPhone is not so expensive to make an impression in circles, where your products really make an impression, and for the rest of the world it's just a phone call. Most outside observers probably will not even distinguish it from the old device.

So if with your phone, computer, camera or anything else, everything is fine, and replacing the product with a new one will not bring real benefits to your life - do not mention.

Do the same - do not replace the equipment with a new one when the only reason for this is social pressure. Unfortunately, this is most often seen among young people, where often having a "new, shiny thing" is mistakenly treated as a determinant of the value of another human being. However, there are other types of pressure.

MacBook Pro 2017 13 Apple

Giving myself an example - I deal with creative work and I see people everywhere with Maki. Everywhere. In the editorial Slack "buy a Mac" falls more often than "good morning". On YouTube, each of the creators I follow has a computer with a bitten apple. I visit the Apple Store website every day by configuring a machine that I should "have" as a creative professional.

And then I see the price of a Mac with a performance comparable to my PC and it passes. A dozen or so thousand zlotys just to use the equipment I "should" because it does the rest of the industry? Thank you, I will stand. I will do everything on my PC that I would do on a Mac. Maybe not so fast, maybe not so smoothly, maybe not in such a nice software that is available on macOS, but I will.

Would I feel better working on a Mac ? Probably so.

Would such an exchange have any rational or economic sense? Absolutely not.

When is it not worth replacing the equipment for a new one yet? When it can be repaired.

I admit honestly, I am not a fan of "recycled" products and repairing something until it is physically impossible (I greet colleagues from Autoblog). I do not miss residential repair shops and I do not have a part of my body hurting because modern smartphones and laptops can only be repaired in specialized services or sometimes not at all.

However, I must admit that when repairing something makes more sense than buying new products, it's always worth doing .

I've had a lively example recently in my own family when the seven-year Thinkpad refused to obey. There were two options - trying to repair or buy a new laptop. In the case of the latter option, it would be possible to buy only a computer costing about PLN 2,000, which in practice means buying an average or very average laptop. Objectively much less efficient, less well made and not necessarily better equipment from the Thinkpad. And certainly with a worse keyboard and display.

It turned out that the Thinkpad had a hard drive. The old unit, with the disc rotating at 5400 rpm, finally had to give up. All you need is a SSD with 240 GB capacity, thorough cleaning of the cooling system with compressed air and a clean installation of Windows 10.

Expense? 139 zlotys per disk and about an hour to replace and install the system. Effect? A seven-year laptop works like new. Maybe even better than the new one, because in the end, instead of screeching and groaning hard disk during work, there is silence, occasionally disturbed only by the slight noise of the cleaned windmill. The computer is used almost exclusively as a "station" for the simplest tasks. I suspect that after replacing the disk with a new one, he will live for a few more years.

MacBook Pro 2017 13 Apple

As usual, it all comes down to common sense.

Of course, repairing old equipment or sticking to it because it "works" only makes sense to a certain point. When the repairs absorb more time and costs than it would give to a replacement, it is worth replacing the equipment. When the equipment "works", but lags behind the technology so much that it ceases to adhere to the present, it is also worth replacing it with a new one, taking care of the proper utilization of the old.

It all boils down to common sense and - as I wrote at the beginning - a real assessment of financial needs and possibilities.

Replacing equipment with a new one is not bad. Do not let us convince you that sticking to the power of old equipment or driving a crumbling, 25-year-old junk is a reason to be proud. On the other hand, let's not treat as a point of honor the change of smartphone to the new one every year, just because it's cool, fashionable and people will have a higher opinion about us because of this.

Let's exchange when it makes sense. Let's stick to what we have when the change does not bring real benefits, utility or emotional.

Manufacturers do what they want with us. When is it not worth exchanging equipment for a new one?


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