Halloween is now firmly in our rear-view mirrors and we have our sights solely on Christmas. Right across Wales, towns and cities are putting up their municipal decorations to brighten up the high streets, and Welsh shoppers are heeding the warnings to buy their gifts early to avoid being caught out by the forecast shortages.

Some of us will still be wondering what we want as a present, either from ourselves or from our loved ones. Many might consider replacing their old phone with something a little newer and shinier.

But with the price of smartphones going up and up, you might be questioning if it’s worth spending all that money on, if you already have a handset that works perfectly fine.

Everything About New Phones is Bigger

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, mobile phone manufacturers prided themselves on making shorter, thinner, and lighter devices. One of the most famous of these was the Motorola Razr, a flip phone (remember those?) that was 53 mm wide, 98 mm tall (unfolded), and 13.9 mm thick. It weighed 99 grams, about the same as two Dairy Milk bars.

The 2007 iPhone was similar, measuring 115 x 61 x 11.6 mm and weighing 135 g.

Today’s iPhone 13 is 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.7 mm and weighs 174g, making it 50% longer and wider than the Razr and 75% heavier. For that weight, it comes with more processing power than a PC did when Motorola released its iconic flip phone, two quality cameras, and up to 512 GB or storage. The Pro and Pro Max models are bigger, heavier, and packed with even more features.

In exchange for this, phones come with bigger price tags with the iPhone 13 Pro max having a starting price of £1,049, five times more than the Razr in 2006 and about three times more expensive than the original Apple smartphone.

With this in mind, your budget is going to be at the forefront of a decision to buy a replacement. It will likely be a tradeoff as to whether you need the additional features and power for the huge price tag.

Gaming

Games are the most downloaded type of app from both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, with both having around a million different tiles for users to choose from. The variety that they offer is partly what has made mobile gaming so popular. Casual gaming is one of the biggest genres, with titles like Candy Crush and FarmVille 2, while traditional categories like shooting and driving games are also in demand.

Casino gaming is also hugely popular on mobiles, especially in the UK. iGaming companies have developed modern versions of classic table games like roulette by adding multiplayer and live dealer options while also making them portable.

One reason you may be thinking of upgrading your smartphone is to get a better gaming experience. However, unless you own a really old handset already or you’re a hardcore gamer, then there is likely little to gain.

Unlike computers and consoles, most older smartphones (from the last five to seven years) are capable of running all the games that are available to download. More powerful devices may offer faster loading times and better graphics, but most people will be content without this.

Cameras

One of the reasons new smartphones are bigger, heavier, and more expensive is because they’re crammed with two, three, or even four rear camera lenses. These different sensors can take wide, ultrawide, macro, and zoomed photographs and video in 4K resolutions and HDR quality.

The step-up in vibrancy and clarity between the images produced by a phone from 2017 and one from 2021 is huge. That’s not to say the photos taken on a OnePlus 5T are bad (they’re far from it), but the OnePlus 9 just takes things to an entirely new level.

For someone that just likes shooting things for their Instagram feed when they go for a hike or have a fancy dinner, then an older phone is more than sufficient. But for anyone that loves photography but doesn’t want to carry a DSLR with them all the time, the trade-off in cost and features is possibly worth it.