Expensive phones - do you buy them?

I don’t much keep up with mobile technology, but there seemed to be a lot of media coverage of the Samsung S24 launch. So I thought I’d take a look as it was a while since I upgraded my phone and thought that it might be time.

Then I saw the price was north of $1000. I guess sub-consciously, I knew premium phones had reached this level, but still, I balk at such high costs for a commoditized item.

Do you spend so much on a phone? I guess we use them so much I can see how the cost can be justified, but I struggle to pay such a premium when you can get a perfectly serviceable phone for <$400.

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A little experience I had in December last year. I had an iPhone 8 since April 2018 (for free, it was the iPhone of my mother but she didn’t like it and give it to me), which I was able to keep until the battery gave out in December 2023. In short, I could no longer use my iPhone without it being plugged. I wish I had waited another year, as I wanted to get an iPhone 16.

In the end, I got an iPhone 15 Pro Max (CHF 1,299). It’s clearly not a ‘mustachian’ choice, but I took it for two reasons:

  1. I intend to use it for as long as my previous iPhone, i.e. about 6 years (so I wanted a good quality phone).
  2. I wanted an iPhone, but with good specs so that I could use it as a good quality camera or video camera when I can’t walk around with my SLR camera (I always travel with it, but sometimes a small, camera is more practical for taking certain pictures and I missed that with my iPhone 8).

Personally, I think my choice is both a whim (wanting to have the latest phone) and on the other hand, I don’t plan to part with it for another 5 years, so it’s also a choice to tell myself that a good quality phone will last longer (I hope).

Finally, these days you can’t do anything without a smartphone, it’s like your new computer, so you might as well treat yourself properly while telling yourself that the aim is to keep it for a long time (and not to change it every year, which is silly).

One way to extend the life of an iPhone with a dead internal battery is to add a battery cover. Admittedly, this adds a certain thickness to the phone, but it does extend the life of a perfectly functional phone.
Alternatively, changing the battery at Apple is also a solution. The cost is around CHF 100, depending on the model and battery size. I used this service once and extended the life of the battery by two years (before the iPhone fell down the stairs for good :man_shrugging:t2:).


I thought about it, but I’d have to empty the whole iPhone to make the change, which would mean losing my backups (not a problem) but above all my logins for the various financial service providers (banks and so on, especially IB; I was afraid about that).

So I decided to get a new phone instead, and I wanted a new phone because my iPhone 8 could no longer benefit from Apple’s security updates (shame…) and I was already noticing bugs unrelated to the battery.

I was also lucky in my misfortune, as my parents had given me a few pennies for Christmas, so my new iPhone came in cheaper.

But I’m keeping this option for my current iPhone in case the battery has problems for some reason.


That’s at least my rationalisation - if you spend a lot of time on it every day you may want to reach for screen resolution and quality, quality of build, ease of use, battery life, … . Does it have to be from the very top range? Probably depends on how much you rate expensive components like “the best camera” (for not missing those unforgettable moments?) or “SOS through Satellite” (off-piste skiers?). Oh, and what about that “trying to be hip” factor.

Here is a slightly tongue-in-cheek algorithm on how to find “your” phone (prepare to scroll):

I do it like this, when a new flagship phone launches, I buy one from 2-3 generations before, then I keep it for 5-6 years. That’s a good compromise for me.



Don’t see an advantage over a good basic phone.
(My reference at the moment is a pixel 4a and it was about 250 Euros I think when they released the 5 - buying criteria was nice enough photos and robust but otherwise it’s fine as well: screen is nice, runs all the apps, android, batterie works, stable soft- and hardware so far).

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I bought once an iphone for 1200chf, and despite they retain a second hand value, I don’t think was worth. After 4 years I got 300chf back selling it. Now I went old generation, which costed me around 500chf, not little, but not as crazy, and I plan to keep similar cycle of 4 years. I think there is some reasons to have a better phone, the first one will last longer, also is an object we use so much in our daily life. In the case of apple, as I said, they retain more second hand value so they are a good option if you plan to sell it later. But is it a mustacharian choice? probably not.

Would I recommend buying a 1000chf android phone? I love android, dont missunderstand me. But hell no, they retain very little value. Wait 6 months and already this phone is going to cost much less. Going for a previous generation is a much better option.

With an IT background, getting security updates on the phone was important to me which until a couple of months ago was only really possible with the newest iPhone. I therefore bought the 14 Pro (which had the newest chipset at the time).

These days, Samsung and Pixel devices have long update guarantees as well, just check the time it takes them to make them available. With Apple it’s basically always no delay because Apple only makes them public once they fixed it.

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Well, I’m currently thinking of upgrading to an iPhone 6s (after giving it a new battery).

Bought the iPhone 14 Pro Max 512GB for 1.5k, also for my GF. Smartphones are important to me, also a good and portable camera.

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Yes. Lets see history - 3gs,4,4s,5,6,8,Xs,XR,13pro,15promax. Some given to +1. Some sold for 50-65% of purchase price after 2-3 years. Old 8 is still kicking fine, getting security updates, acts as emergency phone for kids.

Simple justification - continous and timely security updates and camera. The picture and video quality difference between XS (5.5years) and 15pro is staggering (to me). As the phone is the capture and storage device for memories from another non-frugal aspect, expensive holidays, absolutely worth it. The other features are a bonus.

If deciding to constaintly upgrade, iphones can be sold before launch of next gen. A 2 year old device will fetch 60% of purchase price after fees for ricardo, the ~450-500fr/2year is worth it for me. Or keep it around for 6-7 years for family members at similar depreciation. Price might not be worth it for others, of course.

It’s the thing I use the most, so even though I don’t buy the most expensive models, I do think it’s well spent money to get a quality smart phone. I choose iPhone also because it’s better privacy-wise.

Yes, i like iOS and the Apple ecosystem

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I use my business mobile phone as my private phone, this way I get a new one every 4-5 years.

If I had to buy one myself I’d go for the iPhone SE.

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I buy an android phone max 150CHF that last 5 years, only need messaging, calls authentication apps, and navigation.


To all of you saying “it’s the thing I use most” or similar things, reduce your phone time, seriously, there’s more to life than that.

I used to be on my phone 4-5 hours a day and started to drastically reduce it to around 1 hour max and it was life changing, I realized how many things I can achieve by freeing up this time and do more productive things such as e.g. reading books or learning foreign languages.

Just my two cents.


I prefer smaller phones - and those tend to be cheaper and/or come as more entry-level models.

For mobile internet, I have an iPad mini - which is less expensive, lasts longer (battery life and degradation) and has a much larger screen.

A smartphone can be a great tool to do that.

I don’t use my phone much, but I’m pretty much permanently in front of the computer:

Work - computer
Research - computer
Managing investments - computer
Watching films - computer

even creative things like making music, photography and videos now heavily involve a computer.

thankfully we still have sports that make us go outside… until VR comes…

When I realised how much I was using a computer and how this was likely to increase and not decrease, I invested in a good chair and good monitors and keyboards.