If that ain’t obvious
It goes without saying. No, you SHOULD NOT upgrade your phone every week. Most phones nowadays have nearly the same specs as the ones you just bought a few months ago. They only include gimmicky or non-substantial upgrades. This also applies to gaming phones, flagships, and midrange. All types, all categories, are affected.
Let’s just take a look with some notable examples.
REALME NARZO 50 and REALME 8i
Xiaomi is infamous for its rebranding. Now it seems like Realme is doing the same thing for its Narzo phones. The Narzo 50 and the Realme 8i were released about 6 months away from each other. However, companies know people will treat every release as new and so take advantage of it. To make things less obvious, some parts of the design were changed. This isn’t even taking ODM products and branding, this is literally straight up badge engineering just like those on cars. (like how Nissan is rereleasing its Lavida from Mitsubishi’s Xpander).
The Narzo 50 features the same specs and the same camera hump arrangement. These include the 6.6in. FHD+ 120Hz IPS LCD, the MediaTek Helio G96 inside, and the 50MP triple camera setup with a 16MP punch-hole front camera. There are some extra design changes on the Narzo 50 so it fits the “trendy” nature of the brand. But if you’re thinking of getting a new phone, you can always get the Realme 8i and you would have the same experience. Also if you’re thinking of replacing your Realme 8i with this, don’t bother, it’s the same handset.
You might be thinking that the Narzo 50 may have newer software. Don’t bother, it uses the same RealmeUI 2.0 and Android 11 as the Realme 8i. You’re not getting an advantage if you own the Realme 8i already.
Redmi Note 10 and Redmi Note 11
Another example of a sidegrade (if you’re coming from the Redmi Note 10) is the Redmi Note 11. Xiaomi’s names might be confusing as initially, these new Redmi Note 11 phones are nothing like those found in China. Globally, the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ for instance, became the POCO X4 GT globally. This doesn’t make it any more confusing, surely.
Anyway, the Redmi Note 10 features a 6.43in. FHD+ (2400x1080px) AMOLED screen with DCI-P3 colour gamut and 4,500,000:1 contrast ratio. The only advantage you’re getting if you upgrade from the Note 10 to 11 is the faster 90Hz refresh rate. Every part of the screen, including the size, resolution, and display type, are identical.
The chipset isn’t too far off either, and the SD678 can do 4K video too, unlike the Note 11’s SD680 chipset. Also, with the Note 11, you’re stuck at 30fps. Such a shame really, for videographers, this is a downer.
And speaking of chipset, the SD678 features a slightly better octa-core Adreno 612 GPU but in turn, the SD680 features an octa-core CPU that can be clocked to 2.4GHz. The Kryo 460 used for the SD678 can only get up to 2.2GHz. If you’re more into productivity, the Note 11 seems to be better, otherwise, for gaming, the Redmi Note 10.
There are far too many similarities. Even its design looks familiar. The cameras used for the Redmi Note 10 involve a quad 48MP+8MP+2MP+2MP setup, whereas the Redmi Note 11 uses a slightly better quad 50MP+8MP+2MP+2MP setup. Not much is different in terms of detailing or scaling.
The battery is also the same. Both phones feature a 5000mAh battery charged through USB-C and can attain up to 33W fast charging. Not much you’re getting here too.
Hopefully, we listed enough reasons why the Redmi Note 11 is just definitely a sidegrade to the Redmi Note 10. Keep the Note 10 if you have it, and don’t upgrade unless you can afford the POCO X4 GT or Realme 9 Pro+ for example. They are far better upgrades.
If you have a phone that’s just one or two generations apart, we suggest you keep and hold on to it for a while, especially if it still runs without problems. If you’re concerned about security updates and major Android upgrades while knowing your phone may never ever get more (for example, our TCL 10 5G is still in its December 2021 security update and still remains at Android 11) then it’s best for you to buy phones from Nokia for example, as their main selling point is selling phones that are secure and constantly being updated. If you’re okay with your phone and satisfied with it, there’s no need for another one. It just adds to the problematic e-waste dilemma.
Most Android phones are released every few months now that you may feel your phone degrading faster when really this is a marketing trick to get you to buy the latest handset. In about four months, the Redmi Note 11 you have may suddenly get a successor with only marginal changes, such as design differences and probably a different combination of cameras and a slightly better chip. After all, it will still use MIUI so the experience between the two is probably the same.
The same goes to iPhones that are released yearly. Now that the iPhone 14 series are out, you’re probably tempted to buy another. If you own an iPhone 11, an iPhone 12, or an iPhone 13, there’s really no need for you to upgrade unless you have lots of money on your hands and you really want to feel that 48MP camera and experience the dynamic island notch. There are a few Android modifications out there that mimic this (although not as fluent) and in time, we guarantee that Android manufacturers would copy this design. Heck, Xiaomi is already starting.