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Do you have 'new phone fever'? Think before buying

So many new smartphones are coming out this

So many new smartphones are coming out this fall, but you might be smart to keep the phone you already have. Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images/TNS

With the release of Apple's iPhone 12 (and iPhone 12 Pro) and Samsung and Google announcing new phones in the last few weeks, it is easy to get "new phone fever." Sure, a bright and shiny new phone will all the latest bells and whistles sounds great on the surface, but how do you know whether it's really time to upgrade?

With the latest phones costing well over $1,000, buying a new one is not a decision to be made without a great deal of thought and research.

There are lots of people who really "need" to have the latest phone, and they trade in last year's model for whatever is new this year. If that sounds like you, go right ahead and upgrade.

If your phone is less than two years old, you probably ought to wait. If it's older, you are likely on the fence about buying a new phone. Before making a decision, take some time to assess your current phone.

Is it damaged? Is the screen cracked? Do calls still sound crisp and clear? How about the battery? Does it still make it through the day or are you having to charge it up more often?

A lot of phone batteries start to decline after a couple of years of hard use.

You can check your phone's battery in the Settings app. On an iPhone, open Settings and scroll down to Battery and then open Battery Health. It will display how much capacity is still left on your battery.

Android doesn't include battery health information natively, but you can find out with an app called AccuBattery from the Google Play Store.

If you like your current phone, but the battery is getting old, you should look into how much it would cost to replace the battery vs. buying a new phone. You can have it done at most mobile phone repair shops. Apple will replace your iPhone battery for $49 to $69.

If your phone is starting to bug you, or you know it's just limping along, take a look at the new phones being released this fall. There are high-quality phones in all price ranges. The even better news is that you don't need to spend $1,500. Google and Apple both have new phones that cost less than $400. That's something to phone home about.

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