Why you should look for used stuff on ebay

The phone in the picture is a 2nd handed Sony Xperia S bought from eBay about a year ago on the cheap, it still serves me well to this day…

In case you haven’t noticed, today’s tech prices are ridiculously high.  I mean, usually top of the line models are so expensive that its hard to understand how a smartphone, for instance, can be a lot more expensive than a tablet running the same hardware and a larger screen – but this happens all the time, and not just with the Apple iPad and iPhone. However, more and more people keep buying them! This makes the prices go even higher, as companies try to make easy profit launching a new product every 6 months – it used to be a 2 year interval, then 1 year, but now you either have the money to buy the product the first day it’s put on the shelves or you’re probably just better off waiting for the next release, which won’t take long.

But the major problem with this is that, most of the time, there is no really improvement made to the product that is supposed to supersede the previous model! And that’s insane! There are many companies that have “upgraded” to this new business model, but I will name just two of my all-time favorites.

The Sony Xperia Z2 example

Sony is just another company trying to flood the Smartphone market with new models every 6 months. First, a lot of similar models running Android began to appear. Now, even their flagship devices come at an higher and higher pace. Long ago, it was the year 2012 and Sony, which recently dropped the Ericsson brand in Sony Ericsson, launched Xperia S in February. It was a great phone for the day: it had a dual core 1.5 Ghz cpu and 1gb ram with a sharp display and a good quality camera. Fast forward 1 whole year: February 2013, Sony launches the Xperia Z, its first quad-core phone with an even bigger and sharper screen and a better camera, it was great. So you would expect it to lead the Sony offer for at least a year before they announce another phone, right? Wrong! Only 8 months after releasing the Z, the Xperia Z1 shows up with a major performance bump when compared to it’s predecessor, the Xperia Z. Ok, that performance upgrade was a good thing, but now things would settle down a bit… Nope! February 2014 comes along with the announcement of the new Xperia Z2 with yet another performance upgrade! The release cycles are getting shorter and shorter… and although we see performance upgrades here, these 3 phones pretty much all look and feel the same!

The new Canon DSLR’s example

Something went really wrong with Canon: probably the marketing guys won a bet or something. I’m not going to say a lot here, just go the Canon website, look for all their current DSLR’s in there and tell me if you can find the difference between them! The specs are pretty much all the same, in the same product range, no matter what the model is – and to make the matter worst, they all use the same CMOS sensor from the previous generation. What a shame, Canon!

Wrapping it up

Both these companies used to make great products, and most of the time they still do. But now, with the ever decreasing interval between product launches, innovation comes in baby steps and some models suffer from very short life and firmware support, forcing consumers to keep upgrading for no real benefit for themselves.

Enter another option: don’t buy anything new! Ever again! (OK, unless you really really believe it’s worth your money!) Nowadays, you can usually be a generation (or two) behind, which really is no more than 6 months to a year. You won’t be missing out much. For instance, now that the Sony Xperia Z2 is launching, look for the Z1 – it’s the perfect time to get it as prices will drop really fast to a figure more than appropriate for a smartphone. And then you can sell your previous phone, making it up for some of the loss and helping the environment a bit in the process!

Technology Oriented! An electrical engineering student's perspective on today's tech world