The amount of data and applications (and integration) on the smartphones means frequent backup is necessary. Today I moved into the refurbished HTC Windows 8 phone and the reconfiguration process was in hours vs days. The Windows desktop integration and syncronization made reinstalling applications easy. The contacts and calendar was synched with little effort (after my emotion fear of losing everything) through my Microsoft Online account.
Microsoft (and Verizon) have made backup seamless and easy (that is if you have signed up and integrated it with your PC). My past cavalier attitude about backing up has totally changed. Now with Carbonite (for my PC) and Backup Assistant (Verizon Phone), I can feel safe and secure. I am even willing to pay for this "insurance".
Actually refreshing the phone is a good spring cleaning exercise. It gets rid of all the clutter (data and applications) that I really don't use.