Why skipping the latest flagship phone is the right choice

With the upcoming iPhone reveal, should you give in? should you dish out that much money for a slight upgrade over last years model? Should you wait for the new Galaxy reveal?

These are all questions we ask ourselves every year whenever our favorite brand lays out a brand new device packed with new hardware upgrades and software features

The answer always comes down to a few scenarios:

  • Do I need a new phone
  • How much can I spend
  • Is this much of an upgrade from what I have now
  • What can I get for my old phone
  • Can I fix my phone if its broken

Before getting into the details, we need to understand what does a flag ship phone mean

A flagship phone is the latest and greatest from a brand. It’s the latest phone they released and it’s almost always the phone that costs the most.

Most manufacturers release new and improved smartphone models every year, replacing last year’s flagship phone, hence the endless cycle of your phone becoming old just under 12 months.

Here’s the part those brands don’t want you to focus on and usually rely on marketing to shift your focus: for all their flashy improvements, the latest and greatest phones often aren’t much more spectacular than their predecessors from one or two years prior.

For some users, especially power-hungry users, that depend heavily on their phones for work or serious hobbies, it makes sense to get the newest phone because that bump in performance gives them a needed edge. But that does not necessarily mean we all need the added power that bad

Who should buy a flagship phone?

The decision of buying a flagship phone depends on many factors and the biggest of which is the budget constraint, the use and the requirements.

If there is no budget constraint and you wish to use the phone primarily for playing games or doing a heavy task like video editing and rendering it is a better option to go with a flagship phone. Some people prefer to have the latest and greatest of everything

A flagship smartphone ensures the best performance and functioning of the device, which you can’t get in most of the budget or mid-range phones. Flag ship phones almost always guarantees you will be the first to get the new system updates and longer support period

So where does this leave me

Cell phones are no longer a luxury item but an essential piece of hardware to keep you connected with loved ones or work emails or conferences. So, spending money on a new phone is actually smart, but before committing to buying a flagship phone we should first assess what are our needs.

For example, I am not a person who takes lots of pictures so last year’s model for a camera actually fits my needs, but what I need is a high-end processor and RAM as I multitask on my phone between emails, conference calls and social media

Another idea would be to check other manufactures, as an example Xiaomi or Oppo. Both companies have several varieties for you to choose from, so I bought a new phone that has the same exact specs of a flagship model but costs exactly half the price. Main difference is the camera, which in my case is not a big deal

Older phones still pack a punch

The best affordable smartphone isn’t the latest or flashiest option. Affordable smartphones can be a year old phone. That does not make sense! Or does it? Reason is that the technology has gotten better. There’s not that much noticeable difference between the latest iPhone and the generation before it, same for the latest Galaxy and previous version.

With the rapid turnover in consumer technology, it’s easy to feel like you’re always behind, the new phone you just 8 months ago is already considered old and everyone who is looking to upgrade for the latest would wait a few more months and receive the next flagship. Just six months after you buy that hot new gadget or flagship phone, a newer version comes out, slightly thinner and with features that you didn’t even know you wanted. Most of these features can be easily obtained unless it’s a hardware feature like fingerprint reader from the screen.

Most manufacturers will release the new features quietly without any marketing to their last flagship phone, and if they have not and can easily find it on the play store. I love the sidebar so much on the Samsung phones and when I moved to a different manufacturer for the reasons I mentioned, I was in despair as I loved that feature so much. Then one day it occurred to me that I can probably find it on the Play Store and guess what? I am using it now and cannot be any happier.

Why buying last year’s phone makes sense

Older phones have one big advantage over the newer models: They’ve been tested by thousands and thousands of users. Once a phone has been out for a few months, you can read reviews with actual user feedback comparing pros and cons

New tech releases often come with minor (or major) bugs and problems that you might not have expected. This also means you won’t have to deal with any of the day-one defects like the iPhone 4’s Antenna or your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 blowing up or catching fire.

The options to upgrade are always there, just make sure you conduct proper research before dishing out close to $1000. Happy hunting!

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