It’s clear to you, you’re going to buy a new smartphone. Maybe the device you are currently using is no longer able to meet your needs, maybe it no longer works properly or maybe you simply want to treat yourself. You start looking at the offers that are available on the market and, in the end, you end up with more doubts than you had initially, so much so that you are not really sure what to do.
If you have identified yourself with the previous example, don’t worry, it’s totally normal. The offer of smartphones that we can find is so wide that it is very difficult to choose, and the renewal cycles have become so refined that choosing the right time is not easy either. Should I buy now or should I wait for the next generation? Is it really a good price? Would it be better to extend the life of my phone a bit and buy a new smartphone later?
The truth is that we can not give a universal answer to the question that serves as the title of this article, since there are many factors that can influence in determining when is the best time to buy a smartphone, and some are outside of what we can consider the Â “usual routineÂ”. So, for example, what has happened with the iPhone 13, and its Pro and Pro Max versions, fits into that assumption, as they present such a marked continuity, and such limited new features, that in many cases, it is better to wait for the next generation.
I do not speak without reason. In the end, the iPhone 13 has been, in many respects, a copy of the iPhone 12. This has made all eyes are on the iPhone 14, that this future smartphone has become the goal of many users who had planned to renew device this year, and in the end have preferred to wait to buy a new smartphone.
When is the best time to buy a smartphone: Generation and timing
Generational timing is one of the first keys to consider before deciding whether to buy a smartphone, and it is deeply associated with time. By this I mean to the place that the terminal occupies at the time when we are going to make the purchase, but always in contextÂ with three important points:
- When it was launched the smartphone we are considering buying, i.e. how old it is.
- How much time is left before the next model arrives, its generational successor.
- What a useful life we can expect from that smartphone we want to buy if we get it at that particular moment.
To understand it better, let’s go with an example. Imagine you want to buy a smartphone from two generations ago because its price is lower. Itâ€™s not a bad approach, thatâ€™s for sure, but if itâ€™s an Android-based model you should keep in mind that, according to the context weâ€™ve put above:
- Will have fulfilled all, or almost all, of its upgrade cycle of Android. You’ll buy it cheaper, but you won’t receive software updates or, at best, you’ll receive only one more (certain handsets, like the Galaxy A52, are assured of three Android updates).
- Its remaining lifespan in terms of security updates will also be lower. Depending on the model, brand and range, a device that is two generations behind will receive, at most, security updates for a couple of years.
- It will also have a lower value when you decide to sell it to buy another terminal.
Buying a smartphone when it first hit the market represents a bigger investment, but it also means that we will enjoy its full support and upgrade cycle. I’ve lived this reality to perfection, albeit with an iOS handset, which means that these models are not without their problems either when we choose “old” versions.
My experience was, specifically, with an iPhone 4s. I bought that model when the iPhone 5s was already on the market, and although I enjoyed it quite a lot, in the end my experience wasn’t as good as it should have been because it was already two years oldand it didn’t quite get along with iOS 7. Although it was supported for several years, the performance it offered with new iOS versions was getting worse and worse.
In short, think what you save by buying a previous generation smartphone may end up costing you in the end, and evaluate if it is really worth the price you are going to pay in exchange for the sacrifice you are going to make in terms of support in a broad sense, both in terms of software and security updates.
We must not forget, moreover, that the temporal moment is also very important when buying a new smartphone. I already mentioned it at the beginning of this section, but before moving on to the next one, it is necessary to go deeper into it in order to be completely clear about it.
When I talk about the temporal moment I refer, mainly, to two major issues. The first is how long before the successor arrives of the smartphone that we are going to buy, and the second one when its direct rival will arrive. We will understand it better with an example, imagine that this year you wanted to buy the iPhone 12 Pro, but you waited so long, out of indecision, that you ended up buying it in August, just a month before the presentation of the iPhone 13 You didnâ€™t pick the best time, no doubt.
Choosing the right time to buy a smartphone is important because, on the one hand, we will avoid the classic buying mistakes in which we acquire a model at a high price that, in a short time, will end up being cheaper We avoid that devaluation, and that loss of money, so short term. On the other hand, the same applies to the arrival of a possible direct rival, and is that some major brands usually lower the price of their terminals when it comes to market a model that competes with them.
To find out when is the best time, from the point of view of time, to buy a smartphone, we must take into account the reality of the market at any given timeAnd this is not something simple, since the terminals do not always drop in price when a direct rival arrives, the availability is not always as good, and with the arrival of new generations the devaluation of the previous one is not always of the same degree.
All in all, and to serve you as a reference, if we are going to buy a top of the range terminal of brands like Apple or Samsung, it is best to do so always in its first post-launch stageand we should avoid buying them at all costs when their successors are less than half a year away.
When is the best time to buy a smartphone: Personal needs and upgrades
It is a topic that is also very important, and I wanted to break it down into two points because, in the end, it is easier to understand them if we see them separately. To make the right choice when buying a smartphone, we must evaluate, above all, our real needsIn a broad sense, i.e. not only our requirements in terms of performance and functions, but also in terms of design and quality of workmanship should be taken into account.
Let’s face it, the smartphone has become, today more than ever, a part of us, an extension of our style and our style. Therefore, if we buy a model that offers high performance and more than meets our requirements in terms of functions, but that we do not like because of its design or its quality of finishIf we have a new home, it is likely that we will live, for a while, in a situation of false happiness. We have what we wanted, but not what we really needed.
Buying a smartphone represents a major investment, and therefore we must be convinced not only that this terminal that we have between eyebrow and eyebrow is going to serve us for quite some time, but also that it is going to be useful for a long time is going to make us happy for as many years as we plan to use it.
Again I give you an example, although this time itâ€™s a positive one, and that is that before I bought the iPhone 8 Plus, which is the smartphone I still use to this day, I was considering buying an Android alternative because it cost me a little less I went with my “baser instincts”, and chose the Apple model. Today, four years later, i’m glad I did itbecause I still like the terminal as much as I did the first day.
We have talked about needs, but also about the concept of upgrading when buying a smartphone. What exactly do we mean by this? Well, it is very simple, that this new smartphone that we are going to buy must be a major upgrade compared to the model we currently have If we do not comply with this point, we will not notice a significant improvement in terms of performance, and we will have “retired” a smartphone that was still perfectly viable for us, and that had a lot of life ahead in our hands.
The concept of â¤½upgradingâ¤ was easy to explain, but the truth is that it is a bit complicated to apply in practice, as it can vary greatly depending on the specific needs of each user profile. All in all, i can give you a very simple key that will help you to have a starting point in case of doubt when updating from an Android or iOS terminal.
- If you want to switch from an iOS terminal to another one based on the same platform, ideally you should wait a minimum of three to four years to notice a major generational leap. Keep in mind, however, that major design changes do not necessarily have to be associated with a major hardware upgrade.
- In case you are going to jump from one Android handset to another based on the same operating system, it is best to follow the same approach as abovealthough in this case you will have the problem of software updates, and that is that most manufacturers only offer new versions of Android for two years.
- If you’re moving from an iOS model to an Android model, or vice versa, that time cycle we’ve given you can still be valid, though loses generality and will depend more on the specific models at hand.
- When we change terminals, we must search within the same range of the model we had previously, otherwise we could be making a big mistake and end up buying a smartphone inferior to ours. So, for example, if we go from a top-of-the-range smartphone from three years ago to a current mid-range, we will have missed the mark completely.
Endnotes: Don’t forget your budget
Putting all of the above together, we can conclude that the best time to buy a smartphone will depend on our needs, our personal tastes, the reality of the market and also our budget, a point that we wanted to leave to close this article because, in the end, it is the central pillar of any purchase decision.
The budget is important because it determines:
- The range to which we can address: top, high, medium, medium, medium-economical or low.
- The configuration that we will have the possibility to choose.
- The benefitsThe performance, design and quality of finish to which we can aspire.
So, for example, if we want to buy a new smartphone to replace a top of the range model from a couple of years ago, but we only have money for a mid-range model, the most sensible thing to do would be to wait to save a little more money in order to be able to buy a high-end device. This will help us avoid disappointment and a mediocre upgrade when buying a new smartphone.
On the other hand, if we are going to upgrade a high-end smartphone that has five or more years old, and we only have money for a mid-range model, things change. In this case, due to the age of our terminal, we would be facing an interesting update, even if we are going down a step in the range.
For your reference, here are some examples of updates to different ranges, from older and younger terminals, which would be worth it, and others that would not:
- Samsung Galaxy S6 to Galaxy A32 5GWe went from a top of the range to a mid-range, and it is a totally successful change. The only “but” we would have it in the quality of finishes of the second, as it is made of plastic.
- iPhone 7 to iPhone SE 2020: it’s another wise change because the performance gain, and support at the software level, will make a big difference. On the other hand, we will also enjoy a superior build quality with the latter, which comes made of aluminum and glass.
- iPhone 8 Plus to iPhone SE 2020: not worth it, in fact in many ways it is a Â “downgradeÂ”, because both have the same build quality, and although the latter is more powerful, the former has a dual rear camera setup and a larger, higher resolution screen.
- iPhone 11 to iPhone 13I donâ¤?t think itâ¤?s a change thatâ¤?s worth it either, since we wonâ¤?t be getting major improvements despite the significant investment weâ¤?ll have to make. I would wait at least one more generation.