Right now it's better to wait for a new phone

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| February 16, 2014

The start of a new year is always exciting. With a new year comes promises of a fresh start for everybody. The start of the new year is particularly interesting for us in the mobile industry, especially since events like CES and MWC come typically come around the January and February timeline. These events come around for companies to showcase what new features and technology they plan to implement in their upcoming devices during the year, and when they have these showcases it can be hard not to find yourself wanting more than whatever it is your currently have.

When you get that "Gotta Have A New Phone" itch, sometimes it's better to suppress it in order to reap bigger rewards. It's for this reason that I don't typically recommend that people go out and buy a new phone during these first few months of the year before devices start rolling out, and that's for a few key reasons.

The first reason is probably the most obvious, and that's because if you're looking for the latest and greatest with great specs, whatever is currently lining the shelves right now is going to be really old news in a couple of months. When we say that technology is always changing we really mean it, but even if you're holding a Galaxy S4 when the Galaxy Note 3 comes out you can at least know that the technology you bought is within the same year of each other. Plus, they're not even a part of the same line, and with the Galaxy Note 3 being bigger than the Galaxy S4 of course you can expect to see bigger specs. However, if you were to pick up a Galaxy S4 right now, just a couple of months before the rumored release of the Galaxy S5, you might be feeling some buyer's remorse here shortly. 

Which brings me to my second point. Even if you have your heart dead set on the Galaxy S4, it's probably best to wait until the Galaxy S5 comes out. I don't say that because I think you'll have a change in heart once the device does come out (which you might), but also because the Galaxy S4 will then have a pretty decent drop in price. Think of it this way: You go into the AT&T store today to buy a Galaxy S4 at $199.99 with a 2-year contract. One, maybe two months max from now you'll probably see the same phone being sold for $99.99, or possibly even lower just for stores to get rid of the inventory to make room for the Galaxy S5. It's just better to wait all around. I mean, if money isn't a big deal then it's really no big deal, but if you'd like to save a few bucks and don't really need a new phone right now I would highly recommend waiting.

The third and final reason that I don't recommend getting a new phone right now is simply because you have to realize that more than likely you will be carrying this phone for the next two years or so. If you're looking at a phone that is one (or two) years old already because they're on sale right now, you might be kicking yourself later when your phone starts acting really sluggish because of updates. Phones like the Apple have a pretty long lifespan just because that's the way they are, but any other older phones that are being sold probably won't be supported much longer. I highly recommend sticking with phones released between 2013-2014 just to make sure you're taken care of until your next update. It's a truly personal opinion, but it's been my experience that buying older phones (generally the 'FREE' phones in stores) cause more problems in the long run due to updates - or lack thereof. This ultimately goes back to my second point where if price is your biggest issue, waiting until the next generation device comes out can save you a pretty penny on phones that came out last year.

Of course there will be exceptions to this. Sometimes you'll find a great sale on a phone (like the Moto X) or there are some smartphones that might have come out in 2013, but late 2013 (like the Galaxy Note 3, iPhone 5s, or iPhone 5c). Sometimes you just can't wait for a new phone. It's just that while last year's phones are still great in my opinion, they will be even greater when they don't cost as much. It's just getting to that point where it's not worth paying $199 for a flagship that is practically a year old, when in a few months' time it's going to knocked down $100 due to fresh meat. 

Readers, when do you typically buy a new phone? Do you buy a new phone the day your upgrade date hits, or do you wait until there's a good sale or new phones hitting the market? Share your answers with us in the comments!

Images via CNet, CNN