Do you act fast or play it safe when it comes to flagship releases?Anna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
It's a pretty exciting time of year as we've finally gotten to the point where the first flagship devices are being officially announced and released. With MWC 2014 just coming to a close, we were able to get a glimpse of a few devices set to hit shelves within the next month or two, two of them being the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Sony Xperia Z2. Although it's questionable whether we will see the Z2 hit the states at all, it is nonetheless something to keep an eye out for just in case. As for the Galaxy S5, the phone should be available stateside sometime starting on April 11th.
When it comes to new flagships phones, especially with these first few just rolling out for the year, there are upsides and downsides to being among the first to use the finished product. If you have your eye on a product, it can be hard to wait for anything else to come along, especially knowing that it could be months before you see anything else surface officially. On the other hand, what if something better comes along? What if you go out and purchase this phone that you desperately want right now only to find out that something better did come along a month or two later? In the end, it boils down to how well you play the "What If" game. So let's look at the options here.
What if you buy the flagship now?
If you buy the flagship now, you know one thing is for sure: If you anticipate holding on to this phone for around two years or so, the quicker you pick up the phone, the sooner you'll be able to upgrade. If you pick up a phone 5 months down the line waiting for a possibly better device to come along, that's 5 months of extra waiting for your next upgrade if that's the path you end up taking. Most manufacturers have a timeline they follow each year when it comes to releases, so if you're fairly certain you'll be wanting the Samsung Galaxy S7 or the Sony Xperia Z4 then the sooner you pick up this generation, the better chance you'll have to do the same thing again this time two years from now.
If you are a developer, or plan to become one, being one of the first to pick up a new flagship also gives you a chance to get in on some of the early developing projects for a phone - which is especially complex when it comes to Android. If you enjoy rooting and flashing ROMs and helping developers perfect a ROM or other software tweaks, this is a good chance to do so.
And, of course, you get bragging rights among your friends if you're in to that sort of thing.
What if you wait?
Waiting can both be seen as a risky option and a safe option at the same time. I know, I know, that probably doesn't make any sense - but it's true! By waiting, you're risking waiting longer for an upgrade later, which can be annoying if it turns out that nothing better comes along and you end up purchasing the smartphone you originally had your eye on anyway. However, it's a safe option as well because then you have the peace of mind that there really is nothing better out there for you. I like to think of my experience last year with the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One as a sort of lucky occurence. I was pretty much dead set on the Galaxy S4 because overall, the phone looked better to me. If I hadn't waited until the HTC One had been released to get it, I might have been a very unhappy camper right now because I was not all that pleased with my Galaxy S4 experience. Before the HTC One was released, aside from the Galaxy S4 there wasn't really any phone available for Sprint that I wanted to trade my iPhone 4S for.
I will say that if you're due for an upgrade and you're not sure what you're looking for, you probably don't want to wait too long. No matter what phone is being released, something bigger and better will come along sooner or later. If a phone tickles your fancy and your biggest worry is that something better will come along (and don't worry, it will) you're going to be waiting for a very long time before you actually make the move to upgrade.
There are pros and cons to each option. I'm the type of person who likes to wait until there are at least a few phones available, just in case my first choice falls through, but I know a few people who prefer to be one of the first with a phone. Which one are you, reader? Do you act fast, or do you prefer to wait? Let us know how you roll in the comments below!