Old vs new: what smartphone would you buy?

Old vs new: what smartphone would you buy?
Each time a friend of ours decides to buy a new phone, we're usually among the first people who they consult with. And being the smartphone-obsessed geeks that we are, we're always able to give them extensive information about what their choices are and which of all the phones out there would best suit their needs or budget. But each time we're asked for our expert opinion, the very same conflict arises: would it be better to buy a high-end smartphone model from last year, or settle with a new mid-range model? Well, giving a universal answer to that is a challenge since there are several pretty solid arguments in favor of either choice. To start,

great "old" phones are now quite cheap.

And we're not talking about second-hand units sold on eBay. Former flagship Android smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S II or HTC Sensation to name a few, can be bought unused and off-contract for half of what they were worth back in 2011, which is about as much as mid-rangers cost today. These former flagships are not bad devices at all given their relevant hardware specs and capabilities. However, things don't look as good on the software side of things. In fact,

major software updates for older phones take forever

or don't come at all, which can be frustrating. Don't believe us? Just ask an owner of the HTC ThunderBolt or LG Optimus 2X "superphone". Having up-to-date software running on your smartphone is important because that makes it more stable and adds certain features that improve the overall user experience – in Android's case, Google Now and Project Butter are two great examples.

Apple in this case is an exception as it provides its users with timely software updates. For example, the iPhone 4, which now runs iOS 6 despite being well over 2 years old. But in general, smartphone manufacturers rarely bother with updating devices they've released more than a year ago. Sure, there are quality custom ROMs available online – made by the online enthusiast communities for a broad range of handsets. Those not familiar with the matter are free to look up CyanogenMod and see what it's all about. However, not every user feels comfortable with altering their handset's software and voiding its warranty along the way.

On the other hand, online smartphone communities are a great source of information about dealing with a device's imperfections. The longer a given handset has been on the market, the more it has been studied and the more feedback about it has been provided by those who already own it. And it is safer to buy a smartphone that is known to be free of glitches, won't you agree?

Sadly, while a smartphone's software can be modified and upgraded, its hardware cannot. And

new phones often feature new technologies

that may come in handy. For example, we've started seeing 4G LTE connectivity present on a number of new mid-range smartphones, such as the US-bound LG Spirit 4G, Samsung Ativ Odyssey, or the HTC One SV, which is offered in many markets around the world. NFC is also a cool perk, which allows one to take advantage of contact-less payments, among other things.

What's your take on this, guys? Would you go with a flagship smartphone from last year, or you'd prefer buying a brand new handset model that costs the same? Cast your vote in our poll below and don't hesitate to share your opinion with us down in the comments!

An old flagship or a new mid-range: what smartphone would you buy?

Old is gold!
A new mid-range makes more sense



1. imsickwithsmartphone

Posts: 153; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

I rather buy nokia 3310, haha XD

22. zhiae unregistered

there is always a phone that will fit ur interests but you wont feel good if you said i wish :)

2. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

i prefer a newer version with the latest software ...not saying old versions are bad ,but when you got a choice , its always better to have the latest .....kind of like chosing between a old 3 series and a new 3 series bmw ...

12. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Cars would be a different thing...they become vintage after years. While 'Old is gold' indeed...i won't advice friends to buy something that came out 10 months ago. The rate at which mobile phones improve their insides and outsides, a mid ranger now will, almost, likely be able to hit the mark of a year old high-end device...and that with the latest OS, in this case i'm talking about Androids.

30. anshul0000 unregistered

galaxy s was better than galaxy s plus..galaxy s scores 28 pts in nenamark 2 while s plus gets only 15 pts..... s2 is better than s2 plus...exynos replaced by brodcomm

41. Nikolas.Oliver

Posts: 1574; Member since: Jul 01, 2012

if you want a former flagship model, buy iPhone, trust me, its software updates is amazing..

53. noim1

Posts: 297; Member since: May 15, 2012

Dont make me laugh !!! iOS software updates don't make any difference.....iOS 5 & 6 r the same thing .....HA HA , LOLZzzzZzzzZzz

43. xtremesv

Posts: 299; Member since: Oct 21, 2011

Following your analogy, I'd prefer a new 2010 BMW 6 series than a new 2013 BMW 3 series anytime.

52. squallz506

Posts: 1075; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

Older flagships have more accessories, developers, and manufacturer support than mid rangers that will be eol'd in six months. Just my $.02 And its not the same as an old and new 3 series. Were talking old flagship vs new midranger not old flagship vs new flagship.

54. noim1

Posts: 297; Member since: May 15, 2012

Yes Flagships will always get the full Dev community support...so no need to worry abt updates , we got the Dev's backing us Up here ....

3. Zarak

Posts: 23; Member since: May 21, 2012

Well obviously old is gold if you have a nexus device.

36. cezarepc

Posts: 718; Member since: Nov 23, 2012

IMO, aside from Nexus devices and from a software standpoint, only the GS2 is a true oldie but a goodie because of the massive dev support..

4. amansingal14

Posts: 309; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

My samsung galaxy s plus is no longer supported by cyanogenmod (post 10), and android 4.1 is the last spot it is going to, while the Old flagship, Samsung galaxy s is getting cyanogen mod 10.1

49. tusshharish

Posts: 342; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

depens upon harware,price,update ...etc. you can't say perfectly.......especiality it is very difficult in android...

59. OptimusOne

Posts: 694; Member since: May 22, 2012

there are unofficial ports too... my nexus one got kicked b4 ics, yet it is running cyanogenmod 10.1 perfectly posted from a nexus one running 4.2.1

5. dirtydirty00

Posts: 428; Member since: Jan 21, 2011

wheres the option for new high end?

6. PhoenixWright

Posts: 102; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

I'd like a sturdy Android phone manufactured by Nokia with A Pure View cam, with waterproof features like Sony's Xperia, with a huge Motorola's battery, and with Samsung's quick updates and great support.

7. wendygarett unregistered

Easy for you to say old is gold :( When a new device looks shiny and attractive, for sure you will easily brainwashed by marketing gimmick

8. johnriii

Posts: 248; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

considering I'm on a very tight budget, I will always look a smartphones that are not brand new, but less than a year old, with Specs that are relatively "future proof". I upgrade in July, so my target phones would be those that came out October 2012 or later. If I went by specs alone, the HTC DNA and the Samsung Note 2 far and away gives me the most bang for my buck. the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD is a distant third, but it is still definately on my list. Battery life is big for me, so the Note 2, based on my criteria, is tops on my list. The DNA gets negative marks due to lack of micro SD support, and questionable battery life, compared to the other two.

9. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

im still enjoy using my old 3250 and N86. of course because they're Nokia, their quality is like the first day i bought them.

38. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Nokia communicator 9300 still works as it did when i bought 7 years back despite having 3 terrible accidental drops. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_9300

10. daymler

Posts: 12; Member since: May 09, 2012

i have samsung galaxy nexus - old (2011) but god damn gold !! - cheap without contract, the most recent updates (even updates that some of the most recent high edge smartphones don't have), and all the new technologies that one user need (LTE(optional) and NFC for example) !! no doubt the best offer !! :)))

13. lallolu

Posts: 734; Member since: Sep 18, 2012

In specs, an old high end is equal or less than a new mid-range phone. Eg lg optimus 2x vs lg L9; Htc sensation vs HTC One S. Furthermore, their prices are usually very similar, so I believe it is much more sensible and future proof to buy a new mid-ranger.

14. henrickrw

Posts: 408; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Well, it all depends on the needs of each one. We must remember that not everyone can just get the latest flashgrip that comes out. I have pals that still use Samsung Galaxy I9000 & are very happy with it. It's a matter of need & money. I'm a hard player in this as recently I got myself a Note2 & Xperia Z but also have the S2,S3,S2 HD-LTE SHV-120L & the original Note (I need to sell the old units) hahaha But the oldies are still goodies.

16. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

I try grooming my constituents in keeping the mindset that today's mobile devices are the new PC era. It is important to purchase a device that has the most features that they can afford. Signing a two year jail sentence with a carrier, means that most individuals are stuck with their devices until then. Having a device with the utmost latest features(even if not fully mainstream), ensures that they will grow into the technology. John B.

17. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

my SE K610i is working good for me, they even last long than my iphone5..hahaha that's why its time to shift on the Z

18. alexzibrit

Posts: 67; Member since: Jan 15, 2013

Well Sense the Samsung Galaxy S2 has been downgraded to a mid-range phone, it is still at the top of that category so I'll say Old Is Gold

19. Captain_Doug

Posts: 1037; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

If you can buy an older phone that still has 1GB of ram, dual core processor, and good screen, you can probably throw on a rom(I have JB on my Dinc2) and last for another 6 months to a year. I say this because right now, there aren't any new phones I would jump on. However there may be in the future. the Moto X phone and the HTC One are catching my attention.

25. aokde

Posts: 186; Member since: Jul 09, 2012

Have you not heard about the new XPERIA Z?

50. Captain_Doug

Posts: 1037; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I'm not looking for a phablet.

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