Buy a new mid-range phone, or last year’s flagship? Twitter responds!

It’s a common debate for savvy shoppers looking to buy their next phone. Should you buy a new, less expensive phone, or should you buy a flagship phone from the year before. Opening up this question on Twitter over the weekend, I got some excellent response from people, bringing up numerous ideas to consider.

Overwhelmingly, people responding seemed to side with buying a year-old flagship:

Not to mention that even a six month old phone from the same year might be a bargain:

Several folks brought up features which might make mid-rangers the better option in general:

And of course not all companies support their phones equally:

It should be mentioned though that not all phone model years are equally improved. Some people had concerns about the 2015 year of Qualcomm chipsets:

There’s a demographic of folks looking to maximize their tech and entertainment dollars. This debate hits home in a number of ways, where some people might value pure processing power, and lifestyle features like enhanced water resistance or flashier design. Other people might be looking for better run time from lower power chipsets.

Many commenters replied with an “it depends”, which is the only correct answer when it comes to thinking about how to spend your money. While this debate online largely focused on Android handsets, several people mentioned using older iPhones, an idea resonating recently with guys like Steve Wozniak commenting on Apple gadget evolution. Especially present at a time where Apple is currently stocking three generations of iPhone in four different form factors.

A current year flagship might not represent enough improvement to justify the additional cost of “new”, against a phone which is often less than a year old. A phone built specifically to hit a lower price point often represents compromises, but can bring a few advantages over more powerful kit. As always, this is a terrific problem to have that from 2016 to 2018, we’ve seen great progress in design, horsepower, and battery life at all price tiers. Consumer choice and competition are key, even if it can be a bit overwhelming for some consumers.