What phone shoud I buy? When smartphones first came out, I was hesitant to plunk down tens of thousands for something that hasn’t been totally proven yet. This was the era of Samsung Galaxy S1 and S2 and I was still solid Nokia forever. Technology was improving so fast, and the Android operating system was also evolving rapidly.
BEFORE I BOUGHT A FLAGSHIP PHONE
Note: This is my personal story of how I eventually came to see the value of getting flagship or flagship-equivalent phones. I am just sharing why I find it to be the better deal. Whatever phone you buy is still your decision, so just take this as me sharing my experience. 🙂
At the time, I started buying mid-range smartphones instead. My first smartphone was actually a mid-range Cherry Mobile. It was cheap and terrible. But I was still learning to use smartphones and exploring what was possible with Android. It just didn’t make sense to spend big money on something that I didn’t even know anything about. What if I bought the wrong thing? What if it was missing some feature that I realized that I needed? So buying that Cherry Mobile phone let me learn all that I needed to know about using a smartphone without spending a big amount.
So, what did I learn from buying a cheap smartphone? You get what you pay for. They have to cut corners somewhere to get the price that low. Typical problems that I have encountered with cheapies are very low RAM, poor battery life, bad screen, horrible speaker, weak wifi. It was a starter phone, kind of like the clunker you drive when you first start driving because you’re worried you’ll damage a nicer car.
I sold it within 4 months.
After that experience, I moved on to mid-range smartphones from Samsung. These were in the P10,000 – P15,000 range. While I liked my mid-range Samsungs – the wifi was good, voice calls sounded good, speakers were passable, etc… I found myself wanting to upgrade just a few months later. They were mid-range phones, so the RAM was always low. The lack of RAM and resulting slow performance became a typical problem for me with mid-range smartphones. Apps would crash. I always had to “clean” the RAM and delete non-essential apps. And sometimes the newer apps would not run on the mid-range phones because the phones have become obsolete and there are no more updates from the manufacturer. Camera is also not so great. Not as bad as the cheapie, and good enough when shooting in bright areas, but poor when shooting indoor photos.
WHY CHOOSE A FLAGSHIP PHONE?
When the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 came out, I figured it was finally time to get a really nice phone that was the best at the time – this was the “flagship” phone for the Galaxy Note phablet line. Android was already on Jelly Bean and seemed to have reached a critical point where things are already stable, and future improvements only seemed incremental. Of course, I waited a few months after launch for the price to go down a little before buying. 😀
Finally using a flagship phone was a much, much better experience than using all my previous phones! I need a phone that can keep up with all the social media apps I need to have running on my phone: Facebook, FB Messenger, Instagram, Viber, WeChat, Waze, Twitter, various email apps, and so many others. This is a big reason why I need a flagship-level phone. Mid-range phones just can’t, they bog down.
I also need a phone that can take great pictures even in low light, and I need a phone that is dual SIM.
FLAGSHIPS HAVE BETTER PERFORMANCE
Flagships will definitely have better performance! They are the best phones at the time, the brand’s pride and joy. You will enjoy the best phone performance available at the time, and enjoy that kind of performance for a longer time, because…
FLAGSHIPS DO NOT BECOME OBSOLETE AS FAST, AND CAN BE USED FOR A LONGER TIME
Since a flagship phone is the top of the line at the time, the specs are the much better – the RAM is bigger, the processor faster, the storage bigger. Chances are high than even 1-2 years later, the higher-end processor on your flagship will still be able to keep up with the latest phones.
I have actually used my Galaxy Note II for about 4 years! If you think about it, it’s like I only spent P5,500 per year on my phone (P22,000 buying price divided by 4 years). I was also able to sell my Note 2 for a good price in Greenhills because I still had all my accessories, box, manuals, and receipt showing that I am the first owner. That’s also some of the money I used to buy the phone returned to me as well (bumalik ang pera). Flagship phones have a better resale value than mid-range phones.
To be honest, I checked out the Note 3 and the Note 4 when they came out, but the improvements were just superficial imho, so I didn’t think it was worth the upgrade.
FLAGSHIPS HAVE MORE BELLS & WHISTLES
Flagships usually have some additional features that mid-range phones do not. It could be something like a good fingerprint scanner, NFC, gesture control, etc… You can do more with your flagship phone.
With the Note 2, I found the stylus really handy, especially when writing notes or encircling areas in a picture that need attention.
FLAGSHIPS HAVE MORE SUPPORT
Manufacturers tend to provide more support for their flagship phones. If there are new versions of Android, the manufacturer will most likely provide software updates.
Flagship phones are also more compatible with other devices and apps. There’s a higher chance that your other gadgets will be compatible with your flagship phone than with mid-range phones. Fitness trackers, bluetooth mics, speakers, etc… screen mirroring and Miracast with smart TVs – it’s more likely that your flagship is compatible.
Mid-range phones getting good support is very rare.
BUYING A FLAGSHIP ACTUALLY SAVES ME TIME & MONEY
Before I went flagship, I usually wanted to upgrade my phone every few months. That’s what, P10,000 – P15,000 every few months? I would also spend so much time watching and reading reviews on phones that I am considering to buy next. I spent so much time on gsmarena.com!
After having a flagship phone, I just didn’t feel the need to upgrade anymore. I mean, upgrade to what, right? I already have the best! 🙂 It still met all my needs, it wasn’t obsolete (yet) and I was content. No more wasting time reading and watching reviews!
So after 4 years, it was time to upgrade. Can you believe it lasted 4 years of use? The only problem it had was actually the battery, and if I just bought a new battery, the phone would still be perfectly usable. But it’s been 4 years and it was starting to get obsolete. I also felt like for what I paid for it when I bought it, I already got my money’s worth (bawing bawi na).
For my next phone, I chose to get a Huawei P9 because of the good phone camera and for the dual SIM! I was having a difficult time with my Note 2 because it wasn’t a dual SIM, and Dual SIM flagships were rarely available. I was able to try out the Huawei P9 for smartphone photography and I blown away by the photos the camera took.
The Huawei P10 has already come out, but I’m still very happy with my P9 that I have been using since September 2016. If there is one thing the P10 has that I want, it is the camera image stabilization that prevents videos from being shaky. But that’s not that big of a reason for me to upgrade, yet. I expect that the Huawei P9 will serve me well for at least 2 years or longer. #OO
Guys, let me know if you want a Huawei P9 review!
WHAT PHONE SHOULD I BUY? HOW TO PICK YOUR NEXT PHONE
Sometimes picking your next phone can be a bit difficult, and often, you have to make compromises. For example, having a microSD card slot is a must for me, but the Huawei P9 didn’t have a dedicated microSD card slot. I had to make do with the internal 32GB memory because I really needed the dual SIM feature.
What features are really important to you? For me, it was a really good camera and dual SIM functionality. Having a microSD card slot was also important but I had to sacrifice that.
For some people, they need really good battery life. For others, good, fast, reliable phone performance is what they are looking for, like a fast processor, lots of RAM. If you have other gadgets that you need your phone to be compatible with, that’s also a consideration: like Bluetooth, Screen Mirroring / Miracast, etc…
What features can you live without? For me, I would say, NFC. It was cool but I just never used it in daily life. I also liked Touchwiz, I am already used to the shortcuts, but I can live without it. The stylus – it’s useful during the times I needed it, but I rarely used it, so I can live without it.
Make a list of the features you are looking for so you can weed out phone models that don’t fit your needs. Use gsmarena.com’s phone finder to help you narrow down your choices.
What price range is acceptable to you? Flagship phones are going to be more expensive, that’s expected. How much is still a reasonable amount that you would be okay with, and how much would you consider the price to be ridiculous?
Make sure you pick a good quality phone. Go for brands that have good reputations for making quality products. Pick brands that are known for providing support like software updates, etc… Pick brands whose accessories like phone batteries, cases, etc… are easily available.
Generally, prices are high when the phone model just launched. If it’s a hot item, the price is going to be much higher, especially when it’s not yet available in the Philippines. Remember when the P20,000+ iPhones were being sold in the gray market for around P40,000 just because they were not yet officially available in the Philippines?
If you really want the phone right away, you can go ahead and buy it. It’s your money and you can do what you want with it.
If I really wanted or needed the phone right away, for example, if my old phone died and I need a replacement ASAP, I would probably buy it.
But if it’s not an urgent upgrade, and if I wasn’t in any hurry to upgrade, I tend to wait for a few months for the price to come down a little. It depends on how hot the phone is, but generally, the price comes down after a few months, especially in Greenhills. Also, a better model might come out! Use this time to save up for the big purchase.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for deals! Sometimes phone companies have discounts and promos to push the phone after the initial hype during the phone launch has died down.
Should you get a postpaid plan that includes the phone you want? I don’t. Every time I do the math, lugi. First, the plans are usually too high for my monthly mobile needs, and, Second, the installment price is calculated using the high launch price. You’ll end up paying more when you add it all up than if you just bought the phone from Kimstore or Greenhills a few months later. Only get this plan if you really really want the phone right away, are willing to pay installment and are willing to shoulder the added costs.
Sometimes the phone price drops as well when a newer model comes out. But that usually takes a year! I don’t recommend waiting for a year before buying your phone. It’s on its way to becoming obsolete by then and you might not get as much use out of it. Instead of 4 years, you might use it only for 2-3 years before you start to feel that it’s obsolete. Unless the price drop is very big, it’s often not worth waiting a year just for the price to drop a couple thousand pesos.
These are the main reasons why I am choosing flagship phones now – it’s more expensive at first, but in the long run, it’s just the better deal, in my opinion.
Again, choose whatever phone you want, okay? This is my personal opinion and why I eventually came to the conclusion that getting flagship or flagship-equivalent phones is the better deal for my needs.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!