The recent launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4, and the excitement surrounding it, has got me thinking about the way that people choose a new phone. I have bought dozens of handsets over the years, ranging from very simple feature phones to the latest smartphones, and I have to wonder how many of them were bought just because of a flashy commercial. Though it pains me to admit it, the answer is probably too many.
Samsung has recently been announced as the biggest smartphone company in the world, probably largely due to the massive success of the Galaxy range of handsets. I would be the first to admit that the Galaxy S3 is one of the best phones I have ever owned, but should that outweigh all other considerations when I go looking for an upgrade? I have been disappointed before when buying the latest handset, even though the model that came before was great.
These days I always try to follow three simple rules when looking for a new phone:
1. Wait. I never, ever, buy a new handset on launch day, no matter how much hype surrounds it or how much my gut tells me it will be brilliant. It is not unusual for phones to be launched with small but annoying bugs and problems. Buy a handset on day one and you won't have chance to learn about these.
2. Read. There will certainly be previews, and even some reviews, available for a phone before it is launched, but not usually enough to make an educated decision. I have had friends ask me if they should buy a particular smartphone because it has a micro SIM card, like that makes a difference to what the phone can do. Wait for a few days and there will be hundreds of reviews available, both online and in print. Read as many as you can, from a variety of sources, and learn about the phone before you make your choice.
3. Think. Although that may sound like obvious advice, when I say think, I mean really think about what you want from a new phone. Do you want it because it just because it is new or because your mates are all getting one? The Galaxy S4 might sound amazing, but the multi-core processor, 4G capability and S-Beam are overkill if all you ever do is make calls, send SMS messages and play the odd game of Bejewelled.