Why Wait? The Pros and Cons of Buying a New Launch

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on November 9, 2015, Buying Guides

A newly launched phone is pretty exciting, as anyone in the line outside a mobile operator on the day the new iPhone release is due will tell you. A new launch generally means a new, top of the line phone, with new tech, new specs, and powerful performance. But should you really buy that phone on the day that it’s launched? Or should you hold off and bide your time? We’re taking a look at the pros and cons of getting that phone immediately, and why it might be better to have a little patience…

Why a New Launch is a Big Deal

First, let’s talk a little about marketing. The big launches that we see each year (which in the past few years have been the new iPhone and the new Samsung Galaxy), are engineered simply to sell phones. That makes sense. Manufacturers want to make money, and so they hold launch events and huge marketing campaigns to persuade you that this new phone is the one that you should buy. In itself that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A new launch can be very desirable. But it’s worth keeping in mind that you don’t need to believe everything you see or hear, or even read.

Why a New Launch Can Be Good

There are some great reasons why you might want to buy a newly launched phone. Maybe your contract is about to expire, and you’ll get that new phone as an incentive on a new contract. Maybe you really DO need those top end specs, particularly if you’re a power user that frequently needs to perform multiple, high end tasks on a mobile. Maybe you’re just fashion conscious, and want a phone that looks great. All those are fine reasons to invest in a new launch.

You might also want to consider the ability to get your hands on a phone as well. Though things have been better of late, there have been cases in the past of new launches (especially iPhones) selling out pretty much as soon as they go on sale, meaning anyone who didn’t buy one immediately had to wait. And speaking of waiting, getting that new launch doesn’t necessarily mean standing in line anymore, since most operators take pre-orders for big new launches.

But, and there has to be a but, you might benefit by holding your horses and waiting for a few weeks, or even months before getting that much wanted mobile. Why? A bunch of reasons.

Consumer Testing

Probably the main, technological reason, that you should wait is the question of testing. Yes, mobiles are factory tested, and even go through a small-scale consumer test before they launch. However, there’s no test quite like hundreds of thousands of consumers using their phones day after day. And no, we’re not being over cautious here, it’s perfectly normal that a new launch has faults, and is standard practise that manufacturers begin offering software updates (and even occasionally hardware updates) a couple of weeks after a launch. Why? Because they just don’t know what the flaws in a phone are until there are lots of consumers using it. By waiting, you can avoid these problems yourself and let others do the testing.

Prices

Another reason that you might want to wait, and a reason that’s close to most customer’s hearts, is that of pricing. A new launch is expensive. Most models will drop in price within about three months or so of being on the market (with the exception of iPhones, which tend to retain their current price until the next year’s launch). Waiting a while could end up saving you a lot of money on a new phone.

And we’re not just talking base price either. As time goes on after a launch, mobile operator deals get better and better too. And this goes for iPhones as well as other models. Sure, the base price of a hand set might not change, but the offer you’ll get from an operator will, whether that means a larger calling plan with more data, texts or messages, or a free gift. Waiting will get you more bang for your buck.

Contracts

Yet another good reason to wait is because of your phone contract. Whilst it’s not always true, you generally end up saving a little by getting a phone as part of a mobile contract. And even if you don’t, you do get the convenience of paying for that phone in instalments, rather than having to shell out hundreds of pounds all in one go. So it is worth checking out your mobile operator contract before buying a new launch.

If you’re contract has ended, then go ahead and buy. If it’s close to ending, then wait a few weeks until you can sign a new contract. If it’s a new contract already, well, then you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons of spending a lot of money on a new phone as opposed to the one you may have already got (and will still be paying for) on your mobile contract.

It Just Might Not Be Good!

Finally, and coming back to the idea of marketing, there is every chance that this great new launch might not be that great. A new iPhone or Galaxy sounds good, and the marketing campaign is certainly going to tell you that it’s good, but that doesn’t mean that it is. In most cases this isn’t necessarily that the model is terrible, it’s more that the model just isn’t that big a step up from a previous one (case in point: the iPhone 5S vs. the iPhone 5, or the Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. the Samsung Galaxy S5). By waiting you get real consumer opinions, rather than the opinions of a biased marketing campaign, or reviews by tech journalists who have spent minutes with the hand set.

In Conclusion: Bide Your Time

Yes, that new launch is exciting, we’re all in agreement on that. And there are a few reasons why you might want to be first in line (or first signed up) to get one. But for most people, most of the time, waiting is going to be your best plan. If it’s the techie side that bothers you, then wait at least a couple of weeks for real reviews and feedback to filter in. If it’s the financial side that worries you, then waiting three months, or at least until your current mobile contract ends, will probably end up saving you cash!