Despite the fact that I myself am a supporter of a rational approach in all spheres of life, sometimes all my rationalism disappears somewhere, and only instincts come to replace it. Most often this happens at the time of the release of new smartphones. The last time I got the upper hand was consumerism this spring, when Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S20 Ultra. At first, although I was rather skeptical of him, at some point I even tried to convince myself that buying it would be a logical investment in this difficult time. But, having thought about it well, I realized that buying a flagship in the year of its release is the biggest mistake.
Sometimes buying an old flagship is really better than a new one
Snapdragon 855 and 865: which processor is more powerful
I suggest starting with performance, since it is for many that is synonymous with the flagship. Despite the fact that every year manufacturers increase the computing power of their smartphones, practice shows that the difference between two models that come out with a difference of one year is often, if not absent in principle, then reduced to a minimum.
The performance of processors, between which there is only a year difference, is almost identical
Let's compare the Snapdragon 855 and Snapdragon 865 processors that were introduced in flagship smartphones running Android in 2019 and 2020, respectively. According to the Geekbench benchmark, the Snapdragon 855 in a single-core test is only 17% weaker than the Snapdragon 865. In a multi-core test, the situation is slightly better: in this case, the spread is already 27%.
However, if we compare the Snapdragon 855+, which is an improved version of the Snapdragon 855, the difference in performance between it and the Snapdragon 865 will be only 4% in single-core and 1% in multi-core tests, respectively. An insignificant difference, if you think about it. Yes, this can even be attributed to a statistical error, for which it is clearly not worth overpaying. So if you're looking for last year's flagship, grab something on the Snapdragon 855+.
Why the Galaxy S10 is better than the Galaxy S20
Today, manufacturers are very actively getting rid of everything they think is unnecessary in their new smartphones. For example, it was as part of this initiative that Samsung got rid of the mini-jack in the Galaxy S20, which was still in the Galaxy S10 last year, made the display of the new item flat, and also abandoned the full telephoto lens in all models of the current generation, except for the S20 Ultra.
The Galaxy S10 also has a mini-jack, telephoto lens and curved edges on the display. Galaxy S20 doesn't
Other manufacturers also have similar mistakes. For example, Xiaomi for some reason abandoned the hardware face scanner in Xiaomi Mi 9, although in Xiaomi Mi 8 it was and liked many users. Yes, Mi 8 was released in 2018, but this does not in the least change the fact that often newer devices turn out to be much less attractive in some aspects than their predecessors.
Don't think that I recommend always preferring the older model to the newer one. On the contrary, I am calling for a rational approach when choosing a new smartphone. It's just that sometimes you really can run into a situation when the device of the last year is in many ways more interesting than the current one.
How many smartphones are updated
In the case of updates, the scales will always tilt towards the flagships of the current generation, at least because of the timing. After all, a new smartphone will always be updated one year longer than the old one, because the period for updating smartphones recommended by Google itself should be at least three years, of which two years they receive both security patches and new versions Android, and for the third – only security patches. However, here we need to understand what we are missing in practice, buying last year's device.
Updates are undoubtedly valuable, but I would not overpay a lot for them
The current flagship will receive one version Android and 12 more security updates than its predecessor. On the one hand, this is a very valuable advantage of new products, especially since at Android the situation with updates in general is frankly weak. However, I would advise you to pay attention to the price. If last year's model costs significantly less, figure it out for yourself which is more important to you – to save money or extend support for your device.
Buy a smartphone at a discount
Price is an equally important aspect when choosing a new smartphone, even if the applicant for the purchase is far from being called truly new. Therefore, before paying for a new thing, compare the prices, because often last year's flagship may be 30 or even 40% cheaper than the flagship of the current generation. In any case, this is usually the case with Samsung devices.
Galaxy S10 is 25k cheaper than S20
Let's take official retail as a guide. Now in 'M.video' Galaxy S10 can be bought for 47,990 rubles with the opportunity to receive an additional 5% discount when paying online. As a result, a little more than 45 thousand rubles will be released. Yes, it says that such a price is valid only if you participate in the trade-in program, but if you add the device to the basket, you will see that you can get a discount without giving anything at all.
But the Galaxy S20 in the basic configuration in the same 'M. Video' costs 69,990 rubles, that is, the difference between them is almost 25 thousand rubles. In my opinion, this is quite a lot, and no one year of updates will make me overpay that amount. If you wish, you can browse the market and compare prices for those devices from which you choose your future smartphone. I am sure that with due diligence and care you will also find something similar and you can save several thousand, and maybe even tens of thousands of rubles.