Last year's phones are still worth it

Last year's phones are still worth it

It is almost the end of 2013 is almost close to the end and we've already seen some great smartphone releases, from the Samsung Galaxy S4 to the iPhone 5s to the Sony Xperia Z1. By 2014, these phones will be replaced with better, faster, more powerful and more beautiful phones.

Here's the reality we live in: smartphones evolve so quickly, it won't be long before the device you bought today will become inferior to newer models with better design, performance and features.

However, these have mainly been incremental upgrades over the recent years, and the jumps each year are becoming smaller and smaller.

The good news is that smartphone hardware and software have improved drastically since 2012, with faster and efficient performance, super reliable Internet connection, amazing screen clarity and resolution and decent camera with last year's phones.

In fact, we'd still be perfectly fine if none of the manufacturers produce new phones at all this year.

If we could all stop caring for what's under the hood to justify our purchase, we'd appreciate last year's offerings more.

Last year's flagship gems are also a great choice for those on a tight budgetright now, so you're not at all stuck with mid-tier or low end options. Flagship phones are designed with the highest quality, so even if they're a year old, they're still built to last.

Here are just some of last year's gems that still offer great value and aren't technically obsolete yet. If you happen to own one of these right now, there's really no need for you to upgrade at all this year.

Apple iPhone 5

Though the new iPhone 5s rocks a more powerful processor and a much improved camera system than its predecessor, the original iPhone 5 is still a great phone.

Don't think so? Apple released the iPhone 5c last month to prove it.

The iPhone 5c is technically iPhone 5 in a new shell. That's not entirely a bad thing; Apple is still trying to convince us that last year's iPhone 5 specs can still hold itself today.

If the 5c's polycarbonate exterior isn't your cup of tea, you'll be far more satisfied with the more premium feel of the iPhone 5's all-metal construction for much less than the iPhone 5s.

Despite being a year old, the iPhone 5 performs admirably well. Its A6 processor is super fast; the 8-megapixel camera still takes great-looking photos in good lighting; you can shoot full HD 1080p videos; and there's 4G connectivity.

You'll also get a kick out of iOS7, which comes as a free update, so the iPhone 5 will remain fresh for at least another year or two.

Nexus 4

While the Nexus 5 is set to launch this week, the Nexus 4 is still worth getting even though it's been out for almost a year.

The Nexus 4 was released in Q4 of 2012 to showcase Google's Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system, which is by far the best and the most stable version of Android ever released.

It is the best option if you want pure Google android experience. Pure android means no bloatware from vendors such as Samsung or HTC.

You'll also get the next major Android OS update from Google before any other non-Nexus Android phones released this year.

Designed by LG, the Nexus 4's hardware has all the chops for being a high end Android phone; good build quality, elegant design, a great screen with a curved glass profile (a nice touch for easier swiping), and a speedy quad core Snapdragon processor under the hood.

Despite being high end, The Nexus 4 has a cheaper price tag than any other premium Android phones released last year.

And as Google is set to release the next Nexus, the company has made the unlocked Nexus 4 even more affordable by slashing its price down a considerable amount, making it even more desirable to those looking for great value for money.

Many say that the Nexus is a phone for geeks, but the Nexus 4, with Android Jelly Bean's simplicity, is actually more usable for just about anyone.

The only problem is that the Nexus 4 has become a rare item. Since its release, it has been too difficult to find a vendor that sells them here in Brunei.

With the recent price cut that attracted a lot of buyers and Google's decision to discontinue Nexus 4 production, it's going to be even more difficult to find it.

Samsung Galaxy S3

The Samsung Galaxy S3 was one of the hottest Android handsets last year and was the first Android device that gave Apple's iPhone a tough run for its money.

Most vendors still sell them today at mid-tier price point, but the Galaxy S3 is no mid-tier phone.

You can get a 4G variant for just under $600 and you still get a quad-core processor, Super AMOLED display, expandable memory via microSD card, removable battery and some of the nice Touchwiz features found on the Galaxy S4 via a software update.

This year we're seeing a lot of high end smartphones going for larger displays at 5-inches and beyond, so you'll be pretty comfortable with the more pocketable Galaxy S3, which sits at the sweet spot of 4.8-inches.

The display isn't a Full HD 1080p display, but its 720x1280p display is still sharp.

Even though it's been superseded by the Galaxy S4, the S3 is still a great alternative to those who want a Samsung flagship phone but on a budget constraint.

The views expressed by the author are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Brunei Times.

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