Make no mistake, I’m a Nexus fan. I’ve owned every Nexus smartphone to date. I’ve passed up many of the “flagship” models from other OEMs, opting instead to stick with “older” technology. Put another way, I’m usually 6-months out-of-date when it comes to the “latest and greatest” smartphone because I’m not jumping to LG, HTC, Samsung, or Sony‘s newest phone. With the typical contract cycle being two years in these United States, I thought using a phone for one year would be the norm. Imagine my surprise when I learned that many of you are abandoning your flagship phone so you can switch to a Nexus 5.

I’m Joe the Android Guy™, people ask me Android-related questions all day, everyday. Their most common question? “What phone should I buy?” During a recent episode of Pocketnow Live we heard from a lot of viewers who owned an HTC One or similar “flagship” phone, and were jumping ship over to the Nexus 5. This struck me as odd. Generally people want to “upgrade” from an older phone to a newer one, not moving laterally from one flagship to another.

What phone should I buy?

I try to answer this question with a series of questions, the first is usually “what phone do you have now?” followed by “do you like it?” Many times the reason a person wants a new phone isn’t because they want an new phone. I know, that sounds crazy, right? Instead, the person “wants a new phone” simply because they don’t like their old phone — and want to change.

It's a trap!

Finding out what they don’t like about their old device is the key to making sure you understand what to recommend. Phones are like people: they’re all different. Matching the person to the phone is key. You can’t simply say “you should buy this phone” or “you don’t want that phone”. Well, you could — but you shouldn’t. Providing canned responses to these types of questions will often result in dissatisfaction — and possibly put a strain on your friendship. Don’t fall into that trap!

Go with a flagship

Each major manufacturer makes a “flagship” device. Then they make variations on that flagship, but none of the variants ever live up to the original. This should make your decision-making process significantly easier. Instead of selecting from dozens of phones, now you’re down to four or five.

Kessel Run
You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon? It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs!

With that few devices to choose from, selecting the one that’s right for you is just a matter of personal preference. Weight those that have features you like higher than those that don’t. Similarly, subtract points from phones that have things you don’t like about them. Sometimes the features will outweigh the drawbacks, but other times they won’t. One person might want a phone with a big battery, another might want one that can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. It’s okay to “settle” on one over another if the pros outnumber the cons.

However, if you consider a variant of a flagship (or one that is named to give you that impression) you’re likely getting into the realm of carrier and OEM compromises that will often leave you frustrated and disappointed. Remember, it’s okay for you to compromise, but you shouldn’t be forced to accept someone else’s compromise — especially if doing so ropes you to a two year contract!

Many who are abandoning “yesterday’s flagship” phones for a Nexus 5 are those who skipped the Nexus 4 (for various reasons), and now want to get back into the Nexus fold. For these people there may be Google Play edition phones that could have been a better choice than their OEM edition, but not every OEM or carrier has signed on to the GPe bandwagon — not yet anyway.

What about you?

Do you have a flagship phone? What is it? Are you happy with it? If not, why? Are you planning on switching (or have you already switched) to the Nexus 5? Do you fit in with the reasons I outlined above? Was I way off? Head down to the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Are you considering switching to another phone? Make sure you’ve spent some time looking through our smartphone reviews! Don’t agree with our conclusions? Perhaps you’ll side with our Review Rebuttals. Wondering how that device will work for you in the long run? Check out our After the Buzz series!

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