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I was right there at the concept store of a particular carrier—no lines, no hassle, just waiting for the salesperson to assist me. I was an existing subscriber to the said carrier, and it was fairly easy to get a new contract so that I could get my hands on the Samsung Galaxy S4, and subsequently sell my Galaxy S III. I’ve wanted an unlimited data plan for a while now anyway, so this is the perfect opportunity. I told the salesperson what I wanted, so she went to get the necessary forms for my new contract. She also said I could get the new smartphone within that same hour.

I ended up not getting it. Read on, and I hope this piece will help you.

The S III Still Kicks Ass

After checking reviews, weighing my options, and crunching the numbers to see whether or not it was worth it to get a new contract, I stood in the carrier’s shop and my resolve melted away minute after minute. Incidentally, this happened right after I tested a demo S4 unit.

I held the fully-functional demo unit in one hand, and the S III in another. They’re virtually twins, except for the bigger screen and thinner bezels on the newer model. Plus, the demo was white (which looks really good, by the way, compared to the white S III), while mine was the titanium gray variant.

The thing is, when you compare these two phones side-by-side, there’s really nothing to blow you away, and the fact that the S4 is an incremental upgrade just becomes more pronounced. Both phones can still be your all-in-one gadget on-the-go—my S III works perfectly as a communications device, a media player, a makeshift scanner, a PBX extension, and even a mirror. The benefits of getting the S4 just didn’t seem so great to me the moment I realized that.

The Upgrade Itch

I’m not saying that the newer, bigger, and better Galaxy S4 isn’t worth the money. It is. If you’re up for a new contract under your old subscription plan, and you have the option to get the S4, go for it. The decision is, however, not as easy if you already own an S III or another flagship phone, be it from last year or this year. Most probably, this is the same conundrum that is faced by people who are looking for an unlocked phone. Postpaid subscribers who are only halfway through their respective 2-year contracts would do well to wait for next year.

It’s not easy to ignore the upgrade itch. Phones are getting relatively cheaper even as they get more powerful; and today’s unlimited data bundles are also becoming more attractive. The key is to think about your needs and daily requirements, then make a decision based on the option that gives you the most value. In my case, I gave in to the itch for a while but managed to fend it off at the last second and say no to the new phone.

It’s always a case-to-case thing when it comes to getting new smartphones off contracts, although I do think many people have had a similar experience to mine. Unless you’re someone who absolutely must have the latest and greatest model at all times, you’re better off holding on to your current smartphone—as long as it still serves you well and provides the kind of performance you require day in and day out.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a great device in and of itself, but the S III is also a capable performer. It’s only been a year since it was regarded as the cream of the crop as far as Android flagships go, and it’s still right up there with the S4 in terms of specs and performance. If you own one, it would be better to wait for the next batch of flagship phones before upgrading.