Question Purchase advice needed when I replace my Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in a Future Upgrade


Feb 2, 2021
I purchased my mid-capacity Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G smartphone in the USA with my local Verizon carrier in early June of 2021. I also purchased a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Smartwatch in late November of 2021 from My smartphone was purchased through Verizon on a 2-year contract and it expires in June of 20203. Recently, I created a new Google account and started fresh with both Google and Android products and services. This included factory resetting and starting fresh with both my smartphone and smartwatch. I do my best to maintain both the smartphone and smartwatch both on the hardware and software sides to hopefully extend their useful lives. I make it a habit to dust and clean the bodies of both devices and their protective cases. With my smartphone, I use a CCleaner app for cleaning and removing useless data and disabling apps that I am not using from running in the background to free up storage space, processing power, and extend battery life. I use a mobile anti-virus program from Trend Micro, an anti-virus service provider that has served me well for years. I am not much of photo or video taker, but after I am done taking photos or video with my smartphone, I transfer them to my computer or delete them when no longer needed to free up space. I also make it a habit to close apps when I am done using them. So overall, long-term, I do not believe storage space or processing resources will be an issue. Battery life, I can't say for sure but I try to keep my smartphone properly charged.

There was an article that I just read discussing about Samsung and Android extending service and support for both the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S22 smartphone lineups. The link to the article is here:

Now, I am aware that Verizon, AT&T, and possibly T-Mobile have ditched their 2-year contracts in favor of 3-year contracts. Throughout my 15 or so years of using smartphones, I have stuck with 2-year contracts. As a way to save money and also because smartphone improvements are generally incremental, I preferred to go with the previous year smartphone (e.g. Samsung Galaxy S5 instead of S6). My only reasoning for going with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which was part of the newest smartphone generation at the time of purchase, was because of my uncertainties about the global chip shortage and its impact in many technology industries over the long term. I felt going with the S21 Ultra would provide at least one additional year of usefulness if the chip shortage was still problematic. Under normal circumstances, I might have instead gone with the Samsung Galaxy S20 smartphone. I don't always feel it is necessary to go with the latest and greatest smartphone, but I also do not like to wait until I absolutely have to replace my smartphone. I prefer to keep a reasonable pace in smartphone upgrade cycles and technology and upgrade to a newer smartphone while my previous smartphone is toward the end, but still within my smartphone manufacturer's, phone carrier's, and operating system developer's (e.g. Android and Apple) coverage in terms of software updates, app support, security and anti-virus, and servicing. In past experience, it was around the 3-year mark that I started having issues with smartphone apps not working properly and/or other software functions acting up. Before, I was not aware of the existence of apps such as the ones I previously mentioned used for maintenance, security, and antivirus. Regardless of whether or not the mentioned maintenance steps help extend the life and usefulness of my smartphone and smartwatch, for me, I feel the maximum amount of time that I am comfortable with using the same smartphone and its associated devices before upgrading is no more than 3 years due to my concerns with app, operating system, and security updates and compatibility and my wish for apps such as the Brave browser, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Spotify, and Google Assistant to continue working properly.

As mentioned earlier, my current contract on my Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra smartphone with Verizon expires in June of 2023 so I would be eligible to upgrade shortly after the Samsung Galaxy S23 (or whatever they call the successor to the Samsung Galaxy S22) is released. I am considering extending the use of my S21 Ultra to no more than one year after my contract expires, but I would like to have some input to help me make my decision. As far as I am aware, I may not be able to pre-order the Galaxy S23 before its release to save money, due to the stated expiration date of my contract and the additional fee that I would have to pay to end my contract early. I also know that it is not always best price-wise to buy a new flagship smartphone just after it is released. I also intend to wait at least until the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 (or whatever is the successor to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5) to replace both my S21 Ultra and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 smartwatch. Now I am considering two possible routes when I get ready to replace both my current smartphone and smartwatch. The first route that I am considering is waiting until the Samsung Galaxy S24 smartphone is released (or whatever the flagship Galaxy S smartphone may be called at that point) in the early spring or summer of 2024 and either get the Active Watch 6 (either through my carrier or a retailer such as Amazon) when I get the new smartphone or wait 5 or 6 months and purchase the Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 (or whatever the Samsung smartwatch may be called at that point). The other route that I am considering is waiting until Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or near the Christmas holidays of 2023 and purchase both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy Watch 6, if there is a good pricing deal on both products along with a discount trading in my existing smartphone.

However, I am not very familiar with all of the smartphone release cycles, holidays or other points of the year when good smartphone and associated device deals may occur and how long those devices may be supported in terms of apps, operating systems, security, and service. I would like to make sure that both my smartphone and smartwatch that I purchase will perform their tasks properly and reliably, through proper maintenance, such as running the various apps, receiving app and operating system updates, and performing and receiving anti-virus and security processes and updates. Under the circumstances mentioned with the phone carriers like the 3-year contract, would I be better off going with a current generation flagship smartphone and/or smartwatch just after they are released or should I still be good if I wait toward the end of their release cycles such as Black Friday or Christmas to purchase the current generation smartphone and/or smartwatch or get them after their successors are released the following year? Would Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Christmas be good times to look at a replacement smartphone and smartwatch or are there other points in the year that I should consider? Would I be better off purchasing an unlocked smartwatch and smartphone of my choosing from a retailer such as Amazon or Walmart and use either the previous year models for 2 years or the current year models for 3 years with a carrier of my choosing? Do the unlocked smartphone and smartwatch purchases also include 2 or 3 year monthly installment plans? Do you have any other suggestions or advice that I might consider?

Thanks in advance.
An S21 will still be a good phone for quite a few years.

Best "smart" pick is to get a higher end phone from maybe 2 generations before. They are cheaper, still good hardware, not hard to find and can be had for a low monthly cost from a carrier. I got a Motorola Z4 which was a $600 phone when new for about $250 with a two year payment from Verizon, purchased through Best Buy.