Smartphones: Prefer a contract or no contract?

If you had the choice between a two year contract and the latest, best smartphone for a small fee vs. no contract and a limited selection, what would you choose?

Which is the better value to you and why? Want to stay up to date on mobile technology? Prefer contract smartphones because the carrier offers you better coverage? Dislike contract phones because the realized coverage is not as good in your area as advertised? Having issues with data limits?

Prefer no contract smartphones because of flexibility, price, and/or value? Prefer no contract smartphones because of no data limits? Dislike no contact smartphones because of inconsistent speed?

Whatever your reason, there are reasons to like one over the other. What is your reason? Let us know.