Why I won’t be buying the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+
… and the reason why I will stick to using my iPhone 6S Plus for now
Before I start, let me assure you that I do not have anything against Samsung and I am not an Apple fanboy. My views of the 2017 flagship device from the Korean giant are based on the reviews that I have read and the time that I have spent using this device.
Everyone’s praising the latest and the greatest device from Samsung to have a jaw-dropping infinity screen and a solid build quality and I do not disagree. The device looks stunning. In fact, stunning, gorgeous all these words would be an under-statement. You need to actually hold the device in your hands to get the feel of the uber premium product and take some time to let the feeling seep within you.
Samsung has ensured to get rid of the gimmicks this time like the irritating water droplet sound and the tacky TouchWiz UI that we all are familiar with. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ have a very refined and polished UI(latest version of TouchWiz) which clearly indicates that Samsung has upped its ante in terms of design and software subtlety.
Not long ago, there was a time when devices from Samsung were considered a mere rip off and a sub-standard version of the iconic iPhone. But looking at the S8/S8+, one is forced to think otherwise and create an entirely new image and perception about the company that seems will never stop until it outshines its only major competitor.
The following statement from a Galaxy S8 review from BGR.com sums it all:
The student has become the teacher
Let’s talk about the issues
Now for me the phone’s UI lacks consistency. Let me explain this further. Not all the apps/games are optimized to use the unique aspect ratio of the screen which is 18.5:9 and hence you’ll more often than not end up looking at black bars on either sides of the screen.
On the other hand if you are using an iPhone or even a Pixel or Nexus, all the apps will by default open in the native resolution and you will never have to worry about something nonsensical like shrink/crop to fit a video etc. Even the basic controls of an app will coerce us to adjust the grip and move our thumb if it fired on a screen with a resolution different from what it was intended to work on.
Believe me, not all the developers would revisit the code and apply a patch to work seamlessly on a Galaxy S8/S8+ when the app is already is working flawlessly on a Pixel and/or Nexus.
Many of you might say that this has always been the case with Android apps because of the fragmentation of the OS. Agreed! But when it comes to Galaxy S8 the issue becomes even more prominent and disturbing at times.
Next up, TouchWiz. Skinning of Android OS by major phone manufacturers is common and Samsung’s TouchWiz has has a bad name of becoming notoriously slow after a few months of use. Primarily because of non-optimized Garbage Collection.
No matter whether the phone boasts a top of the line 10 nm processor and 4GB of RAM, if the underlying code of TouchWiz is inherited from its older versions it is bound to get slow which eventually will mar the experience altogether. This is something which will become clearer with time.
Stock Android and iOS do not have this issue. Not by a huge margin.
Bixby. After having used Siri and Google Assistant for so long, it is difficult for anyone who appreciates good quality software on a mobile device to have a half-baked solution built into a flagship device. It is a major deterrent for me. All the pomp and show with which Bixby was introduced as a voice enabled smart assistant during the unbox presentation went down the drain when Samsung decided to ship the devices without the Bixby voice control. Epic fail!
Finger print sensor/scanner. For me the most convenient and the best place for a finger print sensor to reside is on the home button. iPhones have had it inside the home button since iPhone 5S and Samsung also hid the circuitry in the home button until Galaxy S8/S8+.
You can argue with me infinitely but I even shun the idea of having the said sensor on the back of the phone below the camera sensor like Pixel and Nexus 6P have, leave alone having one beside the camera optics for which you’ll have to master your finger movement not to touch the camera sensor before placing it correctly on the finger print scanner module.
Additionally, having the finger print sensor on the back limits me to use my index finger only whereas if the sensor is situated inside the home button I can register all my fingers and can even unlock the phone with my pinkie if the rest of my fingers are dipped in colors while I am giving final touches to my art project.
You may have an entirely different opinion than me but I think the best devices are those which adjust to or give an option to be customized to our needs and never ask us to flex our muscles to adapt to their ergonomics.