August 22, 2014

Why we love (and hate) our smartphones [EDITORIAL]

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What Samsung Does And Doesn’t Do For Me

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I’ve owned several Samsung devices over the course of just the last year or so and I’ll just start by saying that they are without a doubt my least favorite manufacturer of all time right now. And they get that title from me for several reasons.

The first reason on the list, and many would agree, though a lot of you will disagree, is TouchWiz. To me, this is the ugliest and most bloated UI/UX that’s put over top of the stock Android OS by any manufacturer that’s currently making Android devices.

I mentioned the word gimmick in the first paragraph of this post and to me, Samsung is full of them in a lot of ways. While I understand that a lot of people use the things that Samsung includes, such as their health related apps and all of that, but honestly, why not keep that stuff in the Google Play Store, or in their own Samsung Apps store and let each individual user pick and choose what they want.

If I don’t ever want to measure how many steps I take in a day and how many calories I burn, I surely shouldn’t be forced to have that on my device from the time I purchase the device itself. If I decide I want to be health conscious, then by all means I’ll go install apps like this. And to be fair, if I owned a Samsung device and wanted those types of apps, I do have to hand it to them that they make them nice and pretty. They aren’t dull and boring looking like that Sense UI/UX I mentioned above.

Next thing on the list that I despise about Samsung, or more specifically, TouchWiz, is their notification screen. If I own a device that’s 6 inches tall, and I pull down my notification shade on my device, I would like to see majority of that screen for notifications, not for the pre-installed, permanent tool bars across the top. It’s ridiculous that Samsung covers up a good third of the notification pull down screen with their own junkie, clunky tool bars that to me make no sense, when I can access all of that stuff via the Settings screen instead.

If Samsung is going to include those things, at least give the user the option to disable them, ALL OF THEM! But please, don’t force it upon those of us that can’t stand stuff like that. We all know Android is about options, and TouchWiz takes that away from us, instantly.

With that little rant out of the way, the next thing Samsung does that I don’t like is the way they manufacture their devices out of plastic. Yes, yes, yes, I know, plastic is lighter and that’s important when you have devices like the Galaxy Note 3 that are closing in on 10 inches for a phone. Ok, well, maybe 10 inches was a bit drastic, but you get the gist of it all.

Plastic is the new metal, and it works for a lot of things. It works in cell phones too, no doubt about it. But a mobile device doesn’t need to be and shouldn’t be 95% plastic, such as Samsung does with their Galaxy line now days. And to me, it’s not just plastic, it’s cheap, flimsy plastic at that.

For example, the battery cover on devices such as the Note 3, that have this leather look and feel. It’s so thin, so flimsy that I feel like it’s going to crack in half anytime I need to take it off to pull the battery or switch SIM cards or something. Just not something I care for at all.

What’s sad is, I’ve used more Samsung devices, mainly for review purposes, than most any other brand, and to me they all feel the same. The only difference is the size. From things like the Galaxy S4 to the huge Galaxy Mega. They were all made with the same cheap plastic and it appears Samsung really isn’t concerned about changing that. But you know what, if I were selling 30+ million of every plastic device I manufactured, I probably wouldn’t change from using plastic either.