It’s time for Samsung to let go of the physical Home button

Ssh bby, is ok

Samsung-Galaxy-S3-Blue-16GB-Verizon-Wireless-0
Galaxy S3 in 2012.

The Galaxy S6 was my first Samsung smartphone. I meant to join the Galaxy club around the time of the S2, but HTC had my attention more. I was expecting the S3 to be my entry, but while the world embraced its debut with open arms, I was taken aback. Nothing was inspiring about the design. Maybe it was aiming for the future, but in reality, it looked and felt cheap from head to toe. And that unflattering Home button was the cherry on top. I didn’t get why the market was infatuated with the S3. But I was clearly the minority, because it was a huge hit.

Alas, it wouldn’t be until 3 years later when Samsung would actually build a phone with an effort that’s worth its hefty asking price, and where I could jump on board. But that darn Home button. Even today, it’s still there!

Sure, the prevalence of fingerprint readers made the button a convenient place to slap the scanner on, but should Samsung continue with it just because? I’d argue that there’s more reasons to dump the physical Home button than to keep it.

The biggest of those reasons is contact. The button is raised from the glass surface.

Therefore, anytime the front rubs on anything (i.e. phone face down on a table), it’s guaranteed to make contact at that spot and scratch it up. This concern isn’t helped by the fact that many Galaxy users have reported that the surface of the button scratches more easily than the phone’s glass (including myself).

Another consequence is accidental presses. Personally, I had more of a problem with this on the S6, where I too often felt the button depress while the phone was in my pocket. Samsung must have since made it firmer, because it rarely happens with my S7 Edge. But accidental presses while fumbling the phone still of course happen. Also, having a button on the front that turns the screen on certainly doesn’t help the potential for butt calling. And is anyone else simply annoyed by its unflattering appearance and audible click each time you want to go to the Home panel?

A capacitive button, like the HTC 10 and OnePlus 3 use, fixes a lot of concerns I’ve raised: it’s flush with the glass, it doesn’t have to wake the phone when pressed (unless you want it to), it doesn’t click, and it’s less invasion to the design. It’s also slightly faster to initiate the action by touching a button rather than pushing it in. If you’re a hardcore user and are speedy with your phone, that can be crucial. I know I could operate more quickly with a capacitive button.

Actually, I think Sony has the best fingerprint scanner implementation – in the power button. It’s efficient, because the power button has to be physical, and you use the fingerprint reader following turning on the phone. What’s more, it’s not invasive in the design; you don’t need a special cut-out on the front or back of the phone.

You guys will have to tell me the benefit in the Home button being physical, because I can’t find one. I think Samsung is just holding on to the Galaxy’s signature look, where practicality should instead take precedence in a smartphone. I surely hope the reason isn’t because that’s what Apple does.

Do you agree, disagree, or don’t really care because it’s just a stupid button? We’d like to know if there’s many users out there who are also continually annoyed by its existence.

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