Greg Morris

Designer, Pretend Photographer, Dad

Samsung Out Designing Apple Hurts A Little

When August rolls around it is my time of the year to switch to Android for a little while. It started as a stop gap to sell my iPhone and Apple Watch while the prices are still high and wait for the event, but now it is something I look forward to. For the last 2 years I have switched to a Galaxy Note, because like Matt Birchler, I like to keep my toe dipped into the water and see what Android is up to. This year more than others I am really starting to debate going back because the IPhone is poorly designed in comparison.

The Note 9 opened my eyes to what a big screened phone could be like to use when the company really cares about how you use it. Samsung slimmed the bezels and narrowed the screen to 18.5:9 making the whole handset feel a while lot smaller than it should. Even with a screen larger than any other iPhone it felt ergonomic and much more comfortable to use, something that further improved with the Note10.

This really starts to sting when you pick up an iPhone XS Max, a device that is smaller in physical size, but feels much larger due to how poorly designed it is. The team behind current generation iPhone design must place the way it feels in your hand bottom of the pile of concerns. The 5.5” screened device is admittedly light years ahead of the old ‘plus’ devices, but is simply a stretched iPhone XS. The XS Max is not only huge, but astonishingly heavy and cumbersome to hold.

In contrast when first holding the Note10+ I had to double check the model number twice, simply because it feels much smaller than it is. Sure the ‘infinity display’ helps, but its clear to see (and feel) that the team behind the design took time to think about how it felt in the hand. It’s glass front and back (and ridiculously slippy), it’s packed full of battery and similar technology to the iPhone XS Max, so why does it feel so much nicer?

Perhaps because Samsung have been producing large screened phones the longest they have simply learnt from their mistakes. Yet I am always taken back to Apple adverts that point out how far your thumb can stretch, something they have put no thought into with modern devices. As another year brings another iPhone we look set to see the same design used again, same wider screen, same glass and metal and same feel in your hand.

This year I feel stuck more than ever (I know I said this last year too), I’m starting to wish that it was easier for me to use Android long term, not only because the devices are more interesting but because there is more choice of devices. My choice of handset is based on being entrenched in an ecosystem and stuck with the lack of iPhone progress. There is an arrogance around Apple design now and I’m pretty sure Apple know you’re stuck so don’t even try.

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