Samsung Finally Made Another Great Phone

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 3 min read

I have a tendency to give Samsung a hard time on this site. I’m definitely not alone in this endeavor, though. For years Samsung has been the whipping boy for Apple fans the world over. They’re an easy target, after all. They aren’t very original, they have brash marketing that gets under people’s skin, and they are the epitome of excess when it comes to feature lists for their devices.

That said, they have made a couple of the best Android phones on the market over the past 5 years. The Samsung Galaxy S (Vibrant) was my first smartphone, and I really liked it. I bought it because it had a huge 4 inch screen, high resolution 800x480 display, and blistering 1GHz single-core processor, and a solid 5MP camera. As quaint as these specs sound today, they were all more impressive than what the iPhone was sporting at the time.

I was also locked into T-Mobile, which didn’t have the iPhone yet, but let’s forget that little fact.

I likes my Galaxy S quite a bit. It was also one of the more popular phones for rooting and custom ROMs, so I had my pick of some really cool ROMs that stripped away all the TouchWiz bullshit and left basically pure Android. Now, this was back in the Android 2.1 and 2.2 days, so Android was crap, but it was what a nerd like me wanted. Hell, it’s what I still want from my Android phones today.

But that was 2010, and I have since owned many other smartphones, none of them have been Samsungs. I’ve owned 4 of the past 5 iPhones Apple has put out (never got a 4s) and I’ve never gotten close to buying a Samsung ever since. The closest I got was last summer when I was shopping around for a non-iPhone. I was all over the Android scene and was looking at such phones as the LG G3, HTC One M8, Moto X, and yes, the Samsung Galaxy S5. I ended up getting the HTC One M8, but the Galaxy S5 was my second choice. I hated so much about Samsung at the time, but I had to admit that their phone was a good balance of all the things you want from a phone.

Today, I’m a happy iPhone 6-touting gentleman who has no intention of going back to Android. However, if I was, I would get a Samsung Galaxy S6 without question. I may have criticized them for removing some of the signature features from the phone, such as a removable battery and expandable storage (and I still think these will hurt it in the broader market), but I personally like those trade offs. Universally, the phone is getting praised for its nice build quality and sharp looks, and the camera seems to be an equal to that of the iPhone for the first time in years. It also has a crazy-high resolution screen, incredibly zippy processor, more RAM than you really need, etc. Basically, all the specs have been cranked up to 11 and the phone looks good at the same time.

The Moto X appeals to me for its near-stock OS and cool little bonus features, but it has a ho-hum camera. The Nexus 6 is stock Android, but also has a ho-hum camera and is simply way too big for me. The new HTC One M9 is the best looking phone on the market, but it suffers from a TERRIBLE camera. The Galaxy S6 is the only phone that gets me the most things I want while sacrificing the least.

I wrote this piece not so much as a way to say “this is what phone you should buy!” or “I’m switching from iOS to Android!” I’m writing this to clearly state opinion on Samsung’s phones. I’m not immune to the day-to-day news cycle and popular opinions of my peers, and I feel I may come across as a hater of all things Samsung, but I’m not. Like John Gruber has said many times, I’m not loyal to one company, I’m loyal to the best products. Over the last couple years, Samsung has not made the best phones, and I’ve taken them to task for it. But I have to acknowledge when the narrative changes, and with the Galaxy S6, Samsung has done just that.