Why Can’t a Flagship Phone that Costs Over $700 Stay Fast?

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

When a great, fast phone starts to lose its zip after a few months:

Roughly three months into using my [########] it became unbearably slow and only a factory reset would fix it. Curiously (not really), I had the exact same issue three months into my [########] use. The second time around my [########] has lasted longer before the performance faded, thankfully, but I still have hiccups and issues that I just don't expect out of a high-end phone. I'm not to the point of wanting to go through a factory reset, but it's still frustrating — why can't the phone just stay quick like the others on my desk?

Can you guess which phones this was about? If you said iPhone, you would be incorrect, it was in fact the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8. They go on:

Along the same lines, coming back to the Galaxy S8 after some time with the Pixel 2 has reminded me how poor battery life is on the GS8 (the GS8+, by most accounts, is good with longevity). Doing nothing particularly intense, with less than 3 hours of "screen on" time, my average day will get me down into 15% battery territory before I'm even thinking about turning in for the night.

The author has nice things to say about the camera, screen, and overall build quality, but build quality alone does not a great phone make. And these complaints about Android phones starting out fast and getting slow quickly after you use them for even a month or two is something we hear every year. “This year’s X phone is nice and zippy, unlike last year’s phone that got slow after just a few months,” is a line in basically every Android phone review.

If someone asks me why I don’t think it’s a big deal that an iPhone 6 is running a little slow because it’s trying to make the battery last longer, I look at these. Android phones almost always get slow within months of owning them, not after 2+ years. And if you want to test that theory, I have an iPhone 6 (2014) and Galaxy S7 (2015) that I use all day for testing at my day job, and the iPhone 6 is faster at just about everything than the newer Galaxy phone.

There are rarely exceptions, mainly the Pixel line, but even then, I’ve heard Pixel 1 owners say their phones feel slower than they should after just over a year. My Pixel 2, which I’ve had for 4 months now is already slowing down too. It’s not terrible, but it’s definitely slower than it once was.