Judging from the surface, one might easily say that Samsung, as usual, has had a great year so far. Yeah, they’ve put out quite a good number of smartphones with notably impressive features. But why waste an entirely amazing and engaging song on just one or two moves?
Of course, Samsung does a great job of giving die-hard and prospective users a whole lot to choose from. And they did it again this year. But the question is: are these plenty good enough especially for the competition? We most definitely have come across Samsung’s, well, most current smartphones – the Galaxy S10, the Galaxy S10 Plus, the Galaxy S10 5G, and the Galaxy Fold, let’s stop there. So what do you think? Can we actually call it a great year for Samsung?
Well, we can call it a good year so far but surely not great enough to significantly impress me and more importantly prospective buyers. Let’s start with the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus. These are great phones undisputedly, but two inadequacies undermine that fact. To start with, the in-screen readers in these phones have significant accuracy problems. This will most usually end up being annoying – continuously having a problem unlocking your phone. Also, compared to Samsung competitors, Google and Huawei, the camera technology of the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus is still behind. Next stop the $1,300 Galaxy S10 5G. For that price, this phone offers you an already outdated chipset and has extremely limited coverage. And what to say about the super-cool Galaxy Fold’s screen! Well, feels so next-level, but couldn’t help but meltdown in a blink of an eye.
So far, it might have been a rough year for Samsung, but there is surely enough room for improvement. And what other better avenue can Samsung use to solidify its spot in the market, beat its fast-rising competitors, and make a meaningful upgrade if not through the Galaxy Note 10. Though the release of this phone has been delayed but as usual Samsung saves the best components and software rollout for the Note release. The Galaxy Note Samsung model has proven to stand out among all other Galaxy phones this year. This model is known to come with usually all the top-notch specifications, particularly when it comes to the battery size and storage capacity. However, we can expect nothing less from the eagerly anticipated Galaxy Note 10 (and the rumoured Note 10 Plus).
But Samsung is going to need more than a mega battery and massive storage to ratchet up the competition especially against its rivals – Google and Huawei – and blow us all away once again. There are some other things that make a phone pleasurable for everyday use – like camera prowess which Google and Huawei are convincingly excelling in. Samsung needs to place a healthy dose of attention on those elusive, but all-important intangibles. Though they might be considered small differences, for a highly rated company as Samsung playing at the very top-level, they can mean a whole lot basically to buyers – the details count.
Furthermore, in this article are some of those really crucial details Samsung needs to improve at and incorporate into the Galaxy Note 10 for it to make a meaningful splash.
1. Do something about that look already
Yeah, yeah, curved sides, ultra-reflective glossy backing, they’re cool. But aren’t they passed due for an upgrade? The major difference in the look of Galaxy phones is the yearly camera placement movement thing. Unfortunately, it’s becoming quite a stale way to impress buyers these days especially as every other phone model at the top-level undergoes a similar upgrade.
Why not tap into the design of some BBK Electronics subsidiaries; Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Oneplus! The designs of these smartphones are exceptionally stunning thanks to their unctuous gradients and 3D chevron patterns. Well, I must say there are good chances that Samsung will incorporate something of this nature in the design of the Galaxy Note 10. Rumors have it that this phone will come in pink.
2. The screen needs to be as easy to use with a finger as it is with the stylus
It is now almost like a ritual that most top-notch Galaxy phones must come with dual curved edges. Sure, the curvature offers a more immerse and engrossing screen time, but looking at it from an overall standpoint, it is more of a superfluous feature.
These curves are part of the usable screen and that’s what makes it superb, yet unnecessary. For instance, registering my finger when I tap the edge to place the cursor was a problem I had to contend with using phones like the Galaxy S10 Plus.
Accessing Samsung’s edge panel software on curved-screen phones becomes a genie thing – usually requiring care. On these curved-screen phones, the tab for the edge panel software rests right on the screen bend. Nonetheless, trying to access with a swipe becomes tricky.
While the S Pen stylus might be a helpful alternative, in most cases, we find ourselves using our fingers on the screen half, if not most of the time instead. The same goes for me. Thus, I can only hope that in the Note 10, Samsung will make some necessary adjustments to the curvature – creating a better medium between the radius of the screen curve and how far the active display extends.
3. We love the idea of the in-screen reader, but it’ll be better if it works every time
It’s nothing personal. The in-screen reader in the Galaxy S10 Plus is a nice try. Don’t get me wrong, it so now or better still, futuristic. But after several attempts, I can’t help but tell that the in-screen design has a significant accuracy problem. As I found, it usually takes two, three, or even four attempts to actually unlock the Galaxy S10 Plus. That’s not fun to do especially on a regular basis.
I must say, anyway, this in-screen fingerprint reader feature is quite relieving. For example, you no longer need to pick up your phone from the desk all the time just to get to the rear-mounted sensor and you can wave goodbye to the exasperation of having to routinely enter digit codes just to unlock your phone. But it would be worth the effort if only it works fine always.
The multiple software update from Samsung is not paying off. The recommendation to delete all the prints and re-enroll them doesn’t make much a difference neither is it a practical solution. I don’t wish that the Galaxy Note 10 comes without an in-screen fingerprint reader; rather I desire that this time, it works every time.
4. Better yet, give us face unlock
As we can recall, the Galaxy S10 lineup – Galaxy S8, S8+, S9, etc – used to feature the iris scanner which wasn’t just amazing but had the potential to even secure mobile payments. This feature was then passed over to the Galaxy Note 7. But I’m afraid if this feature or a face unlock doesn’t check into this year’s Galaxy Note 10 to come, Samsung phones will fall behind one of Google’s forthcoming phones – the Pixel 4.
Like the iPhone X family of phones, Google has already announced that the Pixel 4 will have secure face unlock. In other words, this phone will map your face using a dot projector. As usual, however, the Pixel 4, like every other Pixel, will launch in October. What will become of Samsung phones if Google gets there with the Pixel 4?
5. Camera, camera, camera
These days, most smartphone users place quite a tremendous amount of value on camera technology. Automatically, they expect that the top-level smartphones come with better and better camera tech, especially on their newer releases. And I’m a big fan of amazing smartphone cameras too. So what can we say about Samsung’s smartphone cameras? Well, for sure, I get a lot of thumbs-up almost every time I take images with the Galaxy S10 Plus even for images that don’t apply filters. Great, right! Yeah! Sure, but not the best. As a huge fan of Samsung, I must say that, though not entirely, we have lost the spot when it comes to photos and videos to our competitors – Google, Huawei, and even Oppo.
When it comes to taking low light shots, Huawei’s P30 Pro and Google’s Pixel 3 have significantly outdone Samsung phones. They achieve this thanks to their standalone camera modes. This camera mode takes a bit extra time bringing out results. But the images produced even without blowing out the shots appear to be unbelievably clear and bright.
On the other hand, as for zooming to get a closer shot, P30 Pro’s and Oppo Reno’s 10X zoom beat Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus’s three lenses with impressively crisp details.
As rumours have it, anyway, while Samsung might be working on a 5X optical zoom, there are slim chances to see this feature in Note 10. The Note 10 has also being romoured lately to most likely house a main camera, telephoto lens, and ultrawide angle lens just like the Galaxy S10, while the even larger Note 10 Plus will come with an additional time-of-flight sensor (ToF).
Fine, these innovations are good. But my point still remains that whether it’s through the use of a standalone app or just the phones native camera, I’d love to see improved camera technology especially when it comes to low light shots.
6. Make the stylus relevant again
I have no issues with the S Pen stylus. I mean, the digital pen is awesome. It’s great for taking notes especially when the fingers are tired. Also, it’s a perfect alternative for finger grease which is mostly used to smear up the phone’s interface to navigate. The S Pen is also special because it is great for writing, taking precise screenshots and doodling, and even better, it is ideal for drawing detailed images with precise shading.
But the S Pen which gives the Note line its name will surely need more than these functions to make a difference for the fact that there are some out there who really don’t fancy them. True, Samsung has added some cool features to the S Pen of late. This is Evident in Note 9 which came with an additional Bluetooth capability to let the users take photos from afar, using the S Pen as a remote camera trigger. This innovation is cool but definitely not totally relevant. Samsung needs to figure out a use case that really matters to people. This year hopefully they should.
Given the current rumours, the S Pen might come with more features that will allow users to use it for gesture navigation. Google has announced something similar regarding Pixel 4. Samsung has tried to pull this off years ago using a version that let you advance photos and songs by merely passing your hand across the screen. So in a sense, the gesture navigation is not entirely new but still cool all the same.
In all, however, all I’m just saying is that for Samsung to impress me – and more importantly, prospective buyers – they need to turn on their A-game and give the Note 10 their best shot so far, one that majority won’t be able to resist. Of recent, most people (including me) are beginning to have the impression that Samsung can’t go beyond mega batteries and massive storage. Hence, Samsung needs to do what it can’t. After all, the tagline in recent Galaxy advertisement goes: “Do what you can’t”. Why waste a whole year on just one or two areas of upgrade?