Among the Villagers, we have a simple saying. Nothing improves without change. iPhones improve every year, but they’re not perfect devices. Sam Rutherford thinks Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 10 Plus is “Damn Near Perfect.” I can’t say because I’m afraid to touch anything with a Samsung logo on it, but at $1,100 the Note 10 Plus better be good because my iPhone XS Max is good and iPhone 11 Mac Pro-whatever will be better.
But near perfect? How so?
Remember, the Galaxy Note brand is the one that caught fire a few years ago, got banned from most airlines, was completely recalled by Samsung, and suffered in the marketplace. Those days are gone. Samsung is doing fine again and the Galaxy Note brand took a licking but kept on ticking.
What does a near-perfect smartphone need?
It needs to deliver features you don’t get on other phones, maintain excellence across all the standard metrics, and be able to handle pretty much any situation, whether it’s work, play, or just a bit of movie watching.
Rutherford neither mentions Samsung’s problem with discounts and resale value, part of the TCO– the total cost of ownership– nor discusses how Android cameras have difficulty keeping up with iPhone video recording capabilities, but I digress.
As with iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 10 Plus is huge. More huge than just huge. So huge that Samsung also launched a vanilla Galaxy Note 10; sans Plus. In nearly every way, Samsung tries to mimic the standards– facial recognition, Siri, dazzling case colors (to be covered up by a case), and a display that is “textbook calibration accuracy and performance that is visually indistinguishable from perfect.”
Wow. Cool. Visually indistinguishable from perfect. Just like iPhones have been for a few years. With Samsung displays.
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus comes with 12GB RAM. That’s more than most Macs and Windows PCs, but it may need it because Android has never run as smoothly and efficiently as iOS.
I like the idea of S-Pen integration and hope Apple does something similar with Pencil on a future iPhone-whatever. Samsung ensured the new Note Plus has an ultra-wide-angle lens, and better low-light capabilities, too. iPhone needs that.
In short, if you’re into bullet points and check off boxes, one can argue that iPhone is not nearly as perfect as Samsung’s latest galaxy-class Galaxy. Does it matter, though? Not much. All major premium smartphones are good and deliver excellent photos and videos, but the entire class has become mature, which means iterative improvements each year, and very few big jumps toward perfection.
But perfect? Nope. Near perfect? Nope.