Friday, April 19, 2013
Batteries again. And cards. And backs. Samsung's way is the flexible way - more power to the S4
I've ranted in the past about the implicit dangers of 'sealed' batteries (as on the iPhones, HTC One range, and so on). In summary, batteries degrade over time and, a year down the road, do you really want to be struggling with a smartphone whose battery is at 70% original capacity and now won't last you beyond tea time? I thought not.
Having a replaceable battery means that you calmly source a new cell - or perhaps even upgrade, as I did with the Samsung Galaxy S III, to a larger capacity battery. The choice is yours when you've got access to this most vital component. Plus, of course, there's the road warrior option to own a spare battery and keep it in a pocket for evening power emergencies.
Such flexibility is lost with sealed devices. In fact, there's more at stake than just battery power - microSD expansion is something else which keeps getting forgotten by trendy manufacturers like Apple, HTC and LG. Your music collection won't fit on your phone? No room for those videos? Darn it, your maps won't fit on either. Sorry, you're out of luck.
Unless your phone has microSD expansion, in which case you just upgrade your card from a 16GB to a 32GB or even a 64GB, for no more than a few tens of pounds or dollars. Job done.
Samsung's sales have been setting world records over the last year, and the company's huge marketing push has been given most of the credit - the ads have ensured that everyone now knows the 'Galaxy' brand. I contend, though, that there's an intrinsic characteristic of Samsung smartphones that's not often spoken of in tech circles.
Samsung are the only major manufacturer* to stick, exclusively, to a flexible design, wherein the back of each phone comes off and you can change the battery or microSD at will. Heck, you can even change the back cover itself, for one of a different colour, or with integral leather flip, or one that's supersized and comes with a battery of much higher capacity.
* Nokia comes close, with only a handful of 'sealed' designs to blot its copybook...
It all comes down to choice and flexibility, both of which are things that end users love. This is at least one major reason why many people love Samsung Galaxy products, not TouchWiz or Samsung's bloatware (which I tend to work around as much as possible, see my video tutorial).
Yes, you can get cases and chargers for iPhones and HTC One devices. Whoopee Doo. You can already get an eye-watering number of Samsung Galaxy S4 accessories - and the S4 isn't even available yet. If the Galaxy S III is anything to go by, there will be replacement backs, batteries, wireless charging modifications, and much more.
I accept that the iPhone is prettier, the HTC One is better built and the Nexus 4 runs a purer version of Android. But for the end user who simply wants the most powerful, most flexible, most future proof smartphone, then the Galaxy S III - and now S4 - make the most sense, I contend.