Monday, November 17, 2014

Matthew to Samsung: You're (almost) literally the devil

Where do I even begin with Samsung? I'm in an almost love-hate relationship with you, you stubborn manufacturer, you.

As I have posted before, my Galaxy S4 recently gave me a scare, and the second time it has happened. Let me give you some context: this past February (February 2014, for those of you reading this from the very-distant future), my original S4 that I got from AT&T had a problem with charging. It began rapidly losing charge, so I plugged it into my charger and started charging it up. Well, that was only good for a few hours, as it slow-charged at about the same rate the recipe my mom uses for slow-cooking spicy pulled pork calls for (by the way, that recipe is from The Pioneer Woman Cooks by the lovely Ree Drummond, and if you want that recipe, follow this really pretty link to Food Network and make it yourself because it is really delicious and my family likes it). Eventually, it wouldn't charge, and even lost charge while on the charger. I had to use my roommate's phone to call AT&T to get a replacement S4 (who, by the way, had wonderful customer service compared to Samsung). To communicate, I had to use my 2012 Nexus 7 for calls and texts via Google Voice, and after a few days, I got a replacement S4.

Here's another perk: TIMELY. UPDATES.

The most recent incident happened toward the end of October. I put my phone on the charger Friday night before a football game I had to march at, and all seemed well. My phone screen lit up in the middle of the night to let me know it had fully charged, but the next morning, it was almost dead at 3% charge. Umm, what? So I tried different cables and plugs (because the only reason a phone would charge slower is if the volt output is lower than the phone needs so don't believe that bull about using only your original charger because they all turn to crap anyway) and it finally slow-charged on my roommate's HTC Inspire charger. I left it for three hours, and I came back to see it charged to 64%. Took it off the charger to test drain, and it lost 2% in a minute. This was with battery-saving options on, screen brightness down, etc. I needed to use it to talk with friends about camping out that night, so I put it back on...still lost charge. Fortunately, after I left it powered off overnight and recharged it the following day, it got back to working. Even still, this was with a device that no longer had the refurbished warranty and now made me get scared again of losing contact with people in case an emergency happened.

Yeah, I wasn't too terribly happy. And I'm still not too happy.

The only thing that's keeping me with Samsung right now is the fact that my Gear 2 Neo only works with Samsung devices, and while I like the Note 4, I'm questioning whether or not I can trust Sammy because, well, I'd like to not have the same incident happen three times with the same brand.

I already ranted to Google about making Android Wear devices both less expensive and more functional at more appropriate prices, but even if they did, Android Wear needs more polishing. Tizen, on the other hand, works just fine with some more features than Android Wear and just needs to freaking work with other Android phones and tablets and also needs to let me use whatever freaking SMS app I want fully with it *cough* Hangouts *cough*.

Samsung, hopefully someone in your offices is reading this. I really hope so. Because my problem has happened before with other S4 owners, and happened to me twice, I really hope this won't happen with the Note 4, but I'm still inclined to issue this ultimatum: open up or I'm abandoning ship. Oh, and for bonus points, tone down TouchWiz because my tablet, which is older than my phone, runs Lollipop like a champ. Meanwhile, my S4 just updated to KitKat yesterday. Wow, rude.

Let the Gear family of smartwatches work with all Android devices running 4.3 or later. Let it have a few exclusives, like access to the S Health apps or S Voice only when connected to Samsung devices; incentivize some features, but let others be open to all. Allow more apps to be used with the watches (your own app store is paltry, at best).

Do all that, and I'll at least keep my Gear 2 Neo for as long as she runs. Don't, and I'm done after two years of ownership.

Likewise, I'm going to see if any of the other manufacturers who make Android Wear devices can step up (yes, Google, this includes you too). Let your smartwatches make and take calls like the Gear 2/Neo, and don't do what the Moto 360 did and have a super awkward black bar at the bottom of the screen. Price them reasonably, too.

Samsung, I love your watch and how useful it is. That's the only thing keeping me with you. Your phones are great, but after two S4's having the same issue and only a 50% survival rate, I'm in the air of whether I'll stick with you.

Google and Samsung, get at it. Win me over.

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