Samsung has made a big name for itself in the mobile technology industry in recent years. While the company itself has been around for quite a while, Samsung has only recently stepped up its game thanks to all of the innovations it has introduced to its mobile phones. From whole screen OLED displays to dual aperture camera features, Samsung has dedicated itself to delivering a great user experience to its customers.
History of Samsung Phones
Samsung has a rich history of releasing some of the most well-known smartphones in the past decade, with the Galaxy line being its most iconic series to date. Before the rise of the Galaxy smartphones, however, Samsung dabbled in many different types of mobile phones before it got its winning formula down pat.
From the early 2000s, Samsung was still behind in the mobile phone market and it tended to follow many of the current trends at the time. The company experimented with Palm, Java and Windows-based OS phones, well before the advent of the Galaxy S line. Still, Samsung pre-Galaxy mobile phones built the foundation of things to come.
It was no surprise that Samsung’s first mobile phone was a locally released one back in 1988. While it didn’t set any worldwide trends back then, the SH-100 had the distinction of being the company’s first milestone in its mobile phone enterprise.
A little over a decade later, Samsung penetrated the foreign markets with its new line of mobile phones. In 1998, the SGH-600 began to gain attention in Europe with its clean and simple design. It was aimed as a high-end mobile phone which sold well at the time and gained some awards.
The company then moved on with its line Palm-powered smartphones in 2001 with the SPH-I300. The I300 was made in collaboration with Sprint as one of the early touch screen smartphones. Many people at the time were still getting used to the idea of using a touch screen interface, so it wasn’t as well received as Samsung had hoped.
The next two smartphones set the stage for what would become the basic blueprint of the Galaxy series. While far from perfect, the Samsung Instinct and the Samsung Omnia were released in 2008 and continued with the touch screen revolution with the intent to directly compete with Apple’s iPhone.
The Omnia in particular could very well be considered a direct predecessor of the Galaxy series due to its custom Android user interface that could classify it as a modern smartphone. The TouchWiz interface originally functioned as a widget overlay on Windows Mobile, giving the phone a similar feel to modern Galaxy phones. Unfortunately, its OS wasn’t very tactile-friendly in terms of responsiveness and its non-standard headphone jack made it difficult for many users to adopt.
Galaxy Series Phones
A year after the Omnia and the Instinct finally saw the release of the now famous Galaxy series, starting with the Samsung Galaxy (also known as the Samsung i7500) in 2009. It competed directly with the iPhone 3GS and took a lot of notes from its previous releases. The Android OS was still on its first legs with the 1.5 Cupcake and was still rather slow by today’s standards. The first Galaxy also had five physical buttons on the front, with a directional pad in the middle for navigation.
The Samsung Galaxy S followed just 9 months later in 2010, with many improvements made as a major upgrade to its look and feel as a modern smartphone. Its screen resolution was bumped up to 800×480 pixels (which was revolutionary for its time) and it made use of the familiar three button layout that we are all used to by now.
This was the first major commercial success Samsung had in the smartphone race – with over 25 million units sold. While it still wasn’t leading the pack, it gave contenders like Apple’s iPhone and HTC’s Desire some serious competition.
The first Samsung Galaxy smartphones weren’t even initially available in the United States. This was because Apple and BlackBerry the majority market share to distribute to every carrier in the country. Due to this, the Samsung Galaxy S at the time had to be customized for each carrier and rebranded under a different name. T-Mobile released the smartphone under the brand Samsung Vibrant and had solid sales alongside the mainline Galaxy S. This set the stage for the next model in the series – the Samsung Galaxy S2.
The Samsung Galaxy S2 was released in May 2011 and signaled one of the biggest milestones in the company’s career as a smartphone manufacturer and distributor. This smartphone sold over 40 million units and pushed Samsung into the forefront of the industry. The Galaxy S2 included a 4.3 inch Super AMOLED Plus screen as well as a faster dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM.
In the same year, Samsung also released its larger Galaxy Note smartphone. This device acted as almost a hybrid between smartphones and tablets with its 5.3 inch display. This would also begin the trend of manufacturers beginning to make devices with larger screens.
In 2012, Samsung moved on to make the Galaxy S3. This smartphone made some major redesigns in the way that it looked from the previous models due to a lawsuit filed by Apple, which stated that their smartphones looked similar to their iPhones. The overall design was changed to have rounder edges and made use of natural everyday sounds for its alerts and notifications. The Galaxy S3 outdid the previous model in terms of sales with 50 million units sold.
The following year, Samsung released the Galaxy S4, which followed up on the same notes as the previous smartphone while upgrading a lot of specs under the hood. It came with a larger 5 inch screen with full HD resolution, as well as a faster processor and a higher resolution 13 megapixel camera. It also included 4G connectivity as a feature since this was the standard in the UK.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the next in the successive line of the company’s smartphones. New features of note include a waterproof casing and a swipe-based fingerprint sensor. Despite these upgrades, the Galaxy S5 found stiff competition with Apple’s iPhone 6 series due to its larger screen, negating the former smartphone’s display advantage. However, the Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge reinvigorated the smartphone design game by introducing Samsung’s new curved display technology.
Following two years of declining sales, Samsung had to reevaluate its smartphone designs and came up with the Galaxy S6 in 2015. The company wanted to give the new smartphone a more premium look, switching its construction from a plastic build to a metal and glass one instead. However, this design sacrificed a few things: the removal of the battery and the micro-SD expansion slot. To compensate for this, Samsung added faster wireless charging, as well as a larger internal storage and faster data transfer.
In the same year, Samsung also released the Galaxy S6 Edgeand the Galaxy S6 Edge+, which used the curved display technology that was previously seen in the Note Edge. This replaced the Note as Samsung’s flagship tablet phone hybrid.
The next Samsung smartphone series that was released was the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edgein 2016. Sporting a similar design as the S6 and S6 Edge, the S7 returned the micro-SD slot that was removed in the previous iteration – a welcome decision for many consumers. The camera was also bumped up with a dual-pixel autofocus, allowing better pictures to be taken under low light conditions.
In 2017, Samsung decided to move in a different direction in terms of design with their Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. These smartphones feature a tall 18.5:9 curved Infinity Display that extends to all sides of the device. It also sports a powerful processor with 4GB RAM, as well as a 12 megapixel camera and Gear VR support.
Finally, the Samsung Galaxy S9, which was released this year, includes an even more adaptive and immersive display using the same Super AMOLED screen that have defined the recent release of Galaxy phones. The display now has a less thickened bezel, allowing it to bleed above and below even further. The overall design shows it as a more streamlined S8, which has so won over so many smartphone users during the previous year.
What to Look for in a Samsung Phone
A smart consumer will always take a look at the best features of any smartphone before buying it. Samsung phones are no exception since they come in a variety of models and carry various features that can cater to a wide demographic. Below are just some of the suggestions of some of the best features to look at when shopping for a Samsung phone.
As superior displays go, the latest Samsung S9 has received numerous accolades so far for having the best OLED display ever made. Despite running on the same 2,960 x 1,440 resolution as its previous iteration, the S9 features improved color accuracy and multiple color gamut standards. This places the display on the same level as most standard 4k Ultra HD TVs.
The lower range models that Samsung offers aren’t slouches either. Even an entry level Galaxy J2 uses a 5-inch Super AMOLED display with a 960 x 540 resolution, which still gives a good viewing experience on a small display. Similarly, the Galaxy C7 is a bit pricier than the J2 but has a larger 5.7-inch full HD Super AMOLED display with a 1,080 x 1,920 resolution for an even better viewing experience.
One major distinction that the Samsung S9+ has over most other brands is its dual rear cameras. This allows variable aperture that makes taking low light photos a breeze. Its Dual Aperture Technology also allows its lenses to move from a range of f/1.5 to f/2.4, making it just as easy to get clear images even in brightly lit areas where overexposure can be a problem. What’s more, the phone’s easy-to-use app does all the work for you, so all really need to do is point and shoot.
Battery life is always is a precious commodity in any smartphone. For Samsung phones, pushing for longer and more reliable battery life has been one of its priorities, especially with the difficulties it had encountered in the past with its Galaxy Note. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ clock their battery life at just under 11 hours, still well above the average in the current generation. However, for those looking for a robust device with a long battery life, the Galaxy Note 8 should give you the staying power you need – that is if you don’t mind carrying the bulk of a larger mobile device, of course.
If your phone is holding secure data for work or your personal life, Samsung is making sure that their devices aren’t compromised on this front. The current generation of Samsung devices, particularly the Galaxy S9 and Note 8, has the proprietary Samsung Knox security platform installed to ensure that the device has the built-in protection it needs. The security measures are built directly into the hardware to prevent any easy software hacks from compromising the device. While other Samsung phones will always have the standard fingerprint and password features included, users that have sensitive data stored on their phones should consider getting devices that have the Knox security suite installed.
In terms of the current generation, two of the most important features that people now take for granted are the presence of a micro SD slot and a standard headphone jack. Other smartphones have eschewed the choice to have one of the two for the sake of enhanced portability. However, if you’re someone who isn’t ready to take the leap to Bluetooth headphones or want to extend the storage capacity of your device with a micro SD card, then the Galaxy S9 won’t disappoint.
Are Samsung Phones Secure?
Android-based phones always get a bad reputation in terms of security. With all the root hacks and accessibility of Android software, it’s understandable why some consumers flock to the Apple iPhone when looking for a mobile device that can secure their data. However, Samsung has been stepping up its game in the security department by implementing its specialized security platform called the Samsung Knox.
Functioning mainly as an enterprise security solution, Samsung Knox recognizes the need for businesses to look out for any possible data breaches in their organization. This is why the Samsung has been working closely Google to align their respective APIs and create a cohesive framework that provides even more enhanced security features.
The Knox provides safeguards on both the hardware and the software front, and it is installed in the current generation of Samsung smartphones like the Galaxy S9. Its goal is to be able to provide its users with a way to isolate your personal environment with your professional one by giving you the necessary protection you need to navigate your data in these respective areas of your life.
As soon as the device boots up, it implements a multi-layered approach to its security checks. Each device is given a unique pair of keys upon is manufacture that it uses as a basis for the rest of the features on the Knox. A security boot certificate is also used upon booting to ensure that each component is authenticated. These elements basically form the hardware-based checks that the security platform uses for the respective device.
On the software side, Samsung makes use of an enhanced version of the default Android’s Secure Boot. The Trusted Boot mitigates the risk of a tampered bootloader by creating checks in each module of the booting process to verify its validity. It also takes snapshots of the boot process and stores the information in the TrustZone Trusted Execution Environment (TEE). An old bootloader with possible vulnerabilities can be checked against the TEE to ensure that it is blocked in case of tampering.
The protection that Knox provides can even extend up to the application level, where it uses high-level encryption to create data containers that can separate personal and work data. The Knox Workspace can give users a specialized container that can isolate all business applications and data, which is then encrypted for further security.
Samsung has taken great care to protect user data on the latest devices. Aside from regular monthly updates, Knox is constantly evolving to keep on top of its security game. Businesses that prioritize the value of staying connected through mobile devices would do well to remember to consider Samsung devices as a secure device that they can rely on.
Comparing Samsung Phones with Other Brands
Samsung vs. Apple
There are no two fiercer competitors in the smartphone race than these two names. With the regular release of their flagship models practically coinciding with one another, Samsung and Apple have always been out to one up each other with new and better features for their smartphones.
Taking a look at the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Apple iPhone X, it’s not easy to determine a clear winner between the two – especially since the hardware and software of both smartphones are specially customized to work at peak efficiency. However, we can breakdown this comparison based on the two phones’ display, camera, specs, and price.
In terms of display, the S9 has a higher resolution thanks to its Super AMOLED display, which has a 2,960 x 1,440 resolution. In comparison, the iPhone X has a 2,436 x 1,125 OLED resolution. While both displays project stunning HDR content, the S9 has better overall color vibrancy and saturation. Apple, however, makes good use of its True Tone feature, which alters the color temperature of the display based on the surrounding temperature and gives its images warmer hues.
Taking a look at the camera, both phones sport 12 megapixel sensor cameras in the back. The iPhone X utilizes a dual lens setup, giving it a more flexible edge over the single lens of the S9. On the other hand, the S9 makes use of a variable mechanical aperture – similar to the lens of a DSLR camera – which allows it to open or close its diaphragm to let in more light. This variable aperture allows the S9 to adapt better to changing light conditions. The photo quality of the iPhone cannot be denied, though. Images have a much more realistic look on the iPhone X compared the boosted color images that the S9 can take.
As for technical specs, it’s really hard to compare both since they run on completely different OSs which can be hard to directly compare with one another. Regardless, neither device is lacking in terms of performance. In many speed tests done between the two, the difference in how quickly they can open apps is miniscule, with the iPhone X winning out by a mere second or two in most cases. If you’re looking for better media and data storage though, the S9 wins out due to the inclusion of a micro SD slot that can accommodate up to 400 GB cards.
As for the price, there’s definitely a big difference between the two. The iPhone X (64 GB) has a price tag of around $999, while the S9 can be around $200 cheaper, depending on the carrier.
Samsung vs. Huawei
Huawei is another emerging brand that has been getting increasingly stronger support from consumers in the last decade. Its flagship P20 Pro has been stepping up its game in terms of features and hardware specs enough that it’s giving other brands like Samsung and Apple a run for their money.
Similar to the Apple comparison, we can take a look at the display, camera, specs, and price. However, since we’re both comparing two similar Android phones, we’ll compare the Huawei P20 Pro with the Samsung Galaxy S9+ for a much closer matchup.
The display of the P20 Pro still follows the traditional flat design compared to the S9’s curved all screen display. In terms of resolution, the S9 has the higher numbers, with the P20 Pro running a 1,080 x 2,240 resolution on its 6.1-inch OLED display. It’s also easy to notice the “notch” on the top part of the P20 Pro’s screen, which takes up a small portion of the display. This notch also accounts for slightly taller aspect ratio on the P20 Pro, with an 18.7:9 aspect ratio over the S9’s 18.5:9. Sadly, the P20 Pro 1080p resolution can’t churn out the same crisp HDR images that the S9 has, but it can still deliver some very clear pictures through its display.
The camera department is where the P20 Pro shines. It boasts an ambitious triple camera setup that includes an 8 megapixel telephoto sensor, a 20 megapixel black and white sensor, and the central 40 GB RGB sensor. This allows it to take some amazing photo realistic shots, allowing for some highly detailed shots even when zoomed in. Even when compared to the Galaxy S9+ and its dual lenses, the adjustable aperture can still churn out some pretty good photos, especially in low lighting conditions, but it can’t compare to the image fidelity that the P20 Pro can produce.
In terms of performance, you’ll barely see the difference in terms of speed. Both phones have 6 GB of working RAM, and the S9+ just slightly beats out the P20 Pro in terms of raw benchmark numbers. As for internal storage, both sport 128 GB capacities, but the added micro SD slot from the S9+ is an added value many users appreciate. Similarly, the P20 Pro opted to do away with the standard headphones jack for a much thinner design compared to the S9+ (7.8mm versus 8.5mm respectively).
As for the price, the P20 Pro edges out the S9+ by being around $100 cheaper. While both smartphones play to their own particular strengths, it all depends on the consumer on which of these features catches their fancy more.
Samsung vs. Google
Despite working closely together in terms of their framework, the flagship models of Samsung and Google are still competing with one another for the title of the best Android phone in the market. It’s never an easy task when comparing Android devices, but we can always take a look at the basics of their display, camera, specs, and price.
It’s very hard to deny the strength that the S9 have in terms of its high resolution HDR display. In comparison, the 1,920 x 1,080 resolution OLED display of the Pixel 2 can run some standard RGB displays but can’t really compare when put right next to the incredibly bright and colorful display that the S9 has.
Both phones house similar 12 megapixel cameras at the back. However, the main difference between the two is how each processes its photos to produce their images. In terms of lighting, the S9 does a superior job of adjusting to various lighting conditions thanks to its adjustable aperture. As for the actual image quality, though, it seems that the Pixel 2’s software works extra hard at delivering more balanced photos that map out details that are normally lost to shadows and highlights on the S9. On the downside, Google’s phone doesn’t offer any optical zoom compared to the S9.
In terms of technical specs, the Pixel 2 is behind one generation with its Snapdragon 835 processor. This puts it behind the S9 in terms of benchmarking numbers. On the average, though, the Pixel 2 can outdo the previous Galaxy S8 in terms of faster video editing time. A lot of the value for the Pixel 2 lies in how Google Assistant can interact with the images it’s shown, as well as the user’s location. As for other considerations, the Pixel 2 has followed suite with the other flagship phones of this generation and doesn’t include a standard headphone jack or micro SD slot.
As for the price difference, there’s around a $100 gap (depending on the carrier) between the more expensive S9 and the cheaper Pixel 2. If you’re keeping things on a budget, then the latter is the optimal choice for a smartphone with good software features.
Top Samsung Models (and What Makes Them Unique)
Choosing between Samung’s best smartphones mainly depends on your budget and the kind of mileage you want to get out of your device. Fortunately, Samsung has a wide variety of models that can cater to a wide demographic of people and their respective needs.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most recognizable Samsung smartphone models to date.
Samsung Galaxy S9+
As the current flagship smartphone of the company, there’s very little criticism that you can level on this model and its other half, the Galaxy S9. Sporting its top of the line Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset and 6 GB of RAM, it has great scores across the board in terms of benchmarks.
Its signature curved Infinity display was basically inherited and improved from its predecessor. It also houses a dual camera lens with variable aperture at the back, along with a fingerprint sensor just below it. The camera has a 12 megapixel main sensor with a secondary sensor for optical zooming.
Another notable feature of this phone includes stereo speakers – a first in the Galaxy line of phones. It also has a standard audio jack along with expandable memory.
As a premium smartphone, it brings with it a level of prestige that potential customers can buy into should they purchase it.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Those looking for a larger phone that can act as a type of hybrid tablet won’t be disappointed with what the Note 8 has to offer. It has a larger 6.3-inch Infinity Super AMOLED display that’s perfect for working on the go thanks to its powerful software suite.
It shares the same dual lens camera setup from the S9 line, and features the same type of optically stabilized sensors for better imaging even in low light conditions. It has all the other hardware perks as the S9 series – like wireless charging, expandable memory, and a standard headphone jack.
Samsung Galaxy S8+
Despite the launch of the current S9 line, the Galaxy S8+ and its more compact sibling, the Galaxy S8, are still viable alternatives to the current generation of flagship smartphones.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset is still the best in its class and performs admirably compared to other modern smartphones. It is visually similar to the S9 as well, since it was the first to adopt the curved, all-screen display. The only major difference in terms of looks is the location of the fingerprint scanner, but it still holds the same elegance and sleek sophistication that the S9 line has.
If you’re still not ready to jump onto the current generation of smartphones, the S8 models are a cost effective yet great choice to get.
Samsung Galaxy J7
If you’re looking for the same sleek design that the current generation of smartphones have, but at a more affordable price point, then the Galaxy J7 has you covered. With a relatively fast processor for its class, along with a 5.5-inch display, it certainly fits a phone that’s value for money.
It also includes an 8 megapixel camera as well as expandable memory through its micro SD slot. It can also make it through the day even with heavy use due to its 3,400 mAh battery. It does, however, lack some of the more modern features like a fingerprint sensor.
Samsung Galaxy J3
An entry level smartphone for Samsung, the Galaxy J3 delivers all of the essential Android features at a very accessible price point. It comes with a 5-inch display, as well as a 5 megapixel camera. Other notable features include a removable 2,600 mAh battery and expandable memory.
If you’re looking for a reliable backup phone to complement your existing one, the J3 is the perfect choice.