Looking ahead to February, MWC, and beyond, one starts to think about the impending releases of the Samsung GS7 and the HTC M10. Both of these phones had predecessors that were basically one thing short of being perfect phones – if such a thing exists. This is really significant because both of these phones were arguably otherwise really, really great. But HTC’s flagship failed with the camera and the Samsung GS6 and GS6 edge both failed in the battery department.
I used to think that the battery was a forgivable failing. But then I actually used the Galaxy S6 Edge for a time and wow that battery life is just god awful. Everyone I’ve met who has used this phone has fallen back to the same criticism. I’m generally one who will forgive battery issues as long as a phone can last for a day. But that’s the thing – under some (arguably many) circumstances, the phone doesn’t even last that long. Yes, yes, your mileage will vary, but for the purposes of this article, we’re going to assume it’s bad.
The HTC One M9’s camera is similarly bad. I’m not so sure I’d go so far as to say it’s “god awful” like the battery life of the Samsung flagship, but it really wasn’t good. Especially when compared to the phone released at the same time. The Galaxy S6’s camera is phenomenal – jaw-droppingly phenomenal. Literally best-in-class. So Samsung set a really high bar, and HTC tripped on the track approaching the bar. Not good. Especially considering HTC’s previous attempts at camera tech.
So here we have two phones, two flagships, from bitter rivals, and both are so close to developing that unicorn. That one phone that would stand above all others in the minds of every reviewer. So, we asked ourselves at Pocketnow, whose one flaw is hardest to fix? HTC or Samsung? Which one will clear the hurdle this time around?
Samsung’s issue – battery life – seems easier to solve on the face of it. Put in a bigger battery. Make it replaceable. Software optimization is a potential solution as well. Quick charging is nice to have, but it is no replacement for a long-lasting battery. It’s really nice to be able to plug in a phone and have half a day’s worth of juice in 15 minutes. But quick-charging doesn’t help us if there is nowhere ~to~ quick charge. So Samsung needs to address this issue, and it needs to do so to make this a great phone.
…and yet so far
HTC on the other hand has a potentially tougher road ahead of it. Cameras on smartphones are getting better by leaps and bounds. HTC has a long way to go even just to keep up with the rest of the pack. In addition to Samsung’s camera, LG and Apple both set an incredibly high bar in the camera department. Not only does HTC have to improve its camera to acceptable levels, it needs to take it to eleven and leap past the good cameras and jump into the great camera category.
How it will achieve this, is anyone’s guess. Better sensors, better lenses, better software? Any of these might be necessary to bring the camera up to par. Likely, HTC will need improvements in all three categories to make its phone camera great. Given HTC’s track record thus far, it’s hard to imagine that HTC will be able to nail this on the first attempt. This is unfortunate, because this is likely HTC’s last chance at redemption. Not to get all doom and gloom on HTC, but how long are we expected to take HTC seriously in this arena while camera after camera fails to live up to the competition.
Don’t count them out yet
Regardless, Samsung fixing its battery problem isn’t necessarily a lock. Samsung is known for its bloated and laggy software. It has made improvements in this area, but who knows how much better it will get this generation. All the same, my money is on Samsung to have fixed this problem. Or at least I see it being easier for Samsung to make an incremental improvement over the gigantic leap that HTC is going to need to get up to par. But that’s me.
What do you think? Will Samsung figure out how many mAhs to put in between the glass sheets? Or does HTC have the ability to go camera crazy, since now HTC is up against the ropes? Is there another dark horse candidate that could emerge and build the perfect phone? LG? Apple? Sound off below with your picks and let us know what you think.