Smartphone manufacturers put a lot of time and money into advertising their products’ features so that we, the consumers, will choose their products over the rest of the competition. Features like scratch-resistant displays and high-performing cameras. That’s why it’s particularly confusing that, in the case of those two features in particular, we’ve recently seen some reports of OEMs shipping different versions of the same phone — no, I’m not talking about the confusing days of the Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, and Sprint Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch.
Last week, we wrote about Samsung reportedly shipping the Galaxy S6 with different camera sensors to different buyers; one using a Sony sensor, the other with a Samsung sensor. We’ve seen this happen before with the Galaxy Note 4, but that was processor-based, and in turn, region-based to an extent. But this time, there doesn’t seem to be a pattern, no rhyme or reason why different people buying the same phone are getting different parts. Thankfully, there haven’t been any complaints as of yet (or at least, none that we’ve seen) regarding lesser image quality on either model, but without directly comparing two Galaxy S6 units with the different sensors, it’s hard to say if the inconsistencies in hardware will translate over to performance.
Just days after the Samsung report, we got word on HTC pulling a similar stunt with the One M9, where some models are shipping with Gorilla Glass 3 and others ship with the newer, tougher Gorilla Glass 4. Both are great display choices, and HTC’s Uh-Oh protection plan adds some peace of mind regardless of which display you get, but it again raises the question, why are different units of the same product using different materials? Gorilla Glass 3 has always worked perfectly fine for me, and GG4 is hardly a make-or-break feature for me in a phone, but it’s more a matter of principal — can you imagine if some M9’s used the existing Toshiba sensor, and others used a superior Sony sensor? It becomes a luck-of-the-draw game, and I’d be pretty upset if my friend’s M9 outperformed mine in arguably its only major flaw.
So what’s your take on transparency regarding hardware revisions? Are you as fired up by it as I am? If you ask me, I should be able to comfortably and confidently buy a smartphone knowing that I’ll get exactly the same experience as anyone else with the phone. I understand that as manufacturing processes change, so too can the materials used in a product, but … just give us a heads up, please? It’s not asking for much.