How I Became a Samsung Fanboy
"Nexus is the only way to go!"
"Touchwiz is an abomination!"
I used to be one of those guys. Ya know, one of those self-righteous "Nexus or die" guys. I felt that anything other than a Nexus was stupid, bloated and a waste of time. I had my whole dream team of gadgets consisting of my Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. And everything was good. Until it wasn't...
Eventually my Galaxy Nexus (Verizon version by the way) would have random reboots. There would be times where people would call me and it would not let me answer the phone. The handoff between 4G and 3G could sometimes take between 5 - 10 minutes. The GPS radio would take longer than that to find my location. We won't even to discuss how terrible the battery life was even with the extended battery. And that camera made just about every picture look like ass. After several warranty replacements from Verizon they finally sent my a Galaxy S III. And so it began.
I received my shiny (some would call it slimy - looking at you David Pierce) white Galaxy S III in the mail and I kinda liked it, but the voices in my head told me that I need to put Nova Launcher on it and try my hardest to make this thing look and act like a Nexus. For the most part it looked like a "pure Google" device, but one does not simply cover up Touchwiz. Touchwiz is still going to show its face somehow, someway. The notification bar was still "Wiz'd out". The settings menu - Touchwiz. So I figured..."Let me just give this an honest try and see what comes of it since I'm going to have to look at it no matter what I do."
So, I go full-on Touchwiz and I start to like it a little. Initially, things like S Voice seem like stupid useless bloatware. To be honest, the way the show it being used like Siri is stupid and useless, but S Voice can be useful in other ways. With it being enabled, I could just say "answer" when my phone rings and it will answer the phone and automatically put the call on the speakerphone. That's actually useful when my phone isn't right next to. I can say "snooze" to snooze my alarm clock instead of trying to find the snooze button when I'm still half sleep. It actually had a decent camera that put my Galaxy Nexus to shame. The battery would last my entire work day. All the issues that I had with the G'Nex were all gone. I could answer phone calls. My GPS worked as it should. As a matter of fact, I could leave my GPS on all day without worrying about the phone dying in 2 hours.
All of a sudden, I started to like it a lot. A lot of the superficial stuff I harped on before, such as icon design, didn't really matter because I had tons of functionality. Does Samsung's text messaging app look as good as the one in stock Android? No. Does it do the exact same thing? Yes. Does the dialer icon look as nice as it did on the Nexus? No. Does it have more functionality? Yes. Being able to pull up a contact in the dialer and just put the phone to your ear is something that I use everyday. And that's what Samsung does. They put a whole lot of shit in their phones. Some of it works great. Some of it doesn't. The stuff that doesn't work or you're not interested in, you can just hide it away and not use it.
After awhile of my Nexus 7 running like mud, I decided I would factory reset it and give it to my son so he could play Minecraft on it. I did it right before the 4.3 update which helped it out a lot, so bad timing for me and good timing for him. I still had my Nexus 10, but I still wanted a smaller tablet as well. Right around this time, the Nexus 7 2013 edition was coming out and the Galaxy Tab 3 was already out. The rational side of my brain was telling me to just get the N7. It had a higher resolution screen, it was cheaper, it had the latest version of Android, etc. But my heart was telling to get the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0. I looked at all the reviews to try to justify to my brain that buying the Galaxy Tab 3 was a good idea. I looked the review from The Verge. No go. I checked out Engadget. A big resounding meh. Well surely Android Central could see some good in it right? Nope. So all logic and research said that I needed to buy the Nexus 7. I go to Best Buy and head straight to the Nexus 7. I touched the screen to open some app, I think it was Chrome, and the whole tablet reboots. I was done. Now, I know that was probably not indicative of the experience I would have had with a brand new Nexus 7 out of the box, but it was what I needed to justify in my mind that I should buy the Galaxy Tab 3. After using it for a few days, I can see some of the points that the reviewers had. The tablet isn't a powerhouse. The screen is about average. There's nothing absolutely killer about it, but I like it. It does everything I need it to do. Play games? Check. Listen to music? Check. Look at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram? Check? Watch porn? Check. All the bases were covered. Also, having an IR blaster helps facilitate me being a lazy fat-ass when the remote is on the other side of the room.
Prior to having the GS3, I probably would have came in my pants when I saw the Nexus 5 and would have wished upon a star for a Verizon version, but now I'm more like, "That's cool." I figure I'll keep my Nexus 10 around for a while because it's always good to have a Nexus device close at hand.
What have I learned through this odyssey? I like Samsung. They make good phones. You won't be hard pressed to find accessories for them and they're going to make a phone is some size (Galaxy Mega anyone?) or shape (Galaxy Round) that you like. I've also learned not to be so judgmental. Just because someone doesn't want a Nexus doesn't make them an idiot. The same way that if someone doesn't share my view about Samsung products doesn't make them an idiot. We're all different and we all like different things. I don't care for Blackberry 10 or Windows Phone 8, but if other people do, so be it. It's so easy to fall into the ego trap of feeling superior to other people because we feel the technology that we decide to use is better than theirs. I've also learned that tech reviews don't mean much to me anymore. I'll read them to see if there are obvious read flags. I'll look at the videos and all the pretty pictures, but I don't read them for purchasing advice. Why? Because I'm not Josh Topolsky, or Dieter Bohn, or David Pierce. They have lived a completely different life than me. Things that bother them may not mean jack shit to me. Things that impress me with a phone or tablet may not mean jack shit to them. I don't go around looking for confirmation bias of my purchases. As long as I like it is what matters and I like my slimy plastic Samsung gadgets. Go figure.