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Behind closed doors: How Samsung impressed us in 2018

For Samsung fans, 2018 was an eventful year. It launched its usual Galaxy S and Galaxy Note flagships (the latter with a big battery), released phones with triple-camera and quad-camera setups, brought us the beautiful new One UI along with Android Pie, and picked up the pace with security updates for various devices. It also introduced gradient colors to its devices, launched an (expensive) 8K TV, announced Bixby 2.0, and even surprised us all with a quick release of the final Android Pie update!

As 2018 comes to an end, we here at SamMobile got down to discussing just how Samsung impressed us most in the last twelve months. And we want to share our thoughts with you, our readers, so here goes. Before we proceed, though, here’s wishing you a Happy New Year!

Abhijeet Mishra: The Galaxy Note 9

I’ve always loved the Galaxy Note lineup, and with the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung finally gave us a Note that harkens back to the lineup’s heyday. The Galaxy Note 8 was great, but that 3,300 mAh battery was far from what one expects on a Galaxy Note. Thankfully, Samsung fixed that with the Galaxy Note 9. The rumors of the Note 9 having a 4,000 mAh battery excited me to no end, and it was great to see that the rumors actually turned out to be true. What we got was a Note flagship that brings back one of the lineup’s biggest strength: Long lasting battery life.

The Galaxy Note 9 also offers plenty of other impressive features, like 128GB of internal storage, an excellent rear camera setup, a stunning display, an S Pen that lets you control functions on your phone via Bluetooth, and stereo speakers that sound great. It’s the full monty, and I’ve loved using the phone every single day since its debut. Samsung has inched towards perfection with every flagship release in the last year or two, and the Galaxy Note 9 puts everything together for an amazing experience.

Adnan Farooqui: Ditto

I have been using Samsung smartphones for as long as I remember. The Note lineup has always intrigued me but I only ever purchased the Galaxy Note 4. The Galaxy S series felt more worthy of my money in the following years until 2018. I had the Galaxy S8+ and when the Galaxy S9 came out, it made little sense for me to upgrade. This got me more excited for the Galaxy Note 9 and boy did Samsung deliver.

The Galaxy Note 9 is without a doubt the most impressive move made by Samsung in 2018, in my humble opinion. When rumors about this device reached fever pitch, my colleague Abhijeet Mishra wrote that he would throw money at the Galaxy Note 9 if it had a 4,000mAh battery. I agreed with the sentiment. To be honest, I did consider getting the Galaxy S9+ because of the dual aperture camera and the ability to record impressive Super-slow motion videos, but since the Galaxy Note 9 was destined to get these features, it made more sense to wait.

The Galaxy Note 9 has everything that you could want from a flagship smartphone in 2018. Seeing Samsung deliver on expectations with this device made me really happy.

Danny Dorresteijn: One UI

The biggest surprise from Samsung this year came from the company’s mobile UX division. One UI, announced at SDC 2018 and officially released for the Galaxy S9 in some countries around Christmas, looks absolutely beautiful. The animations are awesome and many UI elements are now easy to reach. Night mode is something every Samsung fan would appreciate. I have to say Samsung has really stepped up its software game with One UI, and I hope the experience will get even better with time. After all, the first release is quite promising, a sentiment most of you will probably agree with.

Martin Reinders: The surprisingly quick release of Android Pie

I’m a sucker for big user interface changes, and Samsung has made a few bad ones in the past. But with One UI, they hit it out of the park, and it’s almost like getting a new phone once you get the Android Pie update. One UI centers around easier one-handed usage and looks quite stunning in the process. But the best part for me is that Samsung has managed to release Android Pie in record time. The Christmas release came as a surprise, and I think it’s a big win for us Samsung fans, who have gotten used to waiting for new versions of Android for months on end.

Sumit Adhikari: No-notch 2018

2018 would go down as the year of smartphone display notches. In search of more screen real estate, most smartphone manufactures opted for the notch. But thankfully, at least for me, Samsung stood as the major holdout this year. Samsung did join the trend of “more screen is always better” when it launched the Galaxy A8s with a punch hole camera earlier this month. And the company may eventually launch smartphones with a notched display next year, with the Galaxy M20 reportedly featuring the Infinity-U display.

But it’s good to see Samsung avoided the notch at least until 2019. At its developer conference in November, the company talked about a new Infinity display panel which looked to be a completely notch-less display. So, who knows, it could be working on completely killing off the notch. The company’s Sound on Display OLED panels, another technology that nullifies the need for the notch, could arrive in early 2019.

Henk Loosbroek: The Galaxy Note 9

While the Galaxy Note 8 was, IMHO, a good device, the Galaxy Note 9 is far better. The 4,000mAh battery provides an excellent standby time. It was certainly a very good move from Samsung. The fact that it could be had with up to 512GB of internal storage worked in its favor as well. This was the first time that the 512GB variant was widely available as Samsung previously offered it in limited markets only. It can be paired with a 512GB microSD card for a terabyte of storage in your pocket.

Samsung also tidied up the firmware this year so it was more stable overall. The Android Pie update with One UI will kick things up a notch. Speaking of One UI, I appreciate that Samsung allowed Galaxy Note 9 owners to participate in the One UI beta program. As a dedicated Note user, it never felt nice to not have the ability to beta test Samsung’s major firmware updates.

Naresh Nekkanti: Refined flagships

Refined is not a word that has been associated with Samsung’s flagship smartphones. The company always made products that offered “more” but not necessarily “better.” Things started to change in the last couple of years as the company moved away from numbers to the experience, and its efforts seem to have reached the culmination point in 2018. This may be the year when the company’s flagship devices finally graduated to that “refined” status.

Both the Galaxy S9/S9+ and Note 9 built on their processors’ strengths and mostly brought incremental changes to the table, but the end result is far superior than what the spec sheets convey. The absence of any weird design choices and avoidable little quirks, clubbed with an improved software experience, made this year’s flagship lineup the “default” option and recommendation for Android users. While some of the competitors in the market did one or the other thing better, Galaxy flagships were better all-rounders with no debilitating drawbacks. Too bad the company couldn’t reap the benefits to the fullest as the combination of various market forces resulted in weaker sales.


What was the one thing Samsung did in 2018 that was your favorite? Do tell us in the comments!

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locarno
locarno

Ok. Who is Sumit Adhikari and Henk Loosbroek ?

punitverma2010
punitverma2010

of course they are part of the Sammobile. A company of this much scale can’t be run only by 3-4 people

henklbr
henklbr
locarno
locarno

Ok. I know you Henk from forum. But there’s no info about Sumit Adhikari

Moosehead1
Moosehead1

Abhijeet,Happy New year to you and all at Sammobile!! Cheers!! Love the Note 9 Its really the best smartphone on the planet in my opinion. Any news on software updates to the ar emojis feature for Android Pie for the Note 9? You stated you were going to contact Samsung about this? Please follow through on this as you said you would. Thank you again. Huge sammobile fan!

Gunter2
Gunter2

A very good list. As you might know I’m quite new to Samsung getting my S9 plus recently, upgrading from Pixel. It was a very good decision. I’m really enjoying your site so Happy New Year from Germany! My favourite thing is One UI !

Biransahin
Biransahin

Great list guys. For me, also the Note9, by far the best of 2018. I don’t really like the notches or holes so hopefully by 2020 we will have the full infinity display. Happy New year everyone at Sammobile. 🎉🎉

ProdByEchelon
ProdByEchelon

For me it’s no notch 2018. That will change next year but it was nice while it lasted.

Cyril692
Cyril692

I want to thank you for your work.
Live with my note 9 from France

Adnan F.
Adnan F.

Much appreciated!

nenovs
nenovs

I appreciate all the work at the Galaxy devices’ firmware. The fast releases of the security patches for a couple of devices, the Oreo update for very unexpected devices like Galaxy J7 2016, the record fast release of Android Pie for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. I love firmware updates and it’s great for me that Samsung finally impressed us with that all.

easycure1974
easycure1974

How can you all say that the Pie update is a quick release? It is pretty quick for being Samsung as they are notoriously bad with new versions. But Pie was released in August and then I really can’t call releasing Pie in December to some countries is quick. Especially since the Note 9 is rumoured to have to wait for February for its release and S9 update is just released in a couple of countries

Martin R.
Martin R.

Ussually we needed to wait for the new year…

easycure1974
easycure1974

Yes it is better but you still can’t call it quick 🙂
Funny that people can’t stand the truth and have to downvote the post 🙂

I have the Note 9 and love it but I can still think Samsung sucks on OS updates. No Samsung fanboy here – can’t be blind for the truth just because I own a Samsung device

Gunter2
Gunter2

I’m a very new Samsung user with S9 plus but a long term Pixel and Nexus user. I have to say you are not really correct. I went backwards I suppose you could say from Pixel 2 with Pie update back to Oreo on S9 plus. Pie was a terrible mess of bugs, app freezes. restarts, WiFi dropping, sound issues,overheating and camera freezes right up to a couple of months ago when I got the S9 plus. It has been running perfectly on Oreo. I am in Germany so now I have One UI and it is the first very… Read more »

Biransahin
Biransahin

Bravo! It’s exactly what I’ve said to people for a few years now. Having the latest OS version is great but only as long as it’s working correctly. Just imagine some Samsung bugs on top of 35 Pie bugs!! Lol.

Gunter2
Gunter2

Haha! Yes, only a Pixel user will understand how bad the newest Android is before it gets fixed. I think Google used us Pixel users as guinea pigs to test the the new version because it is NEVER bug free on release date. It is just bug after bug after bug.

easycure1974
easycure1974

I have been using Pie on Pixel, Sony and Huawei devices. And yes it has been som bugs on the Pixel but there is never a bug free OS, if you wait for that hell will freeze first 🙂 And the Huawei and Sony devices have been a joy using with Pie so I think Samsung could have gotten a working Pie long before this. But as we all know, Samsung has always been one of the slowest with its update.

Gunter2
Gunter2

No, that’s not correct. Everyone in my Reddit community is complaining about Pie up to a few weeks ago . It was absolutely terrible on the Pixel. It’s the reason I moved after so many years. It cannot be denied. The recent list of 35 bugs fixed was just the tip of the iceberg. I’m a user since the first Nexus devices, since the first Pixel, it’s been very buggy at launch and if anything each year t’s gotten worse. Samsung were right to wait. The software on a Samsung flagship like an S9 or Note9 is way more feature… Read more »

Biransahin
Biransahin

You’re a little bit right but mostly wrong. Right up to two weeks ago Google (check it if you like) was STILL fixing major bugs in Pie. The last fix they just did was for 35 bugs including 9 major ones. Just imagine a buggy Pie coupled with a new UI? It would be a mess. I do think Samsung could be a little bit faster but it’s better to wait for Pie to be stable before putting a skin on it. Go on Reddit and check the numerous complaints about Pie until just a couple of weeks ago.

Gunter2
Gunter2

You are right of course. I can talk as I’m part of that community. It was a very bad release. Be happy that you didn’t get it. It would be like putting s cherry on top of a pile of crap!! hahaha!

Biransahin
Biransahin

I bow to your superior knowledge Gunter, as for your cherry analogy… 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

Gunter2
Gunter2

Glad you like it but it’s the also the truth. 🙂

Biransahin
Biransahin

Ok, we can’t say any more I’m off to our New Year celebrations!! Happy New year to you and also @easycure1974. Have a great 2019 you too! Excellent discussion! 🎉🎉🎉