Numbers. Comparisons are all about the numbers. Within a week of new iPhone models hitting the streets, various and sundry technology publications do their shootouts, their face-offs, their point by point numerical breakdown of which is which and which is better. Here’s another one.
Do Numbers Matter?
We live in the information age but a better description might be the disinformation age because so much of the growing volume of information we humans wade through each day is worthless or damaging, and sometimes both.
Apple gets hammered by members of the technorati elite politburo because new iPhones or Macs don’t have some feature that a no-name gadget maker has in a product you can’t even find on Amazon. At best, we’ll get a shootout between a few of the top brands. Here’s a typical one from Simon Hill that features iPhone Xs Max and Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
Numbers. Almost two dozen lines of numbers. Physical dimensions, weight, display size and resolution, storage, processor, video capability, and other tidbits that are mostly worthless in such a comparison.
As an example, Hill lists Fingerprint Sensor. No for iPhone Xs Max. Yes for Galaxy Note 9. Bad Apple. Shame. Down boy. Nowhere in the many lines of statistics is there a word about how Face ID works vs. whatever ancient technology Samsung has that doesn’t work as well.
To be fair about the comparison, Hill does list various categories with notes for each; Note 9 vs. Xs Max.
Design & Durability: Design is in the eye of the beholder but this is a Tie.
Display: Both are made by Samsung and within pixels of the same size but Apple specifies requirements, and calibrates differently. Galaxy Note 9 wins.
Software & Updates: iPhone wins but somehow it was a contest. There is no contest. Android updates suck. .iPhone’s iOS updates are the gold standard, and iOS gets installed on a much, much, much larger percentage of the installed base than anything with a Samsung logo on it.
Special Features: What the hell kind of category is this? But Samsung has an S Pen stylus and iPhone requires only your finger. Samsung does DeX support to turn the Note 9 into a mobile PC and Apple wants you to buy a Mac instead. Winner: Samsung.
Price: Why is this a category? Apple always loses on price. Until you figure in cost of ownership which should also include resale value, which Samsung products do not have much. The only discount you get on an iPhone is when it sells next year. Samsung’s Galaxy class smartphones go on sale at huge discounts, often within a week or two of launch. Samsung only has so many warehouses, you know. Winner, Samsung.
This is one of the tightest comparisons we’ve done and the differences between these two phones are slight. The iPhone XS Max edges ahead on performance, camera, and software updates, but the Note 9 has a slightly better display and more unique special features.
Uh, wait a minute. How does the Galaxy Note 9 get a better rating on display than iPhone Xs Max when the Max is declared the best smartphone display ever, as tested by the company that tests such components, DisplayMate, and compared to Galaxy Note 9, ?
It’s all about lies, fake news, and numbers that don’t add up.
One day I hope we’ll stop such numerical comparisons and get some insightful analysis and a few shootouts in a head-to-head comparison of items such as 1) usability, 2) total cost of ownership, 3) service and support, and others that make more sense than which battery is bigger.