Technology writers love to create lists of new products so we can compare, well, their specifications, and little else. Why? If lists are easy to create– and they are– the Top 10 Lists that compare pieces of hardware must be easy to create, too, amirite?
They say the devil is in the details and so it is with product comparison lists. What defines best? For example, Top Movies often show up as movie ticket sales. Ticket sales have little to do with quality movies. Ditto for top TV shows. Popularity does not necessarily quality make. Cars can be categorized as Top by price. Or, top by quality, but based upon some kind of customer research, such as the J.D. Power lists.
What are the Top 10 Best Smartphones for 2018? It depends upon who you ask, but the usual suspects show up. Samsung. Apple. And every other smartphone maker that sells very few of the best smartphones. Again, what defines best? Sales? Hardware? Support? Customer base? Resale value? Use in the enterprise? Matthew Miller tried and failed.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 sat at the top of my list for the last few months and is still my personal ultimate daily driver.
Fair enough? But why?
Why consider the Galaxy Note over any other smartphone with a giant display that runs mostly the same software as a $200 Jitterbug-like smartphone? Miller, as with so many such reviewers and list makers, does not say.
Here’s the list:
Huawei Mate 20 Pro – big display, three cameras, Android. Why does it top the list? It’s not just specifications, so there must be some kind of inherent bias at play. I have yet to see anything Huawei in the wild so it’s not exactly a darling of the average smartphone user.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 – this is the true geek phablet, but it still runs Android, comes with a Bluetooth Pen, and is priced like a new iPhone. Why is it #2 and not #1? Or, #6? It isn’t sales.
Apple iPhone Xs Max/Xs – Miller says he tried Max for a few weeks but sent it back in favor of the smaller Xs. Yet, he also uses the gargantuan Note 9. I’m getting mixed signals here.
Google Pixel 3 XL/Pixel 3 – this one shows up on most technology writer lists but save for the photo camera– not the video capabilities– Pixel doesn’t have much going for it other than the latest release of Android OS. Miller’s differentiator?
You can check out my weekend with the Pixel 3 XLwhere I captured some great shots while on vacation.
Huawei P20 Pro – three cameras, but lesser specifications than iPhone XR. How does that rate higher?
US consumers will have to resort to eBay to pick one up, the Huawei P20 Pro is one of the most exciting phones of 2018
How does it rate a comparison to other premium smartphones? Miller doesn’t say. See the problem with such lists?
Apple iPhone XR makes the list at #7 despite the fact that Miller doesn’t have one and admitted that no real reviews are available. It’s Apple so it must be on the list, right?
The rest of the list is an odd amalgam of smartphone models that might have a TV commercial and others that do not. Sony Xperia XZ3. Samsung Galaxy S9/S9 Plus. OnePlus 6. Most of the models on the list have specifications for battery, display size and type, CPU, and price.
How do any of those items make it to a Top 10 List? Why not start with the criteria clearly defined and then see which smartphones top others based upon a real comparison?