I have never owned an iPhone. I love Samsung phones (and the Android ecosystem in general)... but I have to upgrade my phone and I'm not buying a new Samsung, I'm giving my money to Apple.
I am not doing this happily, but I'm buying a brand new iPhone SE (2nd generation) directly from Apple instead of a brand new Samsung S10e.
On June 11, I bought a brand new iPhone SE and some accessories directly from Apple's website for $636 (2506.95 PLN) and I'm currently in the process of transferring all my data and whatnot from my Android ecosystem to my new iPhone.
Samsung has disappointed me and I'm giving up on them for now (possibly forever).
It's all about the security updates
I can overlook everything that isn't perfect about a Samsung, but I cannot overlook the shit support it has for security updates. I don't even care that they don't support major upgrades of Android after 2 or so, but security updates for a few years (not to mention very rare, delayed, and carrier-specific ones) are absolutely ludicrous. Beyond ludicrous. Just stupid. Unthinkable. I cannot find words bad enough for my disgust. So disgusting (and uneconomical) that I can't buy another Samsung phone right now.
I am hating on Samsung here because I think that they're the ultimate alternative to Apple when it comes to smartphones (and they should act like it!!), but to be fair: all Android-powered smart phone manufacturers with flagships that compete with the Galaxy S series suck at supporting their devices' software.
I don't want an iPhone
Just to be clear: I do not want an iPhone.
I want a phone with a USB type-C connector. I want a headphone jack. I want expandable memory. I want to put my home screen icons wherever the hell I want. I want a back button. I want the Samsung S10e — it's 10x better than the iPhone SE right now in my opinion... but since I'll be lucky to get spotty security updates for the next 3 years from Samsung for an S10e, yet I can practically expect 5 years of major software support for an SE... there are no 2 ways about it: Samsung has driven me to buy an iPhone.
Seriously. I don't want this iPhone. All things considered, I'm expecting the SE to feel like a an overall downgrade from my current phone (a Galaxy S7). Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.
The economics of the switch
The reasoning behind my switch is above all else: economical.
I have a few non-negotiable requirements for a phone:
- It has to be well-built (I love long-lasting, well-made things 🤷 I always use a case, but I'm not nice to my phones).
- It has to get security updates. The instant my phone stops getting security updates, it's dead to me. Ideally, I don't even get close to the point of the manufacturer stopping supporting the phone before I upgrade.
- It has to work fast enough not to slow me down (if I'm constantly ready to make the next tap but I'm waiting on my phone to load the next view... ✂)
- It has to charge quickly.
As long as a phone has these 4 things, I'm happy. And I'm all about minimizing expenses, so I will buy the cheapest phone that ticks all these boxes.
Let's calculate which phone purchase makes the most economical sense. But before we do, here are some side notes:
- I only buy high-quality (often OE) chargers and cables (and so should you).
- I'm currently in Poland and the prices of electronics here are much higher as compared to the US (so bear that in mind as you look at the prices I give below).
For a baseline, we'll calculate how much it actually cost me per month to own my current phone, the Samsung Galaxy S7.
Samsung Galaxy S7
Now we'll calculate the cost of the S10e and SE.
Samsung Galaxy S10e
If I buy an S10e (the cheapest Android phone I would buy right now) I wouldn't have to purchase any chargers, but I would have to buy some USB-A to USB-C cables.
Apple iPhone SE (second generation)
If I buy the iPhone SE, I will have to purchase a fast charger (because it comes with a piece of crap 5W charger), a headphone dongle (let's not even get into it 🙄), a car charger (because iPhones are not compatible with the universal Quick Charge standard that my current car charger adapts 🙄), and some USB-C to Lightning cables (again, just 🙄).
And just for comparison, let's also do the calculations for an iPhone 11 and Samsung S20:
Apple iPhone 11
Samsung Galaxy S20
Monthly Cost to Operate Summary
- Samsung S7: $20.46 /month
- Samsung S10e: $18.80 /month
- Samsung S20: $23.50 /month
- iPhone SE: $17.98 /month
- iPhone 11: $23.81 /month
As you can see, the difference in cost per month in the long run is actually... negligible. I mean, the difference between $18 a month and $24 a month is not make-or-break for me right now... but that's not the important thing.
The important thing is the extra peace of mind that comes with the iPhones.
I will have no choice but to retire a Samsung phone when Samsung stops pushing security updates... but I will almost certainly be ready to upgrade an iPhone way before they stop supporting it with security upgrade. The iPhones could theoretically live much, much longer... and having that safety margin is invaluable to me. Not to mention (again): Apple is about 1000x better at issuing security updates for their devices as compared to Samsung (not only in the long run, but in general).
Oh, and if you want to resell your old phone when you go to upgrade, iPhones hold their value much better, so that's another factor that can bring their overall cost down. I personally don't usually resell my own phones.
I'm just one stupid customer, and not a high-value one at that.
Listen, I'll be real. I'm not posting this with the expectation of Samsung contacting me, apologizing and begging me to give them another shot. I know my place. I'm not anyone of value to Samsung. Nobody even reads this blog right now (except for you, and you're awesome 😉👉). Not even Linus Tech Tips could bring enough attention to the issue to make Samsung change anything (here, here, and probably many other times).
To top it all off, except for being really low-maintenance in customer support, I'm a pretty shitty customer:
- I really love squeezing every last ounce out of my devices — I use them for 3+ years — and
- I don't buy the latest device. At the time of writing this: I see no value in bleeding-edge devices. They're overpriced. They don't offer enough advantages in productivity to justify their price tags in my use case).
But I'm not gonna continue being part of the problem by buying devices from a company that doesn't care about providing bare-minimum support to devices that are more than capable of handling modern workloads (and are still used by a large portion of the population, more on that later).
There is nothing wrong with my S7, why the hell does Samsung not want to give it security updates?
The only reason I'm upgrading at all is because just a few months ago Samsung officially stopped providing security updates for my current phone (the Galaxy S7). Other than that, my S7 is still functioning awesomely. Even the battery (which is original) isn't in bad shape, and I haven't always treated it with care (plenty of time in the hot sun with a case and no ventilation... seriously, how is this battery still holding a charge all day?)
It's stupid to me that I have to replace my phone which not only functions perfectly, but looks as good as new (the build quality and material composition of flagship phones today is something to be proud of, also a huge shout out to OtterBox — I'm not sponsored by them but their Symmetry case has saved my phone from sure destruction many times).
Nobody should use a phone that doesn't get security updates.
... but maybe it's a good business move?
The S7 is Samsung's 3rd best-selling smart phone of all time and it is still one of the most used phones in the world... as a strictly business play, maybe this isn't a bad one: nobody should use a phone that doesn't get security updates, so this should force people to upgrade. Right!? (side note: not really, because nothing really directly informs consumers that their phone is no longer supported with security updates).
MAYBE it's a good short-term business move. But it definitely is a terrible customer support move, and if you ask me: long-term customer satisfaction/retention beats a bigger bottom line every. single. time.
But that's just me, I'm a small-time self-employed nobody that enjoys sleeping well at night.
This "move" (if it is one) is forcing me to upgrade, but it's also forcing me to move away from Samsung... and although I'm not the ideal customer, Samsung ought to hope I'm in the minority... because I also could have easily been a lifetime customer and if I end up liking the iPhone SE, Samsung will have lost a lot of lifetime value from me.
Third-party Android distributions are not a good solution.
I know third-party Android distributions exist that will allow me to keep my S7 alive, but I'm not that level of enthusiast. I want a phone that lets me get work done, not one that I have to tinker with on a regular basis and count on a volunteer community (albeit incredible and selfless as they may be) to support.
My Open Message to Samsung
If by some crazy chance, a Samsung representative ever runs into this post and reads it (😂😂😂), here's all you need to know:
- If I haven't fallen in love with iPhones, I will come back to you when you support the software on your phones as well or better (in every way, no exceptions) than Apple does.
- If you made your version of the Apple iPhone SE (i.e. an S7 with moderately modern specs) and promised well-done, regular security updates for 5 years, I WOULD BUY IT RIGHT NOW FOR THE PRICE OF AN S20. Same goes for any point in the future, again: if I haven't fallen in love with Apple.
- Even though I think you're doing customer service all wrong, I'm not mad at you and it's not my primary reason for switching to Apple (not by a long shot). My switch to Apple is a logical decision. Due to your terrible software support schedule, your phones become worthless to me in a very short period of time, therefore I have to spend more money to get the same functionality I will get from an iPhone (let's face it: at the end of the day, both phones allow you to get the same work done in one way or another and will physically outlast their software support and batteries).
My Open Message to Everybody
If you buy flagship phones and upgrade to the latest model every 2-3 years, you have nothing to worry about. Pick whichever you like best, you'll be reasonably secure no matter what.
If you keep your phones for 3 or more years and you don't buy the latest models, don't give your money to Samsung, or for the time being: any phone manufacturer rocking Android. As counter-intuitive as it may sound, even the most expensive iPhones are seriously almost always the most economical play.
Shoutout to Linus Media Group
I just want to give a quick shoutout to Linus Media Group (here's a link to their merch store), their videos that cover Android, iOS, Samsung flagships and iPhones are hugely informative and when all of them are considered: fair to both parties.
Thank you for reading!
Hot damn, I don't care what phone you use, you're one hell of a cool person to have read all the way here — I hope you liked the post and I hope you have yourself the best day! 🤠😀🙌