Why is Samsung so easy to hate?

Alan Diggs
7 min readApr 22, 2023


Buckle up, buttercup. We’re going phone-hopping.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it, I’ve hated on Samsung and their phones many times in the past, yet continued to buy them knowing I’d still be unhappy. I’ve had the S9+, S20+, a couple of a-series phones, and I was honestly infuriated by the experience… Yet over time I’ve been much more receptive to Samsung’s efforts, even going so far as buying the Galaxy S23 Ultra and making it my primary phone. I love it… So why do I still find it so easy to complain about them?

In 2018 I was blissfully using an iPhone 8+, my first phone I bought for myself, and my first ever iPhone. It offered a level of stability and consistency I had never experienced in a phone before, seeing as I’d come from mostly budget-oriented Android devices and Windows phones. Temptation struck me nonetheless, and after seeing the S9+ in the hands of other people I knew, I was inclined to make a sudden purchase and got myself a Samsung of my very own. I’ll be honest, the first impression I had of the device was incredibly positive. The curved edges of the display, the hand-feel of the device. Samsung knew what they were doing. Unlike my iPhone, this had no massive chin with a button on it, giving me tons more screen to look at. It was art.

What went wrong?

Despite my initial enamorment with the device, I found myself moaning and groaning about so many little things after no more than a week of using it. I found the UI to be cluttered. I complained about being bombarded by notifications I never asked for. I complained about the fact that I was wrestling with two app stores, two browsers, two galleries, etc. Bixby was hot garbage and the process of removing things the phone was preloaded with took unreasonable amounts of effort. I left the Samsung Galaxy not long after. It was two years until I visited once again, buying the Galaxy S20+ to replace my Pixel after falling victim to a great deal and flashy marketing. Once again, Samsung made an absolute stunner. It was a thing of beauty. Much more refined than my experience with the S9+, but despite that I soon found that many of my old complaints were unresolved. Coming from Pixel, I also found myself underwhelmed and almost angry with the poor camera performance as well. I had to resort to ADB tools to remove Facebook and its associated services preinstalled on the phone. I was disgusted. I not only replaced the phone, but reserved a space in my heart of passionate disdain for anything Samsung. “Samsung makes great hardware, but their software is hot garbage.”—I dragged this line up any time someone dared mention Samsung to me. I was relentless with it, too.

Samsung’s Redemption Arc?

It’s now the year 12,023 of the Human Era Calendar and despite throwing Samsung under the bus every chance I get, I was so impressed by what I saw with the 23 series and the cameras in particular, I absolutely had to get my hands on it… and Samsung’s latest Galaxy S23 Ultra has stunned me. I replaced my yellow iPhone 14 which I coveted almost religiously. This is undoubtedly the best phone I’ve ever used and I love it. The build quality, battery life, impressive camera(s), and even the software is significantly improved. Everything is perfe—

Maybe not perfect. Somehow I still find myself complaining. I easily got by with the occasional irk on iPhone, which I generally summed up as “yeah, it’s annoying but everything else is so perfect, who cares?”, and then went on my way. But with Samsung… it’s just too easy. As if I’ve built an emotional connection with iPhone, but with Galaxy, it’s just a phone, nothing special. I understand that Samsung relies on its partnerships with other companies to survive, but for the life of me I still just hate the way that feels. Gallery wanting to sync to OneDrive when it should just sync to Google Photos. Samsung Cloud vs Google One, and why do I have to be responsible for this as if Samsung isn’t confident enough to assert that one should work just fine.

Perhaps I’m too harsh on Samsung. I mean, Bixby is easy to just not use now. (And yes, Bixby has gotten better but the speech synthesis is uncomfortably unnatural.) Their cameras and camera software have improved on every level despite still having some quirks, and the stupid thing that used to be on the left side of the home screen is now a proper Google feed (thank gosh). But Samsung does so much that it’s almost impossible not to find something to complain about. It’s like they’re so close to greatness, but they keep doing stupid things that seem almost blatantly self-destructive. But even then, as I’m starting to defend Samsung, it’s so easy to point out the faults.

I’m not the only one, either. I see it every day when I open Twitter, Discord, Reddit. I’m surrounded by similar sentiment. I’m conditioned to expect Samsung to deliver more than they have but also to expect Apple to just “keep doing what they’re doing great”. As if they don’t need desperate improvements, but they do. I haven’t had any reason to feel connected with a Samsung device though, while I’ve had every reason to feel connected with an Apple device. Perhaps that’s because part of Apple’s design includes making things feel so much more evocative, personal. From the marketing to the way their devices are always better with more Apple devices and nothing else. Samsung on the other hand is the bloated, distant cousin with a lack of focus.

Where does it end? Where do the double standards flip over? I love my S23 Ultra, so why don’t I stop complaining? Perhaps a big part of it is that I just don’t feel personally invested in Samsung as a brand. Much like other Android phone makers. I rarely see a Samsung ad—though they’ve made great ones—and even when I do, it can’t outweigh the way the rest of the world around me portrays them. There’s no Samsung store for me to walk into the way I can with an Apple Store. I mean, yeah… They exist. But where? From what I can tell by Samsung’s website, there’s like five of them in the US. I don’t feel like travelling a thousand or more miles for that, though. But there’s an Apple store in my city. There’s Apple stores in cities nearby.

Samsung needs a human connection.

It’s not enough for Samsung to just make their phones better. They need to integrate into our world and connect with us personally. “Samsung Experience” should be something generally relatable, not something rare and unheard of. We desperately need more Samsung Experience stores. Samsung ads need to connect with us more. They’re fun, but not emotional. Hands-on experiences with their products. With people who are invested in their products. Building a connection between the product and the people using them. The Apple Store is a destination. I’ve never heard someone say “let’s go to the Samsung store”. But the disconnect remains even ignoring their anemic storefront possibilities. Their software presents conflict rather than unity. Samsung has put themselves in a position of indecisiveness rather rather than assertiveness. They’re expected to ship Google’s ecosystem components, which has ultimately been a net-positive for them, but also a point of confusion for their own offerings. Samsung Internet is a genuinely great browser but Chrome is right there, offering the speed and security it’s ubiquitously known for. Gallery is actually fantastic software, but alongside Google Photos which is strong competition even on iOS, how can it compete? Especially when all it can offer is OneDrive sync, which—to be blunt for the point—“no one uses”.

All of this makes Samsung themselves fall into the background when they should be doing the exact opposite. As a user, I want to feel like I’m making the right choice when I trust a brand. Whether or not it’s technically the superior choice doesn’t matter. Almost everything these days is good enough. What matters more is what feels best. Samsung has come a long way, but they still haven’t figured out how to make me feel. I genuinely think this is a common theme for the entire US market. There’s people that love their Samsung phones, no doubt. But the grass always looks greener over at Apple Park. Samsung has benefitted so greatly from partnerships with other companies but my gosh I just don’t want any of that. If Samsung is worth trusting, they should be worth trusting fully.

In conclusion…

Samsung has demonstrated they can make some of the best hardware on the market. Their phones are just ridiculously good. But they have no emotional weight. They have no evocative presence in our lives that drives us towards them. More than anything, Samsung needs to provide a product which feels uniquely and wholly “Samsung”, while ensuring that the connotations of such are entirely positive. Then they need to make it special. Personal. Close. The way Apple does with their stores.

As for how doable that is for Samsung, I genuinely don’t know. The cost of it all is high. But double standards exist because of the human element most of all. Emotion drives us, and right now Samsung isn’t able to harness that.