My kingdom for an SD slot

Samsung has unveiled it's latest Samsung Galaxy series smartphone this week, and the early indications are not good.

Apparently Samsung has decided that everybody who chooses an iPhone over their offerings loves no onboard storage and no removable battery.

Samsung, locked in a tight race with Apple to be the world's biggest smartphone maker, has unveiled an important new phone that ditches its signature plastic design for more stylish metal and glass.
The problem with this "metal and glass" is that with glass on both sides, the new Samsung will not have a removable battery or micro-SD card storage, two features which I'm pretty sure were significant order winners for the brand.

Let's talk about SD card memory first, it's the one that most people are going to be bothered by. When your iPhone fills up, screw you, your life is over. Well, until you transfer stuff to your computer (more on that later) and free up space. Seeing how Samsung is also busy filling up your phone's memory with shit you probably don't want and cannot get rid of, it seems cruel to tell the poor user that now he's stuck filling all his apps/pictures/songs/etc. on the palty 7.86GB of data that Samsung doesn't steal away from you on Day 1. Does it sound like the Galaxy S6 will come with less bloatware? Surprisingly, yes, which will help. But less isn't "zero", and less space is still less space: a micro-SD card in a Galaxy S5 can give you a boost from 7GB to 133GB, and if you want to transfer large amounts of data to and from the phone, pulling out the SDHC card and installing it in a computer instead of using USB is ten times faster, and can be done while the phone is off and recharging somewhere. This is a feature that I've used on my Samsung Galaxy numerous times, and losing it would be a huge blow. Also, when you store photos on the SD card, they are recoverable using (free) data recovery software, meaning that you're say forced by an unreasonable police officer or security guard or bitchy girl in a Hollywood club to delete pictures, it's child play to get them back. (Hint: after the incident set your phone to save pictures onto the phone rather than the SD card, don't transfer onto the SD card until you've had a chance to get your photos back). If the phone itself goes tits-up, the data on that card is instantly recoverable in a way that isn't if the phone malfunctions.

Your phone going tits-up, by the way, is a huge argument in favour of the other feature lost in the "upgrade" to a Galaxy S6: the removable battery. Quick quiz, hotshot: how often does your phone freeze up? If your iPhone freezes up, you can hope that this iPhone de-freezing method works. Here's a hint: if your de-freezing method involves holding buttons down, it probably doesn't work very well. You're left waiting for your iPhone's battery to die (and since your phone isn't doing anything, that's gonna be a while) before you can recharge it and restart the phone. Guess what, future Galaxy S6 customer: that's your future. Your phone (which should freeze less than an iPhone, thank God) if it hangs is useless to you until your battery wears down. (Luckily, Galaxy S6 will come with a smaller battery, we'll delve into that in a bit). Bear in mind that we've been discussing the lack of a removable battery and haven't even delved into the most popular argument in favour of a removable battery: the battery swap. It's not something I personally do, I use the rechargable brick method to extend my battery life. But I know of at least 4 Samsung Galaxy users who use this trick, and swear by it. It's also been useful for me in a previous life: when my phone was a Samsung slider and my battery died out at the bar, I was able to spot a guy who had the same phone as me, borrow his battery for 5 minutes, and communicate to people where to come pick me up. It ended up being a pretty wild house party that was saved by virtue of me having a phone with a removable battery.

So in return for a slightly prettier case, your new Galaxy S6 will be missing two critical features that highly benefit many if not most phone users. Specifically, it will be missing two features that make people chose it over Apple. Meanwhile, people will do with the slightly prettier case what they always do with slightly prettier cases: instantly put a case or cover over it. (Worth noting from that story: 87% of iPhone users put their phone in a case, despite "look of the phone" being the highest iPhone user's motivation to not-case). As trade-offs go, this one sucks. Like, really sucks.

So what else is new from the Galaxy S6?
Although the resolution of the phones' rear camera remains at 16 megapixels, cameras on both sides will have wider openings to let in more light and make for sharper photos. The phones also promise better focus and colour accuracy — achieved in part by using the infrared capabilities on the phones' heart-rate sensor to detect lighting conditions.
Okay, that's pretty cool. One of the big selling features of the Galaxy S5 was that it was far better at low-light photography than my Galaxy S4 is. Keeping this industry-winning quality is a good trick, and it's certainly going to help the S6 with sales. It seems odd, though, that the megapixels of the cameras aren't changing, especially the woefully inadequate 5MP camera that faces the user. I don't think cellphone makers realize how much selfies are taken, and how sometimes you actually want to see the quality of those mountains behind you.

Okay, I promised the battery was coming up, so here we go. What is the new Galaxy S6 going to give you for battery life?
Samsung is promoting the new phones' ability to charge quickly — in 30 minutes they can reach 50 percent.
Er, okay, sounds fun...but the fast charge thing shouldn't be too important if the bat...oh, nevermind...the battery has actually gotten smaller: only 2,550mAh instead of the 2,800mAh battery on the Galaxy S5. Samsung says they've extended the battery life, which every cellphone manufacturer on the planet always says about their new phones right up until the point where they get caught lying their asses off. So in return for a slightly lighter phone (which even power users wouldn't even really notice) you get a worse phone experience in the form of less time out and about with your phone. Yes, yes, you can charge it quick. That's great consolation when you're out for a nice long day (in Edmonton, summer days can feature a lot of outdoor time) and find yourself looking at a 24% battery level less than five hours into your journey. Yeah, so when you have to cut your plans short and run to a plugin, it's less time standing by a tree with a 110V outlet at the base of it. I'm not sure this is exactly a step up. In fact, I know it's not.

The Galaxy S6 does have a few more refinements versus its predecessor: it's replaced the chipset, taken steps to introduce "Samsung Pay", and improved the fingerprint scanner on the home button. I have an extra little hint for cellphone manufacturers here: nobody gives a shit. Nobody. Not a single shit. Sorry, but you're wasting time and money developing features nobody really cares that much about. The S6 does have a fancy new OLED screen, which should impress people quite a bit. Until it starts killing your battery or making your eyes hurt in a dark bar. Here the news the contrast settings are improved will help.

So there's your Galaxy S6: all the features that are already in the iPhone you bought, and none of the features that you wish your iPhone had that may convince you to switch. Apparently style is a bigger feature in phones than us real users give it credit for. Regardless, I'm hoping the S6 sales tank so badly that Samsung smartens up and gives us an S7 that's a little thicker but has SD memory and a removable battery. Oh, and a better pair of cameras would be nice. It doesn't have to be thinner and lighter if its less capable!