5 ideas Samsung should steal from the iPhone 12

Samsung is by far the most successful Android device maker in the world, but it has struggled to move its flagship Galaxy S phones for the last few years. Sales were down modestly last year for the Galaxy S10, and by all accounts, the numbers for the Galaxy S20 cratered in 2020. Meanwhile, Apple has reported pre-orders for the iPhone 12 more than doubled compared to last year’s phone. Clearly, Samsung could learn a thing or two from Apple—here are five ideas Samsung should steal from the iPhone 12.

1. Realistic flagship pricing

You could spend $1,400 on a new iPhone 12, but that’s the top-of-the-line Pro Max with half a terabyte of storage. If you don’t want to spend that much, the cheaper versions are just as good—you lose nothing with the $1,000 iPhone 12 Pro, and the non-Pro models are almost as capable.

On the flip side, there’s Samsung: The Galaxy S20 Ultra launched with a $1,400 starting price early this year, and the cheaper versions of the S20 had a much less impressive camera array. How about the $1,300 Note 20 Ultra? To save some cash, you could get the non-Ultra version with a worse screen, cheaper construction, and no SD card slot for $1,000. See the problem?

Consumers shouldn’t feel like they have to spend a mortgage payment to get “the good version” of Samsung’s latest phone. Apple’s phones are objectively expensive, but they’re a few hundred dollars cheaper at every tier than Samsung’s phones.

This is actually an easy fix, and we’ve already seen Samsung move in this direction by dropping the Samsung tax. The S20 Fan Edition is almost as good as the older S20 phones, but it costs just $700. That’s a realistic price for the cheapest member of a flagship phone lineup, just like Apple’s entry-level iPhone 12 Mini.

2. Better build quality

I’m saying this as someone who strongly prefers Android to iOS and has been writing about why for a decade: The iPhone 12 has the best build quality of any smartphone. The only Android OEM that’s anywhere close to Apple in terms of fit and finish is Samsung, but it’s not doing enough.

When you pick up an iPhone 12, you can tell how much attention was paid to the little things. The way the glass meets up with the metal, the feel of the buttons, the dense steel of the Pro models, the precise haptics—it’s all a tribute to skilled industrial design. Samsung phones feel good, but not that good. Even the $700 iPhone 12 Mini is an amazingly luxurious object. Can you say that about any $700 Android phone?

A $1,300 Samsung phone like the Note 20 Ultra should feel as high-end as an iPhone, and that’s not the case right now. We know Samsung has the skill and money to compete with Apple if it wanted to; just look at the hinge on the Z Fold2, which is a genuine marvel of engineering. It’s time to focus those skills on making phones that are both feature-rich and physically stunning, like the iPhone 12.

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