The Apple-fication Of Samsung Means I’ll Be A Free Agent Unless They Restore Features

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Oh Samsung. How the mighty have fallen.

I’ve had Samsung phones since Sprint launched their 3G network on the a500 in 2002. That was before camera phones existed, but Samsung sold a separate camera that plugged into that phone, which was quite an innovative accessory. I had Samsung Palm OS phones like the i330, i500, and i550 after that, but I ditched Samsung for Treo when they threw in the towel on Palm Pilots.

After a decade with Sprint, they tossed me off my grandfathered plan and I was finally able to make the jump to Android in 2011 when I went back to Samsung with the Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S4, the Note 4 Edge, Note 8, and currently the Note 10+.

The Note 4 Edge was easily my favorite Android phone. It had an awesome functional edge screen that Samsung made useless on subsequent phones. It also had a removeable battery, Micro-SD storage, IR/remote control, and more features that Samsung has since ditched. I held onto it for years until finally moving onto the Note 8 and losing my ability to travel with spare batteries.

The beauty of Android to me was that it allowed the user to make decisions on how to customize their phone. The ability to have an app drawer and decide what apps and widgets to display on the home page, the ability to have external storage, etc.

But Samsung has truly lost their way now. After years of poking fun at Apple, they are ditching all the things that made them not Apple.

Removing features in favor of planned obsolescence is the name of the game. Apple has even slowed down phones to “protect” batteries that can’t be replaced. Samsung had long resisted that, but those days are over.


The S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra all kill the Micro-SD slot. I store data on my Micro-SD card to quickly switch between phones or backup data to my computer. It means I don’t need to spend extra on a phone’s storage and that if the phone has a catastrophic failure, I won’t lose my data.

Samsung clearly knew this was a key differentiator. They even mocked iPhones for not having external storage. And yet, even if you buy the top-end S21 Ultra you are left without the ability to have a Micro-SD card.

Despite killing the Micro-SD slot, available memory options from 128GB-512GB haven’t changed in years. That’s despite higher resolution photos and videos taking up more space than ever.


Apple makes a fortune selling iCloud storage. And Google does as well, so it’s no surprise that Pixel phones also don’t offer external storage. I’m sure Samsung wants to get a piece of that as well, and there’s no better way than killing off the Micro-SD slot.

Just a few months ago, Samsung made fun of Apple for ditching the charger. Now Samsung has copied Apple and done the same with the S21.

Credit: 9to5google 


Samsung Pay’s innovative magnetic transmission allowed you to pay with your phone, even if the store didn’t have an NFC enabled terminal.

As of the S21, Samsung said that they are permanently ditching magnetic transmission, which means they will no longer have that key advantage over Android Pay and Apple Pay.


My wife made the switch from Samsung to Pixel during the Black Friday 2018 deal and has been thrilled with her phone.

Well Samsung, will you fix this, or will I be a free agent when I’m ready for a new phone this fall?

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If Samsung doesn’t bring back some of these features to the Note 21, or if they kill off the Note line, which phones should I look into trying out?

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96 Comments On "The Apple-fication Of Samsung Means I’ll Be A Free Agent Unless They Restore Features"

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what about blackberry

Dan how did you manage to not have a blackberry? Still using a key2


One Plus


It also has no option of external storage


Two years ago, I would have said yes. Their fast charging (wired or wireless) is still unreal. But I think that they have lost their way. The first Nord was an amazing value, albeit underpowered. But the two US versions are lackluster and getting bad reviews.

The prices have also creeped up and the OnePlus 8T at $750 isn’t the same value as the OnePlus 7 was at $600, and is the S21 at $850 more than $100 better? Probably, especially because more carriers have deals on Samsung and less on OP.


I made the move and I haven’t looked back.


There are enough phone options to try and avoid Chinese owned brands.


At least the name Samsung is still called Samsung. We can’t say the same about the Cleveland Indians.


Every company makes their changes.
Get the Note 20 Ultra for now, and see what they do next with the Note (though you have to assume that they won’t bring much back, even if there is another Note) and the foldables, but there are plenty of other decent phones out there to pick from…


If Micro SD is the dealbreaker, then u have to go with the LG V60.

Otherwise, I have a OnePlus and it’s as good an Android experience as the Pixels, but u get better specs for ur money. It’s a startup and they work hard to win their customers. (But no SD slot.)


My issue with non-google, samsung or apple phones is some, if not, most of them are not supported (especially when they get older) by phone companies, sprint, etc. especially when i bring my own phone. so this really sucks that none of the core options have an sd card now.


“If Micro SD is the dealbreaker, then u have to go with the LG V60.”

I have a few LGs (3 of them) early on with Android, and they performed okay initially, but after a year, they didn’t perform well at all anymore. And they simply refused to update them! I decided at that point to never buy an LG Android again.

(I also happen to be in the market for a new washer and dryer, and interestingly enough, the most scathing comments about LG are about their terrible customer service when the machines fail to perform.)

J rosen

Can’t agree more,


switch to pixel! I love mine. it’s no so bad paying for storage and I use it for Gmail/drive anyway


Slowly all phones will follow..the charger i get i do have a ton of chargers lying around..and you do get 260 worth of credit to buy one if you want with a new Samsung.

Its a matter of what tech is important and the more they put in the phone the less they have room for other things its a give and take. With cloud storage increasing phones have less of a need for SD cards since nothing is really lost if your phone is destroyed and you have frequent backups


Unfortunately, samsung is still the only ui which takes full advantage of big screens and makes it easy to use one handed. Otherwise I’d make the switch.


I is my iPhone 12 Max one handed. No problemo. Love it ever since I switched


I would love to introduce you to what one handed mode is. Samsung’s Good luck app is unmatched by any other company.


How about one plus


Motorola has phones with microsd. And headphone jack. And the android on them is closer to Google Android than other phones. (I’m looking at Samsung especially. The modifications they make to Android prevented me from ever getting a Samsung after getting to know clean Android on my nexus 4).

For batteries, a hefty USB battery that sits in my bag beats removable batteries every time. I don’t have to turn off my phone for a swap when it runs low, just plug in and keep working. Capacities also beat even the largest super chunky batteries you can attach to the back of your phone. Best of all, when I change phones it will still work with my new one. And the one after that…


I’ve been using Motorola for years. Never desapointed me and good value for money


I was looking to upgrade from my s10e to a s21+ because I wanted a bigger screen. The s21 series downgraded the amount of RAM from 12gb on the s20 to 8gb. Also lost the SD card meaning I’d have to get the 256gb variant which only come in black. Between the downsize in RAM, lack of SD card, and not having color options, I’m not upgrading. Hopefully they’ll bring these back on the Note 21. Otherwise I’m switching to OnePlus.

~King Lake~

Wow thanks for sharing that @dan !!
I’m a big fan of samsung as well (or at least until now) I currently have the s20 and had other galaxies before, and was actually planning to trade it in for the s21, but no I’m not sure anymore ☹️

Sad day…

Samsung still is better than Apple

At least they didn’t go Apple all the way you can still connect your phone to a computer with the charger and transfer files that way without using any special software like Apple. I still think android is better than Apple

~King Lake~

You don’t need Samsung for Android


I’ve had the LG G4 and now the LG G8 and they’re pretty good. The G8 tried a lot of new features which turned out more gimmicky than useful but in general it’s a pretty solid phone and it has a Micro SD slot. One thing though with LG is that they have a bad history of being very slow to release Android updates when they come out. Not saying it’s the best phone around but you might want to consider it.


I have the G7. Terrible battery life, but I like everything else about it


You had a G4 and you were happy with it? I guess you didn’t have to bake yours in the oven then… (I’m not kidding…)


I got the Note 20 ultra 512gb it’s a great phone, I have a feeling this one is going to be for the long haul.


Years ago, I switched from Samsung to a free iPhone with Citi AT&T Access $650 offer, and I didn’t like the iPhone at all. So, one year later, I bought a Samsung s7 and tried to switch back, but I couldn’t. I used Samsung for a couple of months but carried iPhone as well for much higher quality Apps I have there. The “same” Apps on Android and IOS are now the same at all and losing essential features. So, I stocked; I’m an iPhone user since then. I cannot be creative with my iPhone, but it WORKS, so I don’t have to be creative and look for many ways around so my phone would do what I need. It just WORKS in the way that I need. So even with a very attractive offer from Googe Fi now to get Samsung S20 for only $400, I don’t think that I would be able to switch, so I don’t even try.

Apple fanboi

True apple is just better


I’m reading all the comments here and I love how not 1 person suggested to switch to apple. #samsungrocks


Apple is great. Best phones I ever had. They just work more smoothly compared to my Samsung phones.


iPhone just works. No workarounds. Works the way you’d think it should. Love it ever since I left the androids behind!


iPhones don’t crash, until they do, and when they do, they don’t… because iPhones don’t crash.
All jokes aside, I’ve experienced this phenomena with other Apple products


I have a note 8 for 3 years, 2 years ago before my warranty was up I went to samsung in lower Manhattan and since there was a scratch under the screen they gave me a new battery and screen and switched it on the spot for me, all covered by the warranty. Helped my phone last an extra year


SD card is ancient, most prefer cloud.


Still using an Android device for that very reason.

Have an SD card means I don’t have to worry when my phone has water damage, not when my screen is gone/or cracked.

Having the ability to transfer and watch my videos and photos to anywhere and not have to be tied to one device.

Allowing more to be stored on the memory card which speeds up the phone vs storing memory on the device which slows the processing of the device.

Fold 2

Dan, go to the fold, you’ll never look back


I’ve been happy with lg v series.
Last long and pretty decent performance.
Only downside is updates do take longer to roll out, but with some carrier’s it’s a bit faster.


I’ve been a Pixel guy since the original Pixel XL came out in 2016. Upgraded each year when the new model came out and I’m a huge fan!

Amazing camera and camera software! The loss of unlimited photo storage in full res was a bummer, because Google Photos is an awesome platform, but it’s not too much trouble to just use Google Photos in Hi-Res and have Amazon Photos be a full res backup just in case I need the original file.

Having the complete stock Android experience is awesome, and what really has me locked in. Fast and frequent updates, first access to all kinds of smart and fun features, and most importantly the ability to use my phone when I want, how I want. I’d I wanted someone else deciding what is best for me, I’d just buy an iPhone.


Ok I’ll bite: Why not just get an iPhone? Doesn’t need to be the 12, but why not the Xr or 11? It’s a great phone and not as expensive as the newest iPhone 12s or Samsung. I’m not a fanboy of any brand, but it’s just really user friendly…


@dan I went from a Samsung S7 to an iPhone and never looked back, with the sd card removed I really don’t see what Android offers more than Apple (except price if you go with a pixel), the user friendliness of Apple outperforms all android creativity features in my opinion.

Dov T

pixel has external storage with the dongle.


Long time Apple user. But if would have to use android would use Google’s own products. Software upgrades comes faster. Less junk installed.
But now at least google & apple share my information. With a google device, they would know me better than I know myself.

El-Ad Eliovson

I’ve got an ASUS Rog Phone 3 and couldn’t be happier!
The LG Fold coming out in 2021 may be a winner too.


“Well Samsung, will you fix this, or will I be a free agent when I’m ready for a new phone this fall?”

Well considering that they probably won’t be announcing anything else between now and fall, you’re going to be a free agent.

I use both iPhone and Android regularly, and based on 10+ years of experience, the iPhone batteries are ALWAYS higher quality than the Android batteries. I, and my family, use iPhones for 3-4 years before the battery goes, but with all my Androids, the battery goes between 2 and 3 years. For example, my Pixel 3xl battery is just about completely dead at this point. My Nexus 6 battery is long dead, that phone can only be used when plugged into an external battery. My Pixel XL is long dead, also needs an external battery. Meanwhile, we have two iPhone X going strong, one iPhone XS going strong, and even an old iPhone 7+ still going, though only at 87% of max capacity. PLUS, I’ve been able to trade in many older iPhones for good money/credit towards new phones, while all my Androids basically have no resale/credit value, not to mention that they won’t even stay on using the internal battery. Reviewers never discuss battery lifetime because they review only new phones, not ones that have been used for two or three years.

So I don’t know what to recommend. Maybe the OnePlus phone, I’ve heard good things about it. In general, for Android, I prefer the Google-marketed phones because they have “pure” Android and get updates quickly (or even at all in many cases).


Ah! The a500 with a phonebook capacity of 250 contacts, how have we gone from this to the 256gb capacity?


I’ve used a Pixel and still use it as a backup with Google-Fi.
I changed back to Galaxy because I love the native dialer, mail and calendar apps.
I have tried many different ones but IMHO nothing comes close.
The downgrades are concerning though


I had a Samsung Galaxy S5 for 5 years and then switched to the 9+ with 258 MB memory and added a 258MB Microsoft card. Very happy with it and based on what I have read here I have no plans to upgrade or switch to iPhone anytime soon. Anyone disagree.


Dan, Get a BlackBerry key2


LG V ! for the win. used when Samsung removed the battery replacement i moved to the V20 lasted up to the note10 and then opted for the note20, note 20 was a huge down grade but i expected the 21 to be beater and the trade-in offers from 10 to 21 are as good as the 8 to 20 hence the move to Note20. the way things are i see the LG as my next phone, they are slower on updates (lets face it Samsung push updates and then need to make a new one to fix the original, LG just sends it our after the fix)

Apple is not an option: limited usability of multi apps , price of apps, overall usability / account / storage management

Google fan

If you use Google service, like Gmail, Photo, voice and Pay google pixel 3 is the best phone ever, with 64 GB and cloud backup I have never has a smoother phone.


Sprint is currently allowing customers to upgrade from an S9 (and higher models) to a Galaxy S21 for just trading in your device. No cost at all to the customer beside for taxes. You can get additional memory (256Gb total) for just an extra $50. This was a no brainer for me. I will be sticking it out with Samsung for the time being..

Nate the Great

I’m on Note 10+ now. Really didn’t like the Pixel (tried two), and I’ve tried iPhone and it’s not the same. App in app, multi app, Google seamless, Google Assistant, even the phone when you search contacts is much better than iPhone.


get an iphone!

Mark Davis

Yeah, I ended up getting a Samsung A51 because it had the SD card. It’s not just for photos (which I prefer to use, so I can browse my gallery without needing to be on wifi, or waiting on pictures to load from the online backup services) but also for app data. If I store it there, then I have plenty of room on the phone for apps that don’t allow SD storage. It also lets me get a lower GB phone for a lower price and just add the SD card.

That said, the A51 seems slower and doesn’t multi-task as well as my Note 8 did. Unfortunately the Note 8 wasn’t supported by the carrier I was switching to.


I’ve been a Samsung loyalist until the Pixel 3XL deal 2 years ago, and I missed Samsung Pay because of MST. I recently got a S10 second hand, and I’m happy to be back with it. I didn’t love the Pixel… real shame they’re ditching it…


@Dan I totally agree with that, gr8 article!

rav shloymeh hamelech

This was a great thread.
Curious any suggestions on a new phone plan for my family of five. I am with Sprint paying nearly $360 a month with 4 IPHONES and one S9 paid off the lease. Too many options out there and know Sprint is killing me on the monthly.

Mark Davis

It depends on how much data you need. I have 3 phones with Spectrum Mobile but we are almost always on wifi, so we only need 3GB/mo. So I pay WITH taxes and fees $42/mo for all 3 phones. That is a lot better than the 120/mo we were paying for the same plan on Verizon. And, it uses Verizon’s network.


Very very happy with my s10e. Looking into trade in value for the s21, as soon as I saw no SD card I said I need to buy another s10e for when this one dies. I don’t mind cloud but upload speeds in Israel are not amazing, it drains the phone too. Also I’m a big headphone jack user. Very sad.


Hi Dan, a simple search will reveal now, that it appears the note series is dead.. Also, rumor has it that LG will stop making smartphones as well.

Andrew Lock

@dan My S10’s screen cracked and it was getting pretty old. I wanted a new phone so I went on eBay and purchased a…. brand new Galaxy S10. It’s as fast as I need it to be and the camera holds up well. I looked at what’s on the market and it was the best thing I could find for what I need: a moderately sized phone with a headphone jack and expandable memory. I use the ir on the back for blood oxygen testing and blood pressure. I use the magnetic pulse in Samsung Pay fairly often. I wouldn’t mind paying $1k for an upgraded phone if it had the features I want, but I’m not complaining that the best phone available for my needs cost just $350.