OFF THE EDGE

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With higher screen res­o­lu­tion, more stor­age, a bet­ter cam­era and a su­per-slick (and much-hyped) rounded glass edge, I be­lieved the Sam­sung S6 Edge her­alded the ar­rival of the iPhone’s one true com­peti­tor.

The an­nounce­ment of its ar­rival was made at around the same time Ap­ple made the iPhone 6 public knowl­edge. The way the tech world re­sponded to the news was as though it was a kind of com­pu­ta­tional Ar­maged­don. “The smart­phone face-off!” ex­claimed Forbes on its cover. “The new swag is com­ing,” pre­dicted tech site Spark. Van­ity Fair called it “the great smart­phone war”.

The duel had be­gun and my iPhone felt heav­ier in my pocket.

Then came the re­views from the in­ter­na­tional folk lucky enough to try them out prior to their ship­ping. They were, to say the least, dis­ap­point­ing, but I cast them aside as re­view­ers in ca­hoots with the ad­ver­tis­ing peo­ple at Ap­ple – pro­pa­gan­dists hold­ing hands with the Jobs con­glom­er­ate. It was only when the phone fi­nally ar­rived that I re­moved the SIM card from my iPhone, slid it into the side of the de­vice and watched as its crys­tal-clear LCD came to life. For a mo­ment, a cho­rus trum­peted from the hum­ble speaker in my hands, light emit­ting like a glow­ing orb you’d dis­cover at the end of a trea­sure hunt movie.

That day I took self­ies with the in­cred­i­ble cam­era, de­voured apps quicker than a mini cheese­burger and made friends with the An­droid sys­tem – a nov­elty I thought I would grow to love. Our friend­ship was deep and real, a pocket buddy I couldn’t wait to get to know. But by day two the hon­ey­moon was over. My tem­po­rary ro­mance with the un­der­dog had lost its sparkle as the re­al­ity of Sam­sung’s de­sign flops be­came clearer by the hour. I hope the tech gods hear me when I say this – the thumbprint sign-in is not a thing, es­pe­cially when only one thumb can be used for recog­ni­tion. If I’m hold­ing some­thing with one hand I can’t, and sim­ply won’t, drop it to an­swer the phone.

The S6 Edge is also re­ally, re­ally big. I don’t care if the trend is mov­ing to­wards the ph­ablet, I want to put my phone in my pocket. I don’t want to get a sep­a­rate phone bag. So can we all stop say­ing it’s a trend? It’s im­prac­ti­cal and, quite frankly, tech­no­log­i­cally in­dul­gent.

Lastly, at nearly R16 000 (sig­nif­i­cantly more than the iPhone), I want a lit­tle piece of tech heaven in my pocket, not a dull copy of an Ap­ple de­sign with a less se­cure sys­tem and a less user-friendly in­ter­face.

It’s time for Sam­sung to up its game, or they’re go­ing to lose the race.

gar­reth.van­niek­erk@city­press.co.za

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