Saturday 16 September 2023

Is Life Too Complicated Already?

Sometimes I think that the simpler life is better, really. Sometimes! I make the case here in terms of Samsung phones and tablets, device/services infrastructure - the bells’n’whistles of which we often talk. My point is that sometimes it just feels overwhelming - that the (even above-average) user probably doesn’t ever really understand all the ways in which it all works, which services are useful, which are undiscovered and even hardware elements which users don’t really know how to use (or at least make the most of).

I have the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, S23, Z Flip4, Galaxy Watch and Tab S8 here - and I get the impression when in use that I’m using the devices to much less potential than I could be if I really buried myself into the Samsung Way. Now, I get the argument about not worrying about it - just use what you want to use and leave the rest for someone else - but that feels somehow disingenuous and that I should be using all the bells’n’whistles if I’m going to use a Samsung device or three. And annoying that all that background stuff is chugging away needlessly.

Then I return to the relative simplicity of Motorola, Sony, Pixel, Nokia and I think that the point is that I feel in control of the device/services. Not out of control or depth. I know how everything works. I know what everything does. I know where to find everything. I may not have mastered everything, but at least I know what it is! There are exceptions, of course - for example, for me, the Sony is a bit of a one-trick-pony (in audio) as I don’t make any use of all that photographic, cinemagraphic, videographic, audio creation stuff, so most of it is a bit wasted on me. Are the great-sounding speakers enough to justify using (or even having) the (dinky, but tall) device, I wonder. Or take Pixels as another partial exception as it gets more and more layers of services over the top, many of which I don’t use (or know how to) or are locked into USA-only.

The simplest life would seem to be living with a Nokia (and bear in mind that I have no idea about Apple and their devices or how they might fit into this blurb) real bare-bones, back to basics, hardly anything to complicate anyone. Learn how to use what it has in 30 minutes and don’t worry about what others are doing. What it does, it does simply and well. Or using a Chromebook rather than a Windows computer. What it does, it does well. Which brings me to probably what I find to be the middle-ground in the phone world, being Motorola.

Time and again I find myself back in the arms of Lenovorola, liking very much what they do with Android - there’s a fine balance of good features added by the firm, but not a million and one with layers and layers of complication. What’s added is genuinely useful but doesn’t bombard the user’s brain! If users want to add some of that stuff which comes as ‘standard’ with Samsung, there’s usually an App which’ll do it. If it takes a user 30 minutes to work out how to fully use a Nokia, then maybe it’s an hour for a Moto phone!

People reading this will know me well enough to know that next week I’ll be arguing back the other way, in favour of the rich options of Samsung(!) but for now, it feels like Moto is the best balance. Free of the niggling feeling that I really should be making good use of the plethora of features of the Samsung Way, when actually, I rarely need them - it’s very much the toy/fun element - and we come back to that little word ‘need’.

What’s nice about the Android world is the enormity of choice, of course. Especially in terms of hardware. So many handsets out there, many with their own take, like it or loathe it, on Android, many with super top-end features, many with budget-conscious low-end, many in the middle, a price-point for everyone, hardware gaming features, fabulous cameras on some, great speakers on some, ‘old fashioned’ features not being removed on some, too. Blazingly fast charging on some, wireless charging on others, folding, flipping and even rolling on the way! Not sure where I’m going with this thought meander, so I’ll stop!

One last thing… for anyone who doesn’t know me well enough to at this point suggest I get an iPhone, there’s a small guillotine waiting...

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