[RANT] US centric device reviews are getting on my nerves

We all love tech right? We also read a lot of device reviews and hands-ons and stuff like that on the web. One thing that strikes out every freaking time I start to read the reviews of a new device is the how the review is totally centric to the US. I just don’t get why tech sites won’t use/ask for a unlocked version of the device (propably they have no say in) but they do the review based on a carrier version. That actually is one of the reasons why Eurotechtalk was born.

Crap, crap, and the reviews

The biggest problems with sites like The Verge, AndroidCentral et al is that their reviews are good but the way the manufacturers treat them is just plain stupid. Wouldn’t it be much more fleasible to provide them an unlocked version of their newest flagship phone for reviews. Showing of the hardware and software to the best of its ability. It seems that no, the sites will get one of the carrier variants and it often hurts the reviews.

What is the problem with the carrier variants you may ask? Well, let’s take a closer look at the Verges’ review of the new Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 edge.

Samsung says it worked with Google to reduce the number of redundant apps it adds to Google’s own suite, and the Verizon S7 I tested comes with only one browser (Chrome) out of the box (other carrier models will have both Chrome and Samsung’s browser). But it still has two email apps, two photos apps, three music players, two voice control systems, two app stores, and two text messaging apps.On top of that, Verizon adds thirteen more apps, including three from Amazon, another text messaging app, another streaming music app, and a navigation app that competes directly with Google Maps. These apps can be “disabled”, but cannot be removed entirely.

Here is where the problem starts with reviews. Once again I am not saying this is Verges fault, as it isn’t – but when you do reviews of a device that is a “carrier variant” you should actually make it pretty clear that the apps on that phone are not from the manufacturer. They are mostly added or demanded to be added by the carrier – so should’t really be mentioned at all. It would really be great if they would get their hands on the international or the unlocked version of the same phone so they can actually see how much bloat these phones have.


Samsung still has to take a little bit of the blame here too, it’s not only the carriers. Even as they have “cleaned” the touchwiz and removed a lot of useless features and stupid apps from the base configuration there still is too much extra apps. As we all know Google demands specific Google apps to be on the device if you want to get their certification it should be clear, keep the google apps and don’t add your own apps that do the same thing (like Samsungs messaging app vs Googles Hangouts/Messenger or Samsungs Email vs GMail). IF the user wants to have Samsungs apps, provide a download to google play store. You don’t really need your own Galaxy Apps store on the device too.

No easy way to fix this

As long as the US phone market is heavily controlled by the carriers this will not change. Not unless some manufacturer has the balls to stand up to them. Only Apple, and Microsoft (they don’t sell any devices anyway), have succeeded in this, so why wouldn’t somebody else do it.

Samsung seems it wants atleast a try as it has a installment plans for it’s newest S7 generation (atleast on some countries). But in the end it’s the small market that will use that option as they still need their mobile plan so they go the same route every two years when their upgrade time is due.


This thing is just something I can’t understand – of course it’s easier to say when in Finland we have not had these “2 year contracts” where you buy the phone and a mobile plan with a monthly payment. When we had those about 2-3 years ago we could see the same thing that is still going on in the US, but our carriers weren’t adding those useless bloat apps to our devices. Nowadays it has changed and all the major carriers are doing completely separate plans for the contracts and finance plans for the devices.

Prices have come down and you don’t end up paying any extra for the phone like you would have done with the old plans. So manufacturers, grab your balls and stand up to the carriers and their need to fill our devices with useless apps – Thanks!

About Juha Uotila

Tech Lover from Finland. Consumes lot of metal music. Consumer of craft beers. Also showing some signs of #phonehoboism.

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