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Samsung Vs iPhone - The Debate That Rages On

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Mark Izzard, Sales and Marketing Director of Switched On Insurance (switchedoninsurance.com) gives his take on the key issues buyers need to explore before they choose a side in the Samsung Vs iPhone debate.

Yes, there are other brands of smartphone available, but Samsung and iPhone remain the dominant ones in most markets around the globe. Both brands have a tranche of loyal users to call upon who will decry the other. That's the thing - brands tend to engender loyalty among their customers, at least if the businesses behind them are doing anything right. As the Sales and Marketing Director for Switched On Insurance, a business which also focuses on keeping its clients loyal, we’ve become increasingly interested in which brand is better from a customer point of view. Repair costs, vulnerability to hacks, second-hand resale value and durability against bumps and scrapes are all important factors from a consumer standpoint.

It’s important to also factor in the user experience, when weighing up the relative merits of each smartphone manufacturer. After all, who would judge a car by how much it costs alone? Surely its practicality, driving experience and comfort is just as important? Perhaps it’s time we discuss these flagship smartphones based on the quality of their parts and the experiences offered. Maybe it will convince some gadget loyalists out there to try a different phone in future!

Value For Money

In a recent study, we looked at the relative costs associated with two of the latest smartphone products by Apple and Samsung, namely the iPhone 8 Plus and the Galaxy S8. During our study, we wanted to determine the relative costs of each of the phones' major components. Only then is it possible to draw any conclusion about the different list prices of each product - £799 for the iPhone 8 Plus and £689 for the Galaxy S8. This way, it is possible to get past the assumption that many consumers make; that on a like-for-like basis, the S8 offers greater value for money because it is over a hundred pounds cheaper.

Components

First, let's look at where the S8 is a winner. Research determined that the manufacturing costs associated with the mechanical and electro-mechanical components used in the S8 cost the maker £21.15 per unit, which is passed on to the consumer at £62 or about 9 per cent of the total product price. The corresponding manufacturing costs for the iPhone is £38.21, but the price consumers pay is a whopping £136 or 17 per cent of the total cost. Although Apple is using more expensive components, there is a much greater effect on the total cost when compared to Samsung.

Displays

The study showed that Apple wins in several areas, including the display. Samsung spends more on their display technology, but this translates as well over 27 per cent of the total cost to the consumer of their product. The iPhone's display constitutes only 18 per cent of the product's retail value. This story is repeated in other areas, such as the accessories you get in the box, like charging adapters and cables.

RAM

Memory is another crucial area of smartphone manufacturing as it has a significant impact on both the performance and cost. The investigation showed that Samsung gives its S8 phone 4GB of RAM which, at a cost of £31.13, is passed on to the consumer at £93; an impressive mark-up. For the Apple product, £23.40 is spent on its 3GB of RAM. This is priced into the iPhone at £84, lower than the Samsung price but with 1GB less RAM available. 

Processors

With an Exynos 9 Octa 8895 chipset, the Samsung S8 has a fast processor which runs at 2.3 GHz. Despite the £38.14 price tag the manufacturer pays for each processor fitted, this element costs consumers £113 a go. The research has revealed that Apple's iPhone 8 Plus has the latest A11 Bionic hexa-core chipset fitted. Running at 2.53 GHz, this processor costs Apple £20.63 and costs the user less than Samsung's version at only £72.

Summary

Overall, from a component point of view, the iPhone 8 Plus beats the Samsung S8. It is also important to factor in the relative costs of each of the component categories - including those not mentioned in my summary, here, such as batteries – and see how this impacts on the overall product sale price. Yes, both manufacturers' mark-ups do make your eyes wince at times, but Apple edges it on value once you compare the level of profitability built into Samsung's finished product when broken down, component-by-component.

Quality of Experience

With different operating systems, comparing Apple with Samsung might seem like weighing up the relative merits of apples and oranges. Some will always say that Bixby on the S8 beats Siri on the iPhone 8 Plus, no matter what. Nonetheless, I still think it is fair to regard Apple's operating system as superior to anything else currently on the market from an end user's standpoint. I know some will claim that it is stifling to use iOS, but its compatibility with other Apple products certainly makes it a winner. Having said that, Apple uses a hefty amount of memory just to run iOS in one of its products which can become a frustration when you run out of free space.

Some of the components in an S8 mean that it is superior from a technical point of view, such as the 8MP camera compared with the iPhone's 7MP one. However, the iPhone's superior aperture means that this is not a great advantage for the average user. In summary, the functions that most smartphone users are looking for, run just that little bit more smoothly with an iPhone. The S8 is a top of the range product, too, but the iPhone, in my view, is ahead of the game.

What Does This Mean For the Tech Industry?

Although Apple brought out the iPhone X soon after the 8 Plus and not that long after the iPhone 7, sales of their latest models continued to be robust. Throughout December, over a million of these models were sold per day globally, according to Forbes the business magazine. This could adequately demonstrate that the phone-buying public appreciate the hardware's value as well as its overall usability and user experience. Nevertheless, third quarter sales of Samsung phones saw a rise in purchases of the S8 and S8 at almost 20 per cent. Given these two tech rivals are performing so well in the marketplace, the question for the rest of the industry is whether they can convince users to either sacrifice quality for a lower cost, or pay premium prices for a better experience. In this case, the latter wins in the end.