I’m fed up of Beta Testing new Smartphones – are you?

I don’t think it matters which manufacturer you want to aim this headline towards, they seem to be all the same now.

Whether you get your new phone sim free or with a contract you are paying between £309-709 for your phone. And yet it seems every newly released phone is littered with software faults, sometimes even hardware. Harsh but true. And these should have been removed prior to release. But more and more the pressure to release the next model sacrifices quality control.

Let’s have a look at some examples –

Sony Xperia Z1 – Sony labelled this 20.7mp camera smartphone as the best thing since sliced bread. Well if you tried taking photos with this at launch they were crap. Superior Auto was so bad it was a disgrace especially considering Sony’s camera expertise. Fanboys will defend this saying you can take decent photos in manual mode. And yes they are better but please stop making excuses for the large companies. They messed up. The fit and finish were probably the best in class. A real premium finish. 6 months down the line, loads of promises later, Sony have released several firmwares and improved the situation, but it is not totally fixed. If you don’t mind experimenting with the camera settings you might take a great photo. Meanwhile, people’s’ smiles are lost.

Apple iPhone 5S – starting price £549. Released 21st September 2013. It’s still has several notable bugs. Poor battery for far too many people. Random and constant reboots with the springboard. This is Apple with it’s everything just works. No it doesn’t. It works sometimes. Now Apple are rumoured to be working hard on fixing the software. Expected eta March 2014 some 6 months later. Shame as the iPhone 5S is an amazing piece of hardware versus it’s tiny size.

Samsung – oh I could really rant off with Samsung and the S4 or Note 3. And that is despite loving my Note 3. The S4 was Samsung’s downfall of lying to customers. 16gb model was the only memory configuration available in the UK. With 8gb free. Sorry. That’s inexcusable to leave such little memory free. With public pressure they said they would fix it on BBC Watchdog. Over six months later, Which has reported that there is even less memory available now. The S4 was so full of bugs at launch I think I will stop now before I explode. And yet it could have been so much better. And as to the Note 3. A bug fest at launch that was so bad and extremely inflated deliberately in price at launch that it was a disgrace.

So after you and me and other members of the public beta tested these phones for over 6 months they are now excellent especially the Note 3. To give you some idea Samsung released in 3 months, 7 firmware updates for the Note 3 to try and fix all the problems. Surely these should have been done prior to launch or at least some of them.

So perhaps we should all wait 6 months after a phone is released, see if the faults have been fixed as promised and then decide to buy it?

If you like the next shiny phone or the latest at your upgrade, I doubt you would get an older model unless the deal was stunning.

7 thoughts on “I’m fed up of Beta Testing new Smartphones – are you?

  1. Valid thoughts and comments, but many of us want the latest and greatest and that desire for the latest inevitably means it can not be perfect unless we are prepared to wait. Not sure I could see you Gavin, waiting 6 months to review a device announced today.


  2. Buy a Nokia Lumia 1020 or 1520 and call it good Gav. Why can’t you, Kev, Steve and Ted delve into the OS like when android was in its infancy? I’ve always been an early adopter, to include android, and it just seems like WP8 isn’t getting the same love android did in its infancy. The longer I use WP8, the more I am appreciating it. I still have my 5S and iPad mini on backup, but my daily drivers are now the Nokia Lumia 1020 and 2520. I even have a 1520 that might actually be able to be the consummate convergence device. If the 1520 had Windows RT in it, it very well could be!

    Anyway, keep up the great work with your site and podcasts Gav. I’m having an awesome time watching your tech blog and your podcasting career develop into such a great service right before my eyes and ears!


    1. Don, thanks for kind comments.

      I don’t dislike WP, which I think you are aware of. It could nearly be my main driver, except for a few important apps not yet available on the platform and the way background notifications are handled. It’s nearly there, not quite, frustrating since it does excel in some areas.


  3. Hi, Gavin, I’ve had the misfortune of owning the Xperia Z (back plate fell apart due to the cheap glue used, there were also plenty of software bugs), and the Xperia SP (numerous bugs still remaining and it hasn’t had an upgrade in 6 months).

    Fortunately I got a Moto G in November and that has been perfect from the start. But you’re article makes sense and I’m no longer going to spend big money on a phone given the problems I’ve had.

    BTW – I also bought the Sony XBA-H1 earphones you recommended and they are great!

    ’til your next podcast.


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