We recently did a great review Motorola RAZR 2022, and a few months ago – one of my all-time favorite phones, the ultimate powerhouse of Android – Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Whether you’re a tech buff or just a regular consumer, it’s hard to deny that these phones, and all foldable or dual-screen phones, are pretty exciting.
However, not everyone needs unique designs and big tricks for excitement; Most of the smartphone users are just looking to upgrade in order to get the latest, biggest, most reliable flagship phone. And major brands like Apple, Google and Samsung are well aware of this.
Sometimes though, we get more than a standard annual upgrade with the usual better cameras and newer processors. Once in the blue moon, the brand will have the balls to turn things around with even its most secure phone – the flagship series – that’s usually the least vulnerable to major changes.
Is iPhone 14 Swinging Coming With New and Exciting Upgrades? Is Google Pixel 7? And what does Samsung have in store for us in the near future? Let’s summarize what happened with the latest versions of Apple and Google, and what’s coming…
In Apple’s small world, the iPhone 14 upgrades actually mattered – an always-on display and no more notch, it’s a dynamic island now
The legendary dynamic island in action
In the wonderful world of smartphone enthusiasts, Apple is known for being a huge innovator, and for being the least innovative major brand.
Like the political left and the political right, there are no signs of peace on this, not to mention that both sides are on the same page about whether or not Apple pays, so we’ll look at some recent, objective facts…
Since the iPhone X, Apple’s iPhones have been rocking. They were first mocked, then embraced by competition, followed by everyone else’s move to massive selfie cameras, while Apple stubbornly retained them as an “iconic” design element for the iPhone. Which was really for better or worse.
Aside from the notch, from a design standpoint, iPhones have gone from rounded to flat corners, starting with the iPhone 12, which I personally like a lot. However, in recent years, Apple’s annual upgrades have been mostly minor, mostly inside.
And just when things started to stagnate, the new iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max were finally falling out in favor of Apple’s new marketing genius for a feature – Dynamic Island. It’s basically a horizontal notch, holding the selfie camera and Face ID just as the notch did, except that it’s now mobile!
Using the trick of the smart interface, Dynamic Island has managed to shake up the iPhone experience quite a bit. Rather than quietly presenting it as just a generic, stable tool, Apple has managed to turn it from a downside into a selling point.
Because of how it’s integrated into iOS, and not just into the screen as a piece of hardware, Dynamic Island bounces seamlessly as you “accept” or expand your notifications. In some cases, it turns into something like a status bar that can show icons and playback controls, and although it’s broken – it can react upon touch. Very pleasant.
Objectively – yes, it is Just a whole lot of animation, but in the iPhone world (and only in the iPhone world) – it’s kind of a big deal, and a noticeable change in 2022 for both Apple phones and iOS themselves.
Plus, the always-on display is finally a feature on the iPhone 14 Pro models! Sure, it’s been a feature in many major Android programs since forever, but then again – in Apple’s small world, this is a big deal – a big, new feature for the first time. Not only that, but as usual, Apple made it completely different from the competition, to stand out.
Unlike the way most Android manufacturers deal with the always-on display, Apple’s iPhone actually keeps its entire screen, not just a few pixels — showing the time, notifications, widgets, wallpaper, even. The phone is smart enough to only close its screen when you’re sure you’re not looking at it — when you’re inside a pocket, or upside down on a table. And even with all that in mind, which is reasonably taxing on battery life, the phone can easily last an entire day.
Always On Screen on iPhone 14 Pro
we did Tested the iPhone 14 Pro’s always-on battery drain and found that even though the screen kept running for hours on end, the fact that it dropped to a 1Hz refresh rate really seemed to help preserve the iPhone’s already excellent battery life.
So yes, we do have some notable (in person?) design and feature upgrades on the iPhone 14 Pro models. Was this more than we’d hoped, or is Apple still lax and trying to impress us with the old, “new” features that the competition has offered for so long?
Well, let us know in the comments how you feel about the iPhone 14 series, because I’m really curious in which direction the wind is blowing on that.
Anyway, let’s move on to the Google Pixel 7 series, particularly the Pixel 7 Pro, and see if the search giant manages to surprise and excite us even better, with its major annual upgrade…
The Pixel 7 is basically a worse looking (in person) Pixel 6, with better specs, and one Google underrated gift.
The new Pixel 7 Pro (left) next to its predecessor
Once again – subjective! I was a big fan of how the Pixel 6 Pro looks – smooth, with rounded corners, a dual-tone back, and an unmistakably stylish horizontal camera module. Fully opaque, making it look like a futuristic pair of VR glasses or something.
However, its successor, the 2022 Pixel 7 Pro, changes the elegant and beautiful camera module for the worse, in my opinion. Most of them have been discarded, but Google has surrounded the camera lenses with black holes, so now they don’t look clean or plain. In fact, in my opinion finishing the camera module seems cheaper. It may not be obvious in pictures, but it sure is when looking at this phone in real life. So why did Google make this design change? Just to keep things fresh? If so, then this is a failure of me.
Additionally, which I consider a downgrade, there are no design changes to the Pixel 7 Pro. But we do have some fun new camera features like 30x SuperRes Pro zoom on Pro, Macro Focus mode and back on Pro, improved Magic Eraser and a great Photo Unblur feature to make new and old photos sharper and clearer.
Google also introduced a great new software feature, which I feel hasn’t been appreciated as much as it deserves. More precisely, it is a gift, and I am very happy with it – a free VPN from Google One, for everyone! Well, it’s not yet available, but soon, says Google.
It’s kind of a tech geek feature, not quite as eye-catching as Apple’s Dynamic Island, but Google could have made a bigger deal out of it, if the search engine giant had Apple’s ability to create hype.
As having a free VPN built into your phone is crucial. If you’re not aware – your ISP can track where you go on the Internet, what you’re looking for, and more. Yes, the entire browser history, including all those private things that you probably want to keep to yourself.
Well, a VPN changes that, making it almost impossible for anyone to know what you’re doing online. Significantly higher web privacy!
And for Google, of all the companies, to give us a free VPN with our new Pixel 7 phones — well, that’s as epic as it is ridiculous. What’s next, Facebook launching an ad blocker?
What will the Galaxy S23 look like? Fingers crossed – we’re in for a surprise! But either way…
Note that this is an unofficial trailer for the Galaxy S23 Ultra made by fans
The Galaxy S23 series is slated to launch in February 2023, which may seem a long way off, but that’s actually only three months from now. Time sure flies, kids. From the leaks and rumors we’ve accumulated about Samsung’s new flagship, it’s shaping up to be a traditional minor upgrade to the specifications. But we’ll keep our fingers crossed for the surprises!
The most notable S23 upgrade we know is the fact that The Galaxy S23 Ultra will see a massive performance boost over its predecessor. With a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor and faster LPDDR5X DRAM, your stylus-filled multitasking dream of having a smartphone will be a big hitter in the Android world. A king to beat and, ironically, likely to be overshadowed by Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 5.
Design-wise, the S23 series may remain the same, although reputable company Ice Universe recently gave us a concrete idea of what to expect – The Galaxy S23 will look a lot like the Galaxy S22.
In fact, he said that Samsung has widened the edges of the S23 series’ screen and made phones larger than the S22 series, so it feels like something “one step forward, two steps back,” apparently.
Do we get bigger batteries or something? Personally, I always support that, if that’s the case, but we’ll just have to wait and see to be sure, right?
Anyway, let’s consider the following – introduce a file The Galaxy S22 Ultra is one of the greatest flagship phones ever made. Unlike the iPhone 14 and Pixel 7, which needed to introduce new features and upgrades to keep things exciting, I dare say the Ultra is already so perfect, and so feature-packed, that there’s arguably nothing left to bring.
Even if the Galaxy S23 Ultra is just a modest spec upgrade over its predecessor, it will still have the stunning design we all know and love, with a beautiful minimalist back and an easy-to-use S Pen that’s conveniently stored inside the phone.
It’s still a huge 7-inch AMOLED screen with 1440p resolution and a quad camera system with 8K video recording and 10x optical zoom!
You’ll still have the best multitasking experience on any phone, and still offer the best in powerful user features, like Samsung DeX, to use the Galaxy S23 Ultra as a complete desktop PC replacement! In fact, all Galaxy S23 phones will have these last two features.
So I raise the question – should we expect Samsung to strive for major changes, or is its leadership, especially the Ultra, already amazing enough? I bet the answers are no, and yes, respectively. Meanwhile, Google and Apple still have a lot to bring to the table, before they get comfortable that their flagship devices are objectively perfect, and need not be changed after simple annual spec upgrades. But tell me…
what do you think? Which phone upgrade do you enjoy the most — the iPhone 14, the Pixel 7, or are you mainly excited about the upcoming Galaxy S23 series?
Tell us — are you happy with what the latest versions of Apple, Google, and Samsung (and upcoming, in Samsung’s case) look like? Are you happy with the features they have introduced or improved, or are you hoping for more?
And most of all – are you excited for Galaxy S23 series, and do you agree that the Galaxy S23 Ultra will be the perfect Android flagship phone in 2023?
Or did the iPhone 14 or Pixel 7 steal your heart more than Samsung’s upcoming phones with their looks?