Samsung design video: High on lifestyle companionship, low on rationale for cheap plastics

Apple typically accompanies the announcement of a new iPhone 5 with a video showcasing their design and manufacturing processes. Samsung has now done something similar for their just-released Galaxy S4. So how do the two videos compare, and what, if anything, do they tell us about the respective companies and phones?

Before we get to the videos, it's worthwhile taking a quick look at how Apple and Samsung handle the devices in general. Here's Apple's phone product logo, which uses a single typeface, compared to Samsung's, which uses different typefaces for both Galaxy and 4, and a highly stylized S in between:

Galaxy S4 vs. iPhone 5 logos

In Samsung's video, which includes the now oft-repeated "Life Companion" tag line, they start off with a quick series of initially unidentified people (we later find out they're UX -- user experience -- designers), who set the stage for a) wanting to go deeper into people's lives, b) be more evolutionary than radically different, c) be like nothing anyone has ever seen before, and d) change people's lives for the better. (Note: the video is in Korean with English subtitles, so there could be cultural differences and contexts that are lost in translation.)

Apple's video, which is actually more of a general product video that also touches on design, begins with Jony Ive, senior vice president of industrial design, who sets up a) the phone as the most-used object in people's lives, b) how seriously Apple takes that relationship, and c) how Apple's goal is not to make something new but something much better.

Samsung's video includes people set in more realistic environments, and a ton of b-roll showing stars, cityscapes, and other dramatic visuals. Apple's video sets everyone on backgrounds of pure white, and b-roll consists exclusively of shots of the iPhone itself, the technology inside it, and the equipment used to manufacture it.

Samsung's UX designers go on to describe how the phone has evolved from information system to life companion, and how they began to think about how they could use it to offer more meaningful value. They showcase features like the eye-tracking page scrolling and video pausing, and the on-hover contextual popups. And they call out the automatic photo album generation.

Apple's Jony Ive explains their decision to increase the screen size to 4-inches by making it taller but not wider (the old one-handed-ease-of-use argument). Bob Mansfield, senior vice-president (of technology) explains some of the new hardware features like LTE and the Apple A6, and Lightning connector. Scott Forstall, former vice president of iOS, then goes over iOS 6 software features like Maps, Panorama photos, Siri enhancements like sports and restaurant reservations, Facebook integration, and FaceTime over celular.

Samsung's Hyoungshin Park, product designer, explains that while the Galaxy S3 had more nature-centric design cues, the Galaxy S4 was meant to be more "rationale" in approach (that has to be a translation glitch, right?) and with more emotional CMF (?). Jongbo Jung, product designer, then describes the GS4 as a precious gem glittering in the dark or stars sparkling in the night sky. They paid attention to the smallest detail and refined it to perfection. They wanted to find the perfect line.

Apple returns to Jonny Ive, who talks not only about the very nearly insane precision of the manufacturing process, but about how the iPhone feels in your hand, and the importance of the materials they use -- glass and aluminum.

Samsung says nothing about the feeling or importance of their plastics. They do repeat the importance of making people's lives better. Mihnyouk Lee, vice president of product design, says Samsung believes they can create something new and valuable.

Apple's Jony Ive says they began the iPhone 5 with a design they loved, but to implement it, it took everything they'd learned to date. Simple, clear, truly extraordinary.

Samsung ends with: Life Companion, for a richer, simpler, fuller life.

Apple ends with: Apple logo.

Samsung's video does make Apple's look clinical, almost sterile at times, but the simplicity Apple brings to every element makes Samsung look undisciplined, almost unrefined.

What's most interesting is that two companies with such different styles and products are both sitting atop the smartphone space right now.

Via: Android Central

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • "Samsung says nothing about the feeling or importance of their plastics." lol. Love that line.
  • I use an iPhone, but I do like Android. The problem I have with Android (and why I prefer iPhone), comes in a couple of forms. Android has ridiculous product release schedules. I am a tech junkie, so even though I know I don't, I feel like I have to upgrade. The quality of the apps on Android are improving, but they still aren't as good and varied as iOS. Camera quality on Android usually isn't as good unless that is the focus of the phone. One of the biggest issues for me though, is that I use Verizon for coverage and getting a stock Android phone is a pain. I wish manufacturers would quit trying to "improve" Android, or just offer their improvements as a ui skin or something.
  • "One of the biggest issues for me though, is that I use Verizon for coverage and getting a stock Android phone is a pain." This! Without question this is the single biggest factor that pushed me away from Android full time & back to iPhone full time. The Galaxy Nexus debacle sort of put the nail in the coffin. From the horrible build quality, to the oft delayed or missing software updates, to Verizon's customer service meddling. I just gave up on Android. I'm far from the biggest Apple backer out there. And I'm often very critical of their business practices. But this iPhone 5 just works. And as far as Verizon goes, they are merely a dumb pipe of cell/data signal. I get all of my support needs handled by Apple. Android, & Samsung in particular, just doesn't measure up I'm afraid.
  • Wow.... Where did Samsung get their promo video idea from? Sigh
  • for more about video and pictures to iPhone see:
  • Obvious troll bait article headline.
    Come on iMore you are better than that ;)
  • Rene, looks like you are "doubling down" on your metal vs. plastic issue. For a true techie it's not what a device looks like but what it can do that is important. Also, I prefer plastic to metal. That's just a personal preference and shouldn't color your whole review of a device! By the way, I have an iPhone 5, iPad, and iPad mini but I sure didn't get them because they looked pretty but for how they worked!
  • But a lot of people do care about aesthetics and the materials used in their products. I mean the HTC One's biggest selling point seems to be its industrial design. All the reviews and comparisons I've seen between the One and S4 give the One the edge because of it's design. And I would argue hardware and software design should matter more because that's where an OEM can differentiate themselves. I haven't used the One or S4 but my guess is if you used both of them running stock android with no bloatware their hardware performance would be ver similar. So then what do you have left besides hardware and UI design?
  • Wow!!! Obvious copy cats.. Damn Samsung!!!
  • Where Rene sees cheap plastic Samsung sees a refined design aesthetic using lightweight durable composite materials allowing for the additional advantage of replaceable parts. I can't say I'm that emotional about the issue one way or the other but the materials seem to work fine on my GS3 - I don't see why it would be any different on the S4.
  • The whole video says nothing important. "Life companion"- really?
    I know that they want to sell the S4 as more than just a phone but don't oversell it.
  • luckly I speak fluent smartphone :-P
  • C'mon Rene. Your blog posts are starting reek with pure Samsung hatred. Who carries around a $600+ phone without it being protected by a case. Plastic vs metal is really irrelevant. It's all about the screen, the OS and the functions. (and the size of the phone, I guess) If we like iOS, yeah. If we like Android, yeah. If we like WP, yeah. Thank God we have a choice. We need all these companies in the game to ensure they are moving the technology ahead. Let's focus on what we want the next iOS to do, and push Apple to give us what we want.
  • Wow, has this website have nothing more to write about their own product than a Samsung video in Korean. You constantly rip into this plastic bull shit, maybe because that is all you have. Truth be told the iphone 5 which I just purchased doesn't hold up to my SGS3. The iphone 5 came out of the box with nicks and scratches, it is a complete mess after just a couple of days without a case. I put a case on it and the damn case even scratches it. On the other hand my SGS3 made out of PLASTIC still looks brand new after 7 months without a case. The iPhone 5 is a real nice phone but it has many faults, many more than the SGS3 and SGS4. After owning the iphone 5 for a few weeks I think that polycarbonate is the best material for any Smartphone. If I hear anyone tell me how great the iphone build quality is I will just laugh, that is the biggest joke of the year. I like the design of the iPhone 5 but if that phone was made out of polycarbonate and Gorilla Glass 3 it wouldn't get scratched by just breathing on the damn thing. As I said if Imore has nothing to report on anymore and are using build quality as their only means to try to tear down a much better device then Apple is in trouble, big trouble. iPhone 5 has great design and looks but the build quality just sucks, their materials and painting process is terrible. I looked at 5 iphones and they all had scratches and nicks. Polycarbonate is the better product for any hand held device.
  • Which phone should i buy iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy s4, check my blog if you want to get full review and specification