A phone is a phone: the “other” brands of cell phones


iPhones and one lone Samsung gather in a circle. This reflects real life as iPhones heavily outbalance other phones at Northwest, however is this because of the brand or the actual quality of the phone?

Since the breakthrough of cellular phones in the early 1970s, there has been a technological race to the best cell. By popular opinion, the trillion dollar company, Apple, has taken the lead since the 1980s. However, is it the name brand that draws consumers, or the actual quality of the phone?

Samsung, Android, Google and other companies with cell phones have always been at the end of this race. Other products that they sell are at the top of the market, but their cell phones have always been labeled as subpar compared to Apple’s. 

“I think that Apple has done a fantastic job at creating a pop culture around the product,” social studies teacher Dana Hilliard said. “If you don’t have one, you are on the outskirts.”

Hilliard has a Samsung Galaxy phone and has never owned an Apple product. She has had her current model for almost four years and has few issues with it. 

Senior Sierra Malley is another consumer who has never owned an iPhone. She has owned an Android and currently owns the Google Pixel 2.

“I think they’re all relatively the same and they’re all good phones. It just depends on which one you like more,” Malley said.

Some differences that the public points out is their aesthetic. The iPhone has had the cleanest look, especially in the past few years, and it can often be described as “professional.” 

“I don’t think that they are much different (style wise),” Malley said.

Every celebrity that someone sees has an iPhone. Success is labeled with their logo and is all over pop culture; this is why their “professional” look is so enticing. The bandwagon that has kept Apple above other products forces consumers to believe that they will be respected with that product in hand.

“It’s really interesting how people automatically start looking down upon you because you don’t have an apple product,” Hilliard said.

Students are shocked at the sight of her Samsung and question why she uses it instead of Apple.

“When we (renewed) our contract at Verizon for a new phone, we didn’t even look at the brand names,” Hilliard said. “Now, it has become a name brand of clothing, like a shoe.”

Another difference is the camera quality. This has even become a popular meme that Android products have especially bad cameras with pixelated pictures. While iPhones can be compared to actual cameras with their commercials that show a high quality video that was quote, “shot by iPhone”.

Malley disagrees with this stigma knowing that she bought her Google Pixel for its camera.

“I really like the camera,” Malley said. “It has a really good camera quality.”

Here is an example of Malley’s camera quality of her Google Pixel 2. She took this picture in a moving car over a bridge and it still came out clear.

An example of a picture that was taken on her phone can be seen to the right of the story.

As Apple products and phones in general have become smaller and thinner for easier use, their fragile makeup has only worsened. Apples are known to crack or even bend easily as they are so thin; specifically the iPhone 6 that went viral in 2014 for it’s horrible bend.

“People tell me to get an apple, but I have a feeling that Apples don’t work that well because you hear a lot of times that their screens crack, and that they have to get a new phone every year,” Malley said.

Malley has dropped her phone countless times, but it remains unbroken even without a screen protector.

Hilliard has also witnessed more cracked and broken iPhones in her classes compared to other brands. 

One of the biggest differences between the brands is their prices. For example, a 128 GB iPhone is $749, and a 128 GB Samsung is $699.99. Cell phones can easily range into a thousand dollars, especially when they are brand new. 

“It’s all money driven and they’ve just built this brand up to keep people buying these thousand dollar phones every year,” Hilliard said.

According to Statista, the amount of American money that was spent on cell phones in 2017 was $55 billion. Not only the phones, but the extra gear like laptops, earbuds, or tablets also take more out of one’s wallet. These accessories also have a distinctive look that can be seen in pop culture, like the AirPods. 

The cell phone industry will continue to grow as the world is now reliant on them, but will the public see above the bandwagon of Apple?

Look, price, cameras and battery life are all factors in a consumer’s purchase, but the brand itself seems to trump all of these important features. 

“Stop looking down on people based on the cell phone carrier that (they) have picked,” Hilliard said. “I feel like we should move past that as a society.”