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The curious case of the New York Times' Galaxy S8 coverage
By Thom Holwerda on 2017-04-18 20:28:22

The review embargo for the Samsung Galaxy S8 was lifted today, so there's reviews all over the place - and they're all pretty much universally positive, so also kind of uninteresting.

An article in The New York Times stood out, though.

When a splashy new smartphone hits the market, consumers often weigh whether to place an order right away or to wait and see how others react to the device.

But with the Galaxy S8, Samsung's first major smartphone release since the spontaneously combusting Galaxy Note 7 was discontinued last year, there isn't much of a debate. Your best bet is to wait to buy the roughly $750 device - not just for safety reasons, but also because other uncertainties surround it.

Since I think you should never rush out and buy a complex and expensive device like a smartphone on release day anyway, this is sage advice. However, it is quite unusual for a major publication to just flat-out tell consumers to wait and not buy the latest and greatest new smartphone from Samsung (or Apple, for that matter) in such an overt, put-it-in-the-headline kind of way.

The next paragraph in the NYT article makes me suspicious.

Samsung declined to provide an early review unit of the Galaxy S8 to The New York Times, but several consumer electronics experts who tried the device ahead of its release this Friday were cautiously optimistic about the product. Even so, they said the phone had some radical design changes that might make people uncomfortable, a few key features were unfinished and Samsung’s recent safety record remained a concern.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the above article would not have been written had the NYT been given a review unit of the Samsung Galaxy S8. The tone of the entire article is mildly vindictive, like it was written by someone scorned. It feels a little unprofessional for a publication like the NYT to do this.

That being said - the advice still stands: don't rush out on release day for expensive and complex equipment like a smartphone. Wait a few weeks to see if there's any teething problems before plonking down hundreds of euros.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-18
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WP hater too?
By Morgan on 2017-04-18 22:16:09
Looks like they also spurned Cortana:

> Samsung highlighted Bixby, its voice-controlled virtual assistant that will rival Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, when it initially unveiled the S8.

I guess they didn't get a review unit for the latest Windows Phone device either. Oh, wait...what new WP device? ;-)
Permalink - Score: 1
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A full page ad will "fix" it
By Seeprime on 2017-04-19 03:39:29
Samsung should buy a full page ad in the NYT, and supply one or more "updated" review phones at the same time. I suspect that the NYT will have a change of heart. Money talks.
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RE: A full page ad will "fix" it
By Kochise on 2017-04-19 05:30:46
Come on, Samsung has already been convicted of corruption in Korea, do you really want this company to be that doomed ?
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gifts to reviewers
By unclefester on 2017-04-19 09:05:16
If you want a positive review you are expected to 'loan' the device to the reviewer and 'forget' to ask for it to be returned. If you don't hand out the expensive freebies you will get a lacklustre review in return.
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RE: gifts to reviewers
By Adurbe on 2017-04-19 10:03:51
How can you review a device you have never seen?

It's flatly dishonest of NYT to even provide a "review".

spoiler alert: Keep an eye out next week for my OSNews review of the Bugatti Veyron. I've never even seen one, so I think it's mediocre.
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RE: gifts to reviewers
By kurkosdr on 2017-04-19 10:17:04
> If you want a positive review you are expected to 'loan' the device to the reviewer and 'forget' to ask for it to be returned. If you don't hand out the expensive freebies you will get a lacklustre review in return.

This. I hate it when reporters think it's their right to get free press samples and keep them.

Also, the fact reporters are literally swimming in a sea of free gadgets means that they don't care if the thing lasts or has a replaceable battery because for them it doesn't matter, all it matters for them is if the icons are round and if there is a camera bulge or some other triviality, which explains a lot about the choice of gadgets the rest of us have as paying customers.

Edited 2017-04-19 10:17 UTC
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RE[2]: gifts to reviewers
By Thom_Holwerda on 2017-04-19 10:20:15
> This. I hate it when reporters think it's their right to get free press samples and keep them.

Actually, any respectable site/reporter does NOT get to keep review devices. Sites like Ars, The Verge, AnandTech, etc., all return their review samples. OSNews, too, returns loan devices (not much of a thing anymore now that we aren't as big as we used to be - now I just buy whatever I want to review).
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Comment by kittynipples
By kittynipples on 2017-04-19 12:23:44
I don't get the curved screen. To me, it causes a distortion of the screen image along the edges that I do not like.

But everybody else seems to be fawning over it.
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Meta review
By Bill Shooter of Bul on 2017-04-19 16:14:28
I don't think there is any problem with what the times did. It interviewed other people that did have access and compiled their insights. This happens all the time in medical research with meta reviews. Its actually pretty well done. The NYT has pretty decent ethical standards. I don't think there is any malice here over not getting a review unit.
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RE[2]: gifts to reviewers
By oldtimefighter on 2017-04-19 16:35:27
> How can you review a device you have never seen?

It's flatly dishonest of NYT to even provide a "review".


The NYT DID NOT review the phone.

Edited 2017-04-19 16:35 UTC
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Read Comments 1-10 -- 11-18

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