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The Note 10 is the best Android phone but this is why I use a Pixel

Samsung Galaxy S10+ and Google Pixel 4 XL
Samsung Galaxy S10+ and Google Pixel 4 XL (Image credit: Android Central)

If you look around the web you'll probably see the general consensus is that the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 or 10+ is the best Android phone you can buy. It has the best screen, the most memory, the most storage, and beats the competition hands down in almost every way. Almost.

There is one spot where Samsung has traditionally been very weak — writing its own software. It's getting a lot better at the user experience stuff — the latest version of Android 10 for Galaxy devices is both functional and good-looking. I'm talking about the low-level things, like an operating system.

Phone battle: Google Pixel 4 XL vs. Galaxy S10+?

That's why Samsung relies on Android. Android is designed and written for this very thing. A company like Samsung can build great hardware then use Android as a base layer for something to call its own. Be honest, would anyone really want to buy a Galaxy Note that ran Bada or Tizen?

Thankfully, there is no need to even ponder the question because Samsung can use Android freely and mold it into something uniquely Samsung. And that's where my issues begin.

I really don't like how much data Google collects, but I trust it to take good care of it.

I want to be clear — I do not like giving Google so much of my personal information and opt-out of anything that doesn't give me an equal value in return. But I do trust Google to handle my data like the million-dollar resource it is, and until I see a reason to revoke that trust, I'll continue to pay for Google services with user data.

More: Does Google sell your personal data?

But when that Google service — let's use Google Calendar as an example — is colorized, has a few features added to it, still relies on Google's complete infrastructure but has a Samsung name attached, it means there is now a second term of service and privacy policy that comes into play. In case you haven't ever noticed, when you set up a Galaxy phone you have to agree to Google's data collection and Samsung's collection of the very same data.

Samsung also offers services that are written in-house. Like Samsung Pay, which explicitly says that it will only work in full if you allow Samsung to sell your data. There is no free software in existence that I am willing to allow to sell my data unless I am getting a cut.

Samsung collects data for the same reason other hardware companies do — to make the next version better.

I don't think Samsung is going to give your data away for no good reason. It's using it to monitor the apps you use, the time you spend on social media, what web sites you visit and everything else so it can make small changes in the next version to make it all better. All tech companies do this, and so far none have been caught purposefully making private user data available for the world to see.

And I might feel differently if I used Bixby, had a Tizen-powered Galaxy Watch, or lived in a mansion filled with connected Samsung appliances. But I don't do any of those things and choose to buy my "free" services only once through Google.

The Pixel 4 might not be the best phone you can buy, or even on that list. But since every company seemingly wants my personal information, I choose to give it away to just one of them.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

23 Comments
  • I find this interesting because I didn't agree to anything Samsung when I set up my Note 9. Maybe because it's unlocked, but I don't use any of the Samsung apps and the only one that really runs in the background is the email, I think. Everything else is disabled. So the only one really collecting any personal, identifiable data would be Google.
  • With the U.S. unlocked Note you should be able to go into the apps manager and uninstall the Samsung email app if you don't want it
  • A redditor on r/Android just uncovered that the Samsung is indeed spying on you. One of the core apps is made from Chinese company that makes malware or something along those lines
  • I don't trust Google with my personal information, but I don't trust any company with my personal information, including Apple. But I agree with this article. Pixel phones aren't the best phones, but at least you're only giving one company your personal info.
  • Same reason I've stayed with the Nexus/Pixel line, I've been using Google for so long so why start over giving my data to yet ANOTHER company. I'll stick with just this one but I do try to be a little more selective with what I agree to, that being said I don't trust Google anymore than anyone else, I've just gotten use to them.
  • Tigrisan. Same here with my Note 10. Samsung have nothing. As I read that article I just thought the author is not that well informed. That or selling Pixel phones as a sideline.......
  • Same with Tigrisan and GuyUK. The article just made me that little more confident to try the S20 after my lag infested S3 and S6 experience.
  • Samsung hardware is so much better than Google's I use Microsoft and Blackberry apps mainly and have disabled Google's and Samsung's apps where this is possible... Waiting eagerly for the Surface Duo...
  • The surface duo is going to be run on...you guessed it...android
  • I left Samsung at Note 8. And while I miss the s-pen and bright screen, the software was forgettable. Disabling Samsung services results in feature loss. Pixel experience is less cluttered. Personal data is currency with all consumer tech. No way around it
  • I had the Note 8 I have the Note 10 plus now had the 9 in between and the UI has improved so much and also 10 plus has 12gb ram where it's not even close 10 plus it's so much smoother then the 8. In the past with Samsung phones I had to use a package disabler and tweaked a few things to get the speed and smoothness I wanted but that is no longer necessary now with the amount of RAM and also one UI being so solid.
  • I use a OnePlus, a difference in opinion.
  • I use the s10+ as my daily and my back up is the 3a XL. For myself it's kind of the best of both worlds. I enjoy them both very much. Stock android a great camera. The s10+ has all the features I could ever want, plus I enjoy still using wired headphones on BOTH. Something that's fading away! Not many include the jack anymore?
  • If you don't want companies to get their hands on your data, stop using the internet.
  • And anything connected to the internet...
  • "But since every company seemingly wants my personal information, I choose to give it away to just one of them." Of all companies, Google. Thats like asking an burglar to guard your house whilst on vacation. "Only he has got the key", they said.....
  • He's right though. Google's entire business model depends on them being the only one's with your data. They have to keep it safe and hoard it to themselves or they won't be able to continue to monetize it .
  • Nicely put sir.
  • I concur with your sentiments Jerry, I currently use and iPhone and Pixel simply because I only trust Google and Apple with my data. Google business is data and if they don’t protect your data that model fails. Regarding Samsung I haven’t used one since S3 but if I remember correctly I am sure you have to agree to their EULA which normally has some data sharing section, someone correct me if am incorrect.
  • Does it even matter, regardless our data is being mining?
  • This right here, the argument could be made that Google is so big that they actually share MORE of our data than Samsung could ever think about...
  • Hey Jerry how you feeling?
    Which Pixel do you use?
    I currently have the 3a XL, Pixel 2.
    The 3a XL is good BUT every once and awhile it shows it's under-powered, not often but once you've seen it you can't un-see it. Pixel 2 is good but battery sucks. I'm switching between them and a Moto z3 with a battery mod. I know, I know ...made in china, data mining and all. The SD 835 is powerful enough its' 10nm so with battery mod can get two days out of it. Still have that kinda neat Moto stuff like twist and shake things.
    Anyway;
    Jerry you are getting a slice of anything Google sells. You work for them kinda. Apple is more inline with your argument regarding data safety/integrity.
    In the android sphere your argument's are correct.
    All the best,
    Jim
  • Haven't you heard privacy is dead.