Samsung is killing it with the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge: I know it, you know it, by now it’s pretty much common knowledge. Sift through a few reviews at random and you’ll read the same thing over and over: the Galaxy S7 Edge is simply the best phone money can buy today.

Fast hardware, nice feel-good design cues, the famed dust & water resistance (so many ads about this one), better-than-average camera, great battery life, memory card slot (finally!), decent price for a Samsung flagship… basically, anything it needs to be crowned king of the smartphones (well, maybe with the exception of a USB Type-C port).

Believe it or not, Samsung’s troubles start right on the heels of this great success. It’s all going to be for nothing if they can’t keep up with their own pace and break the cycle of the Note being just a bigger and slightly more polished relative of the Galaxy S.

So far, each year has brought a samey outside design, little or no hardware improvement and identical camera, the main differentiators being a larger screen and the stylus. For a device that aims to be the professional’s Galaxy S, it’s simply not enough.

Galaxy S7 Edge may have started a revolution of sorts, but to be completely candid, it might just as easily come back and bite Samsung in the proverbial behind. Potential Note 6 buyers’ expectations are “too damn high” and more storage or more screen pixels just won’t cut it this time. They seek, no, demand innovation even more than the Galaxy S7 crowd and won’t be content with anything less than revolutionary to make the Note truly stand apart from its “poor relative.”

The next Note needs to take everything that made the Galaxy S7 successful and make it far better

Make no mistake, the photo snapper on the S7 is great for a smartphone, but it’s just OK for someone who might be interested in buying the Galaxy Note 6. A modern dual-camera setup or a new, improved sensor (or both) would be much more appropriate for a device that wants to reach a higher status than mainstream devices.

Then there’s the audio output issue. The tinny voice of the Galaxy S7 might sound passable or even good for most people, but the Note needs a lot more to become a hit: powerful stereo speakers and clear sound. And if the claims about S7’s sound issue being caused by its waterproofing are true, then the Note 6 should simply be able to do both without skipping a beat. Especially since the latest rumors and leaks have shown the iPhone 7 Plus to feature no less than four speaker grilles.

Next up, the screen. It looks good, it feels good but it’s unusable in direct sunlight and Samsung’s trick to improve visibility might be the best-in-its-class right now, but the result is far from anything you’d call “premium.” Call me crazy, but I think the iPhone fares better than Sammy here in both strong and low light conditions. Come to think of it, Samsung (or Android in general) could really use an OS-level blue light filter just like the one available in iOS.

The S7’s fingerprint reader is accurate and fast… when it doesn’t go nuts. Truth be told, it doesn’t happen often; yet when it does, it’s really frustrating, even more so when it goes full savage mode. “Try again in 60 minutes,” anyone? This is something you should never see on a Note 6.

Galaxy S7’s launch with an inferior port was either a mistake or a cynical business decision

The rather embarrassing issue of the data/charging port seems to have been resolved according to the last intel, with the microUSB port set to be finally replaced with USB Type-C. Still, this doesn’t change the fact that Galaxy S7’s launch with an inferior port was either a mistake or a cynical business decision, depending on how one looks at it.

And finally, software updates. Google’s made a big fuss about delivering monthly security fixes for Android devices, which is great, especially since they provide those fixes in advance to OEMs for testing purposes.

While you might get these fixes in time if you have a Nexus or Blackberry PRIV device, other manufacturers will make you wait before sending them, if at all. Case in point, the S7 still hasn’t reached the May 1, 2016 security patch level and the time of writing. That’s over three weeks late.

The other, more important for some, side of software updates concerns the OS itself and seeing how long it took the Galaxy S6 and Note 5 to receive upgrades to Marshmallow, one can only wonder when the Android N will be bestowed upon the millions of S7 users. Meanwhile in Apple camp, software updates get released at the same time for all supported devices, worldwide.

Get ready for the big showdown this fall

Looking back at how Samsung’s done things so far, it’s very likely they won’t address all of the above with the Note 6 and miss a great chance to deal a death blow to the iPhone. Judging by the Note 6 and iPhone 7 leaks, Samsung looks like a boxer that managed a few well-placed hits and even sent his opponent to the floor a couple of times. But without a KO, it might end up losing the match after a devastating uppercut in the last round, in September to be specific.

The cycle will begin anew, with promises of “going back to the drawing board” and “better luck next year,” while Apple manages an unlikely win yet again. Except this time it’s going to be more difficult than ever, because 2017 marks the iPhone’s 10th anniversary and you can bet your life that Apple will bring their very best into the ring.

And that might actually be a revolution, not just a curved display.

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