The curious case of the New York Times’ Galaxy S8 coverage

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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