Samsung Galaxy simpler than iPhone, survey says

In deep, deep research conducted by branding company Siegel+Gale, Samsung's Galaxy phones have allegedly overcome the iPhone when it comes to ease of use.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read
A picture of simplicity? Sarah Tew/CNET

I like to think I'm very simple.

Lovers have told me I'm not -- often while they toss my Golden State Warriors T-shirts out their apartment windows and curse quite loudly.

So simplicity is an entirely subjective concept.

In my own subjectivity (and that of many others), Apple's phones have always seemed so very simple to grasp. Both physically and emotionally.

But now, very vast brains have come along to declare that this might not be so.

Branding agency Siegel+Gale -- motto: "Simple is smart" (sigh) -- claims it used a proven (and presumably simple) methodology to examine whether Apple is simpler than Samsung.

I cannot believe that this was simple to do without the presence of Judge Lucy Koh.

Still, Siegel+Gale claims its "original" and "exclusive" methods give rise to a splendid Global Brand Simplicity Index.

Before we look at the Apple-Samsung simplicity showdown, might I mention that on top of the Global Brand Simplicity Index for 2012 was Google. Second was McDonald's.

Apple was fifth, which is perhaps why one of the conclusions of the showdown is that Apple's overall brand still represents more simplicity than does Samsung's.

It is, however, at the product level that Samsung is simply the better.

Respondents indicated their affection for the Galaxy's "easy-to-use advanced features -- from high-speed file transfers to instant photo-tagging and sharing -- making it simpler for users to share information."

They also expressed simple pleasure at the phone's compatibility. "By being compatible with nonproprietary apps and accessories, the Galaxy came across as simpler to the many people we surveyed," was the Siegel+Gale conclusion.

The "many" people was 400.

Should you still be wondering what Apple's claims to simplicity fame were in the survey, I shall tell you.

Intuitiveness and customer service were two of the aspects praised.

Both companies' advertising was said to be pleasantly simple.

In a press release, Siegel+Gale offered some spectacularly dramatic writing to describe the result: "At the brand level, Apple is perceived as simpler than Samsung, but on a product level, challenger Galaxy has knocked the long-standing simplicity champion onto the canvas and out of first place."

In a less than simple melange of metaphors, Siegel+Gale also described the winner as being the brand that "takes the cake."

So now I have visions of large people punching each other for a black forest gateau.

Siegel+Gale quotes one respondent who, the company claims, sums up Samsung's success: "Samsung Galaxy is a significant threat to iPhone because it is able to do more -- and do it more simply -- than iPhone."

It's clear that the Galaxy S3 and S4 are competing strongly with the iPhone 5. Whether simplicity is the reason for this isn't quite so clear. The larger screen might have something to do with it.

But then perhaps the larger screen makes everything else simpler. Or not.

I feel sure that some people don't immediately gravitate to the Galaxy because of its rather plastic-y feel, as well as an inferior taste level in terms of icon design. And, well, in terms of aesthetics in general.

Equally, I feel sure that the iPhone looks tired to some eyes. It suddenly seems a little small and somehow too familiar.

Perhaps, over the next months and years, the two companies will attempt to out-simple each other. In a Forrest Gump vs. Rain Man kind of way.

Gaining a lasting advantage will, I fear, be anything but simple.

Update, 4:27 p.m. PT: A reader asked that I peruse the list of Siegel+Gale clients. So I did. I didn't find Apple there. I did, however, find Samsung.