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Samsung slams iPhone speed in latest ad

Headscratcher: Samsung doesn't compare the Galaxy S9 to an iPhone X, but an older model.

Samsung isn't shy about the message of its latest ad: iPhone owners should upgrade to the Galaxy S9. But it doesn't compare the Galaxy S9 against its natural rival, the iPhone X, or even one of Apple's two iPhone 8s.

Instead, during the roughly minute-long video posted to YouTube (also below), we see a woman's slow loading speeds on her iPhone 6 (yes, 6!) repeatedly drag her down while she travels. At the airport, our long-suffering protagonist, Carmen, holds up the TSA security line while waiting for her boarding pass to load up on her screen.

"Sorry, one second. It's loading, look," she apologizes at a disgruntled, eye-rolling agent who looks like she's heard it all before. Next to her, a woman with a Galaxy S9 breezes through security.

On the airplane, Carmen gives up on her iPhone while admiring the speed of her seat-mate's phone as he plays a game on his Galaxy S9. And in the pouring rain, she inadvertently steals another customer's ride because her phone won't load her app fast enough to identify which car has come to fetch her. 

Soaked to the bone, but now in the right vehicle, poor Carmen tells her driver to head downtown, while she waits for her maps to load up and pinpoint the exact address. 

Running out of patience, and being goaded by her mother through text, Carmen dashes through the raindrops into an "Apple" store to fix her slowness issue, where a customer service rep tells her she can turn off the performance management software -- at the expense of having the battery throttled. 


We feel her pain. Who hasn't been this person?

Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Outside the store, a man and child, both with haircuts resembling the iPhone X notch design, stare out eerily, blankly, into the camera. You can almost see Carmen recoil. In the end, she's warm, dry and happily relaxing on a couch, unboxing her new purple Galaxy S9 Plus.

It's a clever, compelling ad as far as these things go, if it weren't for the puzzling fact that Samsung compares its modern device with an iPhone 6 that's nearly 4 years old. Please; any modern phone would be an upgrade, and this particular comparison between the superspeedy, superpricey Galaxy S9 and the old, small iPhone 6 is like Goliath kicking around David's scrawnier kid bother. 

I can see where Samsung's ad agency was going with this: The iPhone in question runs iOS 11.2.6, an OS optimized for newer devices, which helps explains why Carmen's phone is so slow, besides the obviously older tech. The Galaxy S9 has impressed her in her travels and she has no desire to continue as an iPhone clone (cue the creepy kid and dad with the notched iPhone X haircut).

To hammer home the point of the Galaxy S9 as a speed demon, the company released test results from Ookla, a speed test app for phones and the web, that shows the Galaxy S9 blowing by most other phones by double-digit percentage speeds, on the US' four major networks -- including the iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8 phones. 


Click to enlarge.


We don't have much insight into Ookla's methodology, except that these figures represent mean download speeds on a 4G network. Why didn't Samsung's commercial just lead with that? We may never know.

Samsung's anti-iPhone ad launches a day before the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus with 128GB and 256GB storage options go on sale(May 18). The "regular" S9s have 64GB of storage for your photos and video. You know, if you're feeling especially inspired.

Updated at 6:37am PT to correct the sale date of the 128GB and 256GB models.

Read: Samsung Galaxy S9 review

Read: Why Google makes Android phone notches now