Samsung Smart TVs could use some fundamental quality of life improvements

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Samsung Electronics is the biggest TV brand in the world for good reason. To name a few, the company has some of the best panels, and Tizen offers access to great content platforms like Samsung TV Plus and Gaming Hub. Still, it’s not all roses. While Samsung continues to add new advanced features to its high-end TV models, it also seems like the company is neglecting the simpler things, especially in more budget-friendly TV models like Crystal UHD.

If you’re not familiar with the company’s Crystal TVs, it’s probably because Samsung doesn’t talk about them much. The tech giant’s big announcements generally focus on expensive lifestyle TVs and technologies like QLED and Neo QLED. In the real world, however, the Samsung Crystal TV line is almost ubiquitous in markets with weaker economies. I happen to own a Samsung Crystal TV, and while I’m happy with my purchase, I still think there’s room for some quality of life improvements.

It wouldn’t hurt if the TV menus were faster

While navigating the menus of Samsung’s low-end smart TVs isn’t terrible, it could be better. Menus stutter at times and take a few seconds to cope with the commands you throw at them, resulting in an awkward user experience half the time.

While some people can adjust to the lag factor, I don’t think anyone should be forced to. Also, I’m getting on my feet and guessing that one of the main demographics for these budget TVs is seniors. Some may even have upgraded from non-smart TVs, which generally have more responsive menus.

Samsung should stop shipping smart TVs with rubberized remote controls

Add remotes with rubberized buttons to the inherent menu stutter and you’ve got a recipe for a negative first impression. And yes, although Samsung has been promoting its high-tech, solar-powered remotes for about a year now, keep in mind that these advanced models are reserved for high-end TVs.

Low-end smart TVs like Crystal UHD come with remotes that have mushy buttons, and needless to say they make a sometimes sluggish experience worse. While it would be unfair to expect Samsung’s low-end smart TVs to ship with the most advanced remote controls, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for quality of life improvements. A mere upgrade from squishy buttons to clicking without throwing in a solar cell should do the trick.

SmartThings TV remote still doesn’t support dark mode

Conspiracy theorists may believe that Samsung will ship TVs with rubberized remote controls in 2022 to force people to use the remote control feature in the SmartThings mobile app. That may or may not be the case, but I’d argue it doesn’t, simply because the SmartThings TV remote doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it should and lacks in one key area. The SmartThings TV remote still lacks support for dark mode.

As some of you know, the SmartThings smartphone app itself has a dark mode, but the TV remote control component in SmartThings doesn’t support this arguably “must-have” feature. So if you’re tired of using the squishy low-end Samsung remote and are thinking about replacing it with the SmartThings TV remote on your Galaxy phone or tablet, you need to deal with the bright background of the reconcile the remote control. This can be a real nuisance, especially at night.

The world’s largest TV brand shouldn’t shy away from fundamental improvements in the quality of life

In summary, Samsung is the biggest TV brand in the world, so it could be argued that the company didn’t need any of those quality of life features listed above to make it to the top. But while that may very well be true, that doesn’t mean the company couldn’t do better, especially on the low-end.

These may seem like minor complaints, and by and large they are. But with just a little effort in these areas — menu responsiveness, remote control buttons, and SmartThign’s TV remote dark mode — Samsung could offer significant quality of life improvements to millions of TV consumers worldwide. It might not seem like much, but I believe a little more polish could make a big difference.

Have you used budget Samsung Smart TVs? What do you think? Do you have any other suggestions for improving the user experience? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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