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Winners and Losers: Oppo’s 20-year battery and the Galaxy S23’s questionable future

With most of the Trusted Reviews team away at IFA 2022 this week, we’ve been inundated with announcements for new and upcoming tech, but in the end only two major headlines made the cut for Winners and Losers.

Racing to make the embargo for The Last of Us Part 1, I haven’t had time to think about much else this week and in fact the game almost slid into the Winners’ slot for its fantastic accessibility features, but in the end it was Oppo’s incredible battery claims that stole most everyone’s attention.

On the flipside, Samsung is in our crosshairs this week as rumours have surfaced that next year’s Galaxy S23 will be a minor upgrade at best. Given that this comes during a year where it already feels as if Samsung is resting on its laurels, it’s hardly the news that any Samsung fan wants to hear right now.

Winner: Oppo

Oppo has been making a storm this week – not only did the company release the impressive Oppo Reno 8 Pro but it’s also had a sizeable presence at IFA 2022. While the focus may have been intended for the new Reno 8 series, it was a comment from Oppo’s Vice President of Overseas Sales and Services, Billy Zhang, that left everyone with their jaws firmly on the floor.

In a discussion about proprietary tech that might feature exclusively in Oppo phones, Zhang mentioned that expanding the boundaries of battery life is currently a major drive for the company, and one of the tests being carried out involves a battery with the capacity to last for up to 20 years.

While Zhang was quick to mention that such tech was still a ways off from making its way down to the consumer level, the sheer notion of not needing to charge your phone for 20-years is just too tantalising a concept not to ponder over.

Plus, the research and development being conducted in this area shows that Oppo understands the importance of battery life not just to the overall user experience, but in ensuring that phones last longer and hopefully negating the need to constantly mine for new materials that go into these devices, having a positive knock-on effect for the environment.

Loser: Samsung

In the smartphone space, Samsung commands an impressive chunk of the industry but the company finds itself at something of a creative impasse with its latest devices feeling incredibly similar to last year’s models. The Galaxy S22, Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Watch 5, while impressive devices in their own right, only represent the most minor of upgrades over their predecessors.

Unfortunately it seems as though this trend is likely to continue into 2023 as a new round of rumours suggest that the Galaxy S23 is a modest upgrade at best. Notable Twitter leaker Ice Universe stoked these complacency rumours by revealing that “for the S23 and S23+, they have the same design as the S22, even the middle frame has not changed. The same screen, the same sensor, the same camera, and the battery is estimated to be similar. Processor upgrade to 8Gen2.”

Even the S23 Ultra wasn’t safe from these leaks, with the tipster continuing to say that the biggest change for the phone will likely be a larger, flatter display, but otherwise the camera set-up will be unchanged.

I wrote earlier this week about how the Galaxy Watch 5’s near non-existent list of new features represents the worst aspects of yearly updates, and unfortunately it seems as though Samsung is eager to make this issue a recurring problem across all its mainline devices. At a time when value for the consumer and the larger environmental impact of the tech industry are mainstay conversation topics, it does beg the question as to whether or not Samsung is willfully resting on its laurels until the competition forces it to make a move.

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