I wish more Android manufacturers would take vibration seriously

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
I wish more Android manufacturers would take vibration seriously
The smartphones of today are truly wonderful devices. We tend to forget and take them for granted, but just remember — some 15 years ago, the dream of holding a handset that is all screen, is constantly connected to the Internet, and allows you to do some serious computing — all while being able to fit in your pocket — seemed like a futuristic dream from a sci-fi movie.

But there’s still one major drawback that an all-screen device has and that’s its limited capabilities of giving you a nice tactile feedback. The “feel” you get that you have actually pressed something or interacted with a UI element in some way. The feel that kind of — but not exactly — simulates a keystroke or a mouse click.

Some manufacturers do it just right

Apple aimed to resolve this issue with its Taptic Engine back when it launched the iPhone 6s. It gave us a phone vibration that we hadn’t felt before — super-precise, accentuated, adaptable, and consistent. Instantly, typing on a virtual keyboard, pressing the camera’s virtual shutter button, or turning various toggles on and off in settings felt that much more real, that much more satisfying.

Android manufacturers, on the other hand, lagged behind on this feature for quite some years. In 2017, LG made a real attempt at good haptics with the LG V30. And you know what? It was among the best Android phones in terms of actual feel when using it, in my opinion. Later, in 2018, Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL came with their own super-accurate and accentuated haptics. Again, these are probably the best-feeling Pixels to date. And Google knows this — Android 9 Pie on the Pixels has so much haptic feedback built in that it can get annoying at times.

Why is bad vibration still a thing?

It is kind of disappointing that this small detail has been neglected for so long. For example, as big as Samsung is, and as awesome and all-rounded its flagships tend to be, their vibration motors still feel terrible. Small, raspy, and kind of lagging behind your on-screen actions. And this is coming from someone who has been obsessed with the Galaxy Note line for quite a while. Sony is in the same boat. I kind of loved the Xperia Z2’s strong and gritty vibration motor. However, that was years ago. Ever since the Z3 came out, Sony had also switched to a tiny buzz, which feels and sounds like a can of bees.

I realize that not a lot of people would see this as a big problem. Many users out there just go into settings and disable the vibration feedback, never thinking twice about it. But I dare argue that if their phones’ haptic feedback didn’t suck, they would think twice about that. And they would actually take note of and enjoy the feedback.

One could argue that the manufacturers need the space inside the phone, which is why they can't stick a proper vibration motor in there. But LG proves that point wrong — the motors inside the V30, G7, and V40 are not that different to what Samsung uses:

Is it an experience-breaking feature? Well, if you’re asking me to pay upwards of $800 per flagship phone, you’d better believe I will care about the way the device feels every time I take it out of my pocket to check my email. In fact, nowadays, bad haptic feedback will turn me off of a device faster than you can say “It has 8 GB of RAM!”.

In conclusion — Android manufacturers, please disassemble an LG V30 or a Pixel 3 and see what makes them “tick”... literally!



1. squishypanda8

Posts: 46; Member since: Aug 28, 2015

Completely agree

15. bucknassty

Posts: 1372; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

love my note 9... but samsung should have stepped this up a LONG time ago

2. ZeroSlack_Jack

Posts: 35; Member since: May 02, 2017

Even OnePlus has miserable vibration motors!

5. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Is it the motors, or how they are used?

11. slashas

Posts: 146; Member since: Jul 17, 2017

Motor itself, non comparable to iPhones, less strong and precise.

3. Dota2

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 23, 2019

That’s what she said :D

4. midan

Posts: 3112; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

I disabled the vibration right away, but if you haven't tried and have iPhone go and change the time in your alarm clock while having vibration on. It's one of those examples how much detail Apple put in small things.

6. DefinitiveKid

Posts: 264; Member since: May 15, 2013

Absolutely agree, this sounds like a detail but it actually matters in day to day use. This is basically the reason why I don't buy OnePlus smartphones anymore. The vibration motor is horrific, the phone instantly feels like a cheap toy.

7. palmguy

Posts: 986; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

It's like a virtual physical feel from a smartphone's screen when touching and interacting with it.

8. ceepyou

Posts: 69; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

Thanks for the article Preslav. One question, you've already seen a LG G8?

10. paul.k

Posts: 302; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

Haha, oops. I wish.

9. kakudiego

Posts: 123; Member since: May 21, 2014

All vibrations turned off right after the first boot

12. slashas

Posts: 146; Member since: Jul 17, 2017

How about article that iOS devices aka iPhones need to take battery size seriously? :)

13. midan

Posts: 3112; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

What you meanhttps://youtu.be/3_y8BGOP-vw they already take battery life very seriously like you can see from the video

14. ahmadkun

Posts: 660; Member since: May 02, 2016

One of the reasons making me having an iPhone

16. DFranch

Posts: 558; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

This was exactly my experience with the V30. I always turned vibrations off until I got the V30. But they are so well done, that they remain on to this day.

20. KingSam

Posts: 1504; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

Haptics on the iPhone are very nice.

17. Charlie2k

Posts: 157; Member since: Jan 11, 2016

So much anti Android propaganda these dags.

23. blastertoad

Posts: 50; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

you are joking right. It is a fact that good haptics exist and most products do not take advantage of them. LG and Apple do have better haptics then every other phone right now. Same as the Steam Controller has better haptics then every other game controller except for simulation controllers (wheels, flight sticks, ect.). This does not mean they are the best device, or are even a better device then others, just that in one particular measure they shine. The iphone has better haptics, yes. But it still can't do half the things I expect from my s8+ on a day to day basis.

18. TheOneSilveriusXZP

Posts: 64; Member since: Jul 01, 2017

Inline the talk about Vibration, i'm wondering how XZ2's (not Z2) DVS (Dynamic Vibration System)?

28. makiz

Posts: 33; Member since: May 30, 2017

They don't even know what it is because it's not an iPhone or galaxy

32. Remmy

Posts: 189; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

I really like how my XZ2 vibrates, you'd really feel deep rumble and not just the usual buzz normal phones have. I guess Apple just nailed how their taptic engine would respond to UI touches.

19. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1471; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

To my experience the LG G2 did a fantastic job at vibration back in the day. Able to record your own custom vibration patterns and assign them to seperate apps was awesome. I think vibration has just become less important due to always on displays and notification glancing on the lockscreen.

21. cmdacos

Posts: 4319; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

No thanks. Haptic feedback is one of the first things I turn off.

22. Brewski

Posts: 725; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

I have never even thought about this before. How nit-picky.

24. KakashiHatake4444

Posts: 79; Member since: Jul 30, 2018

I think it's because the haptic feedback in the iPhone is a bit shorter and stronger

25. ShadowWarrior

Posts: 170; Member since: Aug 08, 2017

HTC motors were ok - a bit aggressive though. I had the LG G6 and the haptics were great. With iPhones though, I still don't like the typing feedback. It's much better on Android phones where you actually feel like you pressed a keyboard button.

26. shortkey

Posts: 54; Member since: May 19, 2017

I always turn off vibrations for navigation buttons and keyboard. However, I wish the vibrators were much, much stronger. When my ringer's off, I'm having trouble noticing the teensy tinsy buzz in my jacket's pocket, or even my jeans' back pocket, right on my ass. Back when phones were bricks with antennas, you could use one to get off, that's how strong phones' vibrators used to be. Nowadays, it's pathetic, really.

27. Ellio74

Posts: 74; Member since: Mar 22, 2018

I owned a Lumia 830, the vibration was really nice. Then I switched to the Z3, and it was kinda bad, the Z3+ vibration motor though, was very strong. Now, the vibration motor of my XZ Premium is nice, not feeling cheap or anything else. But iPhones are simply the best!

30. darkkjedii

Posts: 31594; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Totally agree with this. Apple’s Taptic Engine plain kills anything else out there.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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