Are you an iPhone owner who has considered switching away from Apple products? You may be interested in a promotion that Samsung has been running since August. In order to blunt interest in the release of the iPhone 6S, Samsung directly targeted Apple users with the Samsung Ultimate Test Drive Program, which offers an alternative to upgrading within the Apple lineup.
For only a $1 processing fee, Apple users can connect to the Samsung promotions site through the Safari browser on any iPhone, and get a Samsung phone to try out for free for 30 days. Available phone models include Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy 6S Edge or Edge Plus (standard GS6 models are excluded). Supply information to the site on the phone you want to try and which carrier you use, along with a credit card number. The SIM card will already be activated and the phone will arrive with a "smart switch" to allow you to get data over to the new phone. A guide to getting started will also be included so you do not have to fumble around acquainting yourself with the operating system.
At the end of the 30-day trial period, you have five days to return the phone. Samsung will supply a shipping label for the return. We suggest not pushing it close to the five-day limit, because failing to do so will result in the full price being charged to your credit card. That is up to $820 for the S6 Edge Plus. Damaged but functional phones (scratches, cracked screens, etc.) will cost you $100 upon return. Minor scratches do not incur charges, but why test the boundaries?
As a condition of participating in the program, you will be asked via e-mail to fill out two surveys — one before receiving the equipment and one after returning it. For an essentially free phone for a month, that should not be too surprising of a condition.
The response was large enough that Samsung ran out of loaner phones and was forced to limit the program for some time. Presumably, phones are now available; at least as of this writing, nothing on the Samsung promotions site says otherwise.
Samsung has sweetened the deal by offering a $100 check along with another $100 in Google Play credit for participants who decide to switch and trade in their phone through an authorized carrier or retailer. You will need to provide the details of your Samsung phone purchase (model, accessories, etc.) and send a photo of your receipt.
Has the program worked?
It is hard to say. Apple users are fiercely loyal, and the program is not available to those who have no phone and are trying to decide whether to go Apple or Android-based. Even though Samsung ran out of phones at one point, they have not released any statistics on how many phones were loaned out or on how many switched as a result of the program so far. Even so, we must give Samsung credit for realizing that what most people want to know before purchasing or upgrading a phone is how well it works under their conditions of normal daily use.
If you do want to try the Ultimate Test Drive program, you still have some time left. Terms and conditions may be viewed here. Remember that the program is only limited to current iPhone users. Good luck, and enjoy your test drive!