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One UI Review – Samsung’s Android Pie on Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9

One UI Review - Samsung's Android Pie on Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9

For the previous few weeks, I’ve used the One UI beta on my Samsung Galaxy Note 9. There’s so much to say concerning the new course Samsung is taking with their software program, however I feel it’s necessary to start out with an introduction to Samsung’s customized Android software program expertise through the years. Samsung’s early software program iterations was referred to as TouchWiz, and it had a poor popularity amongst Android fanatics for being sluggish and bloated. Samsung Expertise made appreciable enhancements over TouchWiz with a clear and quick UI and greater than sufficient options to fulfill everybody. One UI is the identify for Samsung’s newest software program layered on prime of Android Pie, and it focuses on two areas of enchancment: A redesign to make it optimized for taller telephone screens and darker interface colours with a brand new night time mode. An official beta launch is accessible for the Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, and Galaxy Note 9, and right here’s our preliminary assessment of Samsung’s newest software program launch.

Right here you may also watch our video evaluate of One UI on the Samsung Galaxy S9 by Daniel Marchena over on XDA TV.


Samsung’s technique of fixing the difficulty of shows getting ever taller is to shift all the interactable UI down in the direction of the underside. They rethought the best way their apps have been designed by dividing apps’ UI into the knowledge space and the interactive space. The highest third of the UI is the knowledge space, whereas the underside two-thirds of the system is the interactive space. When our readers first noticed the design modifications in One UI, many felt that Samsung was losing a number of area up prime. I agreed with this at first, however as I used the newest replace extra and extra, I noticed I used to be completely incorrect. One UI makes the expertise of utilizing a tall telephone just like the Galaxy Note 9 a lot simpler.

I really like giant telephones. The smallest display I’ve used within the final yr was 6.2-inches in diagonal. On all these bigger telephones I wanted to shift my hand round to make use of them. I even typically have to modify palms to make it extra handy. Now, all the inventory Samsung apps in Android Pie actually helped with this. The fast settings are moved right down to make it simpler with one hand. Message threads are moved down. Every thing within the inventory apps is moved down. I shortly realized I wasn’t shifting my arms across the display and it felt as if I might use my telephone for longer with out getting utilization fatigue.

Samsung Expertise 9.5 vs. One UI

Let’s take a look at particularly the Clock app. On the prime, on Samsung Expertise 9.5, it exhibits the totally different clock tabs, with the alarms listed beneath. In One UI, the tabs have been moved to the underside of the display. These are the interactive elements. As an alternative of itemizing the alarms from the highest of the display, they’re positioned within the center, the place it’s straightforward to succeed in with one hand. The highest half that claims “All alarms are off” is the informative half. We will see the identical factor in Messages. Samsung Expertise 9.5 has the tabs on the prime. One UI strikes the tabs to the underside and makes the search button a bit of icon above the threads.

Samsung Expertise 9.5 vs. One UI

These two apps are good examples of One UI’s focus on one-handed usability. It shifts the whole lot right down to the interactive space.  That is nice for the way forward for tall and giant shows. The one quark about their redesign is it doesn’t all the time shift down by default. This doesn’t imply there’s a setting to toggle however some apps, like My Information, requires you to swipe right down to make it simpler to succeed in. This could possibly be a bug with the beta or a part of the official replace, however it’s there and noticeable.

Whereas Google has slowly been adopting a backside tab strategy of their most up-to-date app redesigns following the Google Materials Theme rules, most apps are nonetheless onerous to make use of with one hand. Samsung redesigned their software program to not solely match the newest design tendencies, but in addition to match their very own hardware. Tall shows shall be round for the foreseeable future, so why not really embrace it within the software program?

Samsung Expertise 9.5 vs. One UI on the Galaxy Note 9

Under are some screenshots displaying off One UI versus Samsung Expertise 9.5 operating on the Galaxy Note 9. As you possibly can see, most apps have the whole lot shifted down. The launcher is principally the identical, however if you go to Bixby Residence, it has the large empty space on the prime. The one apps which are shut sufficient to say didn’t change are the launcher, lock display, calendar, and My Information. The lock display is fascinating as a result of Samsung defaults the clock to the highest of the show. On earlier builds of One UI, it was on the backside, so this could possibly be a bug. If it isn’t, Samsung unnecessarily moved the clock to the highest.

The most effective place to start out evaluating One UI to Samsung Expertise 9.5 is the worst a part of Samsung’s software program: Bixby. Extra particularly, Bixby House. The One UI Bixby House is nearly all black and that’s the primary and most noticeable change. Whereas wanting a bit deeper on the modifications, Samsung shifted the whole lot down. The very first thing that’s shifted down is the greeting textual content. It says one thing like “Hello Maxwell” within the prime third of the display, whereas on Samsung Expertise 9.5 it says it within the prime left nook.

Subsequent is Calendar. The 2 apps within the totally different software program variations are principally the identical. The distinction between the 2 apps is the curved corners. This may be present in virtually all UI parts in One UI. Samsung does shift the present month to the center of the display and the settings for the calendar are additionally moved over to a aspect panel. This doesn’t benefit from the brand new interactive and informative elements of the show.

The digital camera in One UI doesn’t get any new options or modes like one may anticipate with a brand new Android model. Samsung moved the modes to the underside of the display, which, as soon as once more, shifts the interactive elements of the show. It additionally strikes the zoom icon to the underside middle with a simple to entry management button. The controls for the timer, flash, and filters are moved to the highest informative part, proper beneath the choices for Bixby Imaginative and prescient and AR Emojis. These have been moved up right here as a result of they’re used the least of all of the settings. Within the screenshot under, Scene Optimizer is proven to be a brand new digital camera mode. In a later beta, it was modified to a bit icon within the backside proper nook that you choose once you need it enabled or disabled. On Samsung Expertise 9.5, you wanted to go to digital camera settings to disable Scene Optimizer. This can be a nice use of the brand new interactive part of the UI.

The launcher didn’t change a lot in One UI. To be utterly trustworthy I didn’t discover any new options or design modifications. The one minor change that I might see is the search bar. Whereas going to the app drawer the search bar seems barely totally different in comparison with Samsung Expertise 9.5. Each inventory Samsung app obtained a redesigned icon, which I’ll present later. The climate app and icon did change a bit, however that’s not an enormous deal. These haven’t any updates for the interactive and informational elements of the show.

The SystemUI and lock display are usually crucial elements of an Android UI to individuals. Whereas taking a look at simply notifications, it seems to be like Android Oreo and just about some other model of Android. Increasing the fast settings is the place issues get fascinating. It has a three×four grid with all the fast settings toggles. This shifts it to the interactive part. In contrast to Google, Samsung didn’t take away the fast entry to settings, so you possibly can shortly change WiFi networks with out going into the Settings app. It exhibits the date and time on the prime third of the show. Proper in-between the time and date and fast settings are the brand new search button, settings icon, and settings for the fast settings panel. This simply enables you to rearrange the button order and grid measurement. The lock display is identical previous lock display that you simply may need seen on Samsung Expertise 9.5. The All the time on Show and clock display each acquired new clock faces which makes the telephone extra customizable to how the consumer likes it.

The recents menu additionally obtained an Android Pie fashion replace. All apps now present in a horizontally formatted card carousel. On the backside, you will notice a few your just lately used or most used apps (I couldn’t work out which of them it was displaying.) On the prime, it is going to present a search bar. Samsung appears to be pushing its Finder app as a result of that search bar is showing extra and extra.

Messages received a pleasant replace with One UI. It moved entry to string and contacts right down to the interactive space. As a check, my associates and I made a decision to make use of RCS messages. Whereas I didn’t get any screenshots of it, we have been in a position to make use of RCS messages. My pals have been each operating T-Cellular Galaxy S9+’s on their official One UI beta whereas I used to be operating the un-official beta on a T-Cellular Galaxy Note 9. We have been capable of see learn receipts, change the identify of the chat, view who’s typing, and even ship giant information. Samsung and Google did announce that Android Messages RCS would work on One UI, however T-Cellular is utilizing a proprietary service for his or her RCS so it didn’t work. Contacts obtained the identical type replace as Messages by bringing every thing to the underside interactive space of the show. It moved the app identify, and within the case of contacts, my contact identify and profile pic to the highest within the informative part.

Clock, Information, and Notes every obtained their new UI as nicely, shifting usable UI parts down. The Notes app moved them over to a aspect panel from a drop down the place it was in Samsung Expertise 9.5. Information is just about unchanged in addition to its curved corners. Clock received an fascinating replace. It shifted every little thing right down to the interactive space, as each different app did, however within the alarm part it writes out the time till your subsequent alarm. That is the place the time period “informative” comes into play. On Samsung Expertise 9.5 it might simply use that area to listing out every alarm.

One UI Design

There are some things I’m not a fan of on this replace. I simply don’t like the brand new icons; they appear cartoonish and younger. Perhaps it’s to attempt to get a brand new fan base of youthful customers (in any case they’re pushing Fortnite onerous for the Galaxy Note 9), or perhaps it’s simply to spice issues up. Regardless of the purpose, they only don’t match the aesthetic and concept of knowledgeable system. There are elements of the UI which are modified to Samsung’s new One UI font. Most of those are the informative bits on the prime.

One UI inventory icons

One UI Options

One UI isn’t as jam-full of new options as you may anticipate. It sprinkles them right here and there the place it may be helpful. Let’s take the S Pen on the Galaxy Note 9, for instance. There’s one new function that permits you to make the writing on the All the time on Show white as an alternative of the colour of the pen itself. Positive, I like seeing the colourful yellow once I shortly pull out my telephone to take a observe, however white simply seems to be extra skilled and its simpler to see.

My favourite new function is definitely carry-to-wake. This has been in a number of telephones up to now, particularly the iPhone’s beginning with the iPhone 6S. You simply decide up your telephone and the show turns on. This may appear to be one thing ineffective or a waste of battery, however it is useful. For those who use clever scan and increase to wake, the telephone virtually immediately unlocks whenever you decide it up. This can be a good refinement on prime of the already nice UI replace.


Carry-to-wake is technically a gesture so let’s speak concerning the new gesture navigation. It’s quite simple. All you do is swipe up from the underside of the display the place the button on the navigation bar was. I didn’t use the gestures in any respect throughout my time of One UI. There isn’t a method to recover from the truth that you possibly can’t use Google Assistant with these gestures. I refuse to make use of Bixby and I select to not set up Bixby button remapping apps. Our Navigation Gestures app already has a function that permits for this, however it’s constructed into the telephone now.

There are additionally another options thrown in there which might be fairly good. The scene optimizer within the digital camera is its personal separate digital camera mode now so that you solely get the colours boosted to a horrible quantity if you’d like them to be. Please word that in a later launch of One UI, Samsung turned scene optimizer right into a button within the backside proper nook of the body. I’m not reviewing that model, so it isn’t included right here. There’s an animation reducer that makes animations quick and clean sufficient that it makes me assume I’m utilizing a OnePlus 6T. They aren’t something main, however good little ones.

One UI Darkish Mode and Themes

One other new function many individuals will love is the system-extensive darkish theme. In virtually each inventory app it should flip all of the white to black or grey. The all-white design of most trendy working techniques might be tough on individuals’s eyes. It additionally drains the battery a bit greater than black on OLED shows. Since Samsung’s telephones just about all the time have OLED screens, making it black won’t emit any mild, thus saving battery.

Samsung’s darkish mode goes nice with their one-handed design too. Under you possibly can see six inventory Samsung apps with the darkish mode enabled and display shifted for one handedness.

Themes and customizing the telephone is the place Samsung has excelled up to now. Samsung has had its personal theme retailer for a very long time, permitting for customized themes, icons, All the time on Show designs, and wallpapers. Lately, with the launch of One UI, they stated free themes might solely be used for 2 weeks at a time. That is horrible, however fortunately, apps like Substratum and Swift Installer nonetheless work. Even with out the theme retailer, we will get the themes we all know and love from the stunning builders that make them.


The conclusion to be made about One UI isn’t a easy one. It’s extra of an acceptance of the longer term. Whether or not you want or dislike the brand new design Samsung goes for, it’s a must to no less than recognize there’s a cause for it. Samsung is getting ready for the longer term crammed with tall telephones. They gained’t return to their previous 16:9 facet ratio any time quickly. Taller 2:1 or 18.5:9 facet ratios are working. Clients don’t dislike them and they really feel trendy and futuristic.

Samsung is the primary firm to point out that they know the place the longer term is heading and they’re designing their software program round this future. Whether or not you prefer it or not, that is just the start. I’m excited to see what Samsung does with this of their upcoming folding telephone and even their telephones within the subsequent two or three years. They’re simply getting began.

If you wish to attempt One UI for your self, you possibly can set up it on the Samsung Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, and Galaxy Note 9. The Galaxy Note 9 builds are just for the U.S. Snapdragon 845 (SM-N960U) mannequin. The Korean (SM-N960N) and U.S. Unlocked (SM-N960U1) Galaxy Note 9 units have already had their One UI beta begin. Each the Snapdragon and Exynos Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ have official One UI betas, relying on what nation you’re in. When you don’t really feel snug with these strategies, you possibly can watch for somewhat over a month for the official launch.

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