Samsung has been very slowly rolling out its Android 9 update to a very small selection of its phones, and with it, the company is introducing a fairly radical redesign of the user interface it slaps on top of Android. It’s called One UI, and it seems like people are… Actually really positive about it?
Since I – and many others with me – have treated Samsung’s UIs and skins as a punching bag for almost a decade now, it seems only fair to also highlight when they seem to be doing something right. First, Dieter Bohn at The Verge:
I’ve been testing One UI on a Galaxy S9 for the past week or so and thus far I really like it. In some ways, I like it better than what Google itself is shipping on the Pixel 3. If it weren’t for the fact that I don’t yet trust Samsung to deliver major software updates quickly, I would be shouting about One UI from the rooftops. As it is, I just want to point out that it’s time for us to stop instinctively turning our noses up at Samsung’s version of Android.
There are still some annoying parts of One UI, but they don’t ruin what is otherwise a full-featured, coherent, and (dare I say) thoughtful version of Android. This is not the conventional wisdom about Samsung software.
Second, Abhay Venkatesh at NeoWin:
Samsung’s One UI is a huge step in the right direction. The fresh, fluid UI makes it a joy to use, and the addition of smart UI elements, dark mode, and other nifty improvements make for a great experience. The navigation system combines the best of either world and in true Samsung fashion, provides users with an abundance of options. The company’s efforts to continually improve its software and strike a balance between excess customization and usability is evident. However, a lot of the remnants remain from the years that have passed, and it will be interesting to see how Samsung moves the design language forward.
I’m glad to see Samsung improve its software, since that will benefit a lot of people all over the world, and it’s always refreshing to have your preconceived notions challenged.
I recently bought a Sony Xperia XZ2, which has a pretty stock version of Android 9.
I have never understood the fascination with stock Android, it feels clunky. Like AmigaOS with nothing else installed. (making that comparison because I recently upgraded my Amiga to 3.1.4!). Samsung has in the past made some mistakes in implementing new features without them being very optimized, hence the slow down and hatred for Touchwiz, but after many iterations, it’s been spectacular. When I take a look at my Note 8 (still on Android 8) it’s still much more feature rich and runs great.
It’s also like comparing KDE 5 to early versions of KDE 4 or even 3. Stock Android just seems so rough and like you need to mod it to get to the Samsung level.
But that is right, the time between the major version release updates is pretty sad for Samsung. If only they could separate OneUI from Android so that it’s basically an APK you slap on top of it…