July 17, 2024
I used Samsung’s subsequent huge smartphone replace. Right here’s why I find it irresistible
I used Samsung’s subsequent huge smartphone replace. Right here’s why I find it irresistible
Android 14 easter egg on Samsung Galaxy A34 running One UI 6 beta.
Android 14 easter egg on One UI 6 Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

One UI — the interface that runs all telephones from the highest to the underside of the value record on Samsung’s catalog — enjoys the status of being one of many best Android skins. The credit score for the status goes to Samsung’s promptness with software program updates, options that construct a useful fort upon barebones scaffolding that Google presents within the type of inventory Android, and a constant expertise all through its whole portfolio of telephones — regardless of what a telephone prices.

Samsung’s fastidiousness is additional complemented by one of many longest software program help insurance policies; a median Samsung mid-ranger now will get 4 Android updates, making it some of the reliable manufacturers for anybody who values longevity as a key advantage of any telephone they purchase.

The Galaxy A54 and Galaxy S23 Ultra's camera modules.
Galaxy A54 (left) and Galaxy S23 Extremely Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

Samsung has spent years tweaking One UI to match the actual property of bigger telephones (and foldables) and including options that make the person expertise far superior to Google’s projected imaginative and prescient of Android. After 5 years, Samsung is bringing an enormous overhaul to the interface with One UI 6 primarily based on Android 14, making it essentially the most vital improve to Samsung telephones for the reason that introduction of One UI. Moreover well-defined visible distinctions, the brand new replace reorganizes the Digital camera app and modernizes methods like Reminders, Climate, Gallery, and many others.

Samsung has began rolling out One UI 6 to pick out units within the Galaxy S Collection, particularly the Galaxy S23 sequence, whereas the beta is on the market for a number of different ones to attempt on. For the dearth of a greater gadget, I attempted One UI 6 beta on the Galaxy A34, and there are just a few observable variations between the beta and the ultimate model. So, listed below are all of the refreshing new options that the One UI 6 replace brings.

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Higher visuals throughout the board

One UI 6 will get a drastically (in a great way) modified design. Components that obtain particular consideration from Samsung embody the notifications panel and Fast Settings menu, together with enhancements to system apps. However there’s a frequent underlying theme in all the replace: Samsung has reorganized the weather within the interface to make it extra organized and systematic.

Designers behind the replace seem to have earned the freedom to fully rejig icons from the earlier One UI 5 (or 5.1) interfaces to make every part look cleaner, particularly by strategically utilizing empty areas in numerous areas. Most significantly, a way of uniformity provides One UI 6 a poetic finesse that I didn’t notice earlier variations lacked till I used this one.

Let me dive into every of the weather with detailed overviews.

Notifications panel

Samsung One UI 6 Notifications on Galaxy A34 kept alongside a notebook on table with retan surface.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

The One UI 6 lock display screen or residence display screen doesn’t instantly give the impression of a big redesign. However as quickly as you decrease the notifications panel, the adjustments glare into your face. The primary few issues to notice are the smaller Fast Settings icons that are actually farther aside and go away ample area in between for a cleaner look. Above these icons, the time, day, and date now seem in a single line in the identical textual content dimension. Beneath the icons now lies a persistent brightness bar, which might beforehand be solely accessible by increasing Fast Settings fully (except set in any other case). The situation and performance of the “Machine management” and “Media output” buttons stay the identical, however the bubble is now leaner.

No matter whether or not you select a lightweight or a darkish theme, One UI 6 now leans in the direction of duller whites and fewer imposing colours. Personally, I like them extra as a result of these colours make the buttons faster to establish and textual content simpler to learn.

Notification panel on One UI 6 vs One UI 5.
Notifications panel: One UI 6 (left) vs. One UI 5 Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

Coming to the notifications, every one now seems as a person bubble as an alternative of a stack. The spacing between every notification bubble has additionally been elevated, making them look extra just like the Notification Heart on iOS.

The spacing between the notification headline and textual content has additionally elevated marginally, whereas the dimensions seems to have been lowered barely, decreasing the muddle. One other minor change is how the button for Notification settings now seems on the left as an alternative of the proper beforehand, presumably to forestall customers from by accident tapping it as an alternative of the “Clear” button.

Fast Settings

Samsung One UI 6 Quick Settings on Galaxy A34 held in hand.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

The Fast Settings menu is the place you see essentially the most significant adjustments, such that you’d simply confuse them for being made by completely different manufacturers should you weren’t already conscious of the replace. For the primary time for the reason that introduction of One UI, Samsung has wavered from its dedication to one-hand utilization within the interface (which was maintained primarily by putting icons within the decrease half). As an alternative, the Fast Settings on One UI 6 lengthen out to the highest and are segmented into 4 completely different sections.

Firstly, the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth menus now assume everlasting positions on the high of the show, seemingly impressed by the adjustments Google made to the Fast Settings two years in the past with Android 12. This new placement is sensible as a result of we’re virtually all the time related to units with these companies nearly on a regular basis. Moreover, it makes it simpler to change Wi-Fi networks or Bluetooth units just by long-pressing the icons, with the gesture now opening a small overlay window for these settings, in contrast to beforehand when it might open full-fledged Wi-Fi or Bluetooth settings.

Samsung One UI 6 Quick Settings editing option on Galaxy A34 kept on a table with retan surface.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

Then, we’ve the Fast Settings in a square-shaped card-like confinement. You may swipe proper on this space to disclose different lively Fast Settings tiles. If it’s essential to add new ones, now you can faucet the pen-shaped Edit icon on the highest of this interface. Curiously, now you can individually edit the highest six buttons on high of notifications or all the record. Beforehand, the primary six icons would routinely compress onto the highest of the web page, however now you can add completely different icons in each views. That’s positively some of the compelling enhancements to this part.

You can even allow a gesture to entry Fast Settings straight by swiping on the proper of the display screen as an alternative of opening the notifications first. Different settings on the Edit web page mean you can change the position of the brightness slider and buttons for Machine management and Media output. One UI 6 additionally takes out pointless buttons, together with the World Search one and one other to contact Samsung from the principle Fast Settings web page and locations the latter right here as an alternative.

Samsung One UI 6 quick settings editing features.
One UI 6 Fast Settings modifying choices. Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

Beneath the brightness slider, we now see persistent buttons for “Eye consolation protect” — which, just like the iPhone’s True Tone function, adjusts the heat of the colour in response to the ambient lighting and the time of the day — together with a toggle for Darkish mode. On the backside, there are two extra buttons for display screen mirroring and good residence controls, which, once more, are persistent and can’t be custom-made. It seems the selection of those buttons relies on how steadily customers interact with them — primarily based on knowledge despatched again to Samsung as a part of gadget diagnostics. It might be higher to get customization choices for these buttons, not simply the Fast Settings ones.

Media participant

Samsung One UI 6 Music player card in notification drawer on Galay A34 kept on a coffee table bok.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

One other vital change we see underneath notifications is the brand new media participant. Whether or not you’re listening to music, audiobook, podcast, or a video working within the background, the album cowl now spans throughout all the card within the notifications panel. However that’s the simply ignorable half. What immediately grabs your consideration about this new participant is a brand new wave-like animation alongside the search bar, which now ripples its approach to the tip of the monitor as an alternative of transferring within the common linear style.

Samsung media player card One UI 6 vs One UI 5.
Media participant: One UI 6 (left) vs. One UI 5 Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

That’s fairly fascinating, particularly for the reason that identical animation additionally seems on the lock display screen (though it is not going to in case you have a widget for the precise media app). I’d be a wee bit extra excited if the animation had been equalizer-based reasonably than an arbitrary wave. Maybe it’s a secret homage to Samsung’s eponymous phone from over a decade ago, but the animation is better than a bland seek bar and is definitely impressive to see brands put the extra effort and add features for pure joy’s sake.

A new font makes things more lively

Samsung One UI 6 Sans font on Galaxy A34 kept beside purple flowers and cooffee table book on a retan surface table.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

The next big change after the notifications and the Quick Settings on One UI changes every facet of the interface visually. A new font family called One UI Sans replaces the older “SamsungOne” typeface. The brand new font resembles the Google Sans font, which will be noticed throughout Google apps corresponding to Dwelling or Messages, on-line companies, and logos.

The brand new Samsung One UI Sans typeface is rounder and broader (the identical phrases occupy extra space horizontally than earlier). Consequently, the textual content seems shorter in peak regardless of really being of comparable dimension, making the encompassing space appear wider and extra open. It provides a way of airiness all through the interface, which, to me, feels visually way more enjoyable than Samsung’s earlier Roboto-esque font.

Samsung One UI Sans font in One UI 6 vs One UI 5.
Samsung default font: One UI 6 (left) vs. One UI 5 Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

In case you aren’t a fan of the brand new font, you may change it within the settings. Whereas Samsung has eliminated the earlier default font solely, you should use Roboto for the same expertise. And once more, the choice to obtain further fonts from the Galaxy Theme Retailer stays, too.

Sleeker Settings and system apps

Samsung One UI 6 improved Settings app on Galaxy A34 kept on a retan surface table.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

Like notifications on One UI 6, the Settings app additionally will get a visible improve with extra space between gadgets and sub-menus. Samsung additionally spends a while refining the classes and menus. For example, Battery now will get a devoted menu as an alternative of being stacked inside “Machine Care,” whereas Show settings have been separated from different customization settings for Wallpapers, Homescreen, and many others. As well as, the sliders all through Settings are actually thicker and match properly with the general interface.

Samsung phone settings One UI 6 vs One UI 5.
Slider bars in Settings: One UI 6 (left) vs. One UI 5 Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

Moreover, the replace additionally refines varied Settings menus. For example, Digital Wellbeing will get a wholly new dashboard, whereas Battery now exhibits a extra complete chart for utilization.

Equally, Samsung has additionally redesigned a number of system apps, together with Samsung Reminders, Calendar, Climate, and Samsung Well being. One which immediately comes throughout as a big improve is the brand new Climate app, which now makes use of new animations and extra interesting visible aids to point out particulars, together with wind speeds, dawn and sundown occasions, and humidity, and in addition provides an Air High quality Index (AQI) worth.

Samsung Weather app on One UI 6 vs One UI 5.
Samsung Climate: One UI 6 (left) vs. One UI 5 Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

Presumably, for brevity, the phrases Samsung or Galaxy, which had been earlier used as prefixes, have additionally been dropped from the names of most first-party apps corresponding to Members, Notes, Wearable, and many others.

Higher picture strategies in Gallery

The Gallery app in One UI 6 doesn’t seem a lot completely different initially. However the basic adjustments present up whenever you open every photograph or video. With the up to date Gallery app, you now get extra contextual suggestions as you swipe as much as reveal the EXIF knowledge. For example, each photograph, whether or not it has been taken with a Samsung telephone or not, will now get immediate strategies for remastering the image utilizing options from Samsung’s Improve-X app and the choice to activate the item eraser. On photographs taken in portrait mode, you additionally get a fast motion to vary the depth of the background blur. Whereas these controls are additionally accessible on One UI 5, the brand new replace makes them instantly accessible.

Samsung One UI 6 vs One UI 5 Gallery recommendations.
Gallery strategies: One UI 6 (left) vs. One UI 5 Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

Sooner or later, we will count on these suggestions to get extra refined. One of many best predictions is that the Gallery app may quickly begin utilizing AI to find out the context of the photographs, lighting, temper, and many others., and make extra semantic strategies than merely these primarily based on the state wherein the picture was taken.

Image subject clipping Samsung One UI 6 vs One UI 5.
Picture clipping: One UI 6 (left) vs. One UI 5 Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

One other nifty function within the Gallery app is that you would be able to now immediately save clippings from images as stickers. Though the power to clip topics from photographs was already accessible on One UI 5, the saved stickers will be despatched straight in chats (should you’re utilizing Samsung Keyboard) or accessed immediately when modifying photographs and movies.

Emojis that look extra awkward

Samsung One UI 6 vs One UI 5 emoji
Samsung emojis: One UI 6 (left) vs. One UI 5 Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

Additionally, you will discover one other change should you’re utilizing the Samsung Keyboard. The emojis accessible as a part of the Samsung Keyboard acquired a recent coat of paint — or a complete transforming (primarily based on nonetheless you want to see it). The newer emojis are brighter, rounder, and look extra 3D.

I’m not solely a fan of those new emojis as a result of they nonetheless seem very gaudy, particularly in entrance of Apple’s extra serene emojis. Furthermore, I typically choose Gboard over the Samsung Keyboard, however it’s a matter of choice.

One UI 6 is a refreshing new replace

Samsung One UI 6 Quick Settings on Galaxy A34 kept on a table with retan surface and purple flowers in foreground.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Traits

Samsung has efficiently overturned the narrative in its favor with immediate and stable software program updates over the previous few years. One UI can simply be known as some of the refined Android-based interfaces. Extra importantly, it’s the most secure Android interface with fewer bugs than some other pores and skin.

One UI 6 takes the subsequent step in the direction of a extra cohesive software program expertise. The replace, primarily based on Andriod 14, is undoubtedly its most intensive within the final 5 years — and arguably the very best, too. Not simply that, it additionally units the muse for variable interfaces on Samsung’s foldables, tablets, and even smartwatches.

Lastly, one thing can’t be visually described, however One UI 6 considerably hastens animations all through the interface, and we hope these adjustments will not be simply beauty however typically refined on a code degree. This may be certain that lower-end telephones additionally run the brand new interface with the identical fluidity as higher-end units.

General, this new interface appears to be a step in the proper route, and we wait to see how purposes of onboard AI with extra superior chipsets just like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 on units just like the Galaxy S24 sequence and next-gen foldables enhance the expertise even additional.

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