I just got the One UI interface on my Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Based on Android 9.0 Pie, this interface has brought a lot of positive things into my everyday experience. Feedback from experience.
We are at the beginning of August 2018. Android 9.0 Pie has just made itself officially available in its final version. A few days later, Samsung presents its Galaxy Note 9 … Android Oreo. And the Korean phablette will for a long time be satisfied with the chocolate biscuit before tasting the pie via the brand new One UI interface. The story told here speaks of a frustrating expectation rewarded in a beautiful way.
Waiting and frustration
Personally, I use the Galaxy Note 9 as the main smartphone for almost six months. Six months of little frustration seeing Geoffroy nibble Pie on his Essential Phone – of which he is an unconditional fan -, Manu receive the treat on his OnePlus 6T, Maxime enjoy since he equipped the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and Cassim enjoy Pixel Launcher on his Google Pixel 3 XL.
Thus, if I am fully satisfied with the excellence of the Galaxy Note 9, there is always that little riffraff in my head that reminds me: "yes, but it is not up to date when it is a flagship" . Grrrrr. There is obviously much worse in life and it is fortunately easy enough to put this annoyance in a corner of the mind to forget it gently.
However, this famous frustration is revived in early November, after the official presentation of the One UI interface, based on Android 9.0 Pie, and all its new features. Except that it will wait another two months before seeing the update land in OTA on French models. Finally !
First impressions of One UI
One UI represents a really drastic change where Samsung proves that it tends to come closer to the aesthetics imagined by Google on the "clean" versions of Android while continuing to cultivate its difference. The design of icons for example is more in tune with the times than before and therefore looks more modern.
Obviously here, everyone can be judge to determine whether they like this new artistic orientation or not. On this particular point, I prefer not to give my opinion, since I am an avid user of Nova Launcher and have modified a lot of my application icons.
To get a good idea of the transformations, you can see below the icons of One UI (left) compared to that of Samsung Experience (right).
Concretely, with Nova Launcher, so I basically changed my icons and the application drawer. Aside from that, I'm benefiting, pretty much, from the One UI experience as Samsung designed it. In this respect, we can already point out the considerable discretion of the notifications on the locked screen. No more banners that take the entire width of the screen and ruin my beautiful kitsch wallpaper. After updating, alerts appear as small, unintrusive logos.
If I want to consult them, a little swipe of the pictograms is enough to deploy the notifications. This is much more suitable for my daily use. Special mention also to the organization of multitasking where open applications scroll laterally and not vertically. We approach here what we can see on the Pixel Launcher.
Big screen, no problem!
Now let's talk about the shortcuts panel. If I prefer not to comment on application icons, I would just like to point out that the tiles here have a clearer and more legible look. On Samsung Experience, I tended to find them a little ugly and I sometimes had trouble knowing when a parameter was activated or not – but for that we can also blame my slight color blindness preventing me from seeing when a pictogram was highlighted.
But the panel shortcuts allows me especially to address another topic: One UI was designed for large screens. My Galaxy Note 9 has a diagonal of 6.4 inches which is difficult to hold in one hand. With its new interface, Samsung has thought about it and lowered several elements so that they are more easily accessible.
The shortcut panel, when fully lowered, is a very concrete example. Tiles appear in the bottom half and fall within inches. In addition, whether on Nova Launcher or One UI (via an option), it is possible to call the panel in question simply by sliding its finger down from the center of the screen.
Thus, it becomes possible to activate one of the tiles or make them appear just one hand, without having to slide the phone in his hand uncomfortably. Big screens have a real interest in immersing themselves in a movie or a video game, but they become less relevant as soon as they can not be easily used on one hand (and I'm not talking about one-handed mode). we find everywhere, but that is not pretty at all). One UI remedies this problem very well.
The other speaking example is in the settings menu where the first tabs are also halfway up. Only when you begin to scroll through the options will the entire screen become busy. Profitions besides the fact that we are in the parameters to point out that the design here too has been redesigned.
There are still as many entries as before, but they at least have the merit of being grouped together. Thus, the Sounds and vibrations tab is attached to that of Notifications. It's better than nothing, but we would not be against a little more simplification. Finally, the default Gallery or SMS application also has a lowered interface.
I am a big fan of dark themes. And One UI gives me a night mode on a platter. Easily found in the display options, this feature allows you to switch the bottom of the interface to black. On my smartphone, I take advantage of this on the shortcuts panel and in the settings.
The dark theme is very good here because black is totally black. Some people prefer this option with a dark gray background, but we can easily understand the choice of Samsung. On an AMOLED panel, the black pixels do not consume any energy. With this night mode, the battery is substantially preserved. And obviously, for the eyes, the experience is less dazzling.
To go to the end of the confession, I have a lot more trouble enjoying One UI with a white background.
Navigation by gestures
Being based on Android 9.0 Pie, Samsung One UI offers gesture navigation. But here the logic is quite peculiar. The interface resumes the classic navigation bar, but replaces it with three thin horizontal bars at the bottom of the screen that act as Home, Back, and Multitask buttons.
Except that instead of pressing it as on a traditional key, just make a small upward shift. After just a few minutes, I got used to it and found it much more intuitive than the way gesture navigation is organized on the Pixel Launcher – where I keep opening new apps by wanting go to the application drawer.
To summarize very briefly, the gesture navigation on my Galaxy Note 9 with One UI is like a classic navigation bar that takes no place on the screen. Important detail: to launch Google Assistant, you have to slide your thumb on the Home page and keep your finger pressed.
One UI + Nova Launcher
In short, I was already very happy with my Galaxy Note 9, but One UI really tweaked my experience on a daily basis because the interface offers a well-thought gesture navigation, fits well to large screens and offers a comfortable dark theme .
To enjoy a high level of customization, I still prefer to keep Nova Launcher. However, today its combination with One UI is much more pleasant.
Read on FrAndroid: Test Samsung Galaxy Note 9: excellence has a price