Samsung undoubtedly makes some of the best Android devices, but its software… is not on the same level. “One UI” is the company’s Android theme, and it’s the only thing holding Galaxy devices back.
Before I get started, I just want to say that this is a very personal topic. My taste in software design may not be the same as yours. Even if you like One UI, you may find a few things that you agree with.
Bixby on the way
Bixby is a very strange product. On the one hand, it looks like Samsung really wants it to be a thing, but on the other, it acts like it doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, Galaxy hardware is one area where Samsung is pushing Bixby aggressively.
If you’re not familiar with Bixby — first of all, you’re in luck — Samsung takes on a virtual assistant like Google Assistant and Siri. However, it’s not nearly as good, especially when compared to Google Assistant—Which is already included on Galaxy devices.
This is the most annoying thing about Bixby. There is no need to exist. Samsung already includes a very good virtual assistant. There is no need to have a second button that snatches the power button. Fortunately, there is at least one good thing about Bixby.
Related: How to disable Bixby on Samsung Galaxy S22
I mentioned in the above section that Samsung includes its own virtual assistant even though Google Assistant is already on the devices. This problem goes beyond Bixby.
When you first set up a new Samsung phone, you will be greeted with a number of duplicate apps. Samsung has its own version of many Google apps installed as well. Here are some examples.
- Google Calendar / Samsung Calendar
- Google Chrome / Samsung Internet
- Google Photos / Samsung Gallery
- Google Find My Device / Find My Samsung Mobile
- Google Play Store / Galaxy Store
Some Google apps — such as Google Calendar — can be uninstalled, but Samsung apps cannot be uninstalled. So if you prefer the Google app, you’re basically stuck with two. In the case of calendar apps, this can lead to the very annoying behavior of duplicate notifications as well.
The other thing this does is hide really good Samsung apps. Samsung Internet and Samsung Health are great apps, but they are intertwined with all these other unnecessary iterations. It makes it hard to know which Samsung apps are worth your time.
Related: Why you should use Samsung Health
Too many features
The last thing that bothers me about Samsung software is all the features. Don’t get me wrong, there are some really useful things that you can only do with Samsung Galaxy devices. In general, this is quite a lot.
It’s almost impossible for a technician like me – let alone an average user – to know everything you can do. There are Edge panels, media shortcuts, kids mode, GIF making, system-wide search, Samsung Free, Easy Mode, etc. Oh, and if the built-in feature set isn’t enough, Samsung lets you add more. it’s a a lot.
Some people appreciate this extreme approach to smartphone features. You can use what you want, discard what you don’t need. Personally, I think there is a lot going on. You have to wade through a lot of things to find anything.
Related: Why you should use “Good Lock” on your Samsung Galaxy phone
Show some restraint
The moral of the story here is restraint. Samsung is trying to do a lot with One UI. I don’t have a problem with Samsung which has its own design style, but the number of redundant features and apps is unnecessary.
Samsung really wants you to know that you’re using a Samsung product, not a Google product. I don’t think fewer apps and features will do anything to change that. Samsung Galaxy and One UI devices have a very distinct look.
A little restraint can go a long way in making One UI less bloated. Perhaps Samsung can reserve the kitchen sink approach for the Galaxy Ultra series. Let’s calm down a bit, eh Sammy?