Android

Galaxy Note 9 Android Pie with One UI: Samsung makes it easier to use big phones

One UI looks like Samsung’s best software redesign in years as it brings a cleaner, easy-to-use interface along with features like system-wide Dark Mode and gesture navigation.


HIGHLIGHTS

The Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S9 and S9+ have been updated to Android Pie with One UI

One UI brings a cleaner interface that aims to make one-handed use easy

One UI also brings system-wide Dark mode and new gesture navigation

One UI is an all-new user interface that Samsung announced recently that aims to make it easier than every to use a Samsung phone. The company first announced One UI back in November while teasing its foldable phone, claiming the new OS is minimalistic, showing only relevant content on the bottom of the screen for easy one-handed use. Samsung has since updated the Galaxy S9, S9+ and Note 9 flagships to One UI based on Android Pie.

The Galaxy Note 9 received the Android Pie stable update with One UI a few days ago, and it has started rolling out for users in India as well. We at India Today Tech received the Android Pie update on our Galaxy Note 9 unit and decided to check out all the new features to help you understand why One UI looks like Samsung’s best software redesign in years.

One UI is a visual treat

Once you update your Galaxy Note 9 to the stable Android Pie update, which is about 1.6GB in size, you will instantly notice a redesign UI. Some of the app icons get a makeover and look really fresh if you have been growing tired of the old icons. They look more colourful now, including the icons in the Settings menu.

Since One UI is based on Android Pie, the quick setting panel now shows blue-coloured buttons. But what I probably love the most is the system-wide Dark mode which I enabled instantly in Settings > Display > Night Mode. Dark mode nicely turns the background in most Samsung apps totally black, which not only comforts the eyes but also helps conserve battery life as well. Eventually, Samsung will allow you to configure Dark mode to switch on automatically at night.

Galaxy Note 9 with One UI: Makes a large phone easy to reach

As I mentioned, One UI is designed to make it easy to use a large device with one hand by pushing content that you use within reach. The idea is pretty simple and makes so much sense – look at the top half and interact with the bottom half. This new design can be seen on all Samsung apps and even in the quick settings panel. Swipe down the panel twice and all the quick setting buttons will drop to the bottom half of the display.

The moment you open the Settings menu, for example, you will notice the top half blank with just the word “Setting” plastered in a large font. Sure, you’re left with a lot of blank space, but that’s really okay. In fact it makes it look cleaner and less cluttered. The bottom half is where the actual options are so you can easily reach them without having to use both your hands.

The same design will be found in Gallery, Messages, Alarm, Calendar, Bixby and pretty much all Samsung apps. This is really useful on a phone as large and unwieldy as the Galaxy Note 9. And seeing as how display sizes have increased by removing bezels, future Samsung phones are only expected to get bigger and One UI makes sure you are able to interact with these phones easily.

That being said, I did have to use both hands on occasions like when opening a folder, launcher or pulling down the quick settings panel. In fact, even these aren’t problems if you have one-handed mode enabled, which minimises the entire UI to about one-third the size by swiping up diagonally from the bottom right or bottom left corner of the screen.

One UI also introduces a new gesture-based navigation feature. This is Samsung’s own version of gesture navigation and not the one that comes with Android Pie on say a Pixel or Nokia phone. I don’t mind that at all because I’m not a big fan of the Pie-based gestures. Samsung’s gestures are simple (pretty much the keyword for One UI) but it does take some time to get used to.

Swipe up from the bottom middle to get to the home screen, swipe up from the bottom right to go back and swipe up from the bottom left to open the multitasking window. The multitask screen shows recent apps arranged horizontally, frequently used apps on the bottom and a search bar on top.

The Always-On Display now shows charging information and new notification icons. Moreover, Samsung has included a Tap to Wake option in Settings if you do not want the always-on display to show all the time.

These are probably some of the biggest, most noticeable changes to come with One UI on the Galaxy Note 9. I have spent a couple of days on the stable update so there might be a few new additions and changes that I am yet to notice. One thing I am certain of is that the battery life of the Galaxy Note 9 gets even better than it already was. Some stock Pie features such as Adaptive Battery and Digital Wellbeing have not made to the first stable build, but Samsung may roll it out in the future.

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