When it arrived at version 3, Samsung’s One UI became one of the best Android interfaces available due to its consistent design, customization options, diverse features, and impressive twist of speed. I enjoyed using it over Android 11. However, now that Android 12 is here, and it’s such a big step forward, it immediately made One UI 3 feel aged, a little ugly, and a little rough in comparison.
Samsung’s OneUI 4 Based on Android 12 and now starting to arrive on Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Ultra. With the update installed on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, I’ve been using it with the Pixel 6 Pro to see if new software from Samsung can help bring the phone’s brightness back, and it’s been updated with Google’s latest update. Can keep in competition with smartphones.
One UI 4 will never be the same as Android 12 on the Google Pixel, and that’s okay. Not only are there elements of the software that are exclusive to the Pixel, but Samsung also wants to maintain its individuality and promote its own apps and services through its own interface. I don’t want it to be the same. What I wish is that Samsung selected some of the best parts of Android 12 and integrated them with OneUI 4, and then gave the rest a generally polished Samsung spin.
I’m mostly comparing the elements I use every day, including the keyboard, customizations, browser, settings and quick access menus, and various apps. In turn, this means that I am able to assess the speed and fluidity, and overall reliability of the operating system. To clarify, I’ve been using the S21 Ultra with One UI 4 as my main phone for five days, with the Pixel 6 Pro as a companion phone.
Using One UI 4 on the S21 Ultra I first noticed how smooth scrolling is compared to the Pixel 6 Pro. I’ve had issues with the 120Hz refresh rate screen on a Google phone, and despite seeing reports of problems with One UI 4 with the S21 Ultra at the same refresh rate, I haven’t experienced them personally.
This is most noticeable when scrolling through Twitter or Google Discover pages, when the Pixel 6 Pro stutters and jazzers, leaving the S21 Ultra to scroll through text, photos, and videos with ease. This isn’t a systemwide issue as the Settings menu, and the app menu on the Pixel 6 Pro, is fine, and even scrolling through Instagram on both phones is a similar experience. However, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is far more consistent.
One UI 4 has Android 12’s stretch animation, where when you reach the end of the menu, the screen appears to stretch or jump. It’s fun and interesting to watch and looks the same on both the phones. Digging into the Settings menu I prefer the larger font and extra white space around the options on Android 12, while Samsung’s fonts are, by default, smaller with less white space. One UI 4 does have the ability to change the size of fonts, but the menus are usually busier than pixels, making them a little less friendly to navigate around.
I also prefer the vertical list of apps on the Pixel 6 Pro, rather than Samsung’s multi-screen layout, because it feels quicker to work with. When you put the two next to each other, the Pixel 6 Pro is a bit louder, with faster animations and more accurate touchscreen input. One UI 4 certainly isn’t slow, but it doesn’t feel quite as lightning fast as Android 12 on the Pixel. I wish the scrolling issues were already resolved.
Material U, the name given to the facelift of Android 12, has transformed the Pixel 6 Pro offering more style, more customization and more personalization. Samsung has adopted some of the Materials You for One UI, so does the design mashup work?
Under the Wallpaper and Style menu, you can change the operating system’s color palette to match your chosen wallpaper on both phones. The effect can be applied to all app icons on the S21 Ultra, but unlike the Pixel, it doesn’t apply to third-party apps, including apps from Google. This means it looks just as messy with or without the active setting, and not as clean as it does on the Pixel.
There are more widgets to use in One UI 4 and many have a whole new look. Again, while not all of those found on the Pixel are available, there are plenty to choose from, and some with very useful features. I love the fast access widget for controlling the Galaxy Buds Live, for example, and the dynamic weather widget as well.
The Content Use Always-On screen on the Pixel 6 Pro is great, with its huge clock and amazing fade in wallpaper when you tap the screen, plus the large multi-choice buttons in the quick access menu are easy to press and recognize . Compared to Samsung’s many small round buttons. Samsung has also added a larger brightness slider and new device controls, however, which make pairing and using Bluetooth headphones faster than before.
The overall design of One UI 4 hasn’t changed much from One UI 3, but it’s still highly customizable, so you can work to make it your own. I guess it takes some effort to do this, whereas Android 12 on the Pixel 6 Pro is exactly how I want my software to look and feel right away, and my choice of wallpapers just to complete the look is required.
By default, One UI 4 uses Samsung’s own keyboard and browser, and in the past, I’ve quickly moved on to Chrome and Gboard. Both of these features have been updated with One UI 4, so will I continue to use them this time around? I use the swipe typing feature, which historically underpinned Samsung keyboards, but it’s definitely improved here.
I could swipe type at almost the same speed as I do on the Gboard, and with almost the same level of accuracy from the predictive system. I’m pretty sure that with extended use and letting it learn the way I type and the words I use most commonly, it’ll be as fast as Gboard. This is a significant improvement.
Samsung’s Internet browser is not so successful. The layout is too busy, the control icons are at the bottom of the screen and too small, and it doesn’t feel as sharp as Chrome. I won’t be changing it permanently, but I can use Samsung’s keyboard more often. I’m especially looking forward to trying the improved keyboard on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, where I’ve had to work using it on an external screen in the past. The final release of One UI 4 is yet to be made available on Samsung’s latest folding phone.
Elsewhere in One UI 4, Samsung added an enhanced privacy dashboard, an alert indicator when using an app’s camera or microphone, and a handy list showing which apps have asked which permissions recently. It is very easy to navigate and gives a very clear overview of the in-depth working of your phone’s software. One such system is present in Android 12.
The camera app has also been treated to a few changes, with the most sensible being a number-based zoom system, rather than the abstract tree icon used before. It was pretty, but not particularly logical. The app shows 3x and 10x zoom by default, matching the S21 Ultra’s optical zoom levels, and when you tap on either, a scale appears at the bottom to further tweak the zoom. . In the Gallery app, there’s a Stories section similar to the For You section in iOS 15, and I really like that any edits you make to a photo can be rolled back even after they’ve been saved. Thinking about camera performance? I’ve compared the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s camera to the Pixel 6 Pro’s before.
The One UI 4 update is extensive, with tons of small changes and new features lurking in the software, which you’ll gradually discover the more time you spend with it. Samsung says One UI 4 will be available on all Galaxy S21 series phones starting November 15, but exact arrival dates will almost certainly vary. The Galaxy Z folding smartphone, Galaxy A series phones and Samsung’s tablet range will also get the update in the near future.
One UI 4 is a welcome update, especially with its Android 12 design optimizations, improved keyboard, more diverse widgets and informative privacy dashboard. It’s helped the Galaxy S21 Ultra stay competitive and feel fresh again nearing its one-year anniversary, and although there have been reports of some bugs that do exist, they haven’t affected my use.
What it can’t do is match Android 12 on the Pixel 6 Pro for speed and slimness — 120Hz problems — on a daily basis. The entire content you design is fantastic, and although One UI 4 has elements of it, it still can’t compare to the visual enjoyment of the full experience. I really like One UI 4, and I’m curious to see how it feels on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but with the gorgeous, surprisingly intuitive Android 12 on the Google Pixel 6 and the rest of the competition. has gone beyond. Supporter.