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Samsung One UI: 10 features you should know about
Samsung Experience has long been one of the better Android skins around, offering a variety of useful features. But Samsung One UI has emerged as the old skin’s replacement, launching on new phones (like the Galaxy S10) and coming to older devices alike.
In this post, we take a look at the 10 best Samsung One UI features. Keep in mind that some of them made their debut with One UI, while others were already present on previous versions of Samsung’s Android skin.
Best Samsung One UI features:
- A more versatile Samsung DeX
- Secure Folder
- Lift to wake functionality
- Disable the Bixby button (kind of)
- Game tools and Game Launcher
- System-wide dark mode
- Gesture navigation
- Dual messenger
- One-handed use
- Edge Screen
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best Samsung One UI features as new ones launch.
1. A more versatile Samsung DeX
Who would’ve thought an Android brand would outdo Microsoft when it came to smartphone/desktop convergence? That’s what Samsung did with its DeX feature, allowing you to dock your phone to a larger display in order to have a PC-like experience.
Samsung One UI improves this functionality in two major ways, with the first being that you no longer need an official DeX dock to use the feature. Now, you can simply plug your phone into a supported HDMI adapter to get the ball rolling. The second improvement is that you can keep using your phone when DeX mode is engaged — no need to choose between one or the other.
DeX isn’t available on all One UI phones, but all flagships from the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 onward support the feature. So if you don’t want to spend a fortune to get a phone with DeX, you can always opt for an older flagship instead.
2. Secure Folder
This one isn’t strictly one of the Samsung One UI features, as it appeared when the Android skin was still known as Samsung Experience. It’s certainly one of the better Galaxy phone features though, giving you peace of mind that any sensitive media, documents, and apps are safely stowed away in a PIN-protected safe.
Aside from accessing the folder via a PIN, you can also access it with your fingerprint or iris for added convenience. Adding content to the Secure Folder is easy too, as you use the Android sharing menu or tap add apps or add files in the app itself.
3. Lift to wake functionality
It’s a feature we’ve seen for several years now, but the lift to wake gesture is finally available in Samsung One UI. The function is pretty self-explanatory too.
As you may have guessed, the feature lets you simply pick up your Samsung device in order to wake the screen. So there’s no need to press the power button after picking up the phone. It’s a relatively small addition, but it’s convenient nevertheless.
4. Disable the Bixby button (kind of)
One of the biggest complaints about Samsung flagships was the inability to officially disable the Bixby button. This forced people to visit the Play Store for third-party solutions.
Samsung doesn’t let you completely disable the Bixby button in One UI, but it does let you choose between a single or double-press of the key. So if you’d like to activate Bixby with a double-press, you should launch Samsung’s voice assistant, then tap the three-dot icon > Settings > Bixby key. From here, you should simply choose the Double press to open Bixby option.
You can also assign the single press to another app or command, in case you’d like to launch WhatsApp or Reddit instead. The Bixby button isn’t completely disabled then, but it definitely makes it harder to accidentally activate the service.
5. Game tools and Game Launcher
Samsung was also one of the first brands to offer gaming features on its smartphones, and these features have since been aped by quite a few other manufacturers and gaming phones.
Starting with Game Launcher, this is a dedicated folder for all the games that are installed on your Samsung phone. It’s nothing groundbreaking, as you could simply make a folder yourself. Furthermore, the Game Launcher also hosts ads, making it visually unappealing.
The Game Tools suite has been around before One UI, but it's still one of the best Samsung features.
Look a little closer though and you’ll find two icons near the bottom of the Game Launcher screen (below the ad window), and these are your Game Tools. The left-most icon is a simple toggle for muting alerts, while the right icon allows you to tweak game performance. The game performance tweaks take the form of a slider, allowing you to find the right balance of power saving and high performance.
In a neat move, Samsung also lets you tweak each game with its own slider. So if you only need high performance for PUBG, this can be done. Tapping on a game title from this menu also yields two more options in a maximum FPS slider and a low resolution toggle. So give these options a try if your favorite game isn’t running smoothly.
6. System-wide dark mode
Dark/night mode is one of the most requested features on smartphones and apps today, with quite a few OEMs and developers offering the option. Samsung One UI has also joined the party, offering a system-wide option as well.
The option is available by tapping Settings > Display > Night mode, giving you an eye-pleasing OLED-friendly theme. It doesn’t extend to every single facet of the phone and its apps, but it’s certainly a solid effort. One neat touch is that you can schedule the night mode, either from sunset to sunrise or with a custom start/end time.
7. Gesture navigation
Today’s smartphone displays are becoming ever taller, and we’ve seen numerous OEMs (and even Google) adopt gestures to make life easier.
Samsung has joined the bandwagon too by adding gesture navigation in One UI. This differs from gestures seen on other smartphones though, as you’re simply swiping up from where each legacy key used to be. So going back one screen requires an upward swipe from where the back key used to be, for example.
Samsung’s gesture navigation method seems like a step between traditional navigation keys and full-on gestures seen on other phones. So if you aren’t quite comfortable with Huawei, Xiaomi, and stock Android gestures, this is a solid compromise.
8. Dual messenger
Samsung wasn’t the first company to deliver dual apps functionality, offering the feature shortly after Huawei and Xiaomi. Nevertheless, its Dual Messenger option (Settings > Advanced Features > Dual Messenger) has certainly been around for a few years now.
Much like Huawei and Xiaomi’s takes on the feature, Samsung’s Dual Messenger allows you to run two messaging accounts on one app. Be it WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Snapchat, quite a few of the most popular communication apps are supported.
9. An emphasis on one-handed use
Gestures aren’t the only navigation-related addition to Samsung One UI, as the company has been focusing on one-handed usage too. It only makes sense in light of devices like the Galaxy S10 5G and its 6.7-inch display.
Samsung has tweaked its various menus and pre-installed apps, placing key UI elements within thumb’s reach. It’s not quite comprehensive though, as some apps like Samsung Health and the voice recorder don’t follow this convention. But it’s a decent start for the company, and we hope it follows through with implementing this in more apps.
10. Edge Screen
Another feature that launched way before Samsung One UI is the Edge Screen or Edge Panel functionality, which first appeared on 2014’s Galaxy Note Edge. This feature essentially hides an app tray in the screen edge, surfaced by dragging your finger inwards from the edge.
The resulting window can host a variety of content, such as your favorite apps, a news feed, your favorite contacts, or Samsung’s smart select editing tools. Or you can have them all if you can’t decide, simply swiping through each category.
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That’s it for our look at the best Samsung One UI features, but did we miss anything? Let us know via the comments!