Samsung is one of a few OEMs still offering themes. They’re not available in stock Android, and may be one of the best reasons to still have OEM customizations. In any case, Samsung’s theme store is pretty simple, housing themes as well as icons and wallpapers. There are even always-on display themes.
It’s an excellent, simple, and cheap way to customize your Samsung device and among the more competent attempts at theming by an OEM on Android. Let’s take a quick look at the Samsung Theme Store and what you can do with it.
Thankfully, the Samsung Theme Store isn’t a complicated piece of software. There are four major elements to the app UI:
- Across the bottom there are four sections: wallpapers, themes, icons, and always-on display themes. Click these to view that particular section.
- Across the top are navigation options for each section: featured, top, and new. These let you surf for content and are consistent across all four major sections.
- If you scroll up, you can see all of your previously downloaded content for that section. For instance, if you click on Wallpapers and scroll up, you’ll see all of the wallpapers you downloaded. This makes re-applying a theme or wallpaper simple.
- At the very top of the screen are some more options:(from left to right) category, search, profile, and settings. All of those things are fairly self explanatory. The category icon lets you sort through the various in each section, like primary color and topic. You can see these four icons in the featured image at the very top of the article.
That’s about it. With the above tools, you access everything in the theme store.
The wallpaper section of the Samsung Theme Store is actually quite good. Wallpapers are specifically made for Samsung devices and some even play well with curved displays. The section’s front page features a bunch of discovery options, like staff picks, popular categories, and random picks that might trigger your curiosity. At time of writing, Samsung is featuring dragon wallpapers, Clash Royale wallpapers, and wallpapers with mountains.
Wallpapers come either for free or money, ranging from about $0.79 to $1. There are plenty of both free and premium options in every categories and color option.
Unfortunately, you can’t sort wallpapers by the devices for which they’re made. This is particularly important, considering many Samsung devices have different aspect ratios. A perfectly made edge-style wallpaper for the Galaxy S9 Plus won’t fit properly on the Galaxy Note 9 because the screens are different shapes. Thankfully, this problem only happens for a specific type of wallpaper. Otherwise, they’re fine and can look quite good.
This is the most important part of the theme store. Themes affect a lot of the OS and UI, including the settings, quick settings, contacts app, dialer app, the stock messages app, the lock screen, and the stock keyboard. Samsung did a great job with variety here, offering themes vary a lot in color and style. Many also come with always-on display themes, as well as icons and wallpapers.
Like wallpapers, themes come in both free and premium varieties, and prices range from under a dollar up to $3. There isn’t much of a difference between free and premium content in quality, but premium content typically comes with extras like always-on display themes. Some of the theme makers just want a couple of bucks for their work, which is totally understandable.
In early 2019, Samsung announced a potential 14-day time limit on free themes. However, we imagine you can just re-apply the free theme at the end of the time limit. We’ll update this piece with more details as they become available.
We don’t have any real complaints with the themes section of the Samsung Theme Store. There are a ton of themes with a bunch of colors and some decent black ones if you want something AMOLED friendly. Those looking for an AMOLED-friendly theme should try Black Onyx by Gabriel Santana. It’s pretty good.
The icon section wants to be an important part of the theming experience. Unfortunately, Samsung still has some work to do here. Icon packs are plentiful and follow the same pricing structures as everything else. There are free options, and premium packs rarely cost more than $2.00. Most themes also come with icon packs.
We’re a little uncertain about these, to be honest. Unlike those from the Google play store, icon packs from the Samsung Theme Store do not theme all of a phone’s icons and it’s quite noticeable (see above image). This cheapens the experience a little, and makes everything look uneven. Some may not mind and that’s okay, but icon packs on Google Play cost roughly the same and do a much better job.
Always-On Display themes
Finally, we come to always-on display themes. These change what shows up on your screen when it’s turned off, as long as your phone has the feature turned on. Here’s how to do that:
- Open Settings.
- Click on Lock Screen.
- Toggle on the always-on display feature.
- You can click on the name to see more granular controls, including the time the always -on display shows, what kind content to show, and battery saving settings.
The themes mostly consist of fun little images that appear in place of (or alongside) the clock and battery meter. A few of them include animations. The animated always-on displays look super cool, but we’re sure there’s a battery drain element in there somewhere.
The themes come in both premium and free varieties. Most of the animated stuff is premium and the prices range up to about $1.00. This is, obviously, only useful if you actually use the always-on display, though it could be a good reason to give it a try. In any case, those who definitely don’t use it will rarely find themselves in this part of the theme store.
The Samsung Theme Store is among the best theme stores of any OEM out there. It has a few flaws here and there, namely with wallpaper sizes and icon packs. However, it still delivers an above average experience, comparatively speaking.
Did we miss anything important? Tell us about it in the comments!