As fans of Android smartphones, we’ve loved the visual differences between each manufacturer’s user interface (UI) or skin for years and may have hated it. While Google is developing Android, what consumers see on Pixel phones is something completely different. With Android 12 and the Pixel 6 series, Google gave us the Material You skin. Samsung also has its own skin and with the latest version of Android it has reached One UI 4.1.

Google has made a significant shift in its design language with Material You and it has been mostly well received. On the other hand, Samsung stayed true to its UI style by making very few changes in One UI 4.1 from the design language that started in 2018. The decision to stick with what works isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s coming four years into the future, and Google’s new Material You is helping One UI show its age.

I’m setting the tone for my comparison here, using the Pixel 6 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 to give my opinion. That said, my Z Fold 3 has yet to be updated to the new One UI 4.1. While there are a few minor visual differences, they don’t affect the points I’ll make below. Here are four ways Pixel’s user interface is better than Samsung’s.

All in all, material You feel fresher

Google Pixel 6 Pro Lockscreen Stuff Your Music

(Image credit: Android Central)

When the Pixel 6 series running Android 12 was finally released last October, it ushered in a whole new feel to Google’s UI. Before the latest version of Android, the UI was simply known as Material Design – and the addition of You makes all the difference. Given that One UI has largely stayed the same since 2018, with only minor visual changes since then, it’s no wonder Google’s new Material You just feels fresher.

While Samsung has long been one of the top Android phone manufacturers, their user interface was not always popular. The move to One UI was a big one and overall a very good choice. However, the skin is starting to show its age and that may be partly because Samsung found one that worked after years of skewering because it was so bad.

While the Pixel’s UI needed a facelift, Samsung’s One UI needs updating.

Material You’ve adopted the idea that bigger is better for much of the user interface. The quick toggles in the notification shade are elongated circles in two columns of the three columns of circles, similar to the current One UI in previous versions of Android. Samsung has adopted much of the Material You color palette, which is a more muted pastel rather than the bold colors previously used. At Samsung, however, the palette change had much less impact.

When I asked Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s global device tracker, why Google has made such a big change to the Pixel UI, he told me, “In many ways, the Pixel 6 series is a rebirth of the Pixel line, and what What better way to show consumers that than by offering a brand new and highly customizable user interface to go with it.”

Explaining a feeling can be difficult, but when you’re running Android 12 on a Pixel, it just feels new. The change to Android 12 for Google shows a big shift in UI design, and maybe that’s part of what makes it fresher. Because even though Samsung has picked up the new version of Android, the skin, One UI, still feels stale.

Material You feel more personal

Google Pixel 6 Material You

Credit: Alex Dobie/Android Central

When something is personal, it’s not about showing personal information or how it fits you physically. It’s about being approachable or even reassuring. Making elements within the Pixel’s Material You theme generally larger makes using the interface seem easier and less complex. If you consider one thing iOS users say about Apple’s user interface, it’s that iPhones are simply easier to use.

When I asked him what he thinks were the advantages of the Pixel’s user interface compared to what Samsung has in One UI, Ubrani said, “Pixel seems to have a simpler interface and often puts the Google Assistant in the center, which makes Pixel phones do things can do that others can’t.”

While some smartphone users prefer a more compact layout with more app icons and switches, many find that overwhelming. Google even went so far as to introduce a new system font that is a bit bolder to make text more readable in the interface. Buttons in Google apps with the new Material You theme, quick toggles in the navigation screen and even the settings menu all have larger icons, touch points and fonts – for better overall usability.

If it has to be something personal, it should be the phone you use all day.

Android 12 and Material You on a Pixel are adapting to make the phone more, well, you. As Google would have you believe, the new UI comes across more personal with the inclusion of the important you in Material You. This is mainly due to the way the interface is designed around how you use your Pixel. This includes your Google Assistant interactions, the apps you use often, the wallpaper you set, and more.

Yes, some of these features are in One UI or something similar, but the way the interface displays the information and how it is displayed is just a little on the sterile side.

Google Pixel 6 Stuff Your Widgets

(Image credit: Android Central)

In Google’s UI design overhaul with Android 12, there was an effort to improve widgets, and while nothing was inherently wrong before, the changes are nice. Let’s say there was one area for using widgets on a Pixel device that wasn’t great before: it was the flexibility to resize them. With Material You, not only has this improved, but Google has also added some really unique features.

When you choose a widget for your home screen, there will be some numbers that indicate the original size of the widget – 2×3, 4×1, 2×2, etc. That size will remain true if you place it on a blank home page. The nice thing about Pixel’s Material You is that if you already have other widgets or apps on your home screen, the widget will automatically resize if possible.

Dynamic colors on Pixel 6 Pro material U vs Samsung Z Fold 3 One UI 4

Credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central

Let’s start with the dynamic colors. Part of Material You is that the system interprets colors from the background of your phone and gives options to match the system colors through a few color palettes. Those colors also extend to widgets. When you place a widget on your home screen, the colors in it will shift depending on where it is placed and the colors of the background.

Google Pixel 6 Pro app drawer

Credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central

Finally, this may seem like a nitpicky kind of thing and not necessarily new to Material You, but the Pixel’s vertically scrolling app drawer is so much better than what Samsung puts on users. The side-by-side style in One UI just isn’t great to use.

Yes, I know that a vertically scrolling app drawer isn’t exclusive to Pixel devices, but when I pick up my Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy Z Fold 3, the last thing I want to do is swipe multiple times to get to the app I want. to go . Of course, on both UIs there is the option to search the app drawer. However, if you don’t have both hands free or can’t shake your phone in your hand so you can start typing, you don’t want to have to swipe to find your app.

When we talk about ease of use, it’s not a paginated side-scrolling app drawer.

When I need to open an app that I may not use so much that it should be on my home screen, I want to quickly access it in my app drawer and fly through 100 apps or 20 apps with a flick of the finger and stop where I need it, so i can open the app i need. Quick, easy, done.

Android 12 user interface

Credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central

I’m sorry if this strikes a chord with some of you – but it’s true. I say this lightly because I’m all for everyone to have a choice and use what they like — and that includes your preference for app drawer style. Personally, I would like every UI to offer both options.

The best feature of Android is choice

While many older phones will be updated to Android 12 and new ones sure to be released in the future, we won’t be seeing the Pixel version of the OS. However, this doesn’t mean that some OEMs won’t incorporate the feel of Material You on their devices. Ubrani said: “Smaller brands like Nokia, Moto and maybe OnePlus have had success offering a similar user interface to Pixel or stock Android — and again, that strategy has worked well for them. That’s probably why OnePlus recently said it’s would try again to appeal to longtime users with the next OxygenOS.”

Do not get me wrong. Material You’re not perfect and Samsung’s One UI 4.1 isn’t terrible. In fact, I find things to love and hate in both interfaces – and isn’t that what we love about Android? The ability to use different devices from different manufacturers, each with the ability to find what you like: choice. So whether you’re Team Pixel or Team Samsung, we’re all Team Android.

The Right Phone for (Material) You

The Google Pixel 6 brings even more impressive photos than before, using new sensors and Google’s own Tensor Chip processor – and making it all seem effortlessly yours is Material You’s user interface.

This post 4 reasons why the Pixel’s Material You is better than Samsung’s One UI

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