Everyone raves about Gboard and SwiftKey, but the stock Samsung Keyboard on Galaxy devices is awesome in its own right. It's preloaded, so you don't have to do anything to get it, but at the same time, it's packed with features — even some you might not know about.
Nowadays, even the dumbest thieves know that the first thing you should do after you steal a phone is turn on airplane mode. Not only does this make it harder for police to track the phone through cell tower triangulation, but it also disables security features the person you stole it from may have implemented — for instance, Samsung's Find My Mobile service.
Codecs are like ZIP archives for media files. Rather than storing an entire analog sound file, the digital version is compressed to save space. The algorithm used to reduce file size is called a codec, as it encodes to digitize and decodes when it's time to play the file back. So as you can imagine, a better codec can lead to drastically improved sound quality.
On a PC, you can play sound from multiple apps at once. It's great, but it can also be confusing — there's a volume slider in each app, then the system-wide one, and probably another knob on your speakers. To avoid this dysfunction, Android only has one sound stream for media. But that has its own problems.
Like with many aspects of One UI, Samsung's changes to Android's volume panel are controversial. Between the different orientation and alternative design, it isn't for everyone. Fortunately for Android purists, there's an app to solve this problem.
Google's been on a mission to improve the privacy and security of Android lately, and Samsung's always been at the forefront in these areas. As a result, One UI 3.0, which is based on Android 11, is the most secure OS version to ever hit Galaxy phones thanks to few key changes and new features.
With Samsung's beautiful, large displays, the Galaxy S and Note series are great tools for multitasking. This goes beyond the hardware with tools like split-screen mode, floating windows, bubbles, and picture-in-picture mode. And in One UI 3.0, that last one is becoming even more useful.
You can't beat Samsung's hardware, but their software still isn't for everyone. That's the thing, though — software can be replaced. So if you're more a fan of Google's vision for Android, but you can't get enough of Samsung's beautiful screens and build quality, you're just 11 steps away from getting the best of both worlds.
Back when Android used navigation buttons, there was a large black bar at the bottom of every screen to house the back, home, and recent apps buttons. But after switching to full-screen navigation gestures in 2019, there was no longer a need for it — however, a vestigial black bar still shows up when you're using your keyboard.
With Samsung's One UI 3.0 update, the main on-screen volume slider has a little menu button on the top of it. Tapping this will expand the slider into a full-blown volume panel, complete with controls for all of the various types of sounds your Galaxy might make. Standard stuff, really, but there's more to it.
When an app needs to be absolutely sure it won't be cleared from RAM by Android's memory management system, it posts a persistent, ongoing notification. Another time you'll encounter non-removable alerts is when your phone or carrier really wants you to do something, like apply an update.
Samsung's One UI 3.0 skin is built on top of Google's Android 11 open source code base, which means you get all of the standard features, plus some cool bonus stuff from Samsung. However, it's one of those standard AOSP features that you might find most useful if you send a lot of ADB commands.
Bloatware is a problem on Android, and it's not just a Samsung thing. Removing apps that have the Uninstall or Disable button grayed out in Settings has always involved sending ADB commands to your phone from a computer, which itself was always such a pain to set up. Thankfully, that has finally changed.
From browsing social media to creating films, your smartphone can do it all. But even with all that power, for many, it is primarily used to communicate with others, particularly via text. In One UI 3.0, Samsung and Google drastically changed this core functionality with a new-ish feature called notification bubbles.
The Galaxy Note 20's speakers are so loud and capable that they almost never need to be set to 100%. But by the same sense, it can be hard to find that just-right volume level since one increment represents a bigger change in sound output. Believe it or not, there's actually a first-party tool to fix this problem.
Nearly ten years since the first Galaxy Note and yet the Galaxy Note 20 still hasn't solved one of its biggest problems: bloatware. There are still over 20 redundant or unnecessary apps that are on this $1,000+ phone. But while it does require some advanced tools, it's still possible to remove them.
The Snapdragon version of the Galaxy Note 20 and 20 Ultra — the one sold in the US — can't be rooted. Without root, the level of customization is limited. Such a large group of Android users shouldn't miss out on mods, and they don't have to.
The Galaxy Note 20 series has one of the largest screens on any smartphone. Such a massive display not only makes it easy to enjoy videos, but it also makes split-screen mode more viable, as each half of the screen is large enough to enjoy the content — including two different videos.
If you're a PC gamer, you know the value of performance metrics. These graphs and charts overlaid on top of a game give you real-time information about how well your system performs. And for the first time, Galaxy users running One UI 3.0 will get access to similar information for mobile games.
If it has an internet connection, it's got a huge attack surface for hackers. But what makes your phone even more dangerous is its portability and the collection of sensors it houses that can be just as good at tracking you as the camera and mic.