If you haven't used a Samsung device in a few years, the Galaxy S20 series will be your first taste of One UI 2, the skin running on top of Android 10. Although One UI is on the heavier side, it has loads of exciting features that go beyond what's offered on stock Android.
When Samsung changed the UI from Samsung Experience to One UI, it adopted a design language closer to stock. However, it kept many of its popular features, which are either exclusive to Samsung or Android in later versions. With a Galaxy S20, you're running the latest version of Samsung's skin, which includes a few options exclusive to the new smartphone series, thanks to upgraded components.
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After playing with the phone for a while, we found a few exciting options which, from our experience, aren't always utilized by Samsung Galaxy users. We also wanted to highlight some of the new features of the Galaxy S20's software that take advantage of the new hardware.
Samsung is one of the only OEMs to come preinstalled with a secure folder, a folder that encrypts its content and requires a password to decrypt (and unlock) its data. While there are still apps on the Play Store like it, Samsung goes further than most third-party options by utilizing Secure Element, a security chip exclusive to Galaxy S20 models at the time of this writing. The chip is isolated from the SoC, protecting it from attacks that target the hardware. It's nearly impossible for someone to force their way into your Secure Folder without knowing your password.
Secure Folder can be accessed from Quick Settings, Settings, and the app drawer. However, for the initial setup, you need to access it via Settings –> Biometrics and security –> Secure Folder. Follow the instructions and create a password or PIN (different from the lock screen one) to protect the folder. After, Samsung will create your folder and open its access to the other options.
With Secure Folder, you can move any number of apps or files within it. For an app, Samsung uses a cloned version of it, also protected by Secure Element. (That's also one of two ways you can clone apps on your phone.) Because the password used can be — and should be — different from the lock screen, your data is protected even when letting another person handle your phone.
A new feature in Android 10 is full-screen gestural navigation, which replaces the three-button navigation buttons of past versions. But that's not all. Samsung has its own version of full-screen gestural navigation, which is exclusive to Samsung's One UI devices, including the Galaxy S20 series. However, by default, the new navigation isn't active.
To switch to gestural navigation, go to –> Settings –> Display –> Navigation bar. The "Navigation buttons" should be selected, but you want "Full screen gestures." With it enabled, you can swipe up from where the button would be located in the navigation bar to activate it.
If you prefer Android 10's take, it's a bit hidden. Select "More options," where you are given two choices. The one you're looking for is "Swipe from sides and bottom," the label Samsung uses for Android 10 gestures.
One of the more impressive specs on the Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra is the new 120 Hz Dynamic AMOLED panel. With 120 Hz, the device's display generates double the frames of its S10 predecessors. However, the feature doesn't come without trade-offs. You can't use the 120 Hz refresh rate with the 1440p resolution. Therefore, you have to choose between either higher pixel density or a higher refresh rate. Which you decide to use is all dependent on your usage.
If you play a lot of mobile games or take advantage of Stadia, then you'll benefit from the higher refresh rate. But if you mostly use your phone for taking photos, watching Netflix (or your streaming service of choice), listening to music, and social media, the higher resolution is the better choice. Remember, you can always change the resolution and refresh rate in "Settings" when you needed it.
There are a few things to consider when making your decision. First, the higher refresh rate has a significant impact on battery life. According to PhoneArena, the phone drains almost two hours faster than when using 60 Hz. Second, Samsung automatically switches the phone back to 60 Hz when the battery gets hot, in certain apps (such as the Camera app and Google Maps), and when the battery gets low. Finally, according to Android Headlines, Samsung is working to bring 120 Hz to 1440p resolution in the future, so you may not have to choose at all soon.
Ask most Android pro users what their top apps are, and you'll usually find titles such as "IFTT" (If This, Then That) and "Tasker" on most of their lists. With these apps, you can automate nearly every aspect of the phone based on the occurrence of some action, saving you time and extra work. Recognizing the importance and usefulness of these apps, Samsung created its own version, Bixby Routines, which comes preinstalled on your Galaxy S20 model.
Located under "Advanced features" in "Settings," the feature lets you utilize IFTT to cause tasks to occur when a specific action is observed. For example, you can use Bixby Routines to turn on lights (connected to Samsung's SmartThings) when you arrive home at night or lock your front door when it detects your family left the house. The amount of automation you can program is virtually endless. And best of all, it's free.
As a fan of Android, one feature that I've been jealous of iOS over is AirDrop. The ability to share files with other phones, tablets, televisions, and more wirelessly is something I wish Android built into its software. While we wait for Fast Share (or whatever Google decides to call it), Galaxy S20 users can enjoy a feature called Quick Share that's nearly identical to AirDrop.
To access the feature, you need to have "Phone visibility" turned on for participating phones, which you can enable using its Quick Setting tile. Once activated, select the share button on the file you wish to transfer. On the top row of the Share menu is a new listing, "Quick Share," along with any nearby phones that currently support it. (At the time of writing, it's limited to the Galaxy S20, S20+, S20 Ultra, and Samsung televisions.) These phones are found using Bluetooth, so the devices you wish to share must be within its range.
After selecting the receiving phone, a prompt will appear on that device, asking if you accept or decline the file transfer. Choose "Accept," and files will transfer using Wi-Fi Direct. Unlike Apple AirDrop, you can share with up to five different devices simultaneously. And similar to AirDrop, you don't have to worry about receiving files from strangers as you can limit the feature to saved contacts with compatible devices.
When sharing with a SmartThings device, such as your television, the file is uploaded temporarily to Samsung Cloud, then streamed to the device. You can send up to 1 GB at a time, with a maximum of 2 GB per day.
Within the Camera app is an option called "Document scan." Select the gear icon when the "Photo" tab is active and choose the text portion of the "Scene optimizer." As the name implies, whenever the viewfinder detects a document, a "Scan" button will appear. Select that button, and the camera will take a close-up image of the document, matching the dimensions of the page.
You can turn the photo into a PDF file by opening up the Gallary, choosing the vertical ellipsis in the upper right, and selecting "Print." Choose the down arrow and select "Save as PDF," then hit the "PDF" button. Navigate in the file browser to your desired file location and choose "Save." As a PDF, you can then extract the text by opening it with Google Docs.
Edge Lighting has been a staple of Samsung devices for years. It allows you to take advantage of the curved edges of the display to turn them into lit notification alerts. With the notification LED nowhere to be found on the Galaxy S20 models, it's one of the only ways to be alerted of notifications when the screen is off.
Navigate to Settings –> Display –> Edge screen. Toggle on "Edge lighting" to turn on the feature, then select the text portion to reveal its menu options.
"Choose Apps" let you choose which apps' notifications will appear. "Show Edge lighting" enables you to configure when the feature is active. For most of you, you'll want the feature on only when the screen is off, as it makes you aware when a new notification arrives without having to turn on your phone or use the always-on display (which heavily drains the battery).