Samsung’s custom interface is perhaps one of the most divisive aspects of their smartphone lineup, and it looks like it’s going to stay that way, with this year’s new UI for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus being a radical departure from previous versions in many ways, aimed at being seamless and aesthetically pleasing without compromising the full experience. Samsung has changed some things around in their UX in hope that it will be more appealing to consumers. The Always On Display, lock screen, home screen, and app drawer all blend into each other in a sort of gradient, and the default wallpapers each compliment one of the five color options for this year’s Galaxy flagship devices. Everything about the UI has been rebuilt around the Galaxy S8 lineup’s long screens and smooth curves. These aspects, of course, are just the beginning.
Fans of Samsung UX’s current iteration, as seen on Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge units that have gotten their Nougat update, will feel mostly right at home here. The home button is now under the screen, and the two buttons flanking it are interchangeable. Everything has been elongated to fit the strange new form factor. Most elements outside of the settings menu have been color-coordinated and blended together. Aping the Pixel Launcher, the app drawer can now be pulled up with an upward swipe, and long-pressing an icon will pop up a quick menu. Sorting apps and putting things in folders on the home screen is easier now, and can be done in bulk.
On the audio end of things, everything has been reformatted to fit more organically together. The ringtones have been retooled for that same purpose, and the “Over the Horizon” tune that tells everybody in the room that there’s a Samsung device nearby has been recorded by Grammy-winning artist Jacob Collier this year, after receiving a jazzy, poppy redux from Dirty Loops last year to match the more loose-leaf and bouncy persona of last year’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. Finally, nature wallpapers are included to match all five color options; black, gray, silver, blue, and gold.