This story was originally published and last updated .
Every year there seems to be plenty of articles discussing how to make your new Samsung phone feel like a Pixel. Last year I even wrote one for those of you who do want a Pixel-like experience. I don't necessarily think it's a good idea, however — if you want your phone to be like a Pixel, you should have bought a Pixel in the first place. It also gives the impression that One UI is terrible, or at least worse than stock Android. While some might agree with that, I certainly don't. In my opinion, One UI is the best flavor of Android out there, and it has lots of features and tricks that deserve more attention.
Back in 2017, the Galaxy S8 represented a big step in the evolution of Samsung's flagship S line-up, removing the home button and igniting the war on display bezels in the process. Four years later, it's still a great-looking phone, but it's sadly reached the end of the line when it comes to updates — Samsung has ended software support for both the S8 and S8+, as well as moving other older devices to a less regular update schedule.
I used Google devices exclusively for years. At the time, I loved my Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, the first two generations of the Pixel (XL versions), the Nexus 9 and Pixel C tablets, and even the Pixelbook. But after a few weeks with the Pixel 3 XL, I had to face a truth that I'd been trying to deny: Google hardware makes too many compromises. I went through at least three of each Pixel, all replaced on warranty for one reason or another. And the 3 XL wasn't faring any better in the software department, with the music app constantly being pushed out of memory and the camera failing to save many of the pictures and videos that I took.
The Galaxy S21 series surprised many of us when it came with Google Messages as the default SMS app rather than Samsung's own. Google even made some changes to make the app fit in, altering the color palette to match Samsung Messages and adding support (finally!) for Galaxy Watches. Google has taken this one step further this week, completely redesigning Messages to match One UI's aesthetic.
Samsung Reminder is one of the best pre-installed apps that comes with One UI. It looks good, has plenty of options for organizing your tasks, and even syncs with Microsoft To Do. The app is picking up a design refresh today that makes it easier to sort through different types of reminders and see where they come from.
When Samsung refreshed Good Lock for Android 11 a few months ago, Home Up and Task Changer were merged, with the latter losing several styles in the process. Today Samsung updated the module once again, restoring many of the old themes and adding some useful new features.
Samsung has really been owning it when it comes to the Android security patch game. Continuing that impressive track record, Samsung is already releasing the March 2021 update for several devices, even though we're still in February. As well as keeping our devices secure, we're also seeing some new features land, as the Galaxy Tab S7 picks up some new iPad-inspired capabilities.
No matter how well we think we know our phones, there's always something or other that manages to evade our attention. Don't believe me? If you've got a Samsung phone, chances are you didn't know that your Gallery app contains a hidden menu, chock full of secret options.
Samsung has already rolled out its Android 11 update to many phones and tablets, branded as One UI 3.0, but the company introduced a minor revision with the Galaxy S21 series. The One UI 3.1 update was already confirmed to arrive on select phones and tablets, and now the wide rollout is in full swing.