Samsung Galaxy S9+ Review Part 3: Unique Software and Features

Samsung Galaxy S9+ Review Part 3: Unique Software and Features

In the Galaxy S9+, one can clearly see Samsung’s smartphone ambitions writ large: The firm wants to control the entire experience. And that leads, at times, to unwanted duplication and to confusion.

But it’s not all bad: Samsung’s aggressive competitive aims have also triggered a smartphone renaissance. We can trace the current market fixation on tall 18:9-ish displays with minimal bezels and curved edges to Samsung’s decision to adopt this format in its flagships. Even Apple has jumped on board with its own similar—if somewhat lacking—iPhone X.

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But as I’ve noted in the past, Samsung still manages to elevate its devices above those of the competition in meaningful ways. No other smartphone maker has achieved the level of refinement found in the Galaxy S9+, and one needs only to use this device side-by-side with any pretender to see the difference. It’s immediately obvious.

There are subtle differences too. The simple act of swiping a finger down the Galaxy S9+’s display reveals a silky smoothness that is not present on the more pedestrian Google Pixel 2 XL that I use as a daily driver. The Samsung isn’t just prettier, doesn’t just provide a superior design. It’s better.

Samsung’s elegant Always-On display.

But the controversy begins when you start using the device: Samsung, more than any other mainstream Android licensee, customizes the software experience to an almost pathological degree. Some of its additions are both unique and well-conceived, like the special lighting effects and software panels that take advantage of the Galaxy S9’s superior curved display edges. Some are, well, pointless: Samsung duplicates so many stock Android apps and features that its phones can seem confusingly overwrought with superfluous nonsense.

Documenting all of these unique features is a fool’s errand. And while I’m still struck by the sheer number of differences between Samsung’s take on Android and the stock OS that Google provides, most users will never know or care about such things. To much of the smartphone-using world, the Samsung experience is it. And these devices sell well enough that my questioning of Samsung’s tactics seems somewhat moot.

But here’s what really stands out to me after over a month of use. As you might expect, there’s some good, some bad, and, yes, some ugly.


I’ve long meant to write to the topic of “stock,” and of my personal preference for sticking with the original software that is provided with a device or PC. With Android, this refers to the entire software stack, which includes the launcher—what most people think of as the home screen—but also the all apps experience, the Google feed, notifications, the lock screen, and more.

Samsung … Well, they screw with virtually all of those system components. And yet … I like it, for the most part. The look and feel of Samsung’s software interfaces, which extend across all of those user interface elements I noted above features a consistent typographic and iconographic treatment that, to my eyes, is quite pleasing.

In fact, one of the best things about the Samsung visual design is that it exceeds the basic font size and display size configuration capabilities of stock Android by adding a choice of fonts. This is a big deal, and one of the fonts, Gothic Bold, achieves a sort of “semi-bold” appearance that I find quite attractive and very readable. The iPhone (iOS), for example, lets you bold all of the fonts used in the system, which is nice for those with less than perfect eyesight. But the ability to actually choose the ideal font is, well, ideal.


The Galaxy S9+ arrived with Android 8.0, but the software is so customized that it’s almost unrecognizable. I think of what Samsung does as “Android++.” Their aggressive addition of new user interfaces in Android makes its devices seem like a testing ground for the rest of the community.

And it’s not just all the visual changes, some of which are noted above. No, this goes way more than skin-deep.

Samsung added its own split-screen view, for example, before Google finally formally added it to stock Android. So then it added a new feature called App Pair, which lets bind two apps together into a shortcut/icon and launch them side by side at the same time.

Samsung also provides its own windowing interface, where stock Android only has basic picture-in-picture capabilities, and then only for some apps. (Chrome OS does support windowed Android apps, of course.)

Google Maps, windowed.

Samsung also implements its own unique security and battery saver features, among others. A new Intelligent Scan feature seeks to out-do Face ID on iPhone X: It’s about as fast but it feels unsophisticated and is likely not very secure. Fortunately, Samsung didn’t pull an Apple, and it left its excellent fingerprint reader on the device.

To get a good feel for the Android++ vibe in the Galaxy S9+, just head into Advanced Settings in the Settings app. There, you’ll find a mix of the sublime and the insane: A feature called Smart Stay that will keep your phone’s display on while you’re looking at it, fingerprint reader gestures, a one-handed mode, and about a hundred other “only Samsung” moments await you inside. OK, not a hundred. But a lot.


One thing I really do like about the Galaxy S9+ and other Samsung devices is its unique launcher, called Samsung Experience. It’s elegant-looking and attractive, and it seems to match well with the device’s hardware design. App icons, for example, are an unusual curved-cornered shape that is not quite a circle. (Is it a squircle? Maybe.) But they neatly match the curved corners of the device’s display. I like the look almost in spite of myself.

Like many Samsung software interfaces, the Samsung Experience is almost infinitely configurable. It’s also replaceable if you’d prefer a more stock experience. Again, I usually do. But on the Galaxy S9+, the Samsung Experience just feels right.

(I do reverse the order of the buttons in the navigation bar so that it matches other Android phones, however; Samsung, for some reason, swaps the positions of the Back and Recents buttons.)


To say that I’ve not really given Bixby a chance is almost an understatement. And while I agree that this undercuts whatever authority I may or may not have as a reviewer, I’m not giving in to terrorism. Bixby is nothing more than a mad power grab, and it’s one that I believe will be unsuccessful. Regardless of what happens in the future, Galaxy S9+ users will be better off using Google Assistant or even Amazon Alexa, especially for the short term. And that’s true even though neither of those solutions can achieve the same level of integration on this device that Bixby enjoys.

On the good news front, you can install Google Assistant and configure it to appear when you long-press on the Home button. And it responds to “Hey, Google.”

In the bad news department, Samsung provides a dedicated Bixby button on the side of the device, and this cannot be configured to launch other assistants or apps, it can only be disabled. (Which I did.) And there is no way to get the Google feed, which is technically part of the Google app, when you swipe to the left of the home screen. Instead, an inferior Bixby feed, which is somewhat similar to the interface on OnePlus handsets, appears. And this one can’t be turned off.

That may not be a big deal for some. But it’s the closest thing to a deal-killer for me on this device. I rely on the Google feed, and I use it every day to find new articles to read, which I save to Pocket. It’s become kind of indispensable to me. And in real-world terms, this means I must think “Google app,” and then find and launch it when I wish to view this feed. This is how things work on the iPhone, too, and it’s not ideal.

That Bixby has its tendrils all over the Galaxy S9+ is somewhat depressing: You’ll even find it in the camera app, where a feature called Bixby Vision can detect items seen in the viewfinder and identify them. It’s allegedly useful for identifying products (try this in a Best Buy, I dare you), places, food, wine, makeup, or similar images, and can be used to scan QR codes and translate or extract text from a scene.

And I did test this one a bit. You have to manually choose the item type, which is tedious, and the recognition speed varies by item. English text was extracted from the viewfinder very quickly, which is good.

But products identification is slow and many were misidentified; it thought an Illy coffee canister was “cosmetic cream”. But most products were simply unknown to Bixby. It doesn’t even recognize a banana.

For the future, we’ll see whether Samsung’s market power and influence triggers a Bixby surge. But I doubt it.

Edge UIs

The wonderfully curved Galaxy S9+ display isn’t just a pretty face: Samsung also provides two interesting software interfaces that really show off this unique hardware in useful ways.

The first is called Edge lighting, which kicks in when certain notifications trigger. By default, this effect is configured only for the Messages app, and it uses a basic lighting style in which the entire edge of the display pulses in blue to let you know about an incoming text. But you can, of course, add notifications for any apps you like. And even more impressive, you can actually customize the look and feel of the edge lighting to match your own tastes. You can choose between multicolor, glow, glitter, and other effects, any color (including colors that automatically match the app triggering the notification), various levels of transparency, and more.

The second feature, called Edge panels, provides a variety of stacked panels—basically vertical toolbars of icons—that can appear when you swipe in from the right edge of the display. Samsung provides a variety of default edge panels, including Apps edge, People edge, Weather, and others, and you can use multiple panels by just swiping again and again.

Both features can be turned off if not needed—and both of the people I know who also use a Galaxy S9+ did turn off edge panels—but I appreciate the effort here. Unlike the software duplicates noted below, these features are genuinely unique and seem well designed.

Duplicate software

And now we get to the ugly. Because with rare exception, if there is some part of Android that Samsung can replace, it does. And in those that it cannot, it often simply creates a duplicate app or service. It’s like the software version of cancer.

Well, maybe that’s not fair: Some of these Samsung apps are pretty useful. But there’s just far too much duplicate crap in there, too: There are Samsung email, calendar, and contacts apps. A web browser called Internet. A file management app, a Notes app, a reminders app, and a picture viewing app. The only thing missing is a maps app, and you gotta think that’s coming soon.

Samsung Internet app.

Samsung even has its own online store called Galaxy Apps because of course it does. A Samsung+ app for help and diagnostics. A Smart Switch app for customers coming from other phones. A Smart-Things app for controlling smart home products and a Samsung Gear app because everyone who owns one of these phones obviously has a Samsung smartwatch too. Also, a Samsung Health app, which at least ties into the Samsung Knox security controls.

Samsung Gear app.

You also get Samsung Phone, Messages, and Camera apps, of course. A Samsung image editing experience when you take screenshots.

Samsung screenshots experience.

A custom Samsung context menu when you press and hold on home screen icons. Custom wallpaper, themes, widgets, and Home screen settings interfaces, including a Samsung Themes store where you can pay for wallpapers, themes, icon sets, and Always-On displays.

Samsung Calendar app.

Good luck with all that.


The Galaxy S9+ is a showcase for Samsung’s hardware design prowess and it sets a high new bar for competitors to come up short against. The handset’s camera, too, is excellent, and while it falls just short of the standard set by the Google Pixel 2 XL, it comes closer than any other phone I’ve tested, and will likely be a major upgrade for most buyers.

Unfortunately, the software picture is decidedly more mixed. Some Samsung customization efforts do succeed nicely, but others just provide experiences that duplicate what’s already built-in to Android. For some reason.

What puts the Galaxy S9+ over the top, however, is the total package. The elegant curved display is enhanced by software features that are truly unique and useful. Virtually everything in the phone is customizable, and those who plumb the depths of the available options will no doubt come away with the perfect, personalized experience. I still react viscerally every time my Galaxy S9+’s display lights up: This is a gorgeous, high-performance monster that works (almost) exactly the way I want.

As such, the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is highly recommended.



  • Superior display
  • World-class design
  • Excellent performance and specifications
  • Excellent camera system
  • Stereo speakers
  • Speedy fingerprint reader has been moved to a better location
  • Reasonable pricing


  • Bixby is a mess, cannot be fully replaced
  • Too much duplicate Samsung software and service

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Conversation 27 comments

  • Kenneth Blanks

    22 May, 2018 - 3:58 pm

    <p>It has expandable storage</p>

  • AnthonyE1778

    Premium Member
    22 May, 2018 - 4:08 pm

    <p>Fantastic in-depth review Paul. Thank you for this. The pricing is still too high, but far more reasonable than before (though take my words with a grain of salt since I have a 256gb iPhone X). I will be closely looking at the next generation of phones since the notch has seemingly taken over the world. Samsung's next Galaxy S phones will be very telling. </p>

  • eeisner

    Premium Member
    22 May, 2018 - 4:09 pm

    <p>Maybe things changed on the S9, but I have definitely disabled the swipe right for Bixby on my S8. And if you do chose to use the Google Launcher (I've stuck with Samsung's), it will give you swipe right for Google Now. I've also uninstalled and/or disabled as much of the Samsung apps as I can, and for those that can't be disabled I've hidden them in the All Apps screen. </p><p><br></p><p>I was super against Samsung for a long time and opted for Nexus/Moto phones, mainly due to all of the terrible customizations Samsung put into Android, but the S8/S9 got it right. The launcher is actually really pleasant to use and I really think their design choice (curved screens with minimal bezels above/below) is the nicer way to go in comparison to notches, a la the iPhone X.</p>

  • dcdevito

    22 May, 2018 - 4:22 pm

    <p>Good review Paul. Some things to opine on, but I'm sticking with my Pixel 2 XL only because it sucks the least of any phone (to me, for me – not generalizing for everyone):</p><p><br></p><ol><li>I think the new Google News app can and should replace the Google Feed entirely</li><li>As you indicated, most people don't care about which version it's running. But for me, I'll consider Samsung phones only if they support Project Treble.</li><li>If I could install a stock ROM on it I would consider one</li><li>I'm an avid Android Auto user, and have occasional disconnects with my Pixel 2 XL. I've heard many S8/S9 users complain about their bad experiences with it also</li><li>Now that the Pixel line is the (apparent) king of smartphone cameras, these phones have lost some additional luster to me</li><li>Treble may help it, but Samsung is notoriously slow to update their phones. </li></ol>

  • karelj

    22 May, 2018 - 4:36 pm

    <p>Paul,</p><p><br></p><p>There is expandable storage for the S9 line.</p><p>To deal with the Bixby button, you can try the BxActions app.</p>

  • marbo100

    22 May, 2018 - 5:33 pm

    <p>I've disabled the Bixby home screen on my S9. I just used the pinch gesture on the Bixby screen and turned the slider off. Are you not able to do it on the plus?</p>

  • bassoprofundo

    Premium Member
    22 May, 2018 - 5:33 pm

    <p>I was a "stock" guy for a long time, too, but I have to admit that Samsung has just about nailed it with the latest models. As you call out, the "Samsung Experience" (formerly Touchwiz) is no longer the mess it once was. The "duplicate" apps are no longer awful and in many cases superior or at least comfortably equivalent to their stock counterparts. The hardware is absolutely top notch and has just about every feature you could want, including many that are annoyingly absent on competing phones (ex.- wireless charging, headphone jacks). Overall performance is finally within spitting distance of its less-bloated competition. As a bonus for my own situation (and that of other AT&amp;T users), you get full HD Voice, VoLTE, and Wifi Calling support that is unavailable on unlocked models.</p><p><br></p><p>For me, there are only a couple of annoyances left:</p><p class="ql-indent-1">1) Bixby – I get it… I get why they have to try and can't just cede the ground to Google, but ugh. The voice assistant is totally serviceable and even does some phone-specific things better than GA, but the feed is next to useless, and the dedicated button is the hardware equivalent of Clippy. I give them props for allowing you to disable it now, though, and something like BxActions will let you repurpose it. Again, I know why they don't, but just like you can set other launchers, messaging apps, and assistants as your default, you should really be able to swap that button's function without 3rd party hacks.</p><p class="ql-indent-1"><br></p><p class="ql-indent-1">2) Stock SE Launcher – As mentioned, it's SO much better now, but there are still deal breakers:</p><ul><li class="ql-indent-1">Can't change the scroll direction of the app list in the default launcher from horizontal to vertical.</li><li class="ql-indent-1">Can't make it scroll "kinetically" or infinitely (can only go one screen at a time)</li><li class="ql-indent-1">Can't replace the freaking Bixby feed</li></ul><p class="ql-indent-1">I could make it work if I had to, but I still find it hard to give up Nova Launcher since all three of these are not an issue. You can even add the "swipe-left to get the Google feed" action with the Nova Companion addon. That said, I've been using the Microsoft Launcher on my work Note 5 and find it very workable as well. I'm rooting for the day when I don't feel the need to change.</p>

  • Rob_Wade

    22 May, 2018 - 5:56 pm

    <p>Sounds like plenty of reasons NOT to get one. Personally, I'd want to turn off all the special lighting effects–they're just plain annoying. I would want to disable as MUCH native Android stuff and Samsung stuff and try to make it as much like a Windows phone as I possibly could. But, of course, Microsoft has done very little to make that possible (Cortana is virtually useless), so I'm just not impressed by the device.</p>

  • wunderbar

    Premium Member
    22 May, 2018 - 6:07 pm

    <p>100% agree about the Samsung Launcher. I had only been a Nexus guy from the Galaxy Nexus all the way up to the 6P. I bought a GS8+ expecting to hate it, but having few other great options at the time, and have come to really like Samsung's Launcher and UI. I think in many ways it's actually better than what google does.</p><p><br></p><p>the duplicate software sucks, and there's no defending that, but the Samsung UI is no longer the tire fire that it was a few years ago.</p>

  • Winner

    22 May, 2018 - 6:55 pm

    <p>You forgot to mention that with all those customizations, their software updates are slow and poor and good luck getting anything timely – perhaps only one major OS update and that will be at least six months later than any Google phone.</p><p><br></p><p>And that beautiful hardware – the volume buttons are way up high on the left side of the screen, you have to slide up to reach them. On the Pixel 2s all the buttons are on the right where your thumb can reach them.</p>

  • rbwatson0

    Premium Member
    22 May, 2018 - 7:05 pm

    <p>Paul,</p><p>Have you noticed any system 'rot' on your Samsung phone(s)? I had (still do, in a drawer) an S8 that I got tired of factory resetting every month just to get some semblance of usability and speed back out of it. Switched to the OnePlus 5t and haven't looked back. </p><p>Also, something you didn't mention, and the only plus I feel Samsung really has, is the standard wireless charging. It's the only thing I truly miss.</p>

  • lilmoe

    22 May, 2018 - 7:23 pm

    <p>One of the better reviews, as usual. Paul is a man of reason and practical assessment. But I just can't get over your judgment on Samsung's apps, Paul. </p><p>These apps are one of the main reasons I stick with Galaxies, sans Bixby. Other than maps, YouTube, translate, and obviously the Play Store, I have all other Google apps DISABLED. Yes, I disable even google search and assistant (laugh all you want, I use Cortana and bing search while knowing that Google's is superior to Microsoft's). The battery life savings alone is worth disabling all of Google's crap.</p><p>But Samsung's apps aren't about battery savings alone. They're faster, smoother, more compatible, more feature rich and way more practical. You feel this even more significantly on the lower end hardware. </p><p>Apple copies/apes Samsung's apps' functionality and features, and Samsung copies some aspects of the UI from Apple. Google isn't even in the picture. </p><p>Google's SERVICES are industry leading, but their apps suck hard in Android, even compared to their iOS equivalents. </p><p>I've went in more detail why I like each of their apps individually, but just FYI, Smart Things is a big deal, especially for those in the Samsung ecosystem. It's a one stop affair to control all your Samsung devices and share/beam/stream/transition things between them. Even Quick Connect (which debuted with the GS3 and Apple aped with Air Drop) is now part of Smart Things. </p><p><br></p><p>I mean come on, even the dashboard app in Android P is a blatant copy of Device Maintenance, maybe with some subtle changes and a cute story of awareness? Lol.</p><p><br></p><p>The only thing that came close to Samsung's software was Sense, RIP.</p>

  • danielpctba

    22 May, 2018 - 8:06 pm

    <p>There are free apps that allow you to change the Bixby button. I've set it to open Google Now.</p>

  • Bats

    22 May, 2018 - 8:12 pm

    <p>Today…the consensus among Android phone reviewers is that Google Pixel 2 is by far the the best phone in the market.</p><p><br></p><p>The fact of the matter is that Paul Thurrott doesn't use the Galaxy S9 enough. Does he even use it at all? I don't think you can use Project Fi, which would eliminate him as a user of a Galaxy S9.</p><p><br></p><p>I've used previous Galaxies and have bad deteriorating performance and from what I have read from very trustyworthy sources the performance is still the same. The problem stems from Touchwiz. There is no question, that the hardware of the phone is top quality, but based on REAL USAGE by REAL Android users, this phone is far inferior to the Google Pixel 2. It's not even close. </p><p><br></p><p>Samsung won't even allow you to disable Touchwiz or any of their apps. The Samsung phone is really only good for those users who are not into tech, like iPhone users. People buy this phone for the design and that's pretty much it. </p><p><br></p><p>Microsoft fans should not be buying this phone. They should not even be thinking about it. If Microsoft fans try to Microsoftize this phone, they would be utilizing the launcher, on top of Touchwiz, on top of Android O. LOL….that's too much!!! You will suffer performance degradation and you will be fooled into thinking that's it's all Android's fault, which it is not. I know this through experience and the experiences of other well known Android users. My Pixel XL 2 and XL1 are still running with no slowdown at all. Not even a hiccup. If anyone wants to try to buy the Galaxy S9 and Microsoftize, then let me give you some advice. Keep the receipt. You'll need it, perhaps in 25 days after normal usage of this phone. </p>

    • Daekar

      23 May, 2018 - 7:30 am

      <blockquote><a href="#278104"><em>In reply to Bats:</em></a></blockquote><p>Methinks you have no idea what you're talking about. My Microsoft-ized-and-running-like-new S7 begs to differ, anyway. It's been factory-reset once, because I did it when I decided to have the battery preemptively replaced before its capacity got too low.</p>

  • chrishilton1

    Premium Member
    23 May, 2018 - 2:08 am

    <p>"<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">You also get Samsung Phone, Messages, and Camera apps, of course." – is it possible to use the stock Google apps for these? If it is, how?</span></p>

  • m_p_w_84

    23 May, 2018 - 6:23 am

    <p>I’ve been an iPhone user forever, but have tried the odd android phone for short periods, and am genuinely really keen to have the option of an alternative platform. </p><p><br></p><p>But my fundamental problems with android are:</p><p><br></p><ol><li>Fragmentation </li><li>Lack of updates (security and feature)</li><li>Malware on GooglePlay</li><li>Unclear tracking/privacy invasion</li></ol><p><br></p><p>Until these funadmental cricital flaws are cleared up I wouldn’t even look at an android phone. Whatever screen/camera/gizmo they lure you in with.</p>

    • Daekar

      23 May, 2018 - 7:26 am

      <blockquote><a href="#278131"><em>In reply to m_p_w_84:</em></a></blockquote><p>Fragmentation is being addressed via some programs implemented by Google in the last year or so. It's basically a program to modularize the OS so that updates can be pushed out via the Play Store as soon as they're ready rather than via an OTA update through the carriers.</p><p><br></p><p>Lack of updates is being addressed via what I mentioned above and varies by phone manufacturer and carrier. My Verizon Galaxy S7 still gets security updates on a monthly or bi-monthly basis at the moment, not sure how long that will last however.</p><p><br></p><p>Malware on Google Play is… well, to most people with half a brain it's a complete non-issue, just like the malware that appears on the App Store. Unless you spend your days compulsively installing random apps regardless of how sketchy they look, you will never have a problem on either platform. And aren't we all over the "must install everything" impulse after 10 years of smartphones and God knows how long of the same model on Linux?</p><p><br></p><p>I don't think the tracking/privacy invasion is unclear: they harvest your whole life unless you explicitly tell them not to, and will continue to do so in ever more invasive ways if you continue to use Google apps. That said, you can disable all that stuff like I do if you like. I don't let Google track… well, practically anything at all. If it CAN be turned off, I turn it off. Honestly, I'm with you on this one, and if I could get a phone that ran Mint or Ubuntu and had a decent app ecosystem I would switch.</p>

      • Stooks

        23 May, 2018 - 9:56 am

        <blockquote><a href="#278142"><em>In reply to Daekar:</em></a></blockquote><p>"Fragmentation is being addressed via some programs implemented by Google"</p><p><br></p><p>They say this every year and the probably only gets worse each year.</p><p><br></p><p>"Lack of updates is being addressed via what I mentioned above and varies by phone manufacturer&nbsp;"</p><p><br></p><p>Maybe but my Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 (2017) tablet lags months at a time without updates then gets some. Updates and OS updates basically suck compared to the iOS world.</p><p><br></p><p>"Malware on Google Play is"</p><p><br></p><p>Is horrible. Google said they removed 70,000 malware apps in 2017 or their store. It seems like each month there is a story about malware apps in the Google Play store. Maybe once a year on the Apple store and in the last 2 years or so those were only in the China version of the Apple store.</p><p><br></p><p>"I don't think the tracking/privacy invasion is unclear"</p><p><br></p><p>Wake up already. Google makes 89% of their revenue and profit off of targeted ads. They only do that because of the information they gather from people using their FREE software. Android phones are like black holes of information suck. Google is NO better than Facebook or Twitter, which are two other companies that make 90% or more off of advertising.</p><p><br></p>

      • m_p_w_84

        23 May, 2018 - 9:57 am

        <blockquote><a href="#278142"><em>In reply to Daekar:</em></a></blockquote><p>I’m not trying to immaturely android bash here. </p><p><br></p><p>But Google have been saying they are going to fix all these issues for years and years now. Ever year they say it and it’s still a massive problem. </p><p><br></p><p>It’s annoying because I think Samsung make fantastic hardware. But Google just make Android a total no go zone for me. Which is a real shame.</p>

      • David Berk

        24 May, 2018 - 5:57 am

        <blockquote><em>It’s called project Treble and even the newest Samsung phones are not a part of it. </em><a href="#278142"><em>In reply to Daekar:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p>

    • Stooks

      23 May, 2018 - 9:49 am

      <blockquote><a href="#278131"><em>In reply to m_p_w_84:</em></a></blockquote><p>You nailed it!</p><p><br></p><p>I would swap around the order…</p><p><br></p><p>2, 3, 4, 1. But yes all of these plus a great messaging app like iMessage holds me back from ever moving to Android. Also Google is constantly changing stuff around. New messenger apps that fail to gain any kind of marketshare or usage. The whole Google Play….Youtube…Youtube RED…Youtube Music….etc…etc is just a user confusing mess.</p>

  • Daekar

    23 May, 2018 - 7:17 am

    <p>Interesting that the duplicate software bothers everyone. It bothers ME, because I'm a picky SOB, but everyone else I know just uses the default Samsung apps (unless they choose to use the Gmail app) for everything and never give them a second thought. Even my wife, who has one foot in the nerd world, uses the default SMS app.</p><p><br></p><p>Honestly, the longer things go on, the less I feel replacing the native apps is necessary. If Samsung added a web client to their SMS app I would use it. I already use their camera app, the file browser, the photo gallery for viewing local files, etc. </p><p><br></p><p>That said, I'm the guy who uninstalls and/or disables most of the Google items that seem to come on phones too, since I never use them.</p>

  • kherm

    Premium Member
    23 May, 2018 - 9:00 am

    <p>Paul, excellent article, but I just wanted to let you know that you can disable Bixby Home. </p>

  • Mestiphal

    23 May, 2018 - 12:31 pm

    <p>Bought a Samsung, really didn't like their redundant software… Samsung Internet, contacts, mail, picture folder… what's the point, if I have to adopt Android coming from a windows phone, might as well take in the whole android ecosystem, not get hooked back in a proprietary set of apps.</p><p><br></p><p>As I understand the new Nokia phones are 100% Android, no bs Apps. in similar form to a Microsoft Signature PC. I would like to see a review on the Nokia phones as well. from past experience the hardware is exceptional</p>

  • Belralph

    24 May, 2018 - 12:40 am

    <p>I just recently moved to the S9+. I had been using a Note 5 since it's release. Probably the first phone I've had that really covered all the bases and held up over time. I bought a 64 GB spare. It seems a better deal to spend $250-$400 for that rather than get hit with an $800+ shot going to any current flagship. Long story short, my wife ended up with my spare Note and immediately mine started having hardware issues. Given it's age and level of use/abuse I can't hold it against it.</p><p>With Note 5's pretty much gone from the market and the Note 9 being months away (Aug-Sept) I bit the bullet for the 9+. I am very impressed. I thought the Note 5 took good pictures, I take A LOT of dog pictures outside. The different isn't earth shattering but it's remarkable enough to make you stop and notice. Damn, that's a nice looking picture, over and over again. </p><p>I loaded mine up with the Microsoft launcher, and the bixby button remapper which I primarily use to launch the camera. I even installed Edge. Anyone notice how high the reviews are for Edge in the Play Store. I was shocked and decided to give it a try. Still working on that, being a Firefox user on the desktop. </p><p>Beyond all the settings Paul mentioned, It seems there is a lot more granularity to the settings/permissions. You don't have to turn a feature on/off, you can give individual apps on/off access to the feature. Thanks to verizon my note was still stuck on Android 7 so maybe this isn't that new. </p><p>Having shorter fingers I light the slightly narrower size. The extra height takes a little getting used to but surprisingly not a big deal as I thought. I use the phone with two hands anytime I can't reach something with my thumb one handed most of the time.</p><p>I do miss the dedicated home button and having the thumbprint reader on the front. I'm fully in the wireless charging eco system and all my chargers are tall enough I have to lift up the phone to unlock. Unlocking with a PIN when on the charger is ok. Going to USB C for things like plugging into the computer or car charging was also easy. I have a FI phone this is C so I already had a ton of Micro to C adapters. Battery life has been excellent. I actually unplugged my wireless charger at work, I can go all day and still have 40-60 percent at the end of the day. </p><p>As much as my beloved Note was getting the job done, the S9+ is superior in every way with only a couple minor dings that are subjective to my personal preferences and not the phone lacking. I'm also a purest where it would be nice to have the device with a bare android OS and as long as I'm wishing, ZERO monkey business on support by the carrier (VERIZON, CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?!?). Looking forward, if i had a dream mobile device it would be a Microsoft branded Note 9. </p>

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