What you need to know
- Samsung's Android 12-based One UI 4.0 beta is now rolling out in the U.S. and Europe.
- The first beta brings redesigned home screen widgets, dark mode improvements, new charging effects, improved multitasking features, privacy enhancements, and more.
- Samsung's One UI 4.0 beta program is currently limited to the Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra phones.
As per the official changelog for the One UI 4.0 beta, the latest iteration of Samsung's custom Android skin is "all about you" and introduces a slew of new features and customization options. Disappointingly, however, the update doesn't bring any significant changes to the UI design.
Home screen widgets have been redesigned to give you access to more information at a glance. Samsung has made quite a few changes to the Lock screen as well. It is now possible to change the audio output to a different device right from your Lock screen, with customized controls for various music apps. Thanks to a new voice recorder widget, you can even record voice memos without having to unlock your Galaxy phone.
One UI 4.0 also adds the ability to have the Always On Display turn on each time you receive a notification. The Quick panel gets an enhanced layout with an integrated section of alert and silent notifications. Adjusting the brightness of the screen is now easier as well, thanks to a larger brightness bar in the quick panel.
While One UI 4.0 doesn't introduce any major new camera features, Samsung has made changes to the layout to make it cleaner than before. Another important change is that video recording now starts as soon as you tap the Record button. On One UI 3.1, video recording starts only after you tap and release the button.
The Gallery app has been updated to show a video preview on the cover for Stories, more options for sorting albums with a large number of photos, improved search suggestions, and the ability to edit the date, time, and location that photos and videos were taken.
One UI 4.0 also brings an improved multitasking experience to Samsung's best Android phones. You can pin the window option menu to the top of a pop-up window for easy access and resize picture-in-picture windows using the pinch zoom gesture.
Some of the other key changes include improved search features, a new calendar layout that lets you add events more easily, improved app compatibility for Samsung DeX, new Bixby routines, new charging animations, enhanced privacy controls, a unified Safety and Emergency menu in Settings, and a new Driving monitor in the Digital Wellbeing app.
Samsung Galaxy S21
While it may not have the same premium design as the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the vanilla Galaxy S21 offers much better value for money. It has the same Snapdragon 888 chipset under the hood and comes with a gorgeous 120Hz AMOLED screen.
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