Samsung’s UI fluidity problem needs fixing

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The Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ are two of the most feature-packed and powerful smartphones released this year. It is powered by a 10nm, 64-bit octa-core processor (Exynos 8895 in most markets and Snapdragon 835 in China and Norther America), 4GB/6GB of RAM, and 64GB of fast UFS 2.1 internal storage. Both chipsets come with powerful GPUs – Mali-G71MP20 (371.2 GFLOPS) in the Exynos 8895 and Adreno 540 (576 GFLOPS) in the Snapdragon 835 – that are more than enough to drive those beautiful high-resolution Infinity Displays. The phones ace most of the synthetic benchmarks, be it CPU or GPU related tasks. However, the age-old Samsung problem still exists: UI fluidity.

Samsung may have made a futuristic-looking, shiny UI for the Galaxy S8 and S8+, but that hasn’t improved software fluidity. Don’t get me wrong. Even the heaviest of apps and games open fast and run without breaking a sweat, but I still notice lag here and a dropped frame there from time to time. For example, I can see a lot of dropped frames when opening the app drawer or while accessing the notifications bar. Moreover, the phone gets stuck for a couple of seconds when it connects to Wi-Fi or cellular data. I’ve noticed that Google apps particularly experience a lot of stutters compared to other phones, and the Gboard keyboard even misses keystrokes.

In comparison, the Google Pixel, the recently released LG G6, as well as the OnePlus 5 perform much smoother. If you don’t believe me, just activate the Profile GPU Rendering (Developer Options > GPU Rendering Profile > On Screen As Bars) option on your S8 or S8+ and see how many bars cross the safe green line. The taller the lines, the worse the scrolling performance. Of all the current generation high-end phones that I have used (and I’ve used most of them), the Galaxy S8 and S8+ have the worst performance when it comes to scrolling and smoothness of UI. Even though the LG G6 and the Google Pixel have the previous-generation Snapdragon 821 processor, they fare better in this regard. Much cheaper phones from Xiaomi have a smoother UI as well.

Here are rendering profiles for the Galaxy S8+, LG G6, and the Google Pixel (from left to right) in their settings menus (the screenshots were taken after scrolling up and down a few times):

s8-lag-3

Why is it that Samsung, with all the raw power in its reach, can’t make a phone that can just scroll without hiccups and have a consistently smooth user interface? And this isn’t the first time this has happened with Samsung smartphones. I’ve used the Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy Note 5, and the Galaxy S7 edge in the last two years. I am now using the Galaxy S8+, and it’s the same story with Samsung year after year. The Galaxy Note 5’s performance was the smoothest of all. The Galaxy S7 edge was pretty smooth too when I first started using it, but then its performance degraded month after month. The phone received a new lease of life with the Nougat update, but the performance once again started degrading after a few weeks.

Samsung has perfected the art of hardware design. But it needs to do a lot better in terms of software. The South Korean smartphone giant might have changed the name of its version of Android from TouchWiz to Samsung Experience, but it needs more than a name change and a spray of paint. It needs to be built from the ground up. Even though Samsung offers hundreds of useful features (SideSync is one of my favorite features), it’s not enough. We have come a long way from the days of the Galaxy Note 4, but the company still needs to work on making its user interface smoother and increase software stability. In my opinion, it is the only area where Samsung is lagging behind others, and it just doesn’t feel right, especially on devices that cost nearly $1000 in some markets.

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tester5224
3 months 25 days ago
tester5224

seems much better with the latest update, one with 1-July security patch. ( 750.44MB )

4 months 10 days ago
b b

2017-7-7 The ui still lag
samsung fake upate

akkh99
4 months 10 days ago
akkh99

I have used 5 samsung phones(flagship and midrange phones) and NEVER stuck when it connects to Wi-Fi or cellular data.
Writer may get paid from other manufacturers to write articles like this.

mikkelrev69
4 months 13 days ago
mikkelrev69

It is the S-lag. Nothing to argue about. IT IS THE S-LAG. Has been forever and will be until the stubborn old samsung CEOs are steping out of their blind-deaf-denial. Get rith of the S-store and massive Samsung account sync tasks. Account syncing is weighing down. Knox bloat? Bloa bloat bloat. Lets keep S notes and S health. Strip the rest..

Shonk
4 months 14 days ago
Shonk

Let me give you guys a clue

JVM “Virtual Machine”
e.g. non native code
e.g. around 100x slower than native code (#C etc..)

the tradeoff you make when trying to come to market with an os quickly is it runs bad
go look at how badly the windows universal platform apps run
same again non native Code in an effort to bring changes to market faster
at the expense of performance

tcampos
4 months 5 days ago
tcampos

It would make sense if Google, LG and HTC didn’t had an UI without any of this lag.

The problem has nothing to do with Java and the VM that Android uses.

Martin DAYI
4 months 15 days ago
Martin DAYI

Nice article. Agree 100%.

4 months 17 days ago
Tomi Holma

Yes but still best phone for me is Samsung i love it. Today came firmware update again on s7 edge,at short time.At least they are trying. I agree whit this post!

blasimax
4 months 18 days ago
blasimax

If you go in “Developer option” and select “force GPU rendering” HW 2D acceleration and check “Rendering GPU profile” you see that the situation is better and better I don’t know if could be a suggestion for someone and for Samsung

strazzi
4 months 18 days ago
strazzi

No issues with EU model. I didn’t see any lag when connecting to wifi or mobile data. The only lag is with appdrawer and it is minimal. Mabey issues with US model?

KimJongWho
4 months 18 days ago
KimJongWho

this article amused me – have not noticed any such issue with lag or fluidity

slimjago
4 months 19 days ago
slimjago

I totally agree about all issues. Have you tried the other performance modes? Entertaiment mode seems to improve performance and fluidity, even when you connect the wifi (don’t get stuck).

sgs2aus
4 months 19 days ago
sgs2aus

Samsung has been trying to fix such issues for only 5 years. Maybe they need another 5 to get it done?

jdrch
4 months 20 days ago
jdrch

Yikes. I tried GPU Profiling on my S5 running LOS 14.1 and most of the bars were below the green line. Samsung makes amazing hardware, but the best way to use it is to slap a custom ROM on the device. Their OS is absolute garbage.

4 months 20 days ago
Manish Kumar

Samsung released an update for Touchwiz app drawer lag in play store.

walkermoon
4 months 20 days ago
walkermoon

Totally agree. I said the exact same thing when Nougat Beta was released for the S7 edge. But everyone was like “you must be using it wrong and bla bla”. Use other phones and you will certainly feel the difference. Camera, display, build quality and all is excellent, it’s only the software that’s dragging Samsung down.

wpbogdan
4 months 20 days ago
wpbogdan

>beta

billywongwashere
4 months 20 days ago
billywongwashere

Not sure what lag you are talking about? Depends what widgets you are running in the background.

Personally it’s been smooth experience though I have turn the transition to 0.5 on dev mode

Khlad
4 months 19 days ago
Khlad

i have also sat mine animation time to 0.5 and have not felt any lag since i bought my s8+ 2 months ago

anactoraaron
4 months 21 days ago
anactoraaron

UFS 2.1 is incorrect. The S8 snapdragon is UFS 2.0. S8+ snapdragon is 2.1.

HomerS66
4 months 21 days ago
HomerS66

I believe that was only when there was a general lack of UFS 2.1 availability but should be better now.

alozide
4 months 21 days ago
alozide

Samsung needs to dramatically improve on:
1• Faster and extended OS update support on their devices.
2 • Overhaul their UI and native apps fluidity.
3 • Respect their loyal customers opinions for better product development and research.

4 months 19 days ago
Garth St. Omer

I would settle for number 2 alone.

stondec
4 months 21 days ago
stondec

And here I was thinking they fixed S lag.

RoadRunner99
4 months 21 days ago
RoadRunner99

This is not good, I agree. However, it will be the issue of software support that will make me switch from Samsung. Two years of updates is just not acceptable for £700+ devices.

samsungfan99
4 months 21 days ago
samsungfan99

Two years of updates is with every Android device, don’t blame Samsung…

RoadRunner99
4 months 20 days ago
RoadRunner99

If that’s meant as an excuse, it’s a poor one.

megatooth
4 months 21 days ago
megatooth

Maybe Samsung by Nova Launcher and fix the problem. Ha!!!

BavieSGS4
4 months 21 days ago
BavieSGS4

Sorry but i have checked it on my s8. I saw you used screenshots in your actricle. The one from Samsung is from the appdrawer and the one from Pixel and G6 are from Settings. On my S8 the lines do not cross the greenline when I scroll in settings. Could you show the screenshots from the appdrawer from Pixel and the G6? For now I think your article is incorrect.

edwardmcardle
4 months 21 days ago
edwardmcardle

I’ve had every Samsung since the s2, love the software and features. Have been holding out for the note 8 but after using a friend’s MUCH cheaper oneplus 5, the os smoothness of the Samsung does not compare. As much as I love Samsung and the aesthetics and features, I may have to switch to the oneplus or even the iPhone 8 when it appears…it’s a sad day as I hate apple but there is so much to be said for a nice phone that runs fluidly

fcaroll
4 months 21 days ago
fcaroll

This is a shame and Samsung of course won’t fix it. Samsung should be big enough to be able to fix this problem.

Same issues as written in the article here on S7 about WiFi etc.
Thinking about custom ROM..

And think about all that slightly older phones that won’t receive the update (if they will fix something)

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