Today we’re looking at the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, again, but this time instead of focusing on specs, we’re going to take a closer look at its User Interface (UI to the informed). Unfortunately, due to technical difficulty, I won’t be including many pictures today. The good news is that the YouTube video didn’t fail me, and it’s only 3 minutes long.
Anyway, Samsung offers a host of devices for the Android market, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that it’s an Android. See, Samsung has custom made its own UI, called TouchWiz, which it superimposes on top of the Android OS. It happens to be very user friendly, which is why many people love Samsung, and won’t stray from the Samsung path. It’s scary out there. Plus all of their devices come pre-loaded with lots of cool Samsung apps and widgets. I briefly mentioned those widgets during the Samsung S4 Mini Review and today we’ll get to see them in action. You can click on the video tour below, or keep reading for a more detailed overview. And by the way, this applies to all Galaxy devices, not just the S4.
Yes. There are more than just Galaxy phones. The Samsung Galaxy line includes the S series (S1-4…and soon the 5), the Note series (which are even bigger with more accessories than the S series), the Tab series (smaller and a little more bare than the S and Note series). These come in the shape of phones, tablets, cameras…and I’m sure I’m missing something.
Anyway, the market is flooded with a smorgasbord of Samsung devices for every techie itch and price range. And the beautiful thing is that they all have the same basic UI in the form of TouchWiz. The options and accessories available will vary depending on the model, but if you can surf a Galaxy S4, you’ll be able to navigate the Galaxy Note Pro with nary a problem.
First off we have our home screen (pictured at the top), and its accompanying pages. Swipe to the side to change pages. You can fill these with apps and widgets, organize your apps into folders, add pages, or delete pages. The space is yours to fill. To change your menu settings, you can either do that from the menu button located at the bottom of the device, or by pulling down the settings and notifications screen. Just swipe down from the top of your screen. This can be done from any screen or app.
And that brings us to the Entertainment Universe. This app doubles as a store for music, videos, books and games, and as an app through which you can access the content that you’ve bought. Same idea as iTunes.
Story Album is a nifty little app where you can take pictures from anywhere (cloud, gallery, google…you name it) and put them into albums that you can flip through. The widget will flip through these pages from the home screen view as well.
The next stock app is the Travel app. Samsung hooked up with Trip Advisor and produced this one, which shows you random pictures of little known destinations. It can look pretty on the widget on your screen, or if it ignites within you the unassailable urge to go there, you tap it. The app will open up and let you buy plane tickets right there. Or book a hotel or whatever you need to do to make it happen.
And then we have Flipboard. I like this one. It reminds me of the Root screen on the HTC One. Whatever that’s called. Basically you can subscribe to news for certain genres, like photography, gaming, science, technology, or whatever makes you tick, and it will flip through cover stories for each of these areas, interspersed with your social media feeds. If you want to read more about anything, just tap it and flick through the articles.
And those are the basics. Everything you need to know to get around on a Galaxy device. Any Galaxy device. Let me know if you have any questions, or if you have any review requests. We’ll always do our best to accommodate you.
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I’m a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I’ve also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.