A few weeks ago, we brought you the first screenshots and video of Samsung Experience 10 based on Android 9 Pie for the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. Now, we have the Android Pie beta build for the Snapdragon Samsung Galaxy Note 9 thanks to our friends at Firmware.Science. The Samsung Experience 10 update for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is almost exactly the same as the update for the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. Even the Night Theme partly works just like on the latest builds for the Galaxy S9 series. Let’s run down all the changes that the Android Pie update will bring to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. As a bonus, we’ll post a separate article on how to install Samsung Experience 10 for the Galaxy Note 9, so keep an eye out on the XDA Portal for those instructions.
SystemUI and Settings
Compared to Samsung Experience 9.5 which launched on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, the Samsung Experience 10 UI is radically different. Samsung Experience 10 now uses a dark transparent theme for the quick settings and notification panel. Notifications are now more transparent and darker while the quick settings UI is now full screen.
The lock screen has a new default clock. It shows the time and date but is more spread out than the old one. The old one showed the hours stacked on top of the minutes. This new clock design is also present in the Always on Display. I wasn’t able to get a good picture of it, but it looks exactly like the lock screen except it now shows colored app icons for notifications. The lock screen also shows the lock screen apps in a different form with a colored bar of the app icon and the name of the app. You can set which app is shown here in the settings.
The launcher also has an updated UI. The app icons have all become a bit larger. Some icons have actually changed, though. The Samsung Notes, Samsung Messages, and Reminders apps all have new icons. The navigation bar also has new icons which, in my view, match the new app icons pretty well.
As you can see below, the Settings app follows the same design language as the rest of the OS. It now shows white, or grey, cards on a black background. Night Theme will change all the white cards in most apps to gray. In apps like the stock email app, the light theme will turn gray when enabling Night Theme. This early Android Pie build for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 also shows the new gestures in settings, but they do not work. Something I did notice is that swiping up on the home button will bring you home but swiping up on the recent apps button will bring you into the recent apps overview. However, swiping up on the back button does nothing. In the normal navigation bar mode, you can swipe up on the buttons to do their function and you can swipe left and right on the home button to scroll through apps.
Since this is the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, there, of course, will be the S Pen feature. There aren’t any new features that I noticed yet in the update. One thing I did notice from my brief time using it is that the always-on notepad through the Always on Display is buggy. Sometimes. it just doesn’t work and it also doesn’t let you erase your markings. The lack of polish is unsurprising since this is an early, unreleased build of Android Pie for the Galaxy Note 9.
The S Pen settings in the advanced features menu were also updated. There are no new features that we were able to find, but it now it has the matching black background with white cards design. I personally don’t mind it after using it for about a day.
Samsung Notes, the built-in notepad with support for the S Pen, was updated with a new icon and a new user interface. The redesign is all that is new because there are no new features added to the app yet. It has a light theme which makes sense for a notepad app. It will likely be updated with the new Night Theme in a future update, but we’re note entirely sure.
Updated Stock Apps in Samsung Experience 10 for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The camera, like most features in Samsung Experience 10, has been updated with a new UI. The different modes have been moved to the bottom in a scrolling bar. It also moves the AR Emojis and Bixby Vision to the top of the phone. I believe that the 3D models for AR Emojis are a bit higher quality, but I am not able to confirm that. You can also see that the zoom icon is moved to the bottom middle right above the shutter button. The zoom button is glitchy, but pinching to zoom does still work. The camera settings also have the same design as the rest of the settings in this Android Pie update for the Galaxy Note 9.
The email app shows the same design language as every other app, but it also has full support for the new Night Theme. On the left, you can see the stock email app with Night Mode disabled. On the right, you can see the email app with Night Mode enabled. This is the only full app to show different color schemes with Night Mode enabled or disabled. Samsung is probably going to be updating every app with a light theme soon so that we can see a full Night Mode. This is the first app we can see it in.
Samsung Messages is now all black and has a card-style UI just like most other stock apps in Samsung Experience 10. It now has the conversations and contacts options at the bottom of the screen. The message thread shows similarly to Samsung Experience 9 but it’s all black and white. It has the same features as the older Samsung Messages just with an updated UI. The white in the app, in the card menu, will turn gray when you enable Night Mode.
Reminders, Calendar, Contacts, and Clock
Unlike most other apps, the Bixby Reminders app has a purple accent color instead of blue. Reminders still show in this card style and has no new features over the older version for the Galaxy Note 9. The app will show reminders at a specific time and specific location just like Google Assistant‘s reminders. Reminders also has a new app icon in the same style as Samsung Notes and Messages.
Calendar now shows a large space at the top with the month and year. While viewing an event, there will be a card style popup just like the rest of the UI. Events show similarly to the older version of the app. This is very similar if not the same as the old version besides the cards and the top month and year.
Right now, Contacts has the same cards with curved corners. Contacts supports Night Mode in the white areas. When you go to view a contact, it doesn’t show the phone number or contact information right now. The app is buggy and only shows the black window. We can assume that, when this is fixed, it will have the same curved card UI as the rest of the OS.
The Clock app now has a full black UI. The alarm will show how long until your next alarm will ring. For example, if it is 10 PM and your alarm is set for 6 AM, it will say “Next alarm will go off in 8 hours.” This app, unlike most of the others, doesn’t support Night Mode. It shows the gray curved cards instead of white ones with or without Night Mode enabled. This is probably a bug and will likely be fixed in a future build of Android Pie for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
Samsung Experience 10 based on Android Pie is a huge update for Samsung Galaxy devices. This is the first major update that Samsung devices will get after implementing Project Treble support. Right now, the build is full of small bugs here and there as it’s the first one we’ve been able to obtain for the Qualcomm Snapdragon Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Still, it is great to see that Samsung is making great progress on bringing Android Pie to the Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S9+, and Samsung Galaxy Note 9. We’ll keep an eye out for when builds start appearing for the Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S8+, or Samsung Galaxy Note 8.
If you really want you, you can install this build right now. I do not recommend installing it unless you are a developer and know how to deal with bugs. We have no way to report bugs in unreleased software to Samsung, but we’re sure that Samsung will continue working behind-the-scenes to make the Samsung Experience 10 better for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9.