10 best features of manufacturers' custom Android UIs that should be on more phones

10 best features of manufacturers' custom Android UIs that should be on more phones
In order to differentiate their products from the ones offered by their rivals, pretty much every manufacturer on the planet adds his own touch on top of the existing Android base. That's right, even though your Samsung device looks markedly different from a Nexus one on the outside, they share the same core that is Google's mobile operating system. But it's not just about the skin (the overlay) -- the available feature set across Sony, HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and LG devices differs. Sometimes significantly.

Samsung and LG handsets, for example, are well known for their massive arsenals of extras and perks, while, in comparison, Sony and Motorola phones are relatively down-to-the-point with not too many additional features on top of the stock Android experience. But the truth is that all of them have at least one feature that we love using and would like to see trickle down to other devices. Or, alternatively, for the traditionally conservative vanilla Android to include them out of the box.

Quite a few features made it to our shortlist, but we then further narrowed it down to just ten-- some of which we feel have universal appeal and would add to the Android experience. Itching to know which features ended up on the list? Go right ahead and jump into the slideshow below.

Features arranged in no particular order.


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56 Comments

1. hmd74

Posts: 540; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

Xiaomi

16. itsjustJOH

Posts: 232; Member since: Oct 18, 2012

I want to know what love is, I want you to Xiaomi.

2. ibap

Posts: 867; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

So why does the graphic box say 13?

3. sorcio46

Posts: 435; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

Where is the most useful? I'm talking about the Active Display by Motorola.

10. nomancool unregistered

not very battery friendly on LCDs . but it should be on the list .

24. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Yes. I was thinking that too...

4. nicholassss

Posts: 368; Member since: May 10, 2012

Knock on is the #1 thing I'm going to miss when I get rid of my G2 this fall.

9. lhtbinh1909

Posts: 94; Member since: Apr 02, 2013

So why won't pick another LG.

56. nicholassss

Posts: 368; Member since: May 10, 2012

I'm in love with the note 4 and the nexus 6. I need outrageously large phones in my life.

11. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Lumias had it first.

14. jan25

Posts: 470; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

18. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

No lumia had anything first. Either true Nokia phones or other OEMs had it first. Lumia's are just wannabe crapass WPs that wish they could live up to Nokia's true phones.

33. nghtwng68

Posts: 108; Member since: Nov 26, 2009

So true!!! Lumia WPs are just duplicating what Nokia phones were. Interested to see the new Lumias and how they fare.

22. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Nokia N9 had it first, not lumia.

53. techsavvy.jaz

Posts: 163; Member since: Feb 07, 2012

N9, even on this day, one of the best devices, but that guy Elop!

5. palmguy

Posts: 983; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Yeah, what he said. About the 13.

6. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

When will Lollipop be available on Nexus 7?

36. ePoch270

Posts: 193; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

Nov 3rd (2014 version)

7. ficklt

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 30, 2014

Also huawei's option of downgrading the display resolution to 720p from 1080p to save battery. Found in honor 6

25. Cyrus.I

Posts: 11; Member since: Jul 21, 2014

Not really a custom UI feature... at all....

8. TyrionLannister unregistered

No multi window !!!!!!!!!!!

12. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

#10 can be done with a custom launcher like Nova. #9 should definitely be on all devices. I don't use my menu or recents key all that much, but I use the back key all the time, so why would the back key be so far to reach with my thumb, especially on a big phone? It bugs me that most OEM ROMs don't allow button configuration options.

19. Awalker

Posts: 1982; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

If the back button is out of reach for you why don't you use your other hand? I switch it up all the time.

13. Symon_Fleece

Posts: 351; Member since: May 30, 2014

Multi-Window is there. it is very useful especially in big displays.

15. phljcnth

Posts: 556; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I think Samsung's S Beam and Multi-window should be on the list too.

41. Fazz1977

Posts: 153; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

I partially agree. Multi-window is cool, but most OEMs have it now. S-Beam never worked anyway.

17. steelew

Posts: 221; Member since: Jun 04, 2012

also a dedicated flashlight button in the notification shade. (I know lollipop has it), Full screen widgets on the lockscreen. Most of the stuff in wanam xposed and gravity box

20. Awalker

Posts: 1982; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

There's no lock screen widgets in 5.0.

21. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

I'd really like many of the awesome touchwiz features on stock android, touchwiz is ugly and bloated but the functionality is unmatched.

39. Venkatramanan

Posts: 327; Member since: Aug 15, 2014

I also don't like the fonts and icons of TW. But their functionality is great.

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