Apple takes the cake in navigation gestures, followed by Huawei's side swipes (poll results)

Whose navigation gestures approach do you prefer?

Apple
33.43%
Samsung
19.82%
Huawei
22.98%
OnePlus
16.43%
Google
7.35%

The days when you had to root, jailbreak or install third-party apps in order to avoid stretching all the way up or down while holding the phone with one hand are (almost) gone, and every manufacturer is coping with "all-screen" phones gesture navigation in a different way. We asked you a few days ago which approach do you prefer, and Apple's non-customizable but fluid and simple gestures on its notch-y iPhones took the cake. 

Huawei, with its innovative side-sliding that replaces the back key as the one that forces you to stretch down most often, was placed second by 400 of our 1740 respondents, followed by Samsung and its One UI gestures. The adaptable Oxygen UI is next, and Google's rigid system gestures came dead last, despite the familiar back key iconography.

Apple - the 'gestural' iOS


Apple takes the cake in navigation gestures, followed by Huawei's side swipes (poll results)
The iPhone X was unlike any phone Apple had released by that moment, and not only because of the unsightly "notch" protrusion from its top bezel. That notch allowed Apple to fit the newly-minted Face ID kit there, and still brag with a 5.8" diagonal, more than any of its other phones at that point, at least on paper. 

Despite the giant protrusion at the top, Apple managed a nice screen-to-body ratio percentage by trimming the bottom bezel significantly, but that had one side effect - no home button. With the 2018 iPhone crop, Apple killed its iconic home key for good, carrying over the simple iPhone X gestures that were seemingly easy for people to adapt to.

Pros

  • Simple gestures with a fast learning curve
  • Smooth animations

Cons

  • Navigation indicator can't be customized
  • Stretching all the way down on 6"+ inch iPhones gets uncomfortable with one hand


Samsung One


Samsung is a bit handicapped when it comes to navigation gestures, as the sides of its curved OLED displays are doing their People Edge or other duties, so busting a move from there is out of the question for now. It already has a pull-down and swipe-up gestures on an empty screen area to bring the notification shade from the clouds or open the app drawer, therefore the only side left for a new navigation party, is the very bottom. 

That's exactly what the new One UI does - its gesture navigation option replaces the bottom strip with three even-spaced "pills" for home, back and recent apps, or you can hide those altogether and only swipe by muscle memory. Unfortunately, except being more aesthetically pleasing by doing away with the navigational strip, these gestures add no value to the navigational ergonomics, as you have to stretch even further down with your thumb to execute. We won't comment on the smoothness of the One UI gestures until it hits a retail stage, of course, but the basic concept is unlikely to change until then.

Apple takes the cake in navigation gestures, followed by Huawei's side swipes (poll results)

Pros

  • Fast learning curve as three gesture indicators take the place of three virtual buttons

Cons

  • Stretching all the way down on large screens is even less comfortable than before
  • Edge screen functionality essentially blocks using the sides for navigation gestures

Huawei Emotion


Huawei's gesture-based interface option tries to, thankfully, incorporate the sides of the new Mate 20 series, and the P20 will join when it gets the new EMUI 9 with Android Pie. We know what you are going to ask - does going back by swiping from the screen edges works well with cases on? It does surprisingly well, at least with the official silicon case that comes in the Mate 20 and 20 Pro boxes. 

Moreover, Huawei didn't complicate things further by asking you to guestimate where does the home button gesture area end and the recent apps one begins like Samsung. It just did what Apple does with the notch-y iPhones, and incorporated one move for both home screen and recent apps calling by simply holding the swipe-up gestures a bit longer. 

Apple takes the cake in navigation gestures, followed by Huawei's side swipes (poll results)


Pros

  • No need to stretch down for the most used back gesture
  • Rich functionality and customization options
  • "Clean" navigation mode without any visuals

Cons

  • There's still no swipe down gesture to pull the notification side


OnePlus Oxygen


Apple takes the cake in navigation gestures, followed by Huawei's side swipes (poll results)
Chinese phone makers have never shied away from big-screen phones that are, well, big in Asia, and have been incorporating gestures into their interfaces from times immemorial. 

Given that OnePlus has wiggled its way onto US carriers like T-Mobile, we are using its approach as an example, but Xiaomi and other smaller than Huawei Chinese makers have been having gesture navigation before it was a thing. They are now much more polished, though, given that Google has incorporated them in Android on a system basis. 

On the OnePlus 6T, for instance, you can choose from a traditional strip, Android Pie navigation indicators similar to what Google's Pixel 3 has, or a clean bottom with no navigation visuals. Should you choose the latter, the OnePlus 6T indeed becomes "all-screen" at the front, at least from a navigational perspective.



Pros

  • Multiple customization options
  • "Clean" navigation mode without any visuals

Cons

  • No side gestures to facilitate going back on a big screen phone without stretching
  • Having both left and right swipe-ups act as a back key can be confusing



Google Pixel 


Apple takes the cake in navigation gestures, followed by Huawei's side swipes (poll results)
Intended to be a showcase of the new Android navigational system that ditches the familiar virtual buttons strip, the Pixel 3 and 3 XL got anointed with the obligatory pill-shaped home indicator, but also a back button to the left of it. 

Swiping up from the pill brings the multitasking view with current app frames to swipe between, pick or flick away. Below them, you can now find the search field and a few often used apps for added convenience. 

This system works and it works fine, with the typical Pixel smoothness. There is still no going back by swiping from the sides though, though, and you still have to stretch all the way down and to the left to reach the most used navigation key on your phone. 

Google hasn't given you the options to customize or bring back the navigation bar of yesteryear, so the learning curve might be steeper.

Pros

  • Familiar back key graphics
  • Richer multitasking screen with search and most used apps

Cons

  • The visuals still look like a retro bar with one action missing
  • No opportunity to customize

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8 Comments

1. Gryffin

Posts: 48; Member since: Dec 19, 2018

do a similar poll after final version release of one ui.

2. Shkselectah

Posts: 38; Member since: Jun 26, 2018

and where are the results of this poll? Android vs iPhone: what phone do you have right now, and do you intend to switch to the other?

3. Peaceboy

Posts: 640; Member since: Oct 11, 2018

Android gestures sucks. They’re good in costumizing.

5. rouyal

Posts: 1573; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Android fanbois can spend their lonely nights changing launchers, widgets and iconpacks. The only price is letting Google track your movement and your searches like big brother. The Little 6 should be here crying any minute.

4. rouyal

Posts: 1573; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Wow didn’t know how shamelessly Huawei copied Apples gestures.

6. baldilocks

Posts: 1480; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

And you know how shamelessly Apple copied Palm? Stop being a fanboy, it just looks ridiculous.

7. syntaxlord

Posts: 239; Member since: Oct 01, 2018

Say what you want about Apple and Palm, but a lot of the icons in EMUI are copied straight from iOS.

8. rouyal

Posts: 1573; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Ok, so Huawei, or any of these other Android clones copied Palm and not Apple? They all, at the same time, dug out old WebOS devices to copy it, right when Apple does it. Don't chase your tail trying to make an argument. Someone else can do it "first" but when Apple does it, everyone follows. The real "herd" or "isheep" is Android.

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