Apple vs Samsung vs LG vs Pixel and more notification shades: visual comparison

Oh, pull-down bar and notification shade, what would we do without you on Android! And you, pull-up iOS Control Center, how's that for a handy toggle access!

Those hidden interface panels where phone makers place shortcuts for quick access to connectivity toggles, and host app, call or message notifications, are one of the more diverse interface segments that can make or brake the respective user experience. From background to layout, from iconography to notification access - each and every one of the major phone brands approaches the notification and toggle shades' visuals in a different manner, and provides different ways to access them.

This interface element is usually tucked away from plain sight, and only visible when you pull up or down to preview a message or turn on, say, Bluetooth. The way you access the shade, however, and its layout, could make interaction with your device easier, or an exercise in frustration, that is why we wanted to do a brief listing of who does it how, so you can gauge what you are missing, or where the toggle panel of your phone maker excels compared to the rest. Check them out and tell us whose approach is your fav in the poll below.

Whose notification/toggles shade solution you like most?

Stock (Pixel, HTC, Moto, Sony)
EMUI (honor, Huawei)



1. Omran2000

Posts: 101; Member since: Aug 18, 2016

I see that the EMUI is one of the most beautiful Android interfaces ...

2. josephnero

Posts: 795; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

Stock/Sony is the best

25. phonearenarocks

Posts: 607; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

Samsung notification area can be themed which is why I give it to Sammy.

3. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

I prefer the CM themed one. Close to stock but with different colors.

4. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2284; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Well Andriod just looks the same.

6. runzlord

Posts: 245; Member since: Oct 13, 2013

Same here

31. IronTech

Posts: 154; Member since: May 27, 2016

The same but different!

5. runzlord

Posts: 245; Member since: Oct 13, 2013

Why does PA always exempt Windows from every comparism article?

7. bucky

Posts: 3797; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Because nobody owns one.

9. kiko007

Posts: 7524; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I do.....

15. meanestgenius

Posts: 22807; Member since: May 28, 2014

I own one as well....

19. sgodsell

Posts: 7618; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I own WP devices as well. However look at the sales last quarter alone. Only 1.3 million WP/W10M devices sold within 90 days. The same timeframe 330 Androids smartphones sold and 45 million iPhones sold. So you have to come to grips with it. In reality next to no one is buying WP/W10M devices nowadays?

22. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Sales should matter when it comes to comparisons. If people saw Windows devices more, and what they can do, maybe more would switch. This is the same BS with the election. There were 4 candidates, but everyone including the stupid media just focused on 2, and people acted if if they had no choice but to pick one of the two. Same thing is happening here. We have more options other then just Apple and Google and Samsung. Show all the options.

24. sgodsell

Posts: 7618; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Like I said before, let's get real. Microsoft has burnt too many of its customers. And only Microsoft can blame themselves for that one. With half baked updates, or new releases that are half finished. Not to mention making promise's and not fulfilling them. The customers are the ones paying for Microsofts mistakes. They keep shooting themselves in their foot. No wonder why their smartphone sales tanked. Sales are an indication of how well a platform is doing. Guess what Windows in the mobile space is not a hot commodity at all. Even the apps and developers are still missing.

23. meanestgenius

Posts: 22807; Member since: May 28, 2014

What do the sales of anything have to do with who currently owns a Windows Phone? Answer: Absolutely nothing. He said "because nobody owns a Windows Phone." I responded "I own one as well." What does ownership have to do with who is buying the phone now? And if you think that 1.3 million people equates to "next to no one", then you need to take a basic math class.

26. sgodsell

Posts: 7618; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

With around 377 million smartphones sold in that time period. Sales do matter, especially when Microsoft had around 9 times more smartphone sales for the previous year timeframe. That means consumers are leaving Microsoft's mobile platform in droves. Hey why don't we see Tizen or Firefox OS brought in as well? Hmm, if you want to include Windows Mobile, then others should be included as well.

29. meanestgenius

Posts: 22807; Member since: May 28, 2014

None of what you said has anything to with "current ownership." I think you just like trolling anything that's not Android and are using this opportunity to do so. And what would be wrong with bringing in other OS's? I see absolutely no problem with that.

8. kiko007

Posts: 7524; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Stock for me (Android). iOS notifications have been crap since iOS 7, even though the reply all function is really useful.

10. darkkjedii

Posts: 31764; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I actually choose Samsung, even though I like how Apple splits them the most. Samsungs customizations, and long press to go into its setting, combined with how it looks takes the cake.

13. Podrick

Posts: 1285; Member since: Aug 19, 2015

Samsung's notification menu is ugly at 1st sight but it looks great with material dark theme. I wish Google would copy that but instead Samsung is making its notification menu like stock Android with Nougat.

14. darkkjedii

Posts: 31764; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I like the moves they're making with it.

11. Macready

Posts: 1830; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

Samsung, the godfather of the pull down notification center. Not only were they first out of all these, stock and most other ones are now almost a direct copy of the Samsung one, or older Samsung versions except Samsung still offers more customization than others.

12. Podrick

Posts: 1285; Member since: Aug 19, 2015

I liked the notification menu on stock android kitkat. Never been a fan of it since lollipop.

16. meanestgenius

Posts: 22807; Member since: May 28, 2014

I chose "other". The BlackBerry Hub on BB10 is the best Notification center/menu, IMO. The Hub+ that BlackBerry has made available for Android is a close second for me, and Windows 10 for Mobile notifications center plus live tiles is third.

17. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

What a bunch of BS....this is basically a comparison of the quick settings panel instead of the actual full notification shade. They show 6 images for the iPhone whole showing one example of the others, half of which don't show half the notifications panel at all. For example, this is what stock notifications and quick settings actually look like: Stock Expanded quick settings: iPhone notifications: iPhone quick settings: Honestly, the Apple settings panel is fine, and it pushes their music focus just fine. Their notifications though, are absolute s**t. The whole floating frosted glass look is down right terrible looking compared to the previous iteration (​7-150922-Notifications-2-l.jpg) which actually followed a uniform ideology. The Android notifications panel is damn near perfect now. Uniformly square and the width of the screen now. Great spacing and organization with collapsed and expandable notifications. Also, the new quick reply UI looks great too. At least it is moving in a nice direction instead of a worse one.

28. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Almighty FinalFlash, please enlighten the iOS fanboys, about how Tim Cook and Co., have destroyed the good UI of IOS, by making it more girly and those in special relationships. On Samsung especially, if we all have been watching as TouchWiz went through its changes, can see Samsung is the one who moving forward. I like the toggles are no more those huge toggle tiles. Even though they technically are there, with the size of the tile not showing and just having the text lined up looks so much better. I like how notifications are handled. I like being able to swipe them off, where I dont have to change the way I hold the phone. With iOS, I have to now use my other hand to remove notifications from the shade. For me Apple's stubbornness in trying to stick with a single home button is why the iOS UI is ruined and cluttered. Because every gesture has to be tied to only a button or a swipe. And 3D Touch make sit worse with useless extra steps. That an the display on the iPhone is simply too small, on the entry level model. It should already be 5.1-5.3" already, with the larger phone being 5.7". The UI is still designed to work with a phone that had a tiny 4" display or less. Its needs to expand. This is where Google and Samsung has done better. They have evolved the UI from smaller screens and made them better on larger screen. Using the space to bring the ability to accomplish takes with less gestures. So pissed they gimped the iPad Pro. Rasing teh cost $100 and not eben adding 3D Touch was a slap in the face and for that Apple has put me to my limit. I wanna see what the next iPhone is gonna bring and the main thing they need to do is evolve the UI for a larger display and a curved one as well.

18. andriodfanboy1

Posts: 170; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Im Samsung fan and owner of Samsung phone but voted for Huawei latest emui coz in my opinion its more pleasing to eye than any other android makers

20. KingSam

Posts: 1521; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

"It almost feels like it hasn't moved in looks and features in the past few Android editions" Looks maybe but it's subtle improvements count. The same can be said about iOS.

21. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I like the one on the Pixel and the Galaxy. But I like the Pixel more. Apple notification shade is useless or maybe I'm using it wrong. LOL. It takes to many steps to do simple things. I assume because Samsung on their shade you can slide the notifications off the screen, can't be used by others. So Apple at least had to work around than, pressing the "X" and then have to choose "Clear". If Apple didn't gimp the iPad Pro and put 3D Touch on it, then they could use it to hold the notification and you can choose to delete as an option. When they can do things straight-forward, it turns out ok. But when they have to amke a work-around, it really sucks. Samsung shade including the Quick Toggles is a huge plus and same with the Pixel. Apple separating the two I understand, but it sucks. On any platform, I think the notification shade would be better if I had an option to swipe it from the bottom of the screen vs the top.

27. monoke

Posts: 1206; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

More of an android person but I gotta say ios ui is much better looking than the material design crap no matter how it's skinned.

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