Stutter-gate: the number one thing I want to see Samsung fix in the Galaxy S22

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
This is the number one thing I want to see Samsung fix in the Galaxy S22
The Samsung Galaxy S22 family is shaping up to be almost everything one could ask for in an Android flagship launch: the Galaxy S22 model will get a bit more compact to please small phone lovers, the Galaxy S22+ is expected to remain that great middle ground, and the S22 Ultra is coming with a built-in S Pen and the iconic rectangular Note design coupled with industry-leading periscope zoom cameras. 

Add to that the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip that is expected to finally solve the quite common overheating issues we had with the Snapdragon 888, and the Galaxy S22 series check almost all the boxes.

But as I was using the Galaxy S21, which just recently got updated to One UI 4.0, I couldn't help but get reminded once again about an issue that has been lingering with Samsung phones and One UI for a long time.

That problem is specifically with the gesture navigation, which years after its debut still feels buggy and unfinished. The problem is certainly not with speed per se — the Galaxy S21 generally loads up games quickly and does fairly well in speed tests. What these speed tests don't catch, however, is the persistent microlag and stutter that accompanies a few of the key navigation gestures.

UI responsiveness needs a fix ASAP

The first place where I notice this the most is the swipe up gesture that you use to go back to the home screen. This is one of the most common gestures and that stutter quickly becomes irritating.

The situation is so embarrassingly bad that even budget phones these days handle gesture navigation far better than the most premium Samsung flagships.

Google's affordable $450 Pixel 5a, for example, handles multitasking with aplomb and all gestures appear perfectly smooth, despite the processor inside it scoring barely half the performance of the flagship Galaxy. I have also explicitly tested this on the latest Pixel 6 series, a few OnePlus phones, a couple of Xiaomi devices, and none of them have this issue. This is all on One UI.

And I'm not the only one who notices: there are a few threads on Reddit with dozens of people complaining (also look here, here and here for a few examples) and even a few suggestions for a possible fix. One such suggestion is to go into Settings > Apps, scroll down to One UI Home and tap on the Battery section where you can allow One UI Home unrestricted use of the battery.

I'd be curious to hear whether this fix works for you. Unfortunately, on my end, this only helps a tiny bit, but the microlag still remains very much present on all three Galaxy S21 phones even after this tweak.

And this is nothing new, the stutter-gate issue has been around for years. A quick Google search reveals an equal amount of frustration with stutter on the Galaxy S20 series from last year (Reddit thread here, here and here). 

Navigation gestures in general feel broken

The stutter that accompanies the swipe up gesture is just part of a larger problem, however, and that is the way Samsung phones handle gesture navigation.

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Samsung uses a different gesture navigation than what is standard on other Android phones and... it just doesn't work as well.

Switching between cards by swiping left and right in the bottom part of the screen is a standard gesture that works consistently across most Android phones, but not on Galaxies, where it's hit or miss.

Swiping up and pausing midway to reveal the recent cards menu works the same way across all Android phones, but not on Galaxies where instead the UI decided to automatically take you to the previous app, a strange decision that does not make much sense. Those inconsistencies are hard to explain.

TouchWiz is gone, but part of the issues remain

Samsung has been optimizing One UI for years, and some of you may even remember the company decided to switch away from the TouchWiz branding it used previously, exactly because TouchWiz came with a reputation for overwhelming features and... yes, stutter.

The company has surely improved quite a bit, and One UI 4.0 is our favorite version so far, but it has done nothing to fix the issues with gesture navigation, and I have to speak out.

And it is all on Samsung here, as even budget phones handle gesture navigation perfectly well. So let's keep our fingers crossed and spread the word, it just might finally reach Samsung and help make the Galaxy S22 the no-compromise phone we all want it to be.

Also, do let me know if you have noticed this micro-stutter issue and whether this is something that bothers you as much as it bothers me. Looking forward to your thoughts in the comments below.

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