You know what's bad design? The Bixby button on the Galaxy S9/S9+

You know what's bad design? The Bixby button on the Galaxy S9/S9+
You know what inevitably happens when you get a great device, whatever it may be? Eventually, after the initial period of excitement has passed and you’ve settled with the device, you start noticing the small, annoying things. Things that make you go, “Wow, how could they make such a nice thing and do something stupid like that at the same time?” Such is the case with the Bixby button on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+, in my experience.

Don’t get me wrong, the phones are good — some of the best on the market right now — and this irk that I have with the Bixby button is likely far from a deal-breaker for the vast majority of people out there. However, as a professional nitpicker and someone who appreciates sensible design, I just couldn’t ignore this. After I realized that every third time I try to press the power button, I also press the Bixby button along with it, I decided to ask around the office to see if people had also had similar experiences with the new Galaxies. Lo and behold, the same complaint coming from all sides. But it's not just us, the professional nitpickers! People have been complaining about it online as well, and for good reason.

So, what’s wrong with the Bixby button on the Galaxy S9 and S9+, and why is it so easy to press when you don’t mean to?

I keep pressing the thing on accident, no matter which hand I'm using the phone with! UGH!
I keep pressing the thing on accident, no matter which hand I'm using the phone with! UGH!

I keep pressing the thing on accident, no matter which hand I'm using the phone with! UGH!



Unlocking a phone is easy – you just press the power button. However, when you think about it, pressing the power button necessitates that you prop the device on the other side. It’s a lot like squeezing the phone, actually, as pressure is applied across the upper half of both the left and right sides of the frame. And what happens when you have something almost perfectly aligned with the power button? You find yourself accidentally pressing it over, and over, and over again. This is why, on the new Pixels and HTC phones, the active Edge Sense area is so close the bottom. If it were somewhere around the middle, users would often times accidentally activate it when locking or unlocking their phones.

Ever wondered why the volume rocker, when it’s on the opposite side of the power button, is positioned so high up? Same reason. If it’s directly opposed to the power button, you’ll be accidentally pressing it all the time. I didn’t really have this issue with the Galaxy S8. I mean, there were accidental presses of the Bixby button, sure, but nowhere near as often as on the S9 models. That’s likely due to the fact that Samsung has moved the button up a tad and made it wider. Now it's placed in such a way, that no matter which hand I'm holding the phone with, I always either have my index finger or thumb on it, but I guess this was Samsung's goal. Unfortunately, I find it really, really annoying.


Gee Samsung, thanks for having this profound consideration for everyone’s unquenchable urge to gain Bixby experience points! 

This is how I like to imagine it all went down. I know, it's not funny and Samsung is king. Tell me more about that in the comments below! Images by Droidsans

This is how I like to imagine it all went down. I know, it's not funny and Samsung is king. Tell me more about that in the comments below! Images by Droidsans

Don’t get me wrong, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are great phones and you could get accustomed to the less-than-optimal positioning of the Bixby button, much like you could get used to the awkward location of the fingerprint scanner on the S8 models last year. But "getting used to it" doesn't amount to great user experience. It's also the little things at times, especially when it comes to top-tier devices like these, that irk me a lot. In its efforts to push Bixby, Samsung has gone too far with this dubious design choice.

And I actually enjoy some aspects of the AI assistant, such as the revamped Vision component, which I currently find more robust than Google Lens. At this point, however, I'm so annoyed with that button, I’m not even mad that I can’t remap it to something else. Even if I could, I simply don’t want accidentally activating features or apps when I don’t need to. In fact, for me at least, the only good Bixby button at this point is a disabled Bixby button. Speaking of that, here’s a quick tip for ya: go to Bixby Settings > disable Bixby key.

Don’t forget to tune in next week, when I’ll be ranting about how annoying Face ID can be, or how notches for the sake of notches are a terrible design choice. Or something else entirely, who knows.

Related phones

Galaxy S9
  • Display 5.8" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2800 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(31h talk time)
Galaxy S9+
  • Display 6.2" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2800 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3500 mAh(35h talk time)

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62 Comments

1. JMartin22

Posts: 2354; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

No device is perfect and can please everyone I guess. This is just a slight against it for you and some others, I’m sure.

54. audibot

Posts: 598; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

all he has to do is disable the push feature and enable the hold no big deal i would love to see fps in power button but that will never happen

2. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Exactly the same problem I had with the iPhone 6 and volume buttons opposing the power button - poor ergonomics. Far happier with the SE and its practical design.

3. Newguy

Posts: 19; Member since: Jan 04, 2018

I love that button. It's all subjective. This article is trash especially since the fix for this complaint is already there

6. Milen_Y

Posts: 112; Member since: Jun 09, 2016

Aw, thanks bud! So enlighten us? What's the fix for this poor design choice? Disabling the button altogether so you can still keep pressing it all the time without it performing its intended purpose? Brilliant solution!

11. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

I quote: "Disabling the button altogether so you can still keep pressing it all the time without it performing its intended purpose? Brilliant solution!" I believe there are cases available for The S8 and hopefully for The S9 as well which cover this Bixby Button and that pretty much gets it out of your hair. G'Day!

25. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

Enlighten me: have you contacted Samsung directly about this? If so, post another article with your email & their response. Since you're looking for a fix, maybe reaching out to the manufacturer would be a better solution than posting a pointless article & then relying to the comments that you dislike about said article.

27. iushnt

Posts: 3069; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

Disabling the button will bring the phone on par with any other phone.

39. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

No. It'll still be above.

34. Newguy

Posts: 19; Member since: Jan 04, 2018

Spicy! It's a solution that works. Or does the "clickiness" bother you? With all due seriousness, PhoneArena is becoming worse than BuzzFeed with articles like these...

37. RoyalMike unregistered

It's really impossible to click bixby while clicking power button, saying this after using S8 for an year and they didn't even change the position in S9. Bixby press and hold physical key is a practical thing and future of all virtual assistants. Unlike Siri, bixby can perform very complex integrated tasks and to accomplish this it's important that it knows exactly where to stop listening. Without a physical button, virtual assistants stop listening whenever they encounter even a small pause like exclamation in natural language. It often happens that it start processing the command even before you finished saying it or sometimes keep listening and pick up words from the surroundings. But bixby knows when you start and when you stop as you press the key and hold it until you speak.. It'll stop listening only when you'll release the key.. So just stop spreading crap about the key, it's neither useless nor wrongly placed.

57. zebraman

Posts: 59; Member since: Sep 11, 2013

My work phone is a iphone 7 I've lost count how many times I accidentally flick that stupid switch that mutes the volume and I miss phone calls because I can't hear the phone ringing. Could you please write a article how stupid that iPhone switch is thanks that would be great. I also have a galaxy S8 I've owned it for a year I've disabled the bixby button and I never accidentally pressed the bixby button

33. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3094; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

#3 You got served.

40. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

The way you're on his jock, looks like you do some serving yourself.

43. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3094; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Bumburned butt buddy to the rescue.

51. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

No. I just think it's a feminine character trait you jock another dude. Guess some of us were born with more testosterone than others.

55. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3094; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Based on your response this applies to you.

60. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

"#3 You got served." You jocking another dude, ergo, not masculine.

52. Cat97

Posts: 1797; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Yeah, I love it too. It's so rectangular and shiny.

4. drunkenjay

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

same thing with my iphone x volume up and power button is uniform so once in a while i will screenshot on the phone.

17. bucknassty

Posts: 1317; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

I HATE that, constantly do it on the axon 7

5. cmdacos

Posts: 3957; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Go to your doctor and get your physical motor skills tested. Really this is only a problem if you are changing phones often across manufacturers.

7. Milen_Y

Posts: 112; Member since: Jun 09, 2016

But, but, but. What happens when I go test my motor skills and they're just fine and it's just the positioning of the Bixby button that makes no sense? :S

12. cmdacos

Posts: 3957; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Won't happen. You clearly lack control of your own movements. Good luck with that!

29. theviolinist

Posts: 209; Member since: Feb 03, 2018

While you lack control of your brain.

53. cmdacos

Posts: 3957; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Fantastic burn! Thanks for chiming in! Lol...

15. YeahYeah

Posts: 249; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

Bixby button might not make sense to you. To some of us it does. It's been over a year now, so you wanna tell us you still haven't got used to the button or you just being PhoneArena

23. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

The phone adjusts to you, not the way around.

46. TechSceptic

Posts: 1156; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

Not if you own an iphone.

30. drunkenjay

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

they use it for a few days and go back to their iphones

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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