What is an Android skin?What are the most popular Android skins on the market?

Xiaobai Software  2022-03-30 18: 08  read 238 views

The biggest feature of Android phones is that there are many choices.Whatever your taste, you'll find a phone that fits your unique style.And now, style is more about software than hardware.

While all Android phones run on the same operating system, their look and feel can vary greatly depending on the brand you use.Next, we'll introduce you to what Android skins are, and six Android skins you should know about.

What is an Android skin?

Unlike iOS, Apple's proprietary operating system, Android is an open-source operating system.This allows manufacturers like Samsung and OnePlus to customize the software experience on their phones by adding design tweaks to the version of Android running on them.

Just like you download the launcher from the Play Store, brands customize the UI on their phones to showcase their unique style and stand out from the competition.Based on your taste, you may prefer one Android skin over another.

1. Stock Android

 

Stock Android is the original version of Android, that is, it runs under the shell of every Android phone.If you want to experience Android in its purest form, without any design tweaks or pre-installed bloatware apps, this is the best option.It's lightweight, simple, and easy to adapt.

That said, the original Android's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness.Because it only gives you the basics, you'll miss something like Samsung'sOne UIor millet'sMIUISuch a heavy Android skin offers extra features that many people find handy and fun to use.

Also, native Android is fairly rare, as most smartphone makers like to have skins on their phones.So, if you're going to buy a native Android phone, Motorola and Nokia are your main two options.

2. Google's Pixel UI

 

Pixel UIIt's the Android skin you see on Google's Pixel phones.Note that Pixel UI isn't Google's official name for the skin; it's just a term fans use when referring to it.

Many people equate the Pixel UI with native Android because they look and behave similarly; after all, Google owns Android.But despite this similarity, they are not the same.First, the Pixel UI has more features than the stock Android, and it's also more visually dazzling.

The biggest selling point of the Pixel UI is that it receives OS updates faster than other skins.This means that if you own a Pixel phone, you'll get new Android features before anyone else, as well as new features that are exclusive to the Pixel.

Inevitably, it's also the most Google-centric of all Android skins, which may or may not be a plus or minus depending on how comfortable you are with Google services.

3. Samsung'sOne UI

 

One UI is the skin that runs on all Samsung Galaxy phones released after 2018; it's the successor to the company's older TouchWiz Android skin. One UI is one of the heaviest skins on this list, loved by casual and power users alike; it's loaded with a ton of features you might not find on other skins.

Still, some users have complained that One UI comes with too many apps pre-installed.You see, Samsung offers its own replacements for many Google apps, including browser, app store, calendar, and basic apps like phone, messages, contacts, and clock.

All those extra apps can make the software feel clunky, especially when you're used to using Google apps as your default.With One UI, however, you do get the security of Samsung Knox and fast software updates for up to four years, which is even more than what Google offers on the Pixel line, ensuring longevity.

4. OnePlusOXYGEN

 

OnePlusOXYGENIt is very popular among tech lovers for its clean, minimalistic and smooth.Many popular tech critics even called it their favorite Android skin.

However, since OnePlus announced its merger with Oppo, OxygenOS has undergone some changes, with Oppo'scolorosresemblance.Understandably, this caused a huge backlash from OnePlus fans, forcing the company to backtrack on its decision and clarify.

However, OxygenOS is still a great option for those who want a near-as-is Android experience with some basic tweaks and features added on top.But it cannot be ruled out that OxygenOS will continue tocolorosPossibility to get inspiration.

5. Xiaomi'sMIUI

 

Xiaomi's MIUI is the second most popular Android skin in the world after Samsung's One UI; in fact, it is the leader in many Asian markets.Besides being heavily inspired by iOS, MIUI is also the heaviest Android skin out there, with tons of customization options, widgets, themes, and support for icon packs.

Unfortunately, it also has many pre-installed bloated apps and built-in ads.Profiting from software partnerships with advertisers and third-party developers, Xiaomi has lowered the price of its phones to get more sales.

For you, that means MIUI may feel a little more cluttered.You'll also find many Xiaomi system apps asking for unnecessary permissions, including Calculator, App Drawer, and Cleaner.That's not surprising, since Xiaomi bills itself as a data company, so you can expect more tracking.

6. ColorOS by Oppo

 

If you mix MIUI and native Android, you get Oppo's ColorOS.In other words, it's lighter than MIUI, but still heavy enough to be very customizable and feature-rich.Many describe ColorOS as "mature" and polished, while others don't like it much.You have to use it to decide if it's right for you.

What we'll say, however, is that recent versions of ColorOS are far more refined than previous iterations.There are fewer ads, bugs, and bloated apps on ColorOS than MIUI, and the former also usually sets Google apps as default options.Software updates for ColorOS are also faster and more stable than MIUI and OxygenOS.

Will there be a one-size-fits-all Android skin?

While hardware innovations are not as frequent as they used to be in the smartphone industry, software is far from being standardized.While some skins like Pixel UI and OxygenOS are closer to native Android and offer a clean software experience, heavier ones like One UI and MIUI are designed to give you everything you could ask for.

Try as many Android skins as you can to see which one works best for you.

 

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