The Android OS is one of the most revolutionary breakthroughs in operating system history, for its amazing adaptability to the mobile device platform and the impressive and rich feature set offered. Another point in its favor, is its developer friendly programming code. Examples to illustrate this point further are the HTC Sense and the Samsung TouchWiz. Both are customized and specially developed overlays or user interfaces, designed to work over and with the Android OS.
The HTC Sense UI was released officially in 2009 and the first HTC smartphones to feature it, was the HTC Hero and the HTC HD2. At that time, HTC was the first to take advantage of the rapidly growing popularity of the Android OS, making the Hero the first Android phone to have its own customized UI. The latest version of the Sense UI is Sense 3.0. The HTC EVO 3D and the HTC Sensation have this UI running over the standard Android OS.
Samsung's TouchWiz UI has been around for quite some time. But the latest Samsung TouchWiz version, 4.0 is present only on the Samsung Galaxy S II presently, and will also appear on certain upcoming, Samsung tablet PCs as well. Below is a detailed listing of features that make up the difference between HTC Sense 3.0 and TouchWiz 4.0.
HTC Sense 3.0 Vs. Samsung TouchWiz 4.0
HTC Sense 3.0 is a UI designed to make you go, "Oooh!". Beautifully textured and colored, the widgets, icons and whatever is on screen looks so realistically vibrant, that it seems to waltz out of the phone and into your palm. Widgets, apps, icons, all have been redrawn and tweaked in some small way or the other, to look and feel different. For example, the mail app now shows a little preview of each email.
7 home screens, to navigate through them, drag your finger left and right on the screen. But Sense presents your home screens in a 3D carousel form, so just turn the carousel around, choose your desired home screen and voila! You are there in a jiffy! A nifty little alternative to finger swiping.
The old reliable Leap Screen function is also present for home screen to screen navigation. Pinch your fingers on a screen, all 7 home screens are displayed in a zoomed-out form, tap which one you want. Pressing the Home button on the main screen will also show you all home screens at once.
Mobile profiles allow you to set a different profile for work, at home, traveling, silent mode etc. Similar in concept, the HTC Sense allows you to set up or design a screen, with wallpaper, widgets-which and where you want them to appear and the home-screen. Once you have designed the said screen, you can save it and apply it like a profile when needed.
One of the most used, yet most little designed screens, is the lock screen. Typical lock screens just show the time and date and a few notifications. Sense puts 4 app shortcuts on your lock screen. So even if your phone is locked, just drag the app to the ring at the screen's bottom and use it. Need to type a quick message? No problem, drag the message app to the ring and type away, without unlocking your phone. And you can decide what apps you want to use, through the Personalize menu. The lock screen is also customizable, you can add your photo gallery or widgets, like the weather to the screen and they can drift or fly by. Also instead of the swiping motion to unlock, just move the onscreen ring to the center of the screen.
Android without Apps is not possible, so what apps does Sense incorporate? Listen and Watch allows you to access an exclusive HTC store for legally downloading music and movies. You can watch such media as it downloads, without waiting for the entire file to complete downloading. There's the HTC Hub, a central HTC app store and an old favorite, the Friends Stream (live feed of your Twitter, Facebook and Flickr accounts, on your phone).
The Catch all Calls ability is another amazing Sense feature, where your HTC phone rings louder in your bag, then thoughtfully reduces in volume when you lift it out of the bag. The notification bar multi-tasks - in addition to providing updates and notices, a Quick Settings tab has been added. Just pull it down to quickly access your wireless, Bluetooth and GPS settings, to make speedy adjustments.
Samsung TouchWiz 4.0
The earlier editions of TouchWiz had users complaining of a clunky and unappealing visage, with ill-rendered icons. Apparently complaints were registered well, as the 4.0 is slick and very very easy-on-the-eyes, with a more visually appealing UI, better looking widgets and icons and lovely colorization. It is difficult to describe exactly what has been done to the UI but rest assured, it looks good. Special kudos must be given to the elegant transparent background effect.
TouchWiz 4.0 is going for the "little things matter" approach. The QWERTY keyboard layout has a microphone, since Samsung smartphones allow voice recognition typing. Key functions are placed in 4 spots on the bottom of the home screen, you can choose which 3 you want to access from that dock. Choose between Dynamic, Standard and Movie modes of screen, where brightness, contrast and other display features are customized for better viewing and using. Low battery? Just like a laptop, the Power Saving mode adjust key settings, when the battery is down, to keep the phone running.
Fed up of pinching and zooming? TouchWiz 4.0 allows you to Pan, Turn over, Tilt and Double Tap, the most useful of the lot, where you must tap the phone twice at its top, then use your voice to control it. Widget and icon wise, TouchWiz 4.0 is very handy. You can arrange your widgets easily using the grid layout (press and hold for long on main screen).
App wise, TouchWiz 4.0 has an impressive entourage. For media, there's a user-friendly video and photo editor, for both silly and serious media editing. The Reader Hub is Samsung's exclusive literary store, buy magazines, books and newspapers to read on your phone. Music and games have their own respective stores. The Social Hub acts as a central location for handling all your Facebook and Twitter activities. The real star in the whole show, is Kies Air. Access your phone's memory and functions from your computer, provided you know your phone's IP address. Without using a USB cable, you can send data between your phone and computer, play media from the phone on the computer and even send texts and email through your phone but from your computer.
So who's the winner in the "TouchWiz 4.0 Vs. HTC Sense 3.0" comparison. Self improvement is always appreciated and TouchWiz has definitely improved. It is a smart and very attractive Android overlay. But the HTC Sense wins this battle, by the nose. It was an impressive UI to begin with, so its recent advancements just endears it, to us Android users even more. Plus the UI is so streamlined and integrated with the phones and the Android OS. The HTC Sense adds good taste, class and luxuriant beauty to an HTC phone. As if one needs more reasons to look at a smartphone and sigh!