We’re currently preparing our reviews for both HTC Sense 4.0 and TouchWiz UI 4.0, which made their debuts on the HTC One Series and the Galaxy SIII respectively. Whilst they’re taking a little longer than usual, due to the number of new features and changes introduced in each version of them, we’re bringing you a mini preview as we compare three features from each interface in a head to head battle!
Quick note: Android is the most customisable mobile operating system and there are plenty of alternative options available on the Google Play Store. However, we’re looking at the default options on the device, prior to any customisations.
Feature 1: Text Input
Both interfaces are pretty much designed to run on touchscreen only devices and with more and more people using smartphones to control their lives, text input is incredibly key to ensuring a great user experience. After all, it would be hard to use a smartphone that didn’t have a great on-screen keyboard right?
HTC and Samsung have both taken different stances on text input, with Samsung offering up two default keyboards whilst HTC has chosen to combine everything into one. TouchWiz offers both Samsung’s take on the default Android keyboard and an alternative keyboard featuring Swipe.
However, as Samsung’s keyboard also features Swipe-like features (through continuous trace) but only in certain applications (i.e. mail, messaging and not internet browsing) it seems like Samsung haven’t fully committed to either keyboard yet.
Samsung’s keyboard, for those who aren’t a fan of continuous trace, is definitely easy to type on and really responsive. Predictive text can sometimes struggle to remember words and recognise the words you’re typing but overall it’s more than satisfactory.
Meanwhile, HTC’s keyboard also features continuous trace, this time system-wide and their trace accuracy is surprisingly good. On the flipside, after a while the Sense keyboard often gets a little confused and you do have to repeat the trace for basic words such as grand, gears, heal and the.
Without the trace keyboard, HTC’s Sense keyboard is rather good and their predictive text is again quite impressive. It definitely does struggle when operating with a large personal user dictionary.
Result: HTC Sense wins this one.
Feature 2: Manufacturer Services
This is an interesting one; how many manufacturer branded apps/services/features exist on the two different interfaces. It makes for an interesting battle as it shows how each mobile phone maker is promoting services to their customers.
Let’s begin with HTC Sense this time, which delivers a few services to its users. HTC have bundled features such as 7Digital, HTC Hub and HTC Watch on their interface, offering up music downloads, HTC specific applications and movie rentals to all their users (apart from those on network branded handsets, but more about that another time).
Out of the three, HTC Watch is the most impressive as HTC are offering movie rentals to several films and even have a £0.49 BlockBuster Bargains section, offering up different movies for rental for just £0.49 each!
On the other hand, Samsung’s TouchWiz UI on the Galaxy SIII is considerably feature rich with services such as Pop Up Play, Smart Stay, S-Beam and S Voice all making it onboard whilst there are also music downloads, video downloads and books available to all.
Here’s Pop Up Play in action:
Without spending the next 1000 words, it’s hard to say which is the most impressive and we’ve linked to previous stories to make it easier to understand each feature. Let’s just keep it simple and say this; it’s easy to see why Samsung continues to make so much money out of its smartphone users and why people keep coming back; a whole world of things available to each customer.
Result: Sorry HTC but Samsung are miles in-front on this one.
Feature 3: Delivering content
So this is the decider then. Which is the winner of this round of the UI battle? Read on to find out more!
Let me first explain, this is really a look at the lock screen options on each device. This is a key part of the experience as it delivers notifications to users with updates from different sources.
HTC Sense is definitely feature rich when it comes to lock screen content, with several different lock screens to choose from. There is pretty much a lock screen for every lifestyle and HTC have outdone themselves with this array of features.
Check out our gallery for an explanation of the different types of lockscreens:
On the other hand, Samsung’s offering puts a different emphasis on the lock screen. Whilst HTC Sense offers different lock screens for different purposes, TouchWiz allows you to choose many things you have on your one lockscreen. Firstly, Samsung have hidden the lock screens option away under Settings > Security, which is not immediately noticeable to the user.
Here’s the different lockscreen options.
Trust us it gets cluttered on the lock screen when they are all used.
Result: HTC Sense takes this one.
Both interfaces offer a different experience and both will be useful to different types of people.
For users who want to be constantly connected (like myself) then HTC Sense is the winner but for those who want access to news and information but want it neatly tucked away, then TouchWiz is the winner.
HTC Sense took the round purely because there are more options available and it can be customised to suit a variety of users.