Sense 4.0, is it really that “intrusive”?

Posted Apr 10, 2012 at 11:18 pm in Threads > Opinions

Let me start off by saying I’ve liked Android in both stock and Sense flavors without real favor for either. As I’ve stated many times on Android and Me, I will be making the HTC One X(L) my next Android phone. That being said, after reading just about EVERY review out there to be read, one thing keeps standing out, the polarity of the opinions of Sense. Many claim that 4.0 is really cleaner and leaner than 3.0 (like Myriam Joire from Engadget) while other still claim that Sense is still too “much” (such as Chris Zeigler from The Verge).

Now I understand that looks are purely subjective so I’ll try to look at this from a more functionally objective point of view. My criteria would probably be speed and accessibility (how many times you need to drill in a menu to do something for example).

This leads me to a video I recently viewed by Brandon Miniman of PocketNow.com on “How to Fix Sense”

This seems to be a summary of why many people seem to dislike sense from a functionality point of view. This leads me to my question, is HTC Sense 4.0 really that intrusive? I didn’t think so and after this video I am sure of it.

If you look at the enumerated complaints about Sense’s inherent “problems”, when I really think about it they aren’t really problems.

The first one is that of how folder are handled. The + is a useful function it actually cuts down on steps and increases functionality in many cases. I know most people will just drag an app on over another to make folder and that is still in place. But consider this scenario, you’re looking at your folder and realize a number of app would go well in this folder but are not on your homescreen. To add each one of them you need to open your launcher, long press an app and drag each one from the launcher into the folder one by one whereas with sense you just check off the ones you want. This is a clear advantage to Sense in terms of accessibility.

The next complaint is about the way Sense 4.0 handles menus and more specifically end of menus. Now we know this has been a sticking point for Apple attacking Android manufacturers as they hold a patent for “showing the background after reaching the end of a list of menu entries”. So of course there is the stock Android way of doing a glow vs. Sense’s accordion effect. Now of course, one could say ohh it’s plain ugly but for the sake of objectivity that isn’t a reason. So Brandon goes on to say that the accordion is more “CPU intensive”, when in reality it’s not. I’m a finishing up my College Degree in Computer Science with a specialty in Game Design/Programming, so I’m pretty proficient with how renders work. I know for a fact that the accordion effect is in fact more CPU efficient than the glow effect in stock Android. The difference is the glow effect is a scaled image and has variations/calculations in opacity and height while the accordion effect is simply a calculation in Y coordinates.

Multitasking is the next “difference” in Sense vs Stock and here I understand it would be nice to see more apps at a time but you get to see more of the said each apps last state. I think personal prefer here is needed so I can’t see how someone can objectively say “ICS handles it better”. Also, I’d like to mention this is jsut about exactly how WebOS did multitasking and everyone talked about it how it was amazing.

The next complain and probably the most ridiculous that at 4:50 of the video Brandon says the app launcher of ICS preferred because it shows more apps when clearly BOTH SHOW 20 APPS! Nothing much to be said there.

Lastly he brings up the widgets, here I’ll agree that that is an accessibility advantage to ICS. But really, let’s be honest, did anyone really hate long pressing the homescreen to add widget? I’ll still concede ICS does widgets better but not by much.

In the end what does this mean to me? Reviewers don’t like sense and can’t come up with reasons why and state things like “too intrusive” and when they do tey to enumerate why there are problems with Sense the arguments fall flat on their faces.

I have no problem with a reviewer saying the prefer the looks of ICS but honestly I can’t see how anyone can knock of points to the One X because of Sense because that is a purely subjective matter.

Thanks for reading.
(PS. I’m not a Brandon Miniman hater, in fact I really like his stuff but this video was really bad IMO)