HTC Sense 4 vs. HTC Sense 5

The announcement of the HTC One comes as more than just a nice new piece of hardware. The software on the phone has also seen a major update from previous versions of HTC Sense. Features such as BlinkFeed, the introduction of Zoes, and a new gallery experience set Sense 5 apart from Sense 4. Let’s take a quick look at what is new and different.

User Interface

Immediately noticeable is a shift in appearance from Sense 4 (leftmost in images here). HTC has really honed in on the Holo experience of Android 4+, taking cues from Google’s design standards to present an OS that appears both familiar and fresh. As is becoming typical of custom UIs, the base of the experience stays fairly close to stock, with widgets and added features providing the value.

The visual changes also come with the ability to swipe left and right between tabs in your phonebook, applications, and more, just the way Google intended it. This further unifies Sense’s new direction within the existing Android Jelly Bean framework.

Music Player and Gallery

The HTC One features Beats Audio and BoomSound stereo speakers, so a redesign of the old Sense 4 music player was a must. The new player again borrows from the simplicity of Google’s Holo theme while providing a bonus with features like lyrics mode.

The phone’s media gallery has also seen a revamp, transforming “the traditional photo gallery of still images into a motion gallery of memories.” This includes new HTC Zoes, three-second animations that combine still imagery with video, capturing these moments in high definitions and automatically compiling “integrated highlight films.”

HTC BlinkFeed

HTC Sense long relied on a set of social media and newsfeed-type widgets to set it apart form the pack, toning down on this a bit in Sense 4. Sense 5, however, updates the typical social feed widget in a novel way, though here it is hard to consider it a widget at all. Swiping all the way to the left pulls up BlinkFeed, providing access to your social feeds and over 1,400 news feeds all in one place, neatly organized and with a sleek design.

Performance and More

During initial testing, we found Sense 5 to feel plenty snappy in comparison so Sense 4 on the HTC DROID DNA. The two devices don’t match up identically in the specs department, but it’s a close enough match to get a basic idea of how the two version function head-to-head.

There is plenty more to explore and discover in Sense 5, including HTC Sense TV, which provides an interactive TV guide and smartphone-based remote software to control your television or set-top box. We’ll have a more detailed look at Sense 5 as soon as we get a chance to further dissect the new HTC One and provide a full review.

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  • GutterIsATool

    What does the lockscreen look like?

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      It’s basically the homescreen (with either your homescreen wallpaper, or the widget in the background). No more UI ring to drag around, it’s a lot more clean.

      One thing to note, is the phone booted up in about 5 seconds (although, I’m sure HTC’s quick boot helped with that).

      • http://www.facebook.com/george.james.1023 James Mario

        no more ring?? nooo how do you open the quick apps then ?

        • http://cashd00d.co.cc/ WHAT?

          Judging by videos I’ve seen, I think you might grab the app icon from the bottom bar and drag it to the center of the screen.

  • anthonymcneil85

    It actually looks much better. More flatten out, adds a more professional feel to it. Nice improvement HTC because those buttons at the bottom were getting pretty old.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Yup, no more slider buttons along the bottom and Sense finally adheres to Android’s design guidelines, sliding left or right to access additional content (like on the Phandroid app, Google Play Store, etc).

  • https://market.android.com/developer?pub=Ender's+Games+and+Apps Brian Ouellette

    wow! I wish my HTC One V could use Sense 5. I would actually dump my Holo Launcher to use it :P
    So much better looking then Sense 4.

    • TheDome

      That’s what XDA is for :D

      • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

        True that, once they get a system dump for the One, expect plenty of Sense 5 ROMs for other devices on XDA :)

        • TheDome

          This is probably the first version of Sense that I’m legitimately excited for! Can’t way to flash that baby onto my One X! :)

  • Russ

    No weather clock?

    • DavidVarghese

      There is, look at the Blinkfeed picture

      • Russ

        Yeah but that’s Blinkfeed, not a standard home screen. Anyway, it’s now been mentioned in another comment that it is available. Was just curious to how it differed from the Sense 4 version.

  • DanWazz

    Lyric mode seems cool. I’ve been wanting lyrics to be an option for Google music for a while now.

  • LTame

    Always hated how Sense looked like. Now, it’s much better.

  • blest

    Looks a lot better. Where’s the weather widget?

    • a22matic

      Its available as a widget that you can add to the
      screen. They said the old flip clock HTC is known for is also still
      available.

      • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

        @Nycblest:disqus @a22matic:disqus It’s still there along with the other widgets. Most have been moderately redesigned to look more minimal (with transparencies).

  • DavidVarghese

    I really hope that this will come out on the original One series and my Evo LTE! I don’t see a reason why not… the dual core S4 and the Tegra 3 chips can run Sense 5 (or the New Sense, whatever…) for sure… Let’s see if HTC supports the older devices and, therefore, changing how users see them as.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Typically when it comes to HTC, they’ve used versions of Sense as a selling point for carriers to pick up their phones. What that’s meant (in the past) is that different phones like the Thunderbolt and Inspire — that were largely the same devices — featured different versions of Sense. I’m hoping they DNA and other big name HTC’s will see a Sense 5 update in the future but nothings confirmed :/

      • DavidVarghese

        Well.. If all else fails, resort to XDA.
        :P

  • ari_free

    ah so they are basically adding to the Holo instead of mixing everything up. I’m not a big fan of Holo but at least it’s consistent basis to build upon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gideon-Waxfarb/100002251671344 Gideon Waxfarb

    I wonder if the BlinkFeed will support Google+. Then, it might actually be useful to me.

    • TheDome

      Lol it would be weird to see HTC to support twitter and Facebook but not Googles own social network

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      HTC mentioned they’ll be opening the API’s for developers to implement their apps into BlinkFeed.

  • ludist210

    How’s the battery life? Both of my HTC phones feel like battery hogs, so I’m curious about that…

    • http://twitter.com/MattLaney_ Matt Laney

      which phones do you have?

      • ludist210

        I currently have the Rezound (battery life is okay) and I previously had the Droid Eris (miserable).

        • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

          Everything that was released around the time of the Droid Eris had terrible battery life :p

          But my Droid DNA gets great battery life (thanks mostly to the Snapdragon S4 CPU) and the HTC One has a similar S4, but it’s the newer 600 version which uses even less power, which should translate to even better battery life. We’ll let you know once we’ve played with the One for a few days :)

        • http://twitter.com/MattLaney_ Matt Laney

          I had a One X and it got much better battery life than my current GS3. There is also a difference between Att and Verizon too. GSM phones usually get better battery life.

  • Technician199

    Great article. Really not a HTC guy so it’s nice that screenshots were provided. I really like Sense 5, hope HTC has a winner here.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Yup, there’s even a few things HTC managed to improve upon from stock Android, like their new multi-tasking UI. It shows your last 9 opened apps, in a grid. No scrolling up and down to find a recently used app. Makes multitasking super fast now.

      • iwave

        Sounds like the way it used to work pre-ICS, which was much better, imo, like many other UI features which seem like a step backwards. The Contacts shown above, for example, are easier to use and are much more scalable with buttons rather than swiping panels. What did you mean in the first paragraph about HTC “honing in on the holo experience”? Other than the rounded edges of the lower launch bar, the only difference I see between the two home screens are the wallpaper and which widgets/apps are on there. 30 seconds of moving things around would make them look close to identical.

  • chuckles87

    i hate sence but this is a nice improvement i might have to consider htc once again lets hope it performs better than previous versions

  • TheHowiie

    nice move for HTC, keeping up with the times finally.

  • Giles Peach

    Having just bought a Padfone 2, HTC has gone and put me in a real dilemma.

  • Kc

    luxtechblog.blogspot.com

  • np6s4x

    nice to see an overhall, considering 3.6, and 4.x, still looked alot like 3.0 from gb on the surface (except for the bar at the bottom of the home screens being different between the three)

  • Rampage1

    I really like the changes HTC has made it looks really unique compared to the other vendors horrible skins. The camera sound awesome also can’t wait to see sone real world tests this is most likely my next phone.