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.
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 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.