One M8; hard to believe, but liking Sense 6 over GPE

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by Tig Bitties, May 4, 2014.

  1. Tig Bitties macrumors 68030

    Tig Bitties

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
    #1
    I have had my new HTC One M8 two weeks now from ATT. LOVING this phone, and one of the selling points to me personally, was the ablity to go flash the GPE Nexus type ROM, and not be stuck on Sense. And I am a huge Nexus stock Android fan, having owned the Nexus-One, Nexus-S, Galaxy Nexus, and Nexus 4, but after the N4 I moved on to Samsung's Note 2, and then Galaxy S4. So last experience with stock Android was 4.1 Jellybean, haven't played with any Kit Kat builds before.

    Long story short, I am liking Sense 6 way more than GPE's Kit Kat 4.4.2. and I never would have thought or expected that in a million years, being such a long time Nexus fan. I tried out two different GPE ROMs this week, and certain things in stock Kit Kat I can't stand.

    - #1 the Phone dialer / Contacts, wow those suck now, why did Google change the Phone app they've had since ICS 4.0 ? I use my phone a lot to actually make calls, this new new Dialer sucks, and the Contacts is super bright white and very plane, really no features on it. I have read that a whole new Phone dialer app is coming in a upcoming 4.4.3 update. But I miss the awesome Phone app from 4.0 to 4.3, which was all Black with blue numbers, and swipe to to the right to go to contacts, etc...

    - #2 the icon sizes are gigantic, like crazy huge, can't fit much on the home screen, I know a Launcher gets rid of that, but sometimes I like to run bone stock, and with those giant icons it looks weird and silly.

    - #3 Battery life is definitely worse than a Sense based ROM, by a good amount IMO. My Sense based ROMs were giving me crazy good battery life, like 6h to 7h On Screen time, and total battery life of 24+ hours easily. These two GPE ROMs I tired, would only give like 4h to 5h On screen time, and maybe 15 hours total battery life.

    - #4 Speed. I was always under the impression that stock Android was way faster than a UI like Sense or Touchwiz. The Sense 6 ROMs I was running were super fast and silky smooth. The GPE ROMs were also pretty quick too, but no way did not feel any faster than Sense. Just going off my own personal use, it felt like Sense was the faster UI. My point being, stock GPE Android was NOT faster or smoother, no. It was a tie, and if anything Sense won by a hair.

    - #5 The look of the UI. Sense 6 has a really cool black / white / blue theme going on, and flat design, it looks really professional, and minimalistic, just smartly designed and well thought out. Where stock Kit Kat is starting to look like a Hodge podge of old Ice Cream Sandwich mixed together with the newer Google Now cards stuff, it's like stock Android can't make up it's mind, is it still Holo themed, or going for the new lighter Card style ? The menu still looks the same as from the Galaxy Nexus from 2011, but other parts look very fresh and totally different. I think we need Android 5.0 to usher in a new uniform design theme for stock Android.


    To wrap this up, I am no HTC fan boy, my last HTC was the EVO 4G way back from 2010. I am really more of a Nexus stock Android guy, I guess I just don't like the Kit Kat updates from Jellybean. I was very satisfied with Jellybean. And this Sense 6 blew me away, really shocked I actually like it better than stock Android. It looks great, is smartly designed and laid out, and is super smooth / fast, with insanely good battery life. Next stock Android phone or ROM I'll run will be to wait for at least 4.4.3, and most likely the next big update with the HTC Nexus-Six this Fall.
    __________________
     
  2. torana355 macrumors 68020

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    Sydney, Australia
    #2
    I have a Nexus 5 but i really like the M8, i would buy one outright but they are way to expensive.
     
  3. baypharm macrumors 65816

    baypharm

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #3
    Thanks for the review. I have heard nothing but good things about the M8 and your review confirms them.
     
  4. Tig Bitties thread starter macrumors 68030

    Tig Bitties

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
    #4
    I am loving this M8, one of my favorite Android phones I've used. And I have had 12 different Android phones in the last four years. Very few rank at the top, like the Note 2, this new One is right up there.
     
  5. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

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  6. joshwithachance macrumors 68000

    joshwithachance

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    Dec 11, 2009
    #6
    Sense 6 on the M8 is easily the best mobile operating system offering in my opinion. It's sleek, fast, battery efficient, and fun to use.
     
  7. AppleRobert macrumors 603

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    Nov 12, 2012
    #7
    Not sure where you are but it was $599 at release for 32gb at Verizon, easily a bargain for a new release flagship except the Nexus of course.
     
  8. rockitdog Suspended

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    Mar 25, 2013
    #8
    I wouldn't call $599 a bargain.... The Nexus 5 32GB at $350 is a bargain. :D
     
  9. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

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    Ireland
    #9
    For me where HTC really nails design is it's coherence and consistency throughout the entire OS and every stock HTC application.

    Everything just sings from the same hymn sheet ... Unlike Touchwiz which still feels like a conglomeration of 56 design teams all working to different briefs.

    I have 1 dislike however in Sense and that is - I really don't like the 'mail' icon at all.....
     
  10. joshwithachance macrumors 68000

    joshwithachance

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    #10
    Agreed. Thankfully my main email account is GMail so I can use either the built in GMail client or "Mailbox".
     
  11. AppleRobert macrumors 603

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    Nov 12, 2012
    #11
    I know and trust me I have had conversations with myself about getting one. :)
     
  12. MyiBill macrumors 6502

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    Feb 8, 2012
    #12
    HTC did a good job with the new sense, actually it provides a lot of functionality over stock android.
     
  13. Fernandez21 macrumors 601

    Fernandez21

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    Jun 16, 2010
    #13
    Agreed, I would say this, stock android, and moto are my favorite versions of android and its really tough to chose between them.
     
  14. torana355 macrumors 68020

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    #14
    Its over 800 bucks in Australia. :(
     
  15. Lava Lamp Freak macrumors 65816

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    Jun 1, 2006
    #15
    I guess I'm the outlier here, but I don't like Sense 6. Stock Android needs some refinement, and hopefully that will come in the next update, but I still like stock better than Sense. I think the KitKat dialer looks much better than the HTC dialer. That was one of the most exciting parts of KitKat for me.
     
  16. Savor Suspended

    Savor

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    #16
    Coming from an M7/Sense 5 perspective, HTC got alot of things right last year and surpassed Google's stock Android in some ways. Sense became one of the best and smoothest Android skins ever.

    Now I use Nova Launcher Prime with double tap to open HTC Sense under shortcut/activities. So I am always a double tap away from BlinkFeed and can use two different app drawers in vertical (Sense) or horizontal (Nova). But for like 10 months, Sense was my main launcher. Nova Prime only became my main launcher because of my recent passion for gesture swipes.

    A few core apps is what makes Sense outclass GPE devices -

    BlinkFeed - Main reason I stuck with Sense for that long.

    Better looking app icons than stock Android. Very nice choice of colors and sharp lines that even outclasses iOS icons which is starting to look cartoony and tiresome with the roundish square corners.

    Gallery app - Zoe. Ability to edit pix with many filters. Can snap a video screenshot. Can record video and snap pix at the same time. Can trim videos and movies.

    Camera app - Swipe across screen to switch between rear and selfie cam. Many filtering options.

    Messages app - Block contacts. Can still receive texts they sent even after you unblock. Can change background/theme. Can change color and resize fonts. Smilies look good too.

    Clock app - Has a world clock that shows a global map of each city location and its current weather there.

    Music app - I don't use it but you can Bluetooth songs from there. Can retrieve song lyrics so no need for TuneWiki.

    Weather app/widget - Always looks great.

    TV & FM Radio apps are nice additions especially the latter. Online radio apps like TuneInRadio kills data and battery faster. FM radio seems like a useless feature to some, but is very practical to countries that deal with prepaid.

    Default lockscreen is not as cool as Sony's or LG's custom lockscreens, but good enough.

    I actually like some of things Sense 5 had over Sense 6. Not a fan on how BlinkFeed looks now. That nice weather/clock on top is missing and BlinkFeed loads photos slower similar to Flipboard and Samsung's implementation of it with My Magazine. Cache issues with every Android. And while the motion gesture swipes is beneficial for the power button, it can be easy to wake up the screen and kill battery life unknowingly. More news sources are nice, but a bit overkill for my taste. Sense 5's wallpapers were nice as well using the slide show live wallpaper.

    But HTC Sense with either 5 or 6 is still better than most Android custom skins out there with only Cyanogen Mod (tweaked stock Android) and Sony's skin on par. I very much like Sony's custom apps like the lockscreen, gallery, and Walkman app.
     
  17. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #17
    I definitely enjoy my Sense 6 over GPE as well.

    I basically prepped my phone ready to make the change, but a friend of mine let me play with his GPE M8 and I wasn't impressed.

    Back in the day I had a HTC Desire for my first real Android experience on Eclair and it was a mess, and my friend's phone on stock ROM was so smooth and clean, I was looking for a way to flash it.

    Now I'm no longer as impressed with the stock experience like I thought I would be.

    Looks like I will keeping the HTC Sense ROM. I always use Nova Launcher since I don't like the Blinkfeed home page (where nothing works in China).
     
  18. Tig Bitties thread starter macrumors 68030

    Tig Bitties

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    Sep 6, 2012
    #18
    I'm back to a GPE ROM, this time also running Xposed framework + Gravity Box, for extra tweaks and options.

    So far liking this a lot. I want to really give the stock Nexus Android type OS a fair try on this awesome M8. Let's see how it handles a workday tomorrow. But so far, it's great :)
     

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  19. Tig Bitties thread starter macrumors 68030

    Tig Bitties

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
    #19
    Back and forth between Sense ROM's and GPE, but Sense 6 just looks more consistent, and a very professional layout, overall a very beautiful and minimalistic UI, that looks great on this LCD screen. I love the black theme throughout, with white backgrounds, and I have a simple theme installed, named InsertCoin Blue, it replaces all green stuff with blue.

    I just found GPE and stock Android to look like a hodgepodge now, and I am a huge Nexus guy. But certain areas in stock Android, look dated like from ICS 4.0 with dark grey holo theme, mixed with the new Kit Kat lighter card theme. Making Android look like a mix of old and new.

    I think Google needs a solid consistent theme in Android 5.0, which I am sure it will be. But for now I find Sense 6 to looks the best, and very clean and simple, as well as butter smooth IMO.
     
  20. Technarchy macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    May 21, 2012
    #20
    I appreciate raw android, but generally gravitate toward skinned interfaces. Touchwiz being my main preference.
     
  21. El3ctronics macrumors 65816

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    Mar 30, 2011
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    NYC
    #21
    Well I guess there's a first for everything. Never heard of anyone preferring the pile if **** that is Touchwiz over stock, but to each their own.
     
  22. Dr McKay macrumors 68040

    Dr McKay

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    Location:
    Kirkland
    #22
    Minus the mail icon I completely agree with you. I would not mind one bit using Sense. Outside of HTC I haven't seen a skin I liked the look of (Minus stock)
     
  23. gotluck macrumors 603

    gotluck

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    #23
    I prefer higher performance, so stock wins for me

    That and essentially any feature within a skin can be added to stock with a little effort without the overhead that comes with the skin(aside from T-Mobile WiFi calling)

    Though from what I've seen of sense, it does not impact performance much if at all. I agree that if I was going to pick a skin to use, it'd be sense.
     
  24. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

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    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #24
    Surprisingly even it's memory footprint is about the same as my GPE S4. That's quite a feat and proof indeed skinning android doesn't always equate to bloating the OS (excluding carrier *****)...

    It will be interesting to see Google position on carrier bloat when they launch the silver line into carrier stores...
     
  25. gotluck, May 18, 2014
    Last edited: May 18, 2014

    gotluck macrumors 603

    gotluck

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Location:
    East Central Florida
    #25
    Yes particularly concerning HTC phones, my only problem is the carrier bloat. Not HTC software.

    I hope Google can finally take a hard line(well I suppose they did take a hard line on GPE in favor of the user). I hope the silver models are not lockdowned either. Though if there is no carrier bloat, I suppose a lockdown matters less. Though it still pisses me off

    I want to be the admin of my own device, like it has always been.... Before smartphones.

    Now carriers (and apple too) want to control the experience 'for the benefit of the network' yah right. The wired isp's dont seem to have a problem with full admin rights on PCs. /rant
     

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