This week’s edition is all about the skins that go on top of your Android device. If you missed last week’s article about Android versions, you can check it out by clicking here. Let’s first start by explaining what a skin is.
A skin is an overlay which runs on top of your Android device. Each manufacturer makes its own respective skin which adds features, or changes the appearance of your Android device. The reason manufacturers do this is to differentiate themselves from other device makers, and also to put their own services and apps, in addition to the regular Google apps.
Today we’ll be explaining the main features of the most popular skins. These include the two latest versions of TouchWiz, which are made by Samsung, the two latest versions of Sense, which are made by HTC, LG’s Optimus UI, Sony’s Xperia UI, and Huawei’s Emotion UI. We’ll also look at stock Android, just so we know what we compare to.
First seen on the Samsung Galaxy S3 in 2012, this skin is designed to mimic nature. From the wallpaper, to the lock screen and even to the notification sounds, the whole UI is centered around nature. In fact the tagline for the Galaxy S3 is “Designed for humans, inspired by nature”.
TouchWiz is known for its feature rich and colorful user interface, but is sometimes criticised for its software slowing down the system and the fact that some features do not work as well as advertised. It also adds several Samsung apps like Music Hub, Samsung Apps, S Voice, S Memo and S Planner (See gallery below for the full list).
Some of the features that come with TouchWiz Nature UX are:
Popular devices that run TouchWiz Nature UX 1.0: Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Samsung Galaxy S3 mini, Samsung Galaxy Ace 2, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
TouchWiz Nature UX 2.0 continues upon the basis laid by TouchWiz Nature UX 1.0, and was first seen on the Samsung Galaxy S4. Most of the design remained the same, however the lock screen and settings app were slightly tweaked, as well as well as some new features being added (see gallery below).
This version of TouchWiz was considered a refinement over previous versions, however it was still criticized for slowing down the system.
Some features that come with TouchWiz Nature UX 2.0 are:
Popular devices that run TouchWiz Nature UX 2.0: Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8, Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, Samsung Galaxy S4 Active.
HTC’s Sense UI is very different to Samsung’s approach at skins. While Samsung tries to add as many features as possible HTC attempts to create a great user experience without adding many features. It’s a different approach, but if you wouldn’t use any of the features on TouchWiz anyways then there is nothing to worry about.
The unlocking ring from yesteryear is still there, and the famous HTC Sense clock remains, but the whole design overall was simplified to become more attractive, and the over the top 3D animations which plagued older versions were reduced.
Overall the newer version provided a lighter, snappier experience, however some people criticized it for the way it strayed from stock Android, especially in multitasking.
Popular devices running HTC Sense 4: HTC One X, HTC One X+, HTC Droid DNA, HTC One S, HTC Desire X.