Sunday, December 01, 2013

Android 4.3 with Sense 5.5: A mixed(?) bag

The HTC One's Android 4.3 update came down the waves today and it's been an interesting update so far. Not everything's wonderful but overall it's much better based on 1 day's use. Time will tell if any bugs creep out of the woodwork.


HTC One running Android 4.3 with Sense 5.5
Here's what I've noticed since the update.

Lockscreen changes

The new lockscreen PIN input

I use a PIN to lock my phone and the PIN entry is now transparent so you get to see your wallpaper much more clearly. I'm not so sure I like the change though. Now the keys are less distinct, so I find myself sometimes wondering if I've pressed the buttons.

BlinkFeed

BlinkFeed can be turned off from the widgets panel
HTC's own news board can now be turned off which is good. It's also more flexible in accepting feed sources though I haven't given it a try. I hardly use it at all. I think I'll turn it off...

Battery life improvements

I can't be sure from just a day's use but I think battery life's a bit better now. I'll have to observe battery use for a while to make a comparison.

Google can't make up it's mind?

I noticed a new app called Play Magazines appeared just before the update. After the update an app update came and replaced it with Play Newsstand. What the heck? That was quick. Google Talk lasted much longer than that.

New keyboards?

Additional keyboards appeared after the update
Suddenly I got a Korean keyboard, Thai keyboard and even Vietnam keyboard. Where the heck do these things come from? Anyway, the stock keyboard now has loads of new smileys for your perusal.

It's not as vibrant as the old ones but there's now screen after screen after screen filled with smileys you can use when texting. I kinda liked the old smileys but having lots more options to choose from isn't so bad either.

Refreshed UI for the Gallery and Music apps

The Gallery and Music apps now have a different design which... I'm fine with for Gallery but am not so sure it works well for music. But I do like the new progress indicator on the music widget. The buttons strangely feels less responsive though.

Do not disturb mode

A new Do Not Disturb is now available
A new "Do Not Disturb Mode" lets you quickly turn off all communications. Exceptions can be made to allow select contacts to bypass the block. An awesome addition that lets you reduce interruptions when you need to really concentrate on doing things.

Quicker access to the Play Store and settings in launcher

Pull down and hold for a second or two in the launcher and a Action Bar appears
When you're at the top of the app drawer you can just pull down to reveal a shortcut bar to the Play Store. No need to go hunting for the Play Store app icon. But that used to only work when you're at the top. Now you can just pull down a bit and hold for a second from any page in the launcher. Those shortcuts will reveal themselves in short order. That's a really nice touch.

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So far I haven't noticed anything else. I'm sure there's more little things here and there that's changed in the new update. Here's to hoping the Android 4.4 update arrives on the HTC One too.