Stock Android on the HTC Evo - no Sense

We still think it's kind of cheating to want to run an HTC phone without the Sense user interface, but we're also champions of choice. And so, we bring you instructions on how to turn off the Sense UI on the Sprint Evo 4G. And we ran a couple more benchmarking tests to see if there was any noticeable speed difference once Sense was gone. Our results, after the break.

[YouTube link]

So as you see in the video, we didn't get much of a speed boost, at least as far as Linpack and Neocore were concerned. In fact, the only major change we noted is one that you don't see here -- we had a couple of reboots (as in the phone completely reset itself). Once as we were struggling to turn off a live wallpaper, and another time while we were on a phone call. That could just be a fluke, or it could have something to do with stability. Not sure just yet, and we'll have to toy with that some more. You also lose access to the HTC widgets, so you'll need to take that into consideration, too. Otherwise, it ran just fine.


Reader comments

How to turn off Sense on the Evo 4G and return the stock Android home screens


Is there any way to disable other Sense attributes, like the black top bar, Sense-ified apps like the dialer, and the Sense icons?

no, sense runs deeper than just an overlay. The only way of getting rid of those is flashing an AOSP ROM.

I don't know why people are so set on disabling Sense. Sense rocks! Stock Android is so plain, and Sense adds both style and functionality. I guess it's just personal preference, but IMO Sense is a great interface and looks a lot nicer than stock.

sense is awesome but android is the opposite of communism and we should have the choice to turn off a skin if we want to....i am glad HTC allowed this to happen on the EVO...HTC FTW

What one person likes another doesn't. Sense should be an option not something we HAVE to have. I don't hate sense ui, but I dislike it. Sometimes it benefits me most of the time I believe it doesn't personally. So we should have choice due to the Linus(open sourceness) of Android.

Do we have your permission to disable it if we think otherwise? Would you feel differently if HTC decided that the Evo wasn't going to include Sense, and didn't allow it as an option?

Yes, it's a matter of personal preference. But there's also another issue. While everyone's quick to jump on the anti-fragmentation bandwagon when it comes to OS versions, few users stop to think about the UI fragmentation of various OEMs installing their own custom interfaces, even "good" ones. Moving between devices becomes a disjointed experience if some of them are stock, some have Sense, others Motoblur, etc. These interfaces also create an additional layer of complexity that adds to the turnaround time needed to push out updates (yes, some stock Android devices get delayed, but they would be even more delayed with more middleware to reconcile).

If Android's native interface is deficient, it would be more logical to argue to fix it rather than replace it with a proprietary alternative.

Lol, do you have my permission? Lighten up, dude. I don't give a crap what you do.

All I said was I don't know why people are so anxious to get rid of it. It's a good UI. Just stating my opinion. Do I have your permission to do that? Lol.

sense just makes me feel cluttered when i look at a homescreen. so i want it off because stock has such a clean out of the way look to it.

You... seem to have no idea what Communism is. Open Source is definitely not the opposite of communism, the community openly and freely contributes to the existence of the OS, Google takes 30% of app profits and updates the base OS in return. Android is Socialist, if you're going to compare apples to oranges.

Sense is nice, my girlfriend has an HTC Droid Eris. However, little things like the lack of very nice Gallery App with Picassa synching and the fact that the contacts application doesn't allow 2 way synching with Google contacts are a reason why I would never want a phone with Sense. I have a Moto Droid, and can solve all the "plain" complaints by adding any of a number of Home replacements and widgets. I currently use Launcher Pro combined with Beautiful widgets. My homescreens look great, and I still have all the tight integration with Google services that I want.

can you please explain about not being able to sync google contacts both ways (from phone to pc and back) when you have sense on android?

I only have experience with Sense on the Droid Eris. On that device, if you add a contact directly in Google contacts on your PC, it synchs to the Phone with no problem. However, if you add a contact on your phone, like we all do quite often, it DOES NOT synch back to your Google contacts, it exists on your phone only. I assumed there was some setting I was missing somewhere, but I have seen this documented on multiple forums. In my opinion, one the most powerful things about an Android phone is the use of Google's cloud services, and this issue is a deal breaker for me.

Never had that problem on the Hero. Are you sure she is selecting Google contact and not phone contact when she adds one?

That was a problem on my wifes Samsung Moment when it was running Android 1.6. Now that it is updated to 2.1, it does not have that problem. So it may be something with the settings or the version of Android you are using and not the interface itself.

I agree the htc sense makes android that much better I would not buy a android phone with out sense, it gives you more options and to me stock android(nexus one) looks unfinished!

I don't know why everyone insists that sense is bad. Yes, there are a FEW things that sense doesn't do that well. But it does so many more things better than stock Android........excluding 2.2!

I like sense too, but as froyo and other updates roll out, not having it will probably mean root updating easyer. I would like to see how a clean 2.1 without all of the nice sense jiblits preforms under those tests. And while we're at it, dare i say test 2.2 in both sense and non-sense (oh come on that a little funny =P) as well.

So I guess we can turn off Sense with the HTC Incredible also ?? as I went into manage applications and did everything Phil did , looks the same to me and it gives me the option to turn off as well ?? why was it never mentioned that it could be turned off on the Incredible ?? IT CAN !!

Well I just tried it and Sense just starts over. Apparently the stock home screen is not installed as I believe has been said already.

I don't know why folk are so hard into either camp. Sense has some extras but overall I just see it as a different twist on Android. I'd happily rock the stock 2.1+ UI as well. The app launcher looks nice and the gallery apps are better to me. Stock just seems to lack a good clean email app. K9 will do but its just not as nice as Sense. Of course this is before I've checked out the email app on 2.1 to any extent.

Interesting...Here I thought that I was the newbie (Came to Android in April), but I have been turning off and on the Sense UI this same way since day one on my gsm htc hero running 1.5. Why is this such major news??

because sprint hero doesn't let you outside of rooting, and this is only the second (or third) correct me if i'm wrong, cdma device that can do this out of the box?

Which is exactly my point...If this is not the first time a user has been able to do this, why do we even care so much? That's like an iPhone user claiming; 'Hey, on my new iPhone 4G, I can access all of my iTunes songs!'
Apparently my Hero isn't as archaic as I thought it was. Today, it just became state-of-the-art, breaking news! Forget Android 2.1...I can turn off Sense!!!!!!

except that when you get 2.1 you might not be able to turn off the sense launcher. Which is the reason that this is news. You can turn it off on the Desire, but none of the later versions of Sense 2.1 until the Evo.

Unlike the Hero or Desire, the Incredible goes out of its way to prevent users from disabling Sense. Since the Evo comes right on the heels of the Incredible, many of us assumed that it would follow suit.

I'm interested in trying Sense but I really like stock Android. I want to use the homescreen LauncherPro and I don't really like the icons or the camera application in Sense.

Phil you saying for some strange reason people want to turn off sense on a sense phone. It should be an option, because some people may like cloth in a car but not everyone does so they get leather. Same deal, some people like using sense and love it, others don't like the look/feel of it and want it off.

Phil you saying for some strange reason people want to turn off sense on a sense phone. It should be an option, because some people may like cloth in a car but not everyone does so they get leather. Same deal, some people like using sense and love it, others don't like the look/feel of it and want it off.

We still think it's kind of cheating to want to run an HTC phone without the Sense user interface, but we're also champions of choice.

In what way is it cheating? With Android, it's as much a Google phone as an HTC phone. By the same logic, it's kind of cheating for the Nexus One to run without Sense because the phone was manufactured by HTC.

Fully agree with the Nexus One comment. If they can not have it we should get a choice to have it or not. HTC should bundle software disc however they may do it so we can choose to put sense on our HTC phones or just leave them with vanilla android.

Correct me if I'm wrong. The Nexus One is a Google phone that just happens to be OEM'd by HTC, but it's still a Google phone. Just like the Palm Pro was OEM'd by HTC, but it's still a Palm phone not a HTC phone or the iPhone OEM'dby Foxconn is an Apple phone and not a Foxconn phone. That's why the Nexus One does not have Sense and you do not find the Nexus One listed on HTC's website.

Sense is a way for HTC to differentiate their Android Phone from the others in the market. I wish there was a way to turn it on/off too but my reasons are slightly different. I like sense and would probably run it full time even if there was an option to turn it off. But I wish that sense was an application layer on top of Android vs customization that goes into Android's core. This way OS updates can be made easier without having to overhaul Sense.

I hate the sense dialer I want the stock android dialer. Remember VZW saying their going to b open well with DI and VZW crapware.

If HTC and Sprint released this phone without Sense, there would be all sorts of crying about it. I use it on my current Touch Pro 2 phone. But I do turn it off from time to time and run SPB Mobile shell or the stock interface in Windows Mobile 6.5

I like the interface and I am happy it will be on the Evo when I get it on June 4th (prepaid for it, so I will get one over anyone who pre-ordered if the store does not get enough of them, Muwhahahaha!)

Anyhow, if you do not like it, don't use it. But at least give it a shot. On my TP2, it blows away the WinMo 6.5 interface (not saying that is a hard thing to do), and even the SPB mobile shell which gives it an andriod like interface.

Plus, I do think that many of you that are complaining about it, never actually used that interface before, or used it for 5 minutes on another phone.

I'm guessing the ui really has no impact on battery life? Unless it's livewallpapers or animations.

I'm happy to hear about this option since I'm moving from the iphone to the evo, I really don't know what's android stock and what's sence. Now I can use both and get a feel for which one I like better. Either way, I'm stoked to be leaving apple and be free to have options on a phone! :)

i am gonna keep sense on, i hate that pop up that happens when you hit the home button, no extra work for me.

if you look at the video again there's a check mark below that says "use by default for this action". I'm pretty sure that will stop the prompt if you make your selection the default action.

@DeanH if its your contacts that are not syncing, make sure you select what type of contact it is when entering a new one. There is a dropdown tab next to the contact name field (i believe) For whatever reason HTC seperates "phone contacts" from google contacts. Just make sure select google.

so i'm new to this android stuff tha evo will be my first. So if sense is turned off can you get that active wallpaper that the nexus1 has????

Hey, Phil, can you still use the 4G widget when using the stock launcher (non sense)? Or if not, how do you get to turn on/off the 4G radio when not in sense?

I have Also lost the ability to do this. I run launcher pro and don't want two launchers running, anyone figure out how to do this with the new update?