Samsung's Magazine Home is a fresh take on the tablet interface

With the addition of the tablet-centric Magazine Home, TouchWiz takes one step closer to a total revamp

With the introduction of its Galaxy PRO line of tablets , Samsung has quietly taken a small step in overhauling its TouchWiz UI with the addition of Magazine Home, a vibrant and engaging user interface designed to aggregate content onto your homescreen. It's the first time that TouchWiz feels comfortable on a larger display, and it's a first look at the direction in which Samsung is taking its custom UI — away from bulky features and closer toward clean and accessible user-friendly content.

We spent the weekend exploring the strengths and weaknesses of this new interface approach, and while there's still a lot more to dive into, here's a few initial impressions.

Samsung Magazine Home Interface

Much of what’s present in this latest version of TouchWiz is the same as what we've become accustom to, including Samsung’s suite of apps and plethora of under-the-hood bells and whistles. But there’s also a fresh, albeit subtle, coat of paint here: you’ll notice it in the new streamlined menus, the notification drawer and even in some app icons. This is a very small baby step toward the major TouchWiz revamp we expect to see any minute now, but an important step nonetheless — think of the iteration you’ll find here as “TouchWiz S," falling somewhere between what we saw on the Galaxy S4 and what we expect to see on the Galaxy S5

What’s notable about the TouchWiz you find on the PRO tablets is what Samsung is calling “Magazine Home,” its brand-new tablet-specific user experience powered by Flipboard. Magazine Home was first toyed with on the Galaxy Note 3, and has now made its way to the homescreen in the form of “dashboard utilities” or, in other terms, widgets. These widgets come in a number of different categories and aggregate your news and entertainment, your email and calendar, and your social media streams. Magazine Home is the first time Samsung has built its UI around your content rather than its own, and it'll be interesting to see the aspects it translates over to the Galaxy S5 when it's released this spring.

Samsung Magazine Home Interface

Magazine Home feels natural on the PRO tablets, rather than something like Flipboard's native app that still manages to feel superimposed into its surroundings on other tablets and large-display smartphones.The PRO tablets were built around Magazine Home and it shows: the ultra-high resolution displays make the content pop, and with so much real estate (especially with the 12.2-inch models), Magazine Home has room to suck you in.

There are a few new other bells and whistles introduced in this latest version of TouchWiz, including a revamped keyboard with mouse-like navigation found on tablets sized 10.1-inches and larger. Samsung has also caught up to the competition with “Pop-up Window,” which pulls the apps typically found in MultiWindow out into resizable semi-transparent windows. There’s also a handy new Hancom Office suite and productivity tools like E-Meeting, which allows for real-time document collaboration and Remote PC, a built-in tool for accessing your desktop remotely.

Each of these apps and features deserves more than a weekend to explore, so we’ll take a more in depth look at each in the coming weeks. Until then, you can check out our first impressions of the Galaxy PRO tablets’ hardware and let us know in the comments and forums what you’re curious about.

 

Reader comments

Samsung's Magazine Home is a fresh take on the tablet interface

60 Comments

This is a wonderful change of direction created by Samsung.

In November Samsung informed it's customers that 2014 flagship products would usher in design 3.0 a change in software and design elements.

Well here it is and on the Galaxy Note 3 the Magazine home screen UI was a wonderful idea very emersive and personal which is a wonderful draw.

At the end of the day change is always good and I applaud the direction this user interface is going.

It's clean, creative, and very user specific based on the users content which is very refreshing.

People will hate just for the sake of hating but the funny part is the haters ain't buying just talking as usual..

Samsung is the global market share leader and android market share leader for a reason cause every year their users see something new and refreshing from a software standpoint.

2014 products will sell like wild fire and true customers of Samsung will be ready with their wallets not their mouth.

Plain and simple nothing beats Samsung or the Galaxy products period.

Posted from my Galaxy Note 3 on Tmobile via Android Central App

I agree with all but the last paragraph, as it's purely subjective.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

No thanks. I don't see why Samsung feels the need to reinvent the wheel with their software.

Posted via Android Central App

Because most people are asking for a refresh to TouchWiz. It's been the same for years and it definitely needs to be trimmed down

Sent from my Galaxy S4 running SlimKat 4.4.2

It's all relative to an individuals likes and dislikes. There is no one UI that fits or meets the need of everyone. I for one like Touchwiz in its current form and find the features and the way the UI performs to be very useful in my world.

However, I just purchased the Note Pro 12.2 last week, and so I also like the new look and feel of the Magazine UI as well.

People on this site seem to knock TW or the Nature UX a lot, but as the #1 OEM selling millions of devices they are obviously meeting the needs of their target audience.

Agreed. But, you're not allowed to like Samsung products or Touchwiz, without being labeled as a fanboy by Jimbo and the Peanut Gang, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Yep apparently we all must like the Google experience and if we don't we are fanboys and those who like the Google experience are mutual right lol

Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)

I would love a samsung GPE phone but I want samsung's camera software to remain in it. Samsung did it well with their camera software and are always trying to make it better. The rest of TW I can do without

It depends on how one expresses their preferences. Fanboism is OK. It's part of our culture. But when it digresses into vitriol, hatred, and sheer stupidity, we all loose value of the forum. Most of us know that. This thread seems be an intelligent dialog, as far as I've read.

Samsung informed their customers in November 2013 that design 3.0 would be in effect on all 2014 flagships products.

Well here it is now people need to stop giving Google all this silly control and silly credit.

Google DOES NOT RUN SAMSUNG'S BUSINESS. Google had enough problems loosing 400 million every quarter for over 1yr owning Motorola how are they suppose to tell Samsung what to do???

At the end of the day Google will stay in their lane cause they definitely don't have any control over how a manufacturer wants to create their user interface.

Posted from my Galaxy Note 3 on Tmobile via Android Central App

Absolutely true.
Except for the Motorola part. Google obtained the benefits of Motorola's patents and removed themselves from OEM conflict, cost effectively.

+1 That transaction turned into a win-win for everyone.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

They don't, Android is Open Source.

Google's version of android is not on Samsung phones, and Samsungs version is not on the Nexus. You are going to see a lot of overlap though IF the keep making the Nexus because of the patent agreement.

Yeah, and to add on to what NoNexus said, don't confuse Google's App Suite with their version of Android. They're two totally different things.

You're an idiot, and here's why:
1. Before the Google acquisition, Motorola was losing way more than 400 million a quarter. So it was Google that "trimmed the fat" so to speak, off of Motorola.
2. Google can and probably has told Samsung "what to do", because without Google's certification, no Samsung devices would run most of the things that make Android, Android. No Google sync (Contacts, Gmail, Voice, Play Services, etc), not to mention no access to the Play Store.
3. Who said anything about Google "running Samsung's business"? Good god you are delusional.
4. This "new direction" is almost exactly what the rumors of Google telling Samsung to slim down their UI layer were about. So assuming that talk actually happened, Google does indeed "have [some] control over how a manufacturer wants to create their user interface". What a joke.

Neither needs the other.

Google has a set of guidelines for play store certification. The lawsuit that Google would lose if they denied Samsung access if those guidelines were met would be frightening.

No way does Google want to piss off Samsung. It is too great a loss to the ad revenue.

On the other side. Samsung doesn't want to piss off Google and make their life tougher.

There is no design agreement between the two. This new direction was in the works LONG ago. It is a coincidence that people are taking way too seriously

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Kit Kat tastes like Jellybeans. Can't tell them apart...

Squiddy
It's a given, all Samsung's 'Android Google Services' devices have been and will continue to be certified before release. Apparently you don't realize it's hypocritical to call a person an idiot and delusional based on 'your' unsubstantiated rumors. As previously mentioned, all you need to do is simply cite a credible source that can be referenced to substantiate your claims. Vitriol is not a solution.

I myself feel that its a bit 'too' much content available on the home screen - probably because I dislike flipboard.. Just hope that its easy to customize and easier to use.

Another concern is when the WiFi is off would you just be shown old news feeds and blank content?

Posted via Android Central App

I agree. The flipboard experiment on the Note 3 is horrid. At the very least they need to make this an option and not a mandatory thing like it is on the N3. That homescreen is way too busy for me. The streamlined menus thing sounds great though.

You're assessment is definitely incorrect my friend. The content is very emersive on the Note 3.

It all depends on you and how creative you really are the so called flip board aspect is very user oriented and a great idea.

Posted from my Galaxy Note 3 on Tmobile via Android Central App

Moreover, after HTC innovated again with their distinctive Blinkfeed followed by Google Now, Samsung had to step up to the plate or get left in the dust.

Yes. Without the option to NOT make Blinkfeed the default home screen, it would have remained too intrusive.

And that is your opinion vs. his. Who the hell are you to tell him his opinion is wrong? Oh right, a self-important, delusional nobody.
Further, he basically said it was too "emersive" (it's "immersive", you idiot), and here you are pretty much agreeing with him, while thinking you're saying the exact opposite. Go get a dictionary.

I never even noticed that it was there. I had to go and look before calling BS.

Guess you learn something new everyday

I, for one, love home screen content. Other than messages and phone calls being private and hidden in their respective apps I love displays on home screens!

Also, loving the direction Sammy is taking TW. Hopefully they really unify and modernize the whole UI with the refresh.

Posted from my TARDIS!

I own the Pro 12.2 and the Magazine UI is user defined.

It's there out of the box, but if a user decides it's not to their liking they can simply remove the screens and just use the normal UI with with apps and the familiar widgets they are accustomed to.

After playing around with the Note Pro 12.2 at Best Buy, I can honestly say that I love the new Magazine UI. It's definitely a refresh that was sorely needed for Samsung's tablets.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I think Chameleon is actually smarter as it changes based on your location. However, i don't think it's as robust as this. I purchased it a while ago and try it every now and then but get frustrated by the lack of choices.

I haven't had a chance to see one up close but It seems a lot like the Live Tiles on Windows 8 that has been so controversial. I like the look of it but I also like the look of Windows 8 and Flipboard. At this point I'm left confused as to what is new about it. At this point I can also wish I could buy one. Too many gadgets and not enough money. :-P

There is nothing revolutionary about it from a the photos. It looks almost exactly like windows 8. Even the settings screen is almost identical. Maybe it functions better but visually seems the same to me.

Less is more, Samsung. I had two of their own phones (Fascinate and Droid Charge, ugh...) before I bought the Gnexus. With that I came to the conclusion that a Samsung phone matched with the standard Android UI was great. If I could get that again on Verizon I would have bought it instead of my Droid Maxx. I just don't have the time anymore to mess with custom roms trying to fix Samsung's software abomination.

Time to give them another try. Either a SGS3 or 5. The 4 was ok but not the best.

You have to excuse the Fascinate (first generation) and the Charge, well it was what it was.

Is that a brown turd in your pocket or... Oh it is a Droid Charge?

I hated to see colors

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Kit Kat tastes like Jellybeans. Can't tell them apart...

Wow. It's almost like they're "tiles" that are "live" with information. Its just dripping with innovation.

Purchased a Note Pro 12.2 on Saturday. It took me all of 15 minutes to decide to sacrifice magazine UI for greater flexibility of the stock launcher screens. I promptly installed Nova Launcher on my tablet and do not intend to look back. I'll sit back patiently and wait for root so that I can tweak things more.

While I wouldn't call magazine UI a fail by a long shot I do think that shortcomings on the stock launcher side of things make the customization that Samsung's doing to the experience feel rather incomplete. The biggest issue for me on stock launcher is the large margins and gaps between icons. Additionally Nova brings widget overlap and flexible re-sizing of widgets along with gesture support. IMO the reason to move from smaller to larger tablets is to gain additional screen real estate and as such the user should be allowed to leverage that additional screen real estate.

If anything, Google needs to realize that there's a market out there for tablets that don't have blown up smartphone UI's. There's always the arguement between iOS and Android fans about this issue and it is a real one (blown up android phone apps on this 12.2 screen are HUGE!) but when it's all said and done on the home screen front an iPad truly does look like a large iPhone/iPod Touch. This is an area where Android based tablets can truly differentiate themselves from iPads and it is refreshing to see Samsung making that attempt here even if it is falling a little short for some like me.

Looks like Windows went out and slept with Flipboard and HTC BlinkFeed and had this as its baby! I dont like the looks of it at all, but I wont pass judgment until I play with it.

I wouldn't mind having the option of a magazine style interface on a tablet but I really prefer my tablet and my phone to be the same so it is easy to switch between them. Just give us the option of either style.