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.
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.
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.