HTC Sense

Why do you hate Sense?

That's not a particularly inviting question. Hell, it's not even nice. But it's one I kept asking myself over the course of a week or so while writing our HTC One X review, and poring over the new HTC Sense 4.

It actually was a single question with two targets. The first was myself. I'd never particularly enjoyed Sense on top of Android. The non-customizable dock made sense, I suppose, for a regular consumer who won't be customizing his or her phone much, if at all. But that's not me. I needed more flexibility. And, so, on went a third-party launcher. And that's fine. Sometime around mid-2010 Android smartphones finally started to have hardware that was unencumbered by a launcher on top of whatever the phone came with. And so it was bye-bye, Sense. (And so-long, TouchWiz, for that matter.)

As for the Sense widgets, I could take them or leave them. For the most part, they've always been very nicely done. Some I could use, some I don't need. But using another launcher meant they disappeared, too, and so I never used them.

So I knew why didn't want to use Sense as my daily driver. But this is about you as much as it is me. Why do you hate Sense?

There's the other side of the coin, of course. The smartphone nerds who are perfectly happy with Sense, thank you very much. Maybe they get shouted down. Maybe they to about using their Sense-ified smartphone quietly and without regret. They like Sense, not that there's anything wrong with that. 

Let's be clear here. I'm not talking about choice. I'm not talking about preference. I'm taking hate. I'm talking about the gnashing of teeth over how how quickly an HTC phone could be hacked so that Sense could be stripped outta there and the latest AOSP ROM hacked in. I'm talking get the eff out, die in a fire, "BEGONE, DEMON SPAWN!" that is the feeling toward HTC's custom user interface.

Some folks out there just hate Sense. Maybe you've noticed. They're usually pretty loud about it.

And that's the thing. Volume doesn't necessarily mean volume. It's been an interesting experience in the forums over the past 24 hours. I asked folks the same question posed here. Why do you hate Sense? I wanted reasons, not rhetoric.

A few choice responses:

"The lag and battery drain, particularly when you want to have the weather animations on. Of course this was on an Incredible, so times change, but it seemed--at least then--very clunky." — dmmarck

"I used to hate Sense and never used it. However, since the ics update on my vivid I absolutely love it. Sense 3.6 is butter smooth and a great improvement. I can't wait to try Sense 4.0." — calvin35

"I've always thought Sense added much needed, logical features that stock Android lacked. Google is closing the gap well, but I still like Sense, and can't wait to get my hands on 4.0. Might switch to AT&T for the One X. Never thought anything would take me from Verizon. But their failure to get on board with the One series speaks worlds about their strategies." — Noble.Four

"I had it on my Evo and I didn't like that I couldn't customize the dock." — demontooth

"I have never liked the limited Sense launcher. I want my four shortcuts AND app drawer. I wasn't happy just using ADW or another launcher on my EVO because the sense widgets were lost. At that point Sense wasn't offering me enough to keep me away from CyanogenMod. Sense 4.0 certainly solves those complaints. I really like what I've seen and am hoping that the HTC/Sprint announcement keeps up with all of this One X teasing." — jephf

"The only thing I hate about Sense 4.0 is how it looks. When compared to stock ICS I don't think it's as pretty. However, in previous versions of Android, I think it improved upon stock a little in terms of style. This is all personal preference of course." — theDL

And those are but a few of the dozens of responses we've gotten. And to my surprise, they really have been pretty 50-50. I invite you to join the discussion here.

This debate won't end with Sense 4. And it shouldn't end with Sense 4. HTC will continue to develop and improve Sense. Motorola will do so with PhilBlur. Samsung will do so with TouchWiz. I was surprisingly pleased by Sense 4. Some of you will be, too. 

 

Reader comments

Searching for a rational reason to hate a manufacturer's UI

113 Comments

Right now my thunderbolt keeps getting a wait or force close box for HTC Sense. This is causing my phone to reboot, drop and reconnect with my bluetooth and reload when exiting an app. It totally slows down any HTC phone.

This is exactly what happened on my EVO and EVO Shift all the time. IMO, Sense is just pretty bloatware. It will eventually get you once your phone matures, and you start to get light on available resources.

Sense sucks! Long live the new flesh... I mean stock android.

Just give us a stock launcher, and all the cool widgets. Theme the launcher if you want, but give me the customizability.

As a Android community member who will only use HTC phone, Sense is the least of the evil when it comes to OverLays.

Sense is like a fat dude on a unicycle. It takes alot of energy to not go very far.

It is the most visually stunning Skin in today's market. But i want a Pure Android feel that i had with my Magic and my Dream.

you're an asshole. your first post was a complaint about sense, finally saying you wanted stock android. guy told u to root your phone. u told him it's rooted, then call him ignorant? WTF? you're the one who didn't say "that's why it's rooted" or anything.

random, unnecessary internet put-downs are not cool.

Sense was always smooth and responsive on my Evo Shift. It never really bothered me. It felt more refined than stock I guess with the settings menu icons being all detailed and having the fancy widgets. Not to mention the camera app which is about 50,000 times better than stock. It really is a personal preference thing to me. You can almost think of stock Android as its own skin in a way. I personally like the dark theme of stock ics and the blue color. That is one thing that draws me to stock ics over sense. Sense is so white/bright.

I think the performance hits of the past are not going to be an issue anymore. Even on my Shift which was running Sense 2.1(I think) and was over a year old I didn't notice any slowdowns over stock Android.

I use custom ROMS and Kernels though so maybe the performance of stock Sense is bad, I am not sure.

I don't hate skins. In fact I often enjoy that skins can add a little polish to the android experience.

I *DO* hate that often skins come with a performance hit, even for high end devices. Touchwiz on GSII feels laggy after running ADW for example.

I *REALLY HATE* that skins add to our support woes though. That companies are valuing "branding" a device over rolling out updates. It all ready takes long enough to get a ROM out of a company and through a carrier, I don't think I like the additional functionality of a skin OVER getting a timely update. Let alone phones which will NEVER receive new ROMs because of them. Running CM9 on an Epic 4G, I finally have a smooth fast experience, something I never had with Samsung stock ROMS. However, Samsung will never officially roll out an update for this year and a half old device because you can not fit both ICS and Touchwiz due to limited storage (and Sammy's proprietary file system). Their solution? No ICS.

So yeah, I *DO* hate that...

No you wouldn't. The manufacturers still have a build in incentive to get you to buy a new phone.

Updating the release on many models of phones is a staggering cost item (hundreds of millions of dollars), with virtually zero payback other than customer good will.

That should be all the incentive they need. After all, why would I be compelled to stay with a particular OEM when I am ready to upgrade if they haven't earned my goodwill?

Because there is a new shinier toy that you want and all your friends, cronies, and inspirations have. Marketing is usually for the purpose of building demand i.e. for you to want what they have not for you to want what you already have...

Let's be reasonable if you are talking about using an upgrade then you are already admittedly interesting in something new over getting the full usable life out of what you have.

Lastly companies are after earning your money not your goodwill. If they had to choose that would be another question but for the majority people don't stick with you because of your goodwill, history, past, successes, etc... read RIM/Blackberry.

How much good will do they owe you?

After a while, ALL of the profit they earned by selling you your phone (maybe $100 over the cost of materials and labor) is all gobbled up by these increasingly difficult upgrades you seem to think you are owed.

Your carrier makes money off of you every month. Your manufacturer makes money from you exactly once.

Maybe if people had to PAY same small fee for every upgrade after the first year we would get upgrades quicker.

Would you pay $25 or $50 for a major upgrade like ICS?

I know your comment is not going to be popular with many people, but you make an excellent point. I hate to say "look at Apple's methodology" but, look at Apple's methodology. I don't know if they still do, but they used to charge like $5 for new major versions of iOS. I know when I bought my iPod Touch, I got the upgrade to iOS 3 for free, but my sister (who had bought hers almost a year prior) had to pay a few bucks.

I think it's a perfectly reasonable idea, so long as the cost is kept down. I think $25 is too much, though. *Maybe* as much as $10, when you figure the number of people that might pay for the upgrade. It would certainly give the manufacturers some incentive to get the update out quickly.

Everyone likes to talk "fragmentation" with Android, but everyone is comparing the Android business model to Apple's and they are *totally* different. Apple makes the phone and the OS and they even impose strict limitations on the carriers who sell their phones.

Android's business model is very different, where they are (sort-of) giving the OS away for free and letting different manufacturers do what they want with it. It means tons of flexibility, but also basically *necessitates* the kind of fragmentation that everyone complains about.

It's not realistic to expect manufacturers to put out new OS versions for every phone they've ever made with every major revision. There's not only no monetary incentive to it, but it can actually hurt their bottom line, since it makes people less likely to buy the newer model phone.

It's a sad truth, but it's the way it is. Yes, companies *are* out to make money. They *have* to be. Without that money, they can't stay in business. Especially with the demand for new tech requiring tons of R&D and design work. It's not greed. It's capitalism. The inconvenient truth of it is, you probably wouldn't like the alternative.

ok, so let's talk about fragmentation, then.

You don't want it compared to iOS, and for good reason.....i get it :) Let's compare it to WP7 then, since it's similar in the sense that they have many different devices to update, just like android does.

If they can get mango out to every single WP7 user within a week, why can't android do it with ICS??? I'll tell you EXCACTLY why....UI enhancements. There's no question about it!! I've seen all the ICS updates coming in....not one ICS update so far has a new version of motoblur, touchwhiz or sense. So....still think it's not the bloated UI that's to blame? I tend to think maybe the manufacturers need to ake a step back and re-evaluate their methodology since the #1 complaint with android phones at this very minute is "where in the flying hell is my update???"

Yep, CyanogenMod can keep about 70 devices up to date with the newest versions of Android, so slow updates can't be blamed on the Android OS itself.

Carriers don't make profit from you buying a phone. In fact, they take a loss. They make their money when you fork over your monthly fee. If you move to another carrier, they lose. If you stay on that EVO for 5 years, they come out ahead. And if the EVO had ICS on it, I know multiple people who'd still be rocking it. One of whom has moved over to the iPhone because she knows that it'll get the next upgrade.

You mean like Nokia selling Windows Phone? Where it's essentially stock, but they have a bunch of apps that improve the value of the device, but don't prevent the device from getting OS updates.
Quite the opposite actually since the individual apps can be improved more often than the OS. It makes no sense that Sense is only "improved" with ROM updates. What about tweaks to individual widgets?
You're describing a scalpel problem (individual updates to specific pieces of software) not a broadsword problem (everything gets updated at once).

I actually like this UI. HTC Desire was my first android device and I like it very much. Now I have GNex but I will love to come back to HTC (One X looks spectacular - best camera app ever). Battery is one of the most important thing in updating a phone (at least for me). I would like to see a comparison between One X and GNex batteries.

I cant so much comment on Sense, but Touchwiz is awful. What burned the Galaxy S2 for me was a combination of TMobile and Samsung bloatware i couldnt uninstall. I dont like rooting or custom roms. Love the community and the things they accomplish, but just not for me.

Otherwise Touchwiz didnt offer much else but unnecessary widgets. Above all else though is the mismatched UI. Why I appreciate ICS so much is because its beautiful visually. Something I cant really say about Touchwiz.

The main point is there really is no real need for Sense or any other overlay anymore. ICS is beautiful now and I just can't stand manufacturers putting their stuff on top which in turn usually makes the device stutter. Maybe not so much anymore but it will stutter. All these things should be options. OOB should be stock Android with the ability to add in their "themes" with the use of a built in app. All overlays do is cause a longer wait time for updates and more system memory to be used.

You can't make blanket statements like your first sentence.

I think that's part of Phil's main theme of this post. If you want sameness to rule the world, you may be happier with an iPhone.

I both agree with you and disagree with you. "Android is all about choice" is a valid argument sometimes. But, no manufacture is out promoting Android OS. HTC is only interested in promoting Sense and not interested in the "benefits" of other choices. Sounds like Apple and every other vendor. Apple thinks every hardware should have ios as an interface and HTC thinks every phone should have Sense, Samsung Touchwhiz...because then the money is going in their pockets.

Just to me the argument about "choices" from vendors is trivial when it comes to software. Android does have the added benefit of choosing (software) your choices (software's limited options). And swapping out your limitations for another. Again just looking at it on vendor basis.

Since none of the Android vendors are making their hardware (correct?) what else is their value add other than software?

What you may not realize here, is that Sense is *much* more than simply an overlay. On my Evo3D, when I use my finger to move the cursor around, I get a little "zoom" box that appears above my finger and shows where the cursor is. Stock Android doesn't do that. I love the fact that I know *exactly* where the cursor is going to be in a block of text when I lift my finger. HTC's Sense incorporates a great many small features like that into the base Android OS.

Personally, I use GoLauncher, since I like all the transition effects and the ability to create more screens. But I still like the fact that most of the Sense changes to the OS continue to work, even though I'm not running the HTC Sense launcher. There's far more work involved in these "overlays" than simply a custom launcher.

I never really hated Sense on my EVO 4G, but rooted and went to CM7.

About the only thing I really miss from Sense was it provided an unread count widget that worked with Exchange. I have yet to find a suitable replacement for this functionality, as all of them only seem to work with Gmail.

Would be happy to be proven wrong if anyone knows of a non-Sense widget that does this.

There are a couple I know of, but most are dependent on a specific launcher. I know ADW and GoLauncher both have plugins that can do this. What launcher are you using?

I like the smooth and buttery elastic "pop" from Sense as you open drawers, or switch screens. I don't like the dock, and I wish the widgets were re-sizable.

AOSP + a mix of Sense would be spectacular.

EXACTLY THIS!

I suspect Google is to blame for the way they structured Android. Done right, you should be able to install and un-install skins like any other apk. I can switch from KDE to Gnome, to XFCE in a heartbeat, even without a reboot. Why should it be harder on Android?

No, I mean I suspect they didn't make it open enough.

They (perhaps unintentionally) made it hard to customize specific portions of the UI. They made the UI integral with the OS itself (like Microsoft Windows) rather than as an add-on package (like Linux).

As such they left the manufacturers with a huge pile of work just to change things around a bit.

If you don't have any experience with the structure of operating systems, you might not understand what I'm getting at.

Suffice it to say that Android is based on Linux, and Google had to strip OUT a lot of the smart packaging that linux has in order to integrate the UI as tightly as they did. This was a tactical error, which may have been expedient at the time.

You should be able to replace the entire skin just by installing an apk. No root required.

It's not.

But your phone doesn't have a big hard drive to hold all the "dependencies" and different OS framework. OEM's have built their overlay so that it replaces core Android., and you'll need to have two copies of most system files.

Swapping them in and out of place is trivial, and could be easily done with a script while in recovery.

Edit:

Think of Sense as an X11 and shell replacement versus a window manager and desktop. 

I see your point Jerry, but the UI (sense) should be like Gnome or KDE, running on top of a standard X11 engine, (which itself is running on top of the kernel). You can switch from one to the other without messing with X11.

Its precisely because "OEM's have built their overlay so that it replaces core Android" that we are in this UI mess. I suspect they had to do it this way in the past. But they shouldn't have to do that any more.

I suspect this is becoming obvious to Google and the Android Open Source Project, based on certain grumbling from Google, and the huge costs born by the manufacturers in customization the hard way.

Why do I hate sense? Very easy to answer. All the apps, background apps, running services, etc are a hog on resources. Period!! Let me customize as I see fit. Don't force me to keep all of this crap running that I don't care for.

They (at least used to) overtake the bluetooth stack, causing me to not be able to use my Wii mote or a PS3 controller. I always installed CyanogenMod because of that.

Plus, I just wish they could have an option to disable sense and use the stock feel.

Touchwiz 3.0 didnt look appealing at all. I liked the Widgets and how the launcher functions, but the layout design.. it wasn't as attractive as sense or adw or blur.

Edit: however, its not as heavy in mbs as people stated. If you look at the file size, its only 700kbs or so. Go launcher is 4mbs. Lol

In the past I use to run ADW to mask the pure Android experience of my Nexus One. As Android catches up, I've never seen the need of doing that any more. Nor the need run CyanogenMod, or anything else.

And with Moto and Sammy phones in the household, I've never found a reason to mess with their skins either.

The pure Google experiences I have enjoyed are just fine too, if occasionally boring. They work.

I don't have any problem with Sense either, as long as it does what's necessary. Apparently HTC listened to the complaints of slow-down and battery usage, and realized that what they were trying to accomplish with Sense in the past was no longer necessary, because Android was doing a better job. Sense 4 is their answer.

Having run virtually every flavor of Linux with many flavors of desktop overlaid, I have no problem with getting used to a new user interface. Its kinda fun. Similarly I have no problem with people who want to tweak their entire OS. Freedom is what its about.

You can guess the age of posters on AC by the belligerence and vehemence with which they shout down anyone who thinks differently.

(This is way I was surprised at Jerry's NSFW porn app posting a few days back. There is obviously an awful lot of 14 year olds that read AC judging by the rhetoric.)

I've loved Sense since my Desire, its social network integration amongst many other things make it superb for me. It genuinely adds benefits that vanilla Android does not have, not just a different look which some people mistakenly seem to think.
I agree that it has caused some problems with the speed and battery life of their handsets with the animations and so on but in my opinion it has been fairly minor on the ones I've used and would seem as if its non existent on the One series.
I've tried many stock roms and I still come back to Sense every time as I miss the added usefulness that Sense provides.
I truly think to hate something like Sense which many people in these forums seem to is ridiculous and fairly idiotic. Dislike its design or usage problems for sure if its not your cup of tea, but "hate" that's just stupid. Its just a software overlay for christs sake.

The only reasons I would have for hating a manufacturer's UI is if it slows down the phone's performance (even when using a 3rd party launcher) or if it slows down software updates (which it will do to varying degrees).

Personally, I'd look for a relatively popular phone with nothing locked down and a healthy dev community.

For a long time I had "hate" for Touchwiz till I tried Cyanogenmod and while it was much "snappier" and had much more options for customization (and tbh was better all around aside from what didn't work ...) - I then noticed how lucky I had been to have the TW Samsung camera and video player apps (for example) which were far superior to AOSP. So, I'm running a custom debloated Touchwiz-based rom with ADW EX and I'm all happy and such.

@jonyah - This stuff doesn't work the same way on android as say Windows. Nothing running in the 'background' is draining your battery. Sense is certainly not stealing cycles from your other apps.

Skins are just advertisments for the phone companies. They don't add value for the consumer. We don't want the skins because there is no reason for us to need it. Offer the skin as an add-in and people will probably use it, but don't force your advertising on us - we already pay enough for these phones.

Sense is an user interface (UI). There is no advertising for the phone companies Perhaps you a severely confused.

Sense is an user interface (UI). There is no advertising for the phone companies Perhaps you are severely confused.

I think he means that the UI is advertising for the Phone Manufacturing Company.

If that is the case, he is not at all confused, but rather more insightful. Skins differentiate the product from everything else out there.

Without differentiation, we all have iPhones.

Hardware differentiates iphones 2, 3/s, 4/s hardware differentiates HTC EVO, Thunderbolt, Incredible...

Just where my mind goes everytime you say that. I agree with your premise that skins differentiate the products from other vendors. But I don't see us all having iphones is any different from us all having HTCs. If we all had HTC we'd all have sense.

Not shooting you down but I don't catch the logic.
skins diff the product without diff we all have iphones
without skins to differentiate the product we'd all have iphones?

differentiate it from what other vendors products or from other products with the same UI?

Well my point is that You and I may understand difference in hardware and actively seek out the best.

But we read this blog too. Most Android users don't. They buy what looks good and seems to work well in the store compared to other phones they have seen.

My non-techie friends couldn't care less about stock android. They understand fast, but they understand good looking and easy to use better.

Once all phones have good enough hardware, visual choices start making sales for the average consumer.

1. it's slow
2. it's ugly
3. the themed apps are crappy
4. it's ENORMOUS!!!!
5. they moved files to completely illogical locations
6. if you have a 4g device and you update to sense version not released for your device, you can kiss 4g goodbye
7. you can't customize anything without breaking something else
8. it causes delays in development
9. it's HTC (and honestly, this is the only reason I need to hate it in the first place)

Think of Android as the girl, and oem skins as makeup. Well, now she's grown up and is really gorgeous, she doesn't need all that fancy makeup covering her.

You need to take off everything to get to the good parts :)

I hated sense on winmo 6.5. First thing I did was turn it off. There was actually an option on winmo people, go figure.

When I came to android (EVO4G) sense felt awesome. It added eye candy and functionality that you needed several apps and widgets to acomplish in say CM6 (rooted EVO within a week).

Now we have ICS which I really like the ui enhancements. In my opinion the app drawer and recent apps blow away the sense counterparts. I wish they would have kept those in sense. I do like the launcher better on sense though.

One major point about the look of ics.... Dark themes are really cool inside and in screenshots. Out in brighter light and direct sunlight they absolutely blow. Ive actually have gone away from dark themes because of this. I wish there was an inverted ics theme with whites and grays instead. I use the Slate (gray and white) theme on my EVO4G running mikg and its a pleasure to work with.

So in the end isnt it great that we have a choice. I mean you know this thing will be rooted with custom asop and sense roms galore. Not to mention miui and cyanogemmod.

Choice aint life grand!

I like the Sense widgets, hated the Sense launcher. I just never saw the point to all the wasted space where a real icon dock ought to be. I did like the Sense dialer, calendar and People widgets.

I say did because I've left sense long behind since switching to CM7.2 and GoEX. Perhaps I would have liked it more if HTC would allow pieces of it to go to other phones.

I am so done with vanilla android. I really do not see the "beauty" of ICS. Some like it, I don't. Don't understand the dark blue on black. Don't understand the boring status bars and icons. Only thing I like is the unified look of apps - though that is what these overlays wanted to try and do with the most used apps anyway.

I have always been a phone geek, and I always will. I have to say for the first time ever, I will stick with TouchWiz (rooted of course).

Damn that's allot of Hate guys
The Manufacturers frameworks\overlays DOES add useful things to stock Android
If you don't need or use it, That does NOT mean everyone else is the same

I've used BOTH : Stock\Vanila (for a year & half) & Skinned (7 months & going)

If I'd to choose between Stock & Skinned , I'll pick up Skinned in heartbeat! (I chose the One X in the poll, just because its not stock , even though I don't it design)
Hell will freeze before I buy anthor stock phone

But that is just me

I actually like Sense to be honest.

Having said that, I do fell that any carrier's UI ultimately delays OS updates, because before they can ship it out, they gotta dress it up first.

With ICS, it appears Android is getting pretty close to providing a UI that is as feature-rich, user-friendly, and aesthetically pleasing as any carrier UI out there...and if that's the case, why is there still a need to add it?

I currently own an HTC Thunderbolt, and I prefer running Sense (3.0+) ROMs to AOSP ROMs...but ICS may have my changing my tune.

Never had sense. I like stock and able to flash ROMs and all that. To the average user they use whatever comes stock. For advanced users having the ability to change it up is a selling point.

Phone companies don't want to support all the n00bs trying to flash and modify. They can't just let people mod their phones then say "sorry you got yourself into this mess, now get yourself out" so they provide a layer that meets the largest base of users needs out of the box.

I'm on a epic 4g running 4.0.4. I do laptop support for the latest innovation in gaming laptops. And do not care to deal with n00bs that think they know how to mod windows.

If you have to call support, or think you may have to call support because you can't figure it out from the community, don't do xyz to begin with.

Never understood the hate, it's a VERY strong word reserved for few things in life (Don't be hatin').

Not sure what everyone is doing wrong, but stock Sense 2.1 on my Thunderbolt works great, has never crashed and I get very good battery life even on the standard 1400mAh battery. All I did was remove all but two widgets from the home screens and tweak a few settings to scale back the animations in the OS. Otherwise, IMO Sense is highly intuitive, very well refined, looks good, and subsequently makes using the phone enjoyable. :)

I saw some of the same on my Thunderbolt (have a GNex now, though).

However, I disagree on the last sentence (all of this could change with Sense 4, so I'm going to leave it open and refer only to the versions of Sense that I have personally used myself--I can never really tell for sure until I sit down and try to use it myself). Sense makes absolutely no sense to me (I tried my Thunderbolt without rooting it for a while, but gave up and put on CM7, because CM7 was significantly more intuitive for me). I can see the very well refined point, but I find ICS more refined (which is probably an unfair comparison, I will admit). I don't think the Sense versions I used looked very good, in my opinion--too shiny and annoying for me (ICS does it better, in my opinion, but again, that's probably unfair). And finally, I found Sense made me hate that phone until I put CM7 on it and fell in love with it (except that by the time I gave up on it, any AOSP ROMs had a million bugs and quirks that I dealt with daily, but I actually preferred that over Sense just on the level of usability for my personal style of use).

There were parts of Sense I liked, but I feel like ICS brought the best of those in and made it even better. With ICS, I don't even really use any replacement apps (except standard replacements with CM9). With Gingerbread, there was only the home screen that ADW Ex was perfect for me (until right before I got the GNex, when I began to really dislike the direction they were going with it at that time) and a different SMS app (which was really annoying, because I really only wanted the stock one plus a couple features, and the replacements took work to make that--not much has changed with ICS's, but even that just works for me now).

My overall point is, I don't really understand why people try to get other people to hate it as well, but I can see why people hate it themselves. I personally cannot stand Sense at all and now know that I probably won't buy a phone with Sense unless there's already AOSP ports that work really well for it. Especially with ICS now, I really want nothing other than what vanilla Android and a few tweaks in ROMs (so long as they don't go overboard in some directions, as some of them do...). Of course, I also don't understand why everyone just talks about battery and space, either. If it was like me, where all of the changes just don't make any sense to the way you use a phone, that makes sense. But for others, those same changes make it all fall in place--different people are different.

*shrug*

I have an HTC Thunderbolt and I've run Stock 2.1, 3.0 and 3.5 roms and for me, honestly the widgets are good, the app customizations are generally good, I'd prefer a more AOSP like dialer, I find HTC's dialer to be subpar, but the rest of the apps changes are fine, I actually like their mms and email applications a lot.

One thing and one thing only makes me hate Sense, the useless launcher with the huge phone button, now that is gone in 4.0 and they've added landscape mode. I could very well like sense a lot, chances are my next phone will be an HTC, they make the most reliable hardware imho.

I run a desensed rom on my thunderbolt or aosp, never full Sense.

I actually really like the curved dock with the large phone button in the middle and dislike the new dock in Sense 4.0 as it doesn't look as refined, instead it looks more like a third party launcher of which I'm not a fan. Then again, I actually still use my phone primarily as a phone! Everything else is icing on the cake to me! :)

I still use my phone as a phone, and one button for it in the launcher is important, but I also want quick launch button for other tasks that I do as much as use the phone, like email, mms and a web browser that I like in the dock so that it's available no matter what screen I'm on. If I wanted to only use my phone as a phone I'd have a feature phone. The old sense layout was just a waste of space.

For me, it's the same with carrier bloatware and custom manufacturer UIs. If you give me the ability to remove it, all or in part, then I have no problem. That is why I root and run custom ROMs. There are parts of Sense, Blur, TouchWiz, etc that I like, and there are things about those UIs that I don't like. Let me do what I want! I am on Verizon. I like NFL mobile and the My Verizon app. I just don't want VZ Navigator, etc..That's why I love the Nexus, but before it came to Verizon I had to root, and will still continue to do so regardless.

I've noticed that my wife's moto now allows her to remove some of the AT@T bloatware (completely uninstall).

Its a good sign. Maybe they listen if we bitch loud enough.

Yeah but the clock widget is very easily removed, I'd used GoWeather for a long time instead, so I don't see that as an issue per se

I'm really pretty much indifferent. On my desire I swapped out the stock sense romantoic for an aosp based rom. But that had two main reasons: the dock that could not be customized and performance.

Sense performance is probably not an issue anymore on newer, faster phones. Heck even on my girlfriend's htc desire hd it runs pretty smooth. So I wouldn't be worried about that anymore.

The dock has also been changed to be customizable, so that pretty much solves my other main complaint as well.

Overall I think the look of sense is pretty nice. Usability issues have been resolved. I could use it on daily basis just fine. But
then again I'm perfectly happy with stock ics as well.

Currently running a stock sony xperia s. Haven't felt the need to change it yet.

My first Android phone was the Evo. I didn't mind Sense... in fact, I kinda liked it. In fact, I really appreciate it after seeing the Nonsense that Motorola and Samsung put on their phones! :)

When I got my first Android phone back in 2010, Sense most definitely filled in the gaps in stock Android. Widgets were (still are) easy on the eyes, Facebook contacts and Twitter integration came out of the box, and the design was much more polished. Over time, Android caught up...plain and simple. Plus, I prefer the clean lines on ICS.

By the time I had my Evo 4G, the main draw for Sense was that widgets were lost if you loaded a 3rd-party launcher. That led me to hunting down some replacement apps and those are easy to come by nowadays. Fancy Widgets, Beautiful Widgets, Android Pro Widgets, etc. have provided quality replacements and eased my transition to my Nexus device.

Still, I don't think I'd mind having a Sense 4.0 phone. HTC has proven that they can get updates out pretty quickly, so long as you're on their flagship device. Likewise, CyanogenMod and all the other devs do wonders.

Meanwhile, we knock the carriers and oems for updates that arrive too slowly, but Google can't even get their Nexus phones updated in a timely manner. (Seriously, ICS code drops late Fall 2011 and the Nexus S 4G still doesn't have an official release in the Spring?). /rant

I never HATED Sense, but there were things I didn't like about it. For instance how it constantly crashed even when other launchers didnt. It constantly ate up my phones resources, and was laggy as hell. I didn't particularly like how the address book worked, and I found it annoying that for some reason the default sms app would list my incomint texts as phone numbers instead of the contacts attached to them.

The only widget I liked was the Friendstream post widget that allows me to post to facebook and twitter at the same time. Android Pro Widgets does it almost as well, but it wasn't quite as attractive as the Friendstream widget.

Yeah, okay, I've changed my mind...I fucking HATE Sense, at least on the HTC Inspire.

I will say this: I like CHOICE.
I don't "hate" Sense. In fact, in my last phones, it has added some much needed and lacking functionality that was simply not present in stock Android. I think such stuff is less necessary with ICS, simply because as Android has matured, it doesn't need as much "fixing" anymore. Sense 4 seems to prove that.

I have not found Sense to be in the way or particularly buggy either. Although that damn, never-stop-carousel spinning thing on the Evo 3D is downright ANNOYING. Sense does eat up some resources, but I have never found myself with a problem on the Evo 4G or 3D due to that.

I used to think that systems like Sense were slowing down updates. That very well may be true. But it might be false, also. It is hard to say.

I am not a TYPICAL smartphone user. Most of us on these forums are not. I would still like the option to Sense "on" or "off" as I see fit. However, that might not be practical.

It looks like Sense 4 adds back (retains) the ability to use USB Mass Storage mode- something that Google apparently ripped out of Android 3 and 4. And that is a HUGE positive in my book. Now if they could just fix the damn lock screens so you don't have to go through TWO OF THEM every time, if you choose to use a security setting....

I actually love Sense because I have never had an issue with it and over my last 4 phones it has been pretty much all I needed. I do not care for vanilla android however and this is my favorite UI. I DO however think it would be nice if HTC would give you the option of cutting it off to satify the folks who do prefer a vanilla UI and maybe keep the widgets intact.

I mean you could always flash a non-Sense ROM but it'd be great to offer this function out of the box and would probably increase the phones marketability.

My biggest issue with Sense (and all the different customized interfaces) is that the way to do basic configuration changes greatly between devices, even ones from the same manufacturer.

I'm smart enough to figure out how to set up an email account on all the devices, assuming I have one to look at. However, try expecting the same from all the average people that want all these great smartphone features but don't know what they're doing.

I don't particularly care for Apple/iOS, but at least I can walk the masses through setting up their email time and again. Consistency is a good thing.

I spent a long time hating Sense... Before I actually used it. It's funny how just reading blogs & comments can color ones views without personal experience. ICS comes out & we have to have it now. Then a new update that fixes some minute bug that you had to go spelunking in the system files to find & it's the worst thing ever. Fix, rinse, repeat. I think this is why I now can appreciate Sense. It provides some basic functionality right out front in widgets & other settings that we pour thru the Market, oops Play Store, to add to our phones. I'm a surprised as anyone that I actually like Sense. It's actually making me question my 2 yr obsession with going stock AOSP only to turn around & pay for things like Beautiful Widgets.

For me, I am just tired of the look of sense and HTC phones lately. They are all starting to look the same to me, every release. I got rid of my MT4G and went to an SGS2, and from Sense to Touchwiz, the ONLY thing I missed was that Sense did a better job syncing all my contacts together. (I think I actually used a few more widgets in touchwiz vs Sense.) I liked plain vanilla on my G1, but then sense came out and it was different.. Now I like ICS on the Gnex because it looks different from previous vanilla. So, I guess I just like change and that's the beauty of having choices on Android - I just wish HTC would change up their phones/sense and add a little more spice sometimes.

For everyone that points to WP7 and iOS you will lose your choice. WP7 is fine as long as you like WVGA screens, only 1 launcher (Metro), one keyboard (which sometimes disappears), one Browser, no LTE, no expandable memory, one processor family (Snapdragon) - no wonder their upgrades are easy. Something similar with iOS - once again no expandable memory, no replacable/removable battery, stock Launcher, no LTE (except for new iPad). If you don't like Sense don't buy HTC, if you like HTC hardware and don't like Sense, root or use an alternate launcher but don't hate on Sense for those that like it, use it and will continue. Personally, I'm looking forward to ICS and Sense 3.6 on Dinc 2. I think the bigger problem with the phone is Verizon's bloatware so hopefully we will be able to use ICS to hide/deactivate all that stuff.

When it comes down to it, its all about sales for the manufacturers. Each manufacturer creates its own look(skin) to generate a consistent user experience. The reason a lot of people who have an iphone upgrade to the new iphone is because its the SAME DAMN THING they had. I have tried all of the skins and from working in wireless since android took off I am finally starting to see customers stick to what they know. I personally love touchwiz and do not care for sense or moto blur. Once the average user gets used to a ui, they want to stick with it. Average users could care less about software updates. I guarantee if you ask 7 out of 10 SGS2 owners if they were looking forward to Ice Cream Sandwich they would think you were talking about dessert. There has to be a differentiating factor between the manufacturers, and the skins are what create repeat customers for each. NOT SOFTWARE UPDATES. In fact more than not, when an update does come out people tend to complain because this button or that feature has changed ever so slightly. For those of us who care about having the latest software, we root our devices. If you dont like to root and dont like the way android manufacturers skin their devices there is always the Nexus line.

As an enterprise mail admin I have handled 100's + android handsets to activate them on our corperate mail server. Sense is hands down the clunkiest slowest UI on any phone. Brand new high end hardware straight out of the box runs like crap. On the other hand brand new out of the box Samsung and the newer Moto devices are usually very smooth. Maybe Sense 4 will change that but I wouldn't own an HTC phone today unless it was fully Cyanogenmod supported and I could just wipe it out and start fresh. Why anyone would buy a phone with a locked bootloader to begin with is completely beyond me anyway.

I don't think you have used Sense on any modern, high-end device, then... like the Evo 3D. There is zero lag and certainly does not run "like crap".

Simple: IT IS UGLY AS HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ICS is beautiful, but manufacturers f*ck it up by adding their skins!

One of my problems with custom UI's is I look at Samsung, LG, Motorola, Asus and HTC as hardware companies, not software companies. That being said, until ICS, stock android was clunky, I liked it but I could maybe see the appeal of some of the things manufactures did. I think ICS is great and doesn't need to be tweaked. I also think Matias Duarte is better at UI design than anyone working for the hardware companies.

I don't hate custom UI's, (but I dislike what LG and Samsung do) I'm indifferent to motoblur and sense, I'll take it but its not my first choice.

Stock 3.0 unrooted on my EVO 3D is slow and laggy, but mikrunny and ZR3D roms completely turn my opinion around about sense and how much I enjoy it. I like ICS too but IMO its just too "dark" for my taste. Either way if you're rooted you can always find a Rom that suits your liking.

Would a world where every manufacturer shipped unskinned stock ICS be any better than how it is now?

It isn't about hating Sense. It's about the tyranny of phone manufacturers/operators taking away choice. For example, I'm locked into a contract on Sprint. Which phone should I buy that offers stock ICS on my carrier? There isn't one. Sometime this summer they will finally offer a grand total of one, running on hardware that will be by then more than six months old.

There are some things that I like about Sense, but they aren't worth the many things that I dislike about it and that I feel are a step backwards from stock Android, for example:

Wifi has a weird glitch (and has had through two phones now, my Evo 4g and my current Evo 3D). It won't download anything; podcasts, app updates, if left on overnight unless you turn it off and back on. This does not happen with stock Android.

The Sense "People" app will not go into landscape. This makes using it in a car dock very difficult.

The Sense Mail, Facebook and Messaging apps I find to be inferior versions of the stock or official versions.

I think the reason so many of us find these skins distasteful is because we are used to the PC model. The first thing I do when I buy a new Windows PC is back up the drivers and install a clean version of Windows to wipe out the manufacturers bloatware. These phones are PC's, but the equivalent simply isn't possible on them. As good as many of the custom ROM's are, they aren't available for every phone and most have some minor, or often times major bugs(such as not being able to use 4g or the camera). All of them void the manufacturers warranty. Why?

Every phone must surely start with stock Android and then have the skin built on top. That means every carrier is sitting on a stock version of Android that works perfectly on their hardware. Why not simply make it available to the enthusiast community? How would it possibly hurt their sales? Sell the phones to the mass market with their skins on it, but make a flashable version available to any that want it. Then it truly would simply be a matter of personal choice.

"Wifi has a weird glitch (and has had through two phones now, my Evo 4g and my current Evo 3D). It won't download anything; podcasts, app updates, if left on overnight unless you turn it off and back on. This does not happen with stock Android."

It's called enabling "Always-On Data"... it's in the settings.

I'll never buy an HTC phone again because of sense.. First its very ugly, second its bloatware that eats up resources and battery, and third it hides the amazing ics holo theme, and if you want some extra functionality you can get nova launcher.. It's like Angelina Jolie putting on a mask of Betty white.. Sense is freaking Betty fing White!!

On my Evo, the only thing I hated was the dock. I use a launcher only for that reason (the resizable widgets are nice, but its not the reason I use one). With the new Sense, having a dock offers more than phone/apps/preferences might be enough to keep me on it, if I get the Evo One X. I wanted to go vanilla, but the Galaxy Nexus is just going to be too dated by the time its released to sign away two years for.

I hate Sense because I don't have the option to turn it off. That is the only reason. I don't like having options taken away from me.

I bought the Rezound because the hardware is awesome. I did not buy it because of HTC's stupid attempt to re-invent the wheel. I know lots of people with HTC Android phones...not one of them bought the phone because of Sense.

Sense, like all Vendor UIs, it the answer to the question nobody asked.

Anyone who listens to the Podcasts knows that AC people go out of their way to defend these Vendor UIs. I have no idea why. I have yet to hear them explain how taking options away from me is a good thing.

Frankly, it is kind of annoying. The whole appeal of Android for me was customization. If I wanted the phone maker to think for me I would just get an iPhone.

And no, do not give me that crap about "OMG it isnt a skin it's integrated"...so what? Why are these processes running in the background when I install a different launcher? Stop eating my resources HTC. kthx.

I don't necessarily "hate" Sense, but rather, I do not like having to be tied to a manufacturers UI. Earlier versions of I had a the OG Droid Inc, then Thunderbolt, then Inc2, and now Galaxy Nexus. I have to say that the GNex is by far the best, most responsive, and least laggy ever and I'm sure that is in large part to ICS, stock UI, faster proc, more RAM, and all that. I just love the ability to customize the look and feel the way I want it, with the icons and fonts that I want. I do "hate" the Sense icons...not sure why they gotta take the already great ICS icons and change them to look the way Sense icons have always looked.

Gotta admit though, Sense did make the older Eclair/Froyo/Gingerbread UI better in some ways. But still, I love the freedom of choice with Android and I'll probably never go back to a manufacturers UI. It's Nexus for me here on out :-)

I have never had an android phone with an manufactures UI. I started with the original Moto Droid. After a while I found launchers and picked the one I wanted to use.

A year or so later all the phones now come with BLUR, SENSE, TOUCHWIZ...whatever. You can't get the stuff off of the phone and now with the direction to not having SD cards it is going to be even more of a problem.

I don't hate SENSE, I don't hate TOUCHWIZ, I don't hate BLUR, I just want to be able to have what I WANT on the phone and I don't like the cartoon-like widgets that some of the UI's come with...Hopefully they can be removed...but can they? After the UI's get placed on the phone you can't even tell you have a new version...you don't know what the new version really offers because there's this other stuff on top of it.

The big reason I got the Verizon Gnex was because it was vanilla android just like my first phone. I can put whatever application/widget/launcher I WANT on the phone. So far not feeling the need to do anything.

What I really wish is that the manufactures just placed their UI in the Google Play Market and then we could buy it if we wanted it. Doubt that will ever happen so we're just stuck.