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.)

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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.