Saturday, January 18, 2014

New features in HTC One X with Sense 5 and Jelly Bean 4.2.2

Around 2-3 months back I upgraded my HTC One X to 4.19.720.1 which came with Sense 5 and Android (Jelly bean) 4.2.2. Its a bit of disappointment that this would be the last update for this phone.

The above screenshot lists down some major changes in software, but there are many more tweaks. Sense 5 is major upgrade over Sense 4 with lot of UI changes with almost every icon updated (read that as flattened).


The biggest change here is the addition of BlinkFeed. Introduced with HTC One, a lot has been already written about so I won't be delving into it. You can read what HTC has to say about BlinkFeed.


This one has been another talked about feature. You can now access quick settings panel in Notification bar by two-finger swipe down gesture. Its not very convenient and I would have loved if HTC would have added notification similar to Samsung with horizontal scrolling rather than showing grid of 12 (large) icons.

Vertical scrolling in app drawer

Now the app drawer has vertical scrolling and again a lot has already been written about it so I won't delve into it more. Many people have criticized this as a backward move and after using it for 2-3 months I realize that it doesn't matter. Yes, you take some time to get used to it but that's it.

Mobile network signal now shows signal strength

If go to "Settings > Power > History" the green bar showing mobile network signal indicates different shades of green depending on the strength of your mobile network. A nifty feature to see if your battery consumption is more when the mobile signals are weak.

Show battery level

Now power options include an option to show battery level in status bar. I don't have to rely on third party apps to do that anymore. Just go to "Settings > Power" and turn on "Show battery level".

Screen shot capturing

You can now capture screenshot by going to new notification panel shown above. The previous method of holding power button and pressing home key still works though. And now your screenshot get stored in a different folder so that you can see all of them together rather intermingled with your other snaps from your camera. Helped me when I was writing this article!


This feature... Ummm... What should I say about it... I am yet to determine what would be a good use of it. You can say that its a kind of a screensaver for your phone. And I thought screen savers were no longer needed. You can find this feature in "Settings > Display, gestures & buttons > Daydream".

You can then select what you want to display on your screen — Colors, your Google Photos or photos from Tumblr (not sure of this one, probably I have app installed because I am on Tumblr that's why it shows up). You then configure when you want your phone to Daydream — while docked, while charging or either.

So now if your phone is charging and Daydream is on then you would get photos from Tumblr on your screen the moment the phone get locked. It looks good but is of no practical use. Why would I want my phone to use precious battery life when its charging — I would just want it to be quickly charged up.

Recent apps

Recent apps have been redesigned with now showing a grid of 9 boxes for recent apps. Nothing much to say about here, I was also okay with previous one.

Friends widget — Removed

When my One X got updated to Jelly Bean 4.1.1 HTC removed the Friends Stream widget (#5). But some portions of it still remained. This time even the remaining ones have been removed. Your option? BlinkFeed.

Battery Life — No perceivable improvement

HTC One X's battery life is not good and you need to do a lot of things to make it go through all day. After this update using my phone for 2-3 months I can confidently say that there are no improvements in it.

New keyboard UI

With entire UI being overhauled keyboard also has a new look and feel.

This time around keyboard actually looks and feels nice. It has just right vibration for haptic feedback and was a pleasure to type on. But it still lacks the advanced capabilities of SwiftKey which I use. I didn't do much testing on new keyboard but I think users relying on stock keyboard would not be disappointed.

HTC also includes Indic keyboard which allows you to type in 11 different languages (I don't know if this feature is available in other countries). And for some reason update also includes Vietnamese keyboard also.

Indic keyboard
A word of caution here, if you are using SwiftKey you might face some issues with your default keyboard inexplicably toggling to Indic keyboard.

Stock browser

The stock browser much faster now. So much that it has become default for me now. Others like Chrome and Firefox look bloated to me now and the stock browser starts up instantly. You can now also close a tab if it is the only one opened.

More bloatware — WeChat

This time around HTC pushed another bloatware with this update — WeChat. I know WeChat has a lot of users but I don't care. I don't use WeChat. Why HTC? Why?

New effects and filters for your photos

There are new effects and filters for your photos. And in my opinion they all SUCK! The filters are bad and either do almost nothing or make the photos grainy. The previous filters were much, much better. Again, why HTC? Why?

Camera app

Nothing much to say here except for that HTC removed the one-tap front/back camera toggle which they introduced in Sense 4 update. Also I hate the new Camera icon.

Teeter — Removed

Previous to the update my phone had a game preinstalled (you can call it bloatware, but the game was amazing) called Teeter. Now with the update to Sense 5 its gone. This is another removal that I miss. You have alternatives on Google Play like this one but not as good as HTC's Teeter.

  1. Themes for your phone are now gone. It either you use BlinkFeed or you don't.
  2. Infinite looping of panels on home has also been removed.
  3. HTC Media Link HD has been renamed to Media output
If you noticed any new features/tweaks in the recent update then do let me know in comments.

No comments:

Post a Comment