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Hard to believe, liking Sense 6 over GPE
I have had my One M8 two weeks now, LOVING this phone, and one of the selling points to me personally, was the ablity to go flash the GPE Nexus type ROM, and not be stuck on Sense. And I am a huge Nexus stock Android fan, having owned the Nexus-One, Nexus-S, Galaxy Nexus, and Nexus 4, but after the N4 I moved on to Samsung's Note 2, and then Galaxy S4. So last experience with stock Android was 4.1 Jellybean, haven't played with any Kit Kat builds before.
Long story short, I am liking Sense 6 way more than GPE's Kit Kat 4.4.2. and I never would have thought or expected that in a million years, being such a long time Nexus fan. I tried out two different GPE ROMs this week, and certain things in stock Kit Kat I can't stand.
- #1 the Phone dialer / Contacts, wow those suck now, why did Google change the Phone app they've had since ICS 4.0 ? I use my phone a lot to actually make calls, this new new Dialer sucks, and the Contacts is super bright white and very plane, really no features on it. I have read that a whole new Phone dialer app is coming in a upcoming 4.4.3 update. But I miss the awesome Phone app from 4.0 to 4.3, which was all Black with blue numbers, and swipe to to the right to go to contacts, etc...
- #2 the icon sizes are gigantic, like crazy huge, can't fit much on the home screen, I know a Launcher gets rid of that, but sometimes I like to run bone stock, and with those giant icons it looks weird and silly.
- #3 Battery life is definitely worse than a Sense based ROM, by a good amount IMO. My Sense based ROMs were giving me crazy good battery life, like 6h to 7h On Screen time, and total battery life of 24+ hours easily. These two GPE ROMs I tired, would only give like 4h to 5h On screen time, and maybe 15 hours total battery life.
- #4 Speed. I was always under the impression that stock Android was way faster than a UI like Sense or Touchwiz. The Sense 6 ROMs I was running were super fast and silky smooth. The GPE ROMs were also pretty quick too, but no way did not feel any faster than Sense. Just going off my own personal use, it felt like Sense was the faster UI. My point being, stock GPE Android was NOT faster or smoother, no. It was a tie, and if anything Sense won by a hair.
- #5 The look of the UI. Sense 6 has a really cool black / white / blue theme going on, and flat design, it looks really professional, and minimalistic, just smartly designed and well thought out. Where stock Kit Kat is starting to look like a Hodge podge of old Ice Cream Sandwich mixed together with the newer Google Now cards stuff, it's like stock Android can't make up it's mind, is it still Holo themed, or going for the new lighter Card style ? The menu still looks the same as from the Galaxy Nexus from 2011, but other parts look very fresh and totally different. I think we need Android 5.0 to usher in a new uniform design theme for stock Android.
To wrap this up, I am no HTC fan boy, my last HTC was the EVO 4G way back from 2010. I am really more of a Nexus stock Android guy, I guess I just don't like the Kit Kat updates from Jellybean. I was very satisfied with Jellybean. And this Sense 6 blew me away, really shocked I actually like it better than stock Android. It looks great, is smartly designed and laid out, and is super smooth / fast, with insanely good battery life. Next stock Android phone or ROM I'll run will be to wait for at least 4.4.3, and most likely the next big update with the HTC Nexus-Six this Fall.