HTC Sense 4.0 review
Hello to everyone out there on the webs of inter. Agent Hunter here to eat his own hat. Why? Well I'm here to talk to you about impressive enhancements to a piece of software I gave a not so favourable review of in the past... HTC Sense, now Sense 4.0.
What is HTC Sense?
Sense is HTC’s own flare, added to the Android Operating System in the form of a GUI (Graphical User Interface). From the wallpaper on your homescreen to the menu where your apps live and beyond, it’s the piece of software that makes everything look nice and differentiates HTC smartphones from other devices. We've seen some major changes in the new release.
So what's new in Sense 4.0?
First off I would like to talk about ImageSense; HTC’s new fully featured camera tools set, which brings all the options and quality of a true digital camera to your smartphone.
HTC video pic – have you ever been recording a video of the dog running around the room with a shoe stuck on its nose or of your child saying the most adorable phrase and realised you just missed the perfect photo opportunity? I know I have. This should be a thing of the past with HTC Video Pic, as you now have the option to grab that perfect snap in 5 Megapixel clarity, without stopping the video you're recording! This is possible thanks to the new HTC ImageChip that's incorporated into new Sense 4.0 devices. Thanks to this dedicated image processing trip, HTC One S and One X both have the capability to shoot photos and videos simultaneously in real time without lag or a compromise in quality - pretty amazing really.
Instant capture – let's set the scene; the kids are posed for the family photo that you're planning to send to your parents for Christmas, you know you have only one shot at this; they’re amped up on sugar and itching to resume their activities. All of a sudden, they freeze in that perfect pose you hoped for. You hit the button to grab that snap and in the few milliseconds it takes for your camera to focus, adjust the light of the image and signal the shutter to fire, someone moves and the picture is ruined. Now let’s rewind this scenario and add HTC’s Instant Capture feature. That millisecond is now removed as the phone has already pre-prepared these settings and variables, so you grab that perfect snap! The Christmas photo is saved, and you can sit back and bask in the awesomeness that is you.
Always focus – is the name for HTC’s new Extended Depth of Field technology or EDOF for short. Simply put, EDOF removes the need to pre-focus an image or refocus to capture details in the fore or background of images. Thanks to the HTC ImageChip, your phone now has the capability to focus on a much wider scope. This gives you perfect images without the need to spend time adjusting focus between shots making you images sharper and more detailed while taking the hard work away from you, so now you can focus on finding those shots and not how to take them.
Continuous shooting – no this is not a new feature from Battlefield 3 to increase your ratios. Rather it is HTC’s quick shooting image capture technology, which utilises the HTC ImageChip in One S and One X to handle capture and image processing at lightning speeds. You're able to capture 99 non-stop, rapid fire images in a row and pick the best ones! Continuous Shooting is great for capturing those quick action shots of your best friend landing his first big skateboard trick.
Low light – how often have you had to delete a picture that was snapped in a dimly lit room because it came out as a collection of gloomy, blurry shapes? Luckily all Sense 4.0 devices now have a F2.0 aperture lens and a BSI sensor to quash those worries. With the power of that HTC ImageChip I’ve mentioned repeatedly, Sense 4.0 will allow you to take those breathtaking low light images you have been dreaming of.
HTC smart flash – well this one is quite simple to explain really. Sense 4.0 has the ability to detect how far away your intended target is from the phone, and then adjust the flash to one of 5 levels to compensate, so your pictures look rich and colourful.
HDR – exactly what it says on the tin… High Dynamic Range, the camera takes three quick photos with different lighting and focus settings and then stitches the best components from all three together to give you one truly beautiful image. Need I say more?
Even though some of these features are just improvements on existing features and technology already in HTC Sense, I have to admit I am completely blown away by the ImageSense suite in Sense 4.0. I take quite a lot of pictures in my daily grind and after spending the day with the functions of Sense 4.0 I have to say I’m totally blown away. Imagine those little adjustments and improvements coupled with the new features such as video pic, instant capture and always focus - you now have the power to take amazing photos without having to shell out a few hundred pounds on a true digital camera. Awesome.
HTC sound enhancer profiles and Beats by DRE audio components
If you’re a hardcore music fan that can’t go anywhere without being plugged into your headphones, you’re going to love this section. It’s been common knowledge for a while now that HTC have teamed up with Beats by DRE, to bring high quality audio to their smartphone portfolio.
With Sense 4.0 they have taken the Beats Audio integration a step further. You can now use Beats technology to listen to any audio played through the 3.5mm jack on your HTC sense 4.0 device. This means that your favourite music apps, such as Spotify and Deezer, can now all benefit from the DRE treatment. Another added bonus of the audio suite for people with Beats by DRE headphones, is that when you plug your Beats in the phone will recognise exactly what headset you're using and adjust the Beats Audio profile to give you the best possible sound.
HTC Music – HTC have gone and switched the standard Android Music player out in favour of their Music Hub, a place where all you music needs are fulfilled. Whether you want to stream playlists or download MP3s you can do this from the app, and you can also identify a song you're listening to in seconds, as SoundHound is built in. Now you’re not just enjoying your collection of MP3s, but rather your whole digital music world.
More than music - simply put, all that music goodness and quality is integrated into all sound played through the 3.5 mm headphones out socket, so you can enjoy 5.1 surround sound effects in your favourite films and games
Music and audio is a big part of my life and I prefer my audio to be of a high quality. Sense 4.0 with Beats Audio doesn’t fail to deliver. Sweet.
The Look and Feel of Sense 4.0
With previous versions of HTC Sense, I got the feeling that this particular piece of software was getting in the way and tying up valuable system resources. I’m glad to be proved wrong with Sense 4.0, in fact I’m over the moon to be wrong. Sense has come a long way in its 4 or 5 iterations (depending on how you look at the version numbers). Moving from a clunky screen-candy overlay to the fully featured Android supplement we have today, HTC Sense now enriches an already beautiful operating system with the look and feel of an elegant “life hub” .
Sense 4.0 brings together all of those important things in life that you value and coats them in elegant goodness. From the truly time saving lockscreen shortcuts to the beautifully designed accordian scroll over animations in menu lists.
To summarise; Sense 4.0 has a power level of over 9000! (A little in-joke for fellow geeks. It means Sense 4.0 is excellent.)