I may be a glutton for punishment, but I want to give every company --and every device-- a real shot at winning me over. Right from the start, there's nothing tying me down from previous experiences or past handsets. When I look at a phone, especially a new phone, I always come at it like it could potentially be my next device. Because while I may want to give up being an early adopter, the chances of that actually happening when it comes to the mobile industry are slim to none. So, there's always a chance that a new phone could be my new daily driver.
That's why I really enjoy these 30 day challenges. In fact, I like them a little bit more than when I just pick up a new handset on my own, because these challenges mean I have to keep pushing ahead. Many new smartphones don't make it more than a couple of days if I find something I don't like. I don't have that luxury with the 30 Day Challenge, though. I've got to keep using it, and there's always the possibility that I can get over whatever it was that was bothering me.
So, here we have the Galaxy S5. It's the latest flagship smartphone from Samsung, and the device that the company hopes will right any diversion from the previous generation, to put the company back on track. Indeed, Samsung has been quick to point out how quickly, and by what number, the Galaxy S5 has sold since it went on sale earlier this year. As you can imagine, it's an impressively high number, and I'm sure Samsung's plenty happy with it. I've already talked about the physical design, so:
I'm just going to come right out and say it: TouchWiz is the new iOS. And no, that's not any kind of compliment (as some might think it is). What I mean by that, is that TouchWiz needs a refresher. By now I feel like I've been using the same user interface for years, and considering the long track record of my disdain for it, it's just not getting any better.
However, as I said, each new device is a new chance to win me over. Looking at the Galaxy S5, I have to forget my previous feelings for the other devices, and just weigh the handset on its own merits. I have to look at this . . . new . . . version of TouchWiz and that's it. I'm not here to compare devices or features, after all. I'm just looking at the Galaxy S5.
Unfortunately, the fact that TouchWiz is just the same proprietary software all over again, with very minor changes, means that effort was impossible to follow through with. I got exhausted with the custom keyboard because it couldn't keep up with me. (I've since switched to the standard Google Android keyboard, and now I don't want to pull my hair out.) TouchWiz is fast and stutter-free these days, but I still just don't want to look at it. And now, at this point, I've been looking at the same software for so long that I just feel like I can't get away from it.
(The simple difference between Apple and Samsung in this situation, is that I've used so many Samsung devices with the same software over the years, that Apple's lack of hardware on the market with iOS running the show is a positive point. iOS ran long-in-the-tooth, too, but at least it was only a few devices a year. When it comes to Samsung, there was a point where it was a few devices a month, when you include tablets.)
And then you dig into the Settings menu and I just have no idea what the thought process here was. These little circular icons are a pain to navigate through, and in no way does it make it easier to find things that Samsung has buried therein. Before the Galaxy S5 was announced and we saw these icons leaked all over the internet, we thought that these things were going to be the new icons for the software in general, and indicate a change to the overall aesthetic of the software. That's not the case, and the whole show suffers from it, as far as I'm concerned. I actively avoid the Settings of this phone, because I hate searching through it.
I honestly don't care when it happens -- whether it's a tablet or the upcoming Galaxy Note "phablet," but I want Samsung to just take a risk and change TouchWiz. You don't have to change the way it works, but just start using a different aesthetic. Please. It's been long enough. And, if HTC can do it, so can you, Samsung. They didn't alter their Sense UI all that much, but it was enough to spice things up. It's time for TouchWiz to do the same thing.