If you are or have ever been an Android user, you know that almost every Android manufacturer makes their own “flavor” of Android, so to speak. From Samsung to LG, HTC to Huawei, Lenovo to Xiaomi, or any of the numerous Android manufacturers out there, everybody is going to offer something a little different when it comes down to design, functionality, and features. This vast diversity is a big reason why Android itself is so competitive, even when you take other mobile operating systems out of the mix.
If you’ve done any amount of research on the Internet before going out and buying an Android phone, you’ve probably come across more opinions than you can count on which manufacturers to seek out or avoid. Often such opinions are based around a device’s UI, or skin. Hopefully, you’ve also realized that not every opinion will agree with your own tastes, and have had the opportunity to venture out and find out which skins work for you and which ones don’t.
It’s been a while since I’ve had an experience that I would describe as “miserable” when it comes to Android. I’ve been vocal about how my Galaxy S7 didn’t end up being the magical "phone to end all phones" that I always hope a new phone will be, but it isn’t a bad phone, either. However, my experience with TouchWiz (which, I’ll admit, I haven’t ever been a big fan) did make me realize that deep down in my heart, I really miss HTC’s Sense skin.
I don’t know what it is about Sense. The best way I can describe why I like Sense so much is because I feel that HTC has done an exceptional job at aging Sense. Obviously it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I’ve always loved the gaudy, giant weather clock and full-screen weather effects. The carousel effect that came with Sense 3.0 was fun (albeit not very useful for getting to where you actually wanted to go). The launcher itself wasn’t anything to write home about, but it became familiar to me over time as I continued to purchase HTC products for a while.
At some point, I took a break from Android to go to iOS for about 2 years. A lot changed for the better for Android within that time. When I finally went back to Android in 2013, the first phone I picked up was the Samsung Galaxy S4 – which ended up being a disappointment to me, for reasons unrelated to the software. My second choice, the HTC One, ended up winning my heart. Not only was the hardware of the phone beautiful (and rare, at the time), but the updates made to Sense 5 were noteworthy.
In a way, it felt like HTC’s style with Sense grew up with me. I was younger and into bright, big gaudy designs when I first started dabbling with smartphones; when I came back to Android, I’d like to think that my sense of style had grown a little more sophisticated, and so had HTC’s.
I also think that I favor HTC because it’s the brand of Android that I’ve used the most, and since I’ve previously had good experiences with them, I still tend to gravitate towards them for comfort. I’ve used Samsung, LG, Motorola (now Lenovo), and Nexus devices with stock Android - and I admit, I still have a lot yet to discover. But out of the various Androids that I have had the opportunity to experience thus far, HTC’s Sense has consistently been my favorite. Fortunately for me and other Sense fans who skipped over the HTC 10, it looks like HTC will be rolling Sense 8 out to non-HTC devices sometime in the near future.
Readers, let’s hear about your favorite Android skins. Do you have a favorite skin, or do you prefer to go stock? Share your opinions with us in the comments below!