When Samsung announced their own Skin Touchwiz 4.0 for Honeycomb in CTIA 2011, I was a bit disappointed. I don’t hate their Touchwiz UI on Galaxy S2 phones, but somehow the Vanilla version of Android is good on Android Honeycomb at least. I mean i do like the clipboard extension on Galaxy S2 but vanilla version of android is good as it is. Moreover the Custom Skin generally has a trend of delaying the official updates and that itself is a big reason to keep away from any Custom UI. But then, every manufacturer is trying hard to stand out and different from others, else it would just be a race of better hardware, isn’t it?
Visually Touchwiz 4.0 on Android honeycomb is pretty much similar to what Samsung have it on their Smartphones lineup, but that doesn’t stand close to elevate the tablet experience anyhow! But keeping those things in mind, i would like to share my view on their Touchwiz 4.0 in Samsung Galaxy TAb750 with Android Honeycomb 3.1.
First Impression on Touchwiz 4.0UI on Honeycomb 3.1
As, you might be knowing that i got my tab with Vanilla version of Android 3.1, Honeycomb and when i updated it to Touchwiz UI 4.0, i felt an overall visual change and it felt a slightly faster than what it was before. Everything now had the white background replacing the dark black background in the vanilla version of Android. It felt a lot more clean than what it was previously. But somehow i didn’t like the bottom Navigation bar which turned grey after the update, it was more beautiful when it was black. ( So, I made the necessary changes to make it black again! 😉 ) As i said, everything felt a little bit smoother than what it was before, flipping between homescreen is actually very smooth after the update. Icons turned to what i have on my galaxy S2 and now it also had the Music Hub, Readers Hub & Games Hub on the homescreen. It also included the Touchwiz UI 4.0 widgets like Transparent Time widget, Weather widget, Task Manager, Bookmarks, Agenda, Gallery, Contacts, etc. It left a good feeling at first.
Quick Panel on Touchwiz UI 4.0
First thing which was visible and actually useful on the Galaxy Tab750 was the notification Panel. They made it quite similar to the Notification Pull Down Bar in Samsung Android Smartphones powered with Touchwiz UI 4.0 on Gingerbread. It includes all of your toggle settings as on the Notification Pull Down Bar on Galaxy S2-Wi-fi, Notification, GPS, Sound, Auto-Rotation, Bluetooth & Flight Mode. They also made the font size a bit bigger on the Notification panel. Samsung calls it Quick Panel for their Touchwiz UI 4.0. Android Honeycomb’s Notification panel wasn’t that impressive and Samsung has hit the right spot with Quick Panel for me. 🙂
Notification Bar & Mini Apps Tray
Samsung didn’t announce this in the CTIA, but i wouldn’t mind any impressive addition anyways. 😉 They added a native screenshot button in the Navigation bar at the bottom, which now includes Back Button, Home Button, App Chooser Button & the Screenshot Button. It is a nice addition of course but somehow i don’t like it when i accidently press it and it captures the screen. I wish Samsung made it double tap to grab screens, i mean it’s too easy to press it accidently when you have it on your navigation bar, but that can be just me!
Well, the most impressive addition with Touchwiz UI 4.0 is the Mini Apps tray. A little arrow upwards at the center of navigation bar hides the Mini Apps tray and it includes-Task manager, Calendar, World Clock, Pen Memo, Calculator & Music Player. Android does multi-tasking like anything you could ask for but this addition of Mini Apps tray takes Multi-tasking to another level. Think of a use case when you are surfing a website and need to calculate something or multiply some big numbers that you can’t remember, you’ll have to press the home button and open the calculator app on your tablet to multiply those numbers, but with mini apps tray, it overlays the apps on your present screen, so you can open the calculator on top of the webpage and see the numbers and directly calculate it on the calculator. Similar thing goes with Note Taking app or Pen Memo.
Similarly, if you are viewing something really important on your tab and need to change a track on your music player, you can use the mini apps tray. In real use cases, this thing come real handy. But the most annoying thing with the App Tray is that it is not customizable. You can’t edit the apps on it and put the most frequently used apps on it. 🙁 I wish customization of Apps Tray come with the next iteration of Touchwiz UI 4.0. What do you think?
Touchwiz UI 4.0 Apps
As seen on Touchwiz 4.0 for Gingerbread, Samsung has introduced a lot of apps like Samsung Music Hub, Media Hub, Social Hubs, eBook Reader, Memo, Pen Memo, Photo Editor, and My Files. My files is an awesome file editor for Honeycomb Tablets. It is utterly simple yet functional file manger. And the most interesting part, whenever you plug in any USB drive using the USB adapter of your Galaxy Tab750, My Files automatically fires up and open the contents of your USB drive. Pretty convenient, right? With eBook Reader you can have a digital library on your Galaxy Tab750 and is almost identical to iOS iBooks App.
Pen Memo works nicely and it doesn’t need a stylus, your finger works much better to scribble your notes on it. It is actually very responsive to your fingers and you’ll be able to write, paint, type and do almost all the things you would ever want on your notepad. Memo Pic below is drawn using fingers. 🙂
Other little Application updates in Honeycomb
[ad]Samsung also decided to update apps like email, calendar & browser but everything for the better. Email app & browser seemed to have received only visual changes. You can now enable Google Instant for faster search loading, and much like the new tab page in Chrome, your homepage can be set to view your most visited pages. As previously said, browser provided a real internet browsing experience with flash.It comes pre-installed with Adobe flash 10.1, you should update it to Adobe Flash 10.3 to get the best performance. Calender has some nice changes and feels more optimized for tablet use.
As a part of Touchwiz UI, 4.0 Samsung added Swype as optional text Input which is a huge plus for me. Swype is actually better than the stock Samsung browser. It also has a compact mode if you don’t want it to occupy the whole width, making it easier to use. I also prefer thumb keyboard on it-you need to install it from Android Market. 🙂
As seen on Touchwiz 4.0 for Gingerbread, there are motion settings for zooming and moving widgets around the screen. This is actually fun and apt for a tablet user. Keeping two thumbs on either side and tilting up the Tab to zoom is nifty. 🙂
Well samsung did a great job in delivering a first Custom UI on any Honeycomb tablet ever, but somehow i still feel without this i would have not missed much. I mean i would have definitely missed the Mini apps tray, but then when it comes to Android 3.2, Honeycomb’s latest update, I guess it would be delayed in the pipeline due to up-gradation of TouchwizUI 4.0 to work with the latest update. Right now Touchwiz UI 4.0 is definitely better than Android 3.1 Vanilla version but things might change with later iterations of Android honeycomb and then we would be stuck. But for now, Touchwiz UI 4.0 has made Samsung Galaxy Tab750 a much better tablet and an irresistible device to miss. 🙂 If you have any questions regarding Samsung Galaxy Tab750, let us know in the comments section. Do follow us to get the latest updates, Tips, Tricks, Tutorials & Reviews on the latest Gadgets around.