I can hear the fighting already about this topic – on one hand, you have the diehard Android purists and on the extreme other hand we have the Samsung TouchWiz lovers and never shall the two meet and agree on anything. One thing we could have though is a nice, calm, sensible, no calling in the trolls, and a no-name calling discussion about the pros and cons of pure Android versus TouchWiz or skins, in general. We already know that the stock Android is consistent from device to device, free of bloatware, is very fast and smooth, and receives its upgrades faster than anybody else gets.
For some users, myself included, it is just a little too plain ‘vanilla’ for me and just leaves me wanting more – more options and more choices…I would not miss the bloatware on TouchWiz, but I would miss some of its many features. Many Android users will tell you to download an app if you want more options, but why rely on a bunch of downloaded apps to give me options that are more robust when TouchWiz does it for me? Is it really so different to run pure Android and use many apps to achieve your desired goal than to simply use a manufacturers’ skin – I suppose when it comes to getting Android upgrades it would be better. To me, the BEST solution would be to have Google provide us with more options in pure Android…a good example would be in the camera area.
One area that TouchWiz excels is in the Power Saving Mode – something that stock Android simply does not address. Samsung has always built-in some sort of battery saving features, but beginning with the Galaxy S5 they included two different power saving modes. A ‘regular’ mode that simply limits the background downloads and lowers the clock-speed of the processor – you really will not notice much of a difference in the regular mode. The second phase is called Ultra Power Saving Mode (UPSM) where you will be able to access the most basic functions of the device – making calls, send/receive SMS messages, the calculator will work, the stock web browser, email, and Google+ – so it limits you to basic communications. There are a few other basic functions you will have access to, if you so desire. However, being able to use your smartphone for 24 hours with only 10-percent of the battery left is pretty awesome.
What about Notification Settings – Google did add the Quick Settings in Android 4.2, but it does not have near the features or ease of use like the Samsung TouchWiz system. While Samsung may have gone waaaaaay overboard in the number of settings (more is better in Samsung’s culture), but they are relatively quick and easy to use and you can always move the ones you would never use to the bottom of the grouping. Swipe down from the top with one finger and you will see ten settings or toggles, five at a time – and you can sort them in order of importance to YOU. Swipe down with two fingers (or tap the upper right when notifications are down) and all twenty settings or toggles will appear – allowing you to select the top ten for the first screen or to simply access a less used toggle.
Another area that Samsung does better is the Default Apps Hub – In stock Android, managing your apps default is a convoluted mess. At first, it seems easy enough to select the default app to use ‘Always,” however, if you decided you want to change that default, you need a shovel to start doing some digging to find out how. Samsung realized that there had to be an easier way and created a centralized hub for all of your default apps – simply go to Settings/Default Apps and from there you can change your default screen, default messaging app, and easily clear any others from the listing.
Blocking Mode is another great TouchWiz feature – with stock Android, you have sound either on or off – why not a “Do Not Disturb” mode. Samsung’s Blocking Mode give you the power to control who, what, and when your Samsung Galaxy or Note allows outsiders to bother you. It gives you a plethora of choices to choose from and is very handy to limit access to you when trying to sleep.
Please jump on our Google+ Page and let us know how you feel about Samsung’s TouchWiz and do you like any TW features better than the original Android version, which many believe do not provide enough options…as always, we would love to hear from you.