The funny thing about the small army of Android tablets that’ve come out over the last few months is that they’ve all been nearly exactly the same, software-wise. With TouchWiz, Samsung’s the first to tweak Google’s Honeycomb to its own, different whims.
– This is the same hardware as the developer tablet given out at the Google I/O event earlier this year. For a more in depth review of the hardware, click here.
– For the latest on Australian availability, see: Samsung’s Full Response On Australian Galaxy Tab 10.1 Battle With Apple
While stock Honeycomb opts for a darker, colder, more futuristic feel, Touchwiz UX is bright and inviting. It wouldn’t look out of place at a family breakfast table. Settings menus and keyboard are now a whitish-grey. Fonts have a cleaner appearance. The weather and news Live Panes aren’t terrible. There’s even a dedicated icon on the status bar for screenshots (something Android didn’t previously have built-in support for). Overall, everything is just easier on the eyes, if less stylised.
The Touchwiz UX is ultimately superficial. It opts for flourishes rather than revamps. If you had fundamental issues with Honeycomb before, this won’t do much to change your mind. Beyond the homescreen and settings menu, there’s not much that feels different. There’s also a dock bar full of Samsung-developed mini-apps/widgets that stays hidden until you tap the arrow icon on the status bar that will bring it up. But most of these apps are inconsequential at best.
It’s not like you’ll have a choice of whether or not to use the Touchwiz UX (unless you already have a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and opt not to update your software). But if you’re on the fence about whether or not this skin ruins the Honeycomb experience, know that it doesn’t. In fact, it doesn’t change much at all. just makes the OS look much better.