HTC One (M8) with Lollipop vs One (M8) with KitKat: UI comparison

After a plethora of petty delays and detains, HTC has finally begin to roll the newest, Android 5.0 Lollipop-based version of its Sense UI for all those who have opted for an HTC One (M8) flagship. The rollout began today (January 28) and will likely hit the majority of One (M8) users in the following days. We were among the lucky ones, as our resident HTC representative was among the first ones to get its fair taste of the Lollipop sweetness. 

As curious as we are, we quickly and eagerly buried our heads inside the updated interface and began an extensive search for all everything that's been changed and overhauled after the transition from Kitkat to Lollipop. Frankly said, this ordeal did not take us long, as HTC, just like Samsung, has changed just a few things in its the newest version of its firmware - Sense 6.0 on Lollipop is similar to the "old" Sense 6.0 UI that ran on KitKat.

The majority of improvements is certainly under the hood, as the UI feels a tad more fluid and snappier than before, but then again, this might be a placebo effect. Without any more ado, let's explore the changes right below! 

Lock screen

The first difference that you'll notice when you update your One (M8) to Lollipop will be the lock screen. It's now a bit more polished and streamlined, displaying your notifications in a Lollipop-like fashion. Just like in stock Android, swiping dismisses the notification and double-tapping it opens the corresponding app. Apart from the slightly dimmed lock screen wallpaper at the bottom, you are also treated to an estimate of how long it will approximately take before your phone's battery gets charged to the brim. The lock screen shortcuts at the bottom have fortunately remained intact.

Notification drawer and Quick Settings toggles

Here is it, another pretty substantial and nice improvement of the interface. The One (M8) now acts has adopted Lollipop's revamped notification drawer and quick toggles panel to some extent. Gone are the times when you had two separate, side-by-side screens (one for your notifications and the other one housing your quick toggles) - say "Welcome!" to a slightly revamped Lollipop drawer. A single swipe brings down your notifications, while an additional one reveals the quick toggles shade, which has been treated to a noticeable Material Design revamp. 

This is where most similarities end, however - there is no brightness slider (HTC has decided that a toggle is a much more appropriate solution) and the Settings toggle is gone (this menu can be accessed via a handy button above the toggles now), for example. HTC has also kept the long-press functionality for almost all of the toggles, which turned to be quite the persona non grata in stock Android 5.0.

Recent Apps switcher and active applications

If you've been fond of the organized task switcher menu in the KitKat version of Sense 6 UI, then we have some very, very bad news for you - it's gone by default, vacating the place for the carousel-like menu of Lollipop. You can, however, still opt for a more classic, Sense UI-like grid menu with your recent apps. The new carousel one that tends to get quite cluttered fairly quickly, but it's still quite pleasing to interact with if stock Lollipop floats your boat. However, we feel like HTC was on the right track with its Recent Apps menu in Kitkat, which felt a bit more functional. It's gone now, so we have to get used to the new entrant, which doesn't allow you to close all app cards at once (like Samsung does with in its Lollipop-based TouchWiz on the Galaxy S5), so you'll have to do this manually. 

Apart from this, the Running Apps menu hidden in Settings has also been improved - it now displays a much more user-friendly breakdown of the current state of your 2GB of RAM, separating the system from the user-installed apps. Generally, we see this as a huge improvement in comparison with the KitKat-based Sense, which can't hold a candle to the new view of the menu.

Settings and Battery usage history

The Settings menu has remained the same except for a useful addition - you can search through the various menu entries thanks to a newly-added search button in the upper right corner of Sense UI's Settings. This addition can be overlooked quite easily, mind you. Another noteworthy improvement can be found in the battery consumption menu of the Lollipop-based Sense UI. It's pretty similar to the one in stock Android. It now provides you with a more in-depth breakdown of your battery usage.

Conlusion: Is it worth it?

Yes, it is. Those who have been expecting a complete and total Material Design will certainly be disappointed, but the visual and functionality improvements that the Lollipop-based Sense dons over its predecessor are mostly spot-on. We bet that the next iteration of Sense UI will probably be the one to really shake things up in HTC's camp.

As a whole, the highlight of this update for the HTC One (M8) will be the performance improvements - we are yet to spend more time with our updated One (M8), but we can definitely say that there's a noticeable improvement in the overall responsiveness of the device. And this is always welcome, right?

Related phones

One (M8)
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 4 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2600 mAh(20h 3G talk time)



1. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

They haven't changed sh*t. Lol, changing black to grey. So much innovation.

2. chistoefur

Posts: 103; Member since: Nov 05, 2012

Still Sense 6, buddy. Sense 7 will carry the improved design.

5. gorkapr

Posts: 74; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

There's no innovation here, so don't call it innovation. For me is better style and hope to be better performance too.

8. maherk

Posts: 6877; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

When did HTC claim that it is innovation? Obviously you don't have any clue about how things work. The changes you were hoping for will come with Sense 6 in the m9, and i have no doubt that HTC will deliver again and offer is a gorgeous and simple UI.

10. usermaxthon

Posts: 70; Member since: Jan 20, 2015

Just stop it. You're proving that you're a great troll. You can **k Samsung's products all you want people don't care but people will get mad when you continuously troll on other manufacturer articles.

12. teenaxta

Posts: 42; Member since: Sep 10, 2014

i prefer the kitkat app switcher

18. Leandronb

Posts: 86; Member since: Jun 03, 2014

both options are available.

3. hmd74

Posts: 540; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

Talk about performance


Posts: 14; Member since: May 31, 2014

The quick settings are way better on kitkat

6. Niva.

Posts: 440; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

When will manufacturers learn that they only do themselves harm by not offering stock Android. You want Sense, make it an app/theme that people can download as an app that corresponds to a specific version of Android. This is my main critique against HTC and Samsung, but they all do it except for Motorola at this time.

7. maherk

Posts: 6877; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

They do offer the Google Editions for their flagships, yet the vast majority of people find stock Android to be boring and featureless, and they usually go with skinned ones. Just check the latest build of Android, and check how it "borrowed" lots of features from other manufacturers, mainly Samsung.

14. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

The vast majority of people go with what's marketed to them, ie skinned models. Why would HTC or Samsung push Google Play Editions when they've spent millions developing their own UXs? I'd guarantee that this vast majority of HTC and Samsung users has never even heard of Google Play Edition devices.

15. camera531

Posts: 346; Member since: Jun 30, 2012

All Google Play editions have been discontinued.

9. steelew

Posts: 219; Member since: Jun 04, 2012

I liked the old style better

11. karamelakimo

Posts: 109; Member since: May 26, 2014

Although i don't have Htc but yeah i like it it's simple and quite calm htc succeded in saving it's design alongside with Lollipop material design Great job

13. greyhulk

Posts: 184; Member since: Jun 30, 2010

Is it worth losing root over? No, it's not.

16. camera531

Posts: 346; Member since: Jun 30, 2012

It looks like the "kill all" option is gone in the app switcher. That's a big step back...

17. hudavendigar

Posts: 10; Member since: Sep 26, 2014

I got android lollipop update on my m8 last week so I dont understand this: The rollout began today (January 28) :/

19. ngo2dd

Posts: 896; Member since: Jul 08, 2011

You can change the recent app back to kit Kat by go to settings.

20. Scarambay unregistered

It surprises me to see people going gaga over Sense UI; the Quick Settings and s**tty icons ruin it for me. Sony's UI is more uniform and elegant compared to HTC's Sense, Samsung's Touchwiz, LG's Optimus. Hell, to me, even Huawei's UI and Meizu's Flyme UI are aesthetically pleasing than the latter three.

25. ToxiD

Posts: 54; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

I actually prefer Sense UI over Timescape / Sony UI. I owned Sony device and I think they haven't brought any big design changes since Xperia began. I personally find Sony UI boring and icons too big, but design is objective and everybody has different taste.

36. RajRicardo

Posts: 495; Member since: Feb 28, 2014

Sony offers the closer to stock experience among all other manufacturers. Why do people always WANT to see new changes every year?? If it's not broken, why even try to fix it?? I like stock sony UI and their media apps.

21. javy108

Posts: 1004; Member since: Jul 27, 2014

I would choose KitKat appareance over Lollipop.

22. LionStone

Posts: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

Who wrote this!? "After a plethora of petty delays and detains"!? HTC has been the most transparent of the manufacturers with their update schedule. They've already updated the GPE version, and they DID include the option to keep their version of the recent apps switcher. Poorly written article.

24. jenodgr8

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 28, 2015

"If you've been fond of the organized task switcher menu in the KitKat version of Sense 6 UI, then we have some very, very bad news for you - it's gone now" There is an option to switch it to old Kitkat Sense 6 style grid view.

26. hurrycanger

Posts: 1761; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

Great thing to know, cuz I'm switching back to the M8 soon and I'm not gonna update to Lollipop if it takes away the older task switcher. The new one looks terrible to me mostly thanks to the imbalanced top part.

29. ryanmononoke

Posts: 21; Member since: Nov 05, 2014

Hey man, no worry on that. We can go to the setting and revert to the old style app switcher but it does come with an enhancement. We can have more than 1 page of 3X3 grid of apps. (with I can post a pic here)

33. hurrycanger

Posts: 1761; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

Just checked the pic. That's nice.

27. LetThereBeLight

Posts: 113; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

Where can I do this? (change to kitkat app switcher)

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