Note5 TouchWiz vs Note 4 TouchWiz UI comparison: what changed with Samsung's skin?

Note5 TouchWiz vs Note 4 TouchWiz UI comparison: what changed with Samsung's skin?
Even if you're only a casual reader, it's quite unlikely that you haven't noticed that we've been dedicating inordinate amounts of time covering Samsung's two new super-phablets — the Note5 and S6 edge+.

Of course, with a family name as renown as this, the Note5 is still the public's favorite, and we'll admit that we've been spending more time talking about it than the Galaxy S6 edge+. As it happens, last night was all about discussing one of the key advantages of the Note5 over the Note 4: its updated TouchWiz interface. 

Now, we know not everybody is a fan of Samsung's new approach to software design (less is suddenly more), and that's fair, but we'd still argue that TouchWiz on the Note5 looks and feels better than TouchWiz on the Note 4. This may sound a little confusing — after all, aren't both devices running a build of Android Lollipop? They are. But Samsung has integrated into the Note5 the same iteration of TouchWiz that is available with the Galaxy S6, though there are obviously some extra perks available with the productivity-oriented phablet.

So how do the two compare, and what's different? We've prepared a large collection consisting of several dozens screengrabs for your reference, available right below. Let's take a look.

Note5 always on the left/top; Note 4 always on the right/bottom.

Related phones

Galaxy Note 5
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 2100 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3000 mAh(22h 3G talk time)
Galaxy Note 4
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 3.7 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 1900 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3220 mAh(20h 3G talk time)

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35 Comments

1. surethom

Posts: 1719; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Samsung Still over skinning the menu & quick settings.

6. shaineql

Posts: 522; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

You can use any of almost 1000 themes in store.

16. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

And if the same as the s6 some are really good

17. TheBiz

Posts: 232; Member since: Apr 13, 2015

but still samsung needs to improve its ui a lot after seeing the ux 4.0 on my freinds lg g4 i haf a big face palm only feature of touchwiz i liked was multiwindow hoping that marshmallow brings this feature to all phones and samsung needs to go beyond that ics look of theirs

25. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Out of all the Android OEM's, Samsung's UI was voted the second best over all. For what the Note does compared to other phones that are just big, it has a very clean UI now compared to the Note 2, 3 and 4. I know because the only Note I didn't have was the very first, only because Verizon didn't get that one. I got to see first hand the evolution of the Note UI and each was ok. For me Jelly Bean was a very nice UI and I like ICS too. But I didn't like ICS on the Note as much as I did on the S. The new UI on the S6 I like. But the one on the Note 5, I like how they rounded the icons and made them larger vs having recatngles. I like the cleaner menus too. The only thing I have never liked with Samsung phones is the chosen color schemes. I would prefer phone to be red, messages to be green and use orange I guess for everything else. I am happy they dropped blue as I got so sick of blue with ICS and JB. But it is taste overall. But the new TW is far better than any UI I have played with. Vanilla Android for me is the ugliest UI ever. Even iOS ugly UI on iOS 7/8 looks better and I don't even like the new IOS UI over what was on the iPhone 3GB/4/4S. I personally don't like frosty/pastel/fluorescent colors at all. I like nice solid shades or even translucent so I can just use the wallpaper I want to give it the background colors I prefer as I usually make my own wallpapers.

38. epdm2be

Posts: 824; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

The reason why TW looks nice is because the Note5 version has beautiful soft shadows under icons on the homescreen. The TW on S5 and Note 4 lacks this. This is why the UI on these devices is so ugly. An other launcher like e.g. Nova doesn't help either as it doesn't have shadows under icons either although it had been requested many times. The S4 also has a better looking UI due to again shadows under icons under the homescreen. This makes icons stand out especially when used with a buzy background. So DEVS listen up, a vital part of ALL UI's is visibility. Make icons stand out from backgrounds. The simplest way to do this is by a shadow under icon. And please do this on BOTH app-drawer and homescreen.

2. the_s2

Posts: 239; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Love the new icons! I guess I can live with touchwiz from now.

10. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

I like them too but I'm bored with them since I've used Belle UI for too long

26. M4th3u54ndr4d3

Posts: 67; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

I hate that icons. Note 4 UI >>> Note5 UI

3. Sumanth82

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Dudeeeee,just put all this s**t aside and release the review for both note 5 and s6 edge+ asappppp

5. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

John working on it as I write this. Soon. Very soon!

18. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Thanks Chris! I'm waiting on your review before buying.. I'll then go and play with both at AT&T or best buy

4. alexvv

Posts: 165; Member since: Oct 16, 2013

the ui feels cartoonish again, something like a revamped gingerbread interface.

7. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

Looks like touchwiz and tizen had a baby lol

8. TyrionLannister unregistered

You can change all of it with a theme within 5 clicks.

30. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

Samsung hate is getting more on you...This lokks nothing like Gingerbread(If you used one)

9. ShangTsung

Posts: 43; Member since: Jul 23, 2015

Aside from icons and themes, I like the Note 4's UI waaaay more. Especially the browser. Also the quick settings panel seems to miss a lot of things, what happened to multi window? Surely it is still on the note 5 right?

11. TyrionLannister unregistered

Yes, multi window along with all the previous features are still there. You activate multi-window by long pressing the multitasking button now.

12. Eslyabram

Posts: 6; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

Samsung is heading in the right direction, but in future they need their UI to look more like stock android and only differentiate from other OEMs through features (multi-window/S-pen etc), like what Oneplus has done with their Oxygen Os

14. GreatBigPhoney

Posts: 70; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

They finally lowered the stock DPI it looks! Even by at least a little. Thank god, everything was always so huge and I hated that I had to root it just to change it and then have the stock apps look a little wonky with the resizing.

29. thartist

Posts: 45; Member since: Jul 14, 2014

HOOOOOLLLYYY SHHHHHHHHHH1TTTT!!!! Thank you for mentioning it!!!! As little as it is, it makes a world of difference and finally takes advantage of the big screen!!!

35. Penny

Posts: 1860; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Yeah not a lot of change overall but a couple of small details that I think make a huge difference. Overall it's a little bit simpler, cleaner. There's a little more separation between content areas (like the alphabetical categories in the contact list). But the BIGGEST little thing for me is that they started using text along with the icons for buttons. I don't want to learn what each obscure icon means by trial and error, and it'd be awesome if I didn't have to memorize it either. So thank you Samsung for finally doing that in your version of Android. As small of a detail as it is, it was always one of the telltale signs for me that Android isn't where it needs to be in terms of UX.

15. BaffledTruffle

Posts: 523; Member since: Dec 07, 2013

The rounded off squares for the icons look really bad. Kinda like MIUI-ish which takes cue from iOS. I prefer cleaner app icons ala Flyme. Though theming is present, I think the default should still be on top of its game. It's TouchWiz's face. You should make a good impression, Sammy.

19. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

NOTE 5 / UGLY ICONS

20. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Not a fan of the round icons, I prefer the GS6 ones. Let's hope they don't change the icons in an GS6 update. They usually don't though which makes me hopeful. 5.1 on the GS5 leaves the icons the same as before.

21. Samsomesh

Posts: 195; Member since: Jun 11, 2012

Symbian belle icons..like 'em!!!

22. TBomb

Posts: 1572; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

I thought we were moving away from square app icons? I liked the fact that each had their own shape :/

23. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Icons look like garbage. what the hell

24. yourmom

Posts: 82; Member since: Feb 21, 2015

lol colour colour, note 3 with dark theme best stuff ever saves battery and looks killer will probably stuck with this untill 2016 flag ships come out

27. DaggettBeaver

Posts: 42; Member since: Aug 05, 2015

I wonder why there's always so much butthurt when it comes to Samsung? Jealousy, maybe.

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