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Topic # 153534 30-Sep-2014 11:03
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My 2 smartphones i've owned are the S2 and the S4. Not sure why i stuck with Samsung the second time round, probably for custom roms, but i've stopped fiddling now so looking at other options

Thing is, phones without physical back and home buttons, how to you exit apps or trigger tabs to switch apps? Anyone with experience of both can comment on pros and cons of both types?

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  Reply # 1144090 30-Sep-2014 11:12
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Easy - the buttons are always on screen (except full screen video playback, then a click anywhere brings them back).  So it's just the same as having physical buttons except for the tactile experience.

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  Reply # 1144108 30-Sep-2014 11:21
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Physical:

pros:

 

  • tactile feel
  • always there
cons:

 

  •  hardware button can break
  •  dirt gets trapped around it
  •  can get scratched

On-Screen

cons:

 

  • Takes up valuable screen space
  • If a software glitch happens the buttons might not appear

pros: 

 

  • Cleaner/Sleeker looking phone
  • Buttons like the android menu button are only there when you need them
  • buttons could change with software updates
  • can be themed with custom roms



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  Reply # 1144110 30-Sep-2014 11:29

Run a custom ROM with on-screen buttons to find out for yourself. :)

Short story is that they have the same basic layout as Samsung's recent devices (S5, S5 Mini, Note 4, Galaxy Alpha, vs. previous layout with menu key) only with the multitasking and back keys switched. Standard softkey layout is Back, Home, Task Switcher. Swipe up from home accesses Google Now (And in the case of several Sony devices, a bin full of Sony content that you can't get rid of). Some OEMs, especially Korean ones, implement them in exactly the same way as Samsung does to make it easier for folks used to Samsung's layout to switch - see LG and Pantech, complete with long-press home for multitasking.

I like the idea behind software keys - they can adapt to on-screen content as needed - but they inevitably reduce screen real-estate and lose the inherent advantage of being able to wake the device from the front without Samsung's favourite physical home key. This can be countered with double tap to wake, however, which is IMO even better.

Most devices with on-screen buttons have enough bezel at the bottom that they may as well have gone for capacitive keys instead and taken advantage of additional screen space.




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  Reply # 1144112 30-Sep-2014 11:31
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Do on screen buttons work when the screen is off? The front button is how I wake my phone up 95% of the time, it's much easier than an awkward side power button.




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  Reply # 1144118 30-Sep-2014 11:47
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argh headache! :(

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  Reply # 1144124 30-Sep-2014 11:56
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If its like my sony xperia android tab then you have to tap on the screen or press the power button to wake it.

There is no on screen button when the screen is off.




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  Reply # 1144125 30-Sep-2014 11:56
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NikT: Run a custom ROM with on-screen buttons to find out for yourself. :)

I like the idea behind software keys - they can adapt to on-screen content as needed - but they inevitably reduce screen real-estate and lose the inherent advantage of being able to wake the device from the front without Samsung's favourite physical home key. This can be countered with double tap to wake, however, which is IMO even better.

Most devices with on-screen buttons have enough bezel at the bottom that they may as well have gone for capacitive keys instead and taken advantage of additional screen space.


LG G2 does a very good software button implementation - minimal bezel at the bottom and double tap to wake - which I agree is fantastic except for then trying to double tap every other device you use!

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  Reply # 1144143 30-Sep-2014 12:44

timmmay: Do on screen buttons work when the screen is off? The front button is how I wake my phone up 95% of the time, it's much easier than an awkward side power button.


Nope - completely with you, that's why double tap to wake is so good on devices that don't have physical home keys.

StructureDr:
LG G2 does a very good software button implementation - minimal bezel at the bottom and double tap to wake - which I agree is fantastic except for then trying to double tap every other device you use!


Bingo! For my money, Nokia has the most reliable implementation of DTTW, have found the G2/Z2/M8 slightly less so in practice.

I suspect Nokia holds the patents for the feature as IIRC it was first implemented in the N9, and the Lumia range are the only lower-end devices to have it (Even the 520 has it). There's also Blackberry 10's swipe-up-to-wake - HTC impressively implemented both in the M8.

Interesting to see MS move towards on-screen button options in Windows Phone so that OEMs making Android hardware with on-screen buttons can reuse it for Windows models. Certain sense of cost-based convergence going on there.




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  Reply # 1144145 30-Sep-2014 12:54
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Bingo! For my money, Nokia has the most reliable implementation of DTTW, have found the G2/Z2/M8 slightly less so in practice.

I suspect Nokia holds the patents for the feature as IIRC it was first implemented in the N9, and the Lumia range are the only lower-end devices to have it (Even the 520 has it). There's also Blackberry 10's swipe-up-to-wake - HTC impressively implemented both in the M8.

Interesting to see MS move towards on-screen button options in Windows Phone so that OEMs making Android hardware with on-screen buttons can reuse it for Windows models. Certain sense of cost-based convergence going on there.


Haven't tried others than the G2 - but mine has been very responsive.  I recall seeing comments that it was improved in firmware/android updates, but these arrived very soon after I got the phone so can't really comment.

Incidentally, I think Apple's biggest mistake with the Iphone 6+ was sticking with a single physical button, giving about the biggest jaw of any phone ever.  The loss of screen space to software buttons becomes fairly insignificant with 5"+ screens, especially when apps can hide them if desired.



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  Reply # 1144246 30-Sep-2014 14:21
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the iphone needs the button as a fingerprint sensor more than anythning else

but the lack of a back button in the iphone is very noticable, hence i ask. 

so how to you change app (task manager) in the G2/G3/HTC/ etc?

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  Reply # 1144274 30-Sep-2014 14:40

joker97: the iphone needs the button as a fingerprint sensor more than anythning else

but the lack of a back button in the iphone is very noticable, hence i ask. 

so how to you change app (task manager) in the G2/G3/HTC/ etc?


Dedicated on-screen multitasking button or long-press on-screen home button.




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