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Samsung Z1: The First Tizen Smartphone

Ron Amadeo, reviewing the Tizen-based Samsung Z1 for Ars Technica:

On the front of the phone you’ll find Samsung’s trademark hardware home button, flanked by “back” and “menu” buttons. Tizen makes the same mistakes that Android did: it hides a bunch of options behind a menu button, with no on-screen indication that there are more options in the menu button. So if you’re looking for an option, you usually end up pressing “menu” on every single screen and hope that something pops up.

The menu button betrays Tizen’s age. It was designed circa-2012 as a drop-in Android replacement that would run on the same hardware. Back then Samsung’s Android phones used a menu button, so Tizen did too. The menu button was long seen as a poor UI choice — Google removed it from the core Android spec in 2011 — and Samsung finally joined the rest of the ecosystem and dumped the menu button with the Galaxy S5 last year. Sadly, Tizen never got the message.

The hardware is junk, but it’s a $92 phone, so what do you expect? More disappointing, but utterly unsurprising, is that the UI sucks too. Tizen is Samsung’s only chance to fix some of Android’s wrongs.

Sunday, 8 February 2015