The main difference, of course, between Sense 2.1 & Sense 2.5 is that 2.1 supports Landscape, while 2.5 does not (and yes, I am aware that rotatstrain has created a landscape for 2.5, but that is NOT as designed by HTC).
NOTE: Starting with the 2011 build, Sense 2.5 now supports Landscape!!
Sense 2.1 - Home tab includes World Clock w/Weather under time & Animated Weather wallpaper. Quick links to Call History & Calendar under time. Scrolling up will reveal several calendar entries.
Sense 2.5 - Home tab includes World Clock w/Weather under time & several choices of Animated wallpaper, including Weather. Quick link to Calendar under time, one Calendar entry shows. Scrolling up reveals 6 Quick Link shortcuts that can be customized to add a Program shortcut, Contact shortcut, or Bookmark.
Sense 2.1 - People tab is the same as previous versions of Manila. Features 3D shortcut to Contact card for Favorites, selectable using bladelist along side of tab. Contact numbers are listed underneath selected Contact picture, and can be dialed with a single press.
Sense 2.5 - People tab features a grid view which shows 6 contact shortcuts at a time (scrolling up reveals additional shortcuts). Each shortcut uses Contact Picture for identification, and can be customized to View Contact Card, call a selected number, send a text or email (an icon in the bottom right of the picture will indicate the selected default action). The shortcut is actually 2 buttons - the picture acts as a direct shortcut to the default action as selected previously, and the bottom portion (which displays the contact name) opens the Contact card for that person. If there is an unread notification from that person, it will show up as a green icon on the bottom right of the button.
Visually, this tab is identical in the two versions. However, when pressing the tab, in 2.1 it opens the Manila SMS interface, while in 2.5, it will open the Messaging Client interface (in the Manila SMS tab).
This tab is also very similar in both versions. Both feature a bladelist on the right that shows the unread e-mail count of any Mail accounts. The main difference is the size of the e-mail preview. In Sense 2.1, the old preview, with a 3D envelope with mail emerging from it, is used. In Sense 2.5, there is a flat, full screen preview that allows more viewable area, and an easier to read preview.
Sense 2.1 - Uses Opera 9.5, and includes shortcuts to add "Push Internet" links. These can be added from existing bookmarks, or can be input manually. The user can select a frequency for the pages to be downloaded, so that there is zero wait time when opening the shortcut.
Sense 2.5 - Uses Opera 9.7, and includes "Visual Bookmarks". These can be added from existing bookmarks, or can be input manually. A visual representation of the bookmarked page is shown on the shortcut.
Sense 2.1 - Shows Month view as default. A triangular block appears in the corner of a day where an appointment is scheduled. Pressing a day will open day view, listing all appointments for the day. The Calendar will also show the current weather for your Location, or another location specified in the world clock. Pressing on an appointment will open the appointment in the standard MS Calendar app.
Sense 2.5 - Shows Month view as default. A triangular block appears in the corner of a day where an appointment is scheduled. Pressing a day will open day view, listing all appointments for the day. The Calendar will also show the current weather for your Location, or another location specified in the world clock. There is also an option for "Agenda" view, which shows all of your current meetings/appointments for several days, and a "Year" view, whcih allows you to see the entire year right on the Manila page. There's also Week view which displays any appointments for the week, and shows all available time slots in each day. Pressing on a specific appointment in either Agenda or Day view will open an enhanced Appointment Editor which allows you to contact the meeting organizer or recipients, and review other meeting information. This feature also requires the HTC Messaging Client.
I don't personally use this tab, so I'm not entirely sure, but this appears to be just about identical in both versions.
Photos & Videos tab:
At first glance, the tabs look the same. There's a stack of pictures, and the user can flick up and down to go through them. Pressing one opens Album. The difference is that when rotating the device to Landscape. for Sense 2.1, you basically get the same interface. In 2.5, however, there's an animation, and you get a full-screen interface that allows you to scroll through the pictures. Pressing on a picture will animate it until it is fullscreen.
Sense 2.1 - Shows 3D Album art, "Shuffle" and "Repeat" indicators, scroll up & down buttons & play button on right side of interface. Rotating keeps these same elements, just moving their location.
Sense 2.5 - Shows Album art, Play/Pause button, forward, backward buttons underneath Album art. "Shuffle" & "Repeat" indicators at top right are pressable, and in top left there is the option to download Album art using Gracenote. When rotating the device, you get a fullscreen, enhanced interface that allows you to scroll through albums quickly. Pressing an album will bring up a list of all songs from that Album on the left side of the screen, and this list is scrollable. Pressing a song on this list will play the song, with a speaker next to the title indicating the selected song is playing.
This tab is very close to identical in both versions. Both feature "My Location", which uses Google Location Service to pinpoint your location using cell-phone-tower triangulation. This information links back to the World Clock in showing the Weather at your current location. The only discernable difference between 2.1 & 2.5 that I saw is that 2.5 features fullscreen Weather animations on this
tab based on current conditions (not just on the Home tab).
Sense 2.5 also features 2 tabs that Sense 2.1 doesn't: Twitter, and Footprints. "HTC Peep", a.k.a. the Manila Twitter tab, shows all your current Tweets, and notifies you when you get any new ones. The Footprints tab allows you to take photos and save them with specific GPS information so that you can 'Show them on Map' (requires Google Maps), or navigate to them using GPS Software (the Leo comes with NaviPanel software & CoPilot GPS Navigator). This tab has limited functionality on our devices, since it is dependent on the Leo hardware.
This tab is probably the biggest difference between the interfaces.
Sense 2.1 - Offers options to:
- Sync data
- Open Comm Manager
- Change Wallpaper
- set sounds & notifications
- customize tab order
- open Contact Card
- toggle Location Service
- Enable Auto-rotation.
Sense 2.5 - Using HTC's "Settings Improvement" package, this tab integrates directly into the system, bypassing almost all MS versions of Settings. There are options to:
- "Personalize" (Set wallpaper, customize tabs)
- Wireless Controls (Comm Manager)
- Sound & Display (includes changing notifications, Backlight, & calibrating G-sensor)
- Data Services (includes Activesync, Stocks, Weather update frequency, Internet Time sync, Social Networks, & E-mail)
- Security (Encryption, Phone lock & reset)
- Application (Manage Applications, i.e. Remove Programs)
- SD card & Phone storage (shows Storage capacities/options in enhanced interface)
- Date & Time (set date, time, time zone & format)
- Locale & text (Set Language, region & text input options - shows enhanced interface for regional settings, & text input settings require EzInput 2.1)
- Updates & feedback (feedback/error report)
- Other (miscellaneous settings - this lists settings not linked to any of the previous ones)
- About phone (view battery status & device info - enhanced interfaces).
In 2.1, pressing the "All Settings" (left softkey) will open the MS Settings; in 2.5, pressing "Menu" gives you the open the option to open "All Settings".