At first starting up the Sensia is a little awkward due to the fact that the power button, which does look like a button, isn’t one. Instead it’s a touch sensitive strip, requiring you to hold your finger on it to activate it. It also doubles as the snooze button, where you simply cover it with your palm to delay the inevitable. If at first this seems odd, once you understand how it works it’s intuitive enough.
Unfortunately the learning curve for the actual touch interface is steeper. It’s split into three panels: the list menu on the left, the ‘visual panel’ in the top right and below it the info box where normal DAB info (among other things) is displayed. Running along the bottom, meanwhile, are all sorts of shortcut icons. This includes one for ‘Apps’, but irritatingly this doesn’t take you to the apps themselves, but tells you to “swipe the visual pane left or right to the first App” adding “to change the current App, swipe up or down to the App you want”.
Now, without prior knowledge (or referring to the quick start guide that explains it), it wasn’t immediately obvious to us what the ‘visual panel’ was. Thus followed much back and forth, head scratching and general consternation until some random prodding of the screen revealed the answer. Again, once you know how to find all this, it’s relatively straightforward, though a list would have worked just as well, if not better.
As for the apps themselves, while an interesting diversion, they’re far too slow and limited in scope to be anything other than that: diversions. It seems unlikely you’d resort to using them as your regular (or semi-regular) access point to either. We’re mildly more taken by the weather application, if only because it’s the sort of thing you might want in your kitchen or living room, but it’s similarly blighted by lethargy – a fact made worse when the applications are full-screened. We even encountered the odd crash, something that’s made doubly annoying by losing your login details afterwards!
This sluggishness is true of the Sensia as a whole, too, though to a far smaller extent. While not snappy, the responsiveness of the touchscreen and the various menus is acceptable, particularly after applying the latest update (version 1.5). And, while the general navigation could be made simpler, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of things as the touch interface relies on the same swipes and flicks system as utilised on hundreds of touch devices.