The notification bar (AKA The “Notification Shade” ) hasn’t changed much, but the new “Quick Settings” is not as useful as the drop down bars in HTC’s Sense UI or Samsung’s TouchWiz. While it does give you access to your most used settings, they don’t act as toggles. They’re more or less shortcuts to the actual settings page. The only real toggle is Airplane mode. The Brightness one is a wannabe toggle and sends you to another toggle to adjust brightness. The Bluetooth option is even worse since it will just direct you to the Bluetooth Settings page, which is pretty annoying: why can’t I just turn Bluetooth on from the toggle like other phones let me do?
Another thing which I found annoying was that there is a picture of me in the top left corner. Why is that there? When am I ever going to click on my face to see my own information? I understand it’s used in tablets to switch users, but on a phone it’s just a waste of space. A waste of space which could be replaced by a “Lock Orientation” toggle. If it weren’t for MoreQuicklyPanel, I’d have to jump into settings every time I wanted to lock orientation (which I do a lot, surprisingly). Not very user-friendly at all.
Also, there’s a gap in the bottom row. Now I know this is really nitpicking, but why couldn’t it have simply been a full row? It’s just empty space staring at me, every time I go into the Quick Settings. The good thing is that if you set an alarm, it fills up the space so you get a full row. My OCD tendencies forced me to set an alarm which will run everyday JUST so that hideous blank space is filled up.
Anyway, rants aside, you can access Quick Settings by bringing the notification bar down and tapping on the icon in the top right corner. You simply tap the button in the top right corner to go back to the notifications. Alternatively, you can use two fingers to swipe down from the top of the screen to access Quick Settings directly. Not really anything else to say.
The Notification Bar remains the same; swipe to get rid of notifications and use two fingers swipes to expand notifications. Still no proper battery information. One useful new feature (introduced in Android 4.1.2) is that you can expand notifications with ONE FINGER. You no longer need to use two fingers to swipe up or down (this is difficult to do when using the phone with one hand). You simply use one finger to slide down the notification and it’ll expand automatically. Collapsing notifications with one finger is a bit different. You swipe down with one finger to about 1/2 of the way, then you swipe up again to collapse it. It does require a bit of practice but it works brilliantly.
All in all, Quick Settings is a valiant attempt by Google, but I say you’re still better off with using 3rd party applications like Battery Widget Reborn and MoreQuicklyPanel to get a much better Notification Bar WITH ACTUAL TOGGLES. Even customs ROMs like CyanogenMOD have brilliant Notification Bars. Anyway, maybe we’ll get something better with the next version of Android.