To cut straight to the disappointment, not much has changed. Of all the new visual elements in Google's latest OS, only the multitasking menu has been included. Everything else – aside from a new lock screen – has been made to look as similar to the Android 2.3 TouchWiz interface as possible. Widgets can't be resized, there's no unified app and widget drawer, and barely a hint of Roboto. Samsung has taken a colossal update and turned it into an iterative one, with very little of Google's Holo theme retained.
The whole experience feels very Gingerbread-like, but this is most definitely Ice Cream Sandwich. Users will now have the latest versions of all the Google apps and widgets, and the whole package feels a little snappier. In stark contrast to our experience with the stock Gingerbread build, battery life seems strong, and there's not a hint of slowdown anywhere in the OS. We ran the obligatory Quadrant benchmark test and achieved a score of 4,032, a slight improvement over the 3812 achieved on Gingerbread. There's one final bit of good news: contrary to Samsung Philippines' rapidly retracted statement, Adobe Flash still functions as normal after updating to Android 4.0.
The update will be rolling out across various territories in the coming weeks, but as always, those of us with carrier-specific models may be waiting a little longer for your TouchWiz-ified Android 4.0 experience.