“HTC has taken their immaculate attention to detail and raised it up to all new level”
I have had the new HTC One for over 4 weeks now and this makes it my 4th HTC. I started the HTC Journey with the HTC Incredible S, a 4 inch, 1ghz Processor and ever since I didn’t look back. At that time shifting to HTC and Android itself was one giant leap for me, as I gave up my Blackberry, the keyboard of which I had become almost dependent on for typing messages or mails. It was a tough choice to go from a physical keyboard to a full touch device, but I never really looked back.
I took close to 30 minute to choose between the Nexus S or the Incredible S. Then eventually I moved to Sensation XE, later ONE X, and finally the One. There was one thing which was consitently amazing on these devices: The Build quality. HTC is one brand that never compromised with the hardware, may it be the first official Nexus (Nexus one) or HTC One, or anything in between.
Hello HTC One
When I switched to the HTC One, boy I was surprised. They have taken their immaculate attention to detail and raised it up to all new level. The Nexus one started it all with its Aluminum uni-body (covered with softened rubberish material) and they have brought it back to the ONE. It’s an absolute pleasure to hold this phone in hand. The beautiful satin finish on the back and the crisp 1080 display on the front makes this the best android phone I have ever held.
Hardware Design & Aesthetics: Good and Bad
HTC One is the most elegant android phone ever made, its second to none. Not even the iPhone. The chamfered edges on the front and back give it a classy get up and make it less uncomfortable when holding it to the ear.
HTC One is only a bit bigger than the Samsung Galaxy S 4. Its smooth aluminum backside somewhat resembles the finish on Apple’s MacBook Pro. It’s an intuitive design, one that HTC says is made through “zero-gap” construction, a term that refers to the phone being carved out of a piece of aluminum.
All that beauty comes at a price. The zero gap construction used by HTC for this phone leaved DIY users in a fix as its near impossible to repair this phone. Even an authorized service center would struggle to repair this phone, as was illustrated by the teardown masters at iFixit. So its evident that one has to be extremely careful not to damage the display or drop the phone in water. Repairing this beast will cause you hefty damages. You’re better off getting good dual layered case to protect your phone from dents and would give tremendous protection against shattering screens.
Most people would find the lack of a non removable battery a problem but after using the One X for about an year I see no reason to worry about it. The 2300 mAh battery provides more than enough backup to give you at least 12 hours of medium usage.
The power button has been shifted from the right side to the left which took a couple of days getting used to it but nothing one can’t get used to. The flush volume buttons add to the sleek design and are easy to feel and use so no complaints there either. My biggest gripe is the lack of the third capacitative menu button. Even with a custom ROM, which lets me use the HTC logo as a menu button, it’s just not the same as having a dedicated menu button.
The rear of this phone is as beautiful as the front. Somehow they have managed to cram the GSM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and GPS antennas into that thin line of plastic which has been molded into what they call the zero gap construction design. I have had no issues with reception of any sort. Apple went so wrong with metal design first time, but HTC has done a commendable job.
Turn it around and camera is flush with the back so if you drop it in a wrong way it is susceptible to getting cracked unless you’re using a case.
Display is one thing about this device that you would absolutely love. A crisp, neutral and well calibrated display that would render the perfect natural picture, no matter what. Whites are pleasing, blacks are deep, colors are smooth, and everything is super sharp. At 468ppi (1920×1080 in 4.7″), you can be sure you would only have to use a microphone to see the pixels.
The screen doesn’t get very bright, and it can be hard to see outdoors in sunlight.
HTC One’s Super LCD 3 1080p display is vibrant, yet natural. Its IPS display incorporates SoLux technology, which is said to help improve viewing angles, picture quality, and outdoor visibility. When compared to S4, One lacked what S4 produced: a more pure black because of the nature of the AMOLED display.
The screen size is perfectly apt for medium to large hands so most people should be comfortable negotiating all corners of the phone. Screen is very accurate and sharp with its 1920×1080 pixels packed into 4.8″ display. You just cannot complain about this screen, it provides the very well balanced display contrast, colors. Its not contrasty and vivid as Galaxy S4, but its supposed to be natural at all times.
Overall, videos were a pleasure to watch on the One. viewing angles exceed 175 degrees. The One’s screen is also easier to see in the sun at full brightness than the Galaxy S 4, but its still not perfect in sunlight.
The Processor, GPU, RAM and performance
The Quad-core 1.7Ghz Snapdragon 600 processor paired with the Adreno 320 gpu performs really well and has absolutely no lag in day to day usage. The Gaming performance is absolutely butter smooth considering that its pushing out a resolution 1920×1080.
I have not thrown in too many comparisons with the S4 because it all depends on what the user prefers but I did notice that in their attempt to add all the bells and whistles like Air View and Eye based sensors: SmartRotate, SmartStay, and etc etc, Samsung ignored the basic problem which they have always had with touch wiz, lag. The stock TouchWhiz launcher is laggy which makes anyone who has a new phone feel like there is something wrong.
This HTC does not have which gives it an upper hand for those who are not into going for custom roms and rooting and basically modding their androids phones.
Audio & Speakers
One thing I absolutely love about One is the Boomsound speakers on the top and bottom on the front of the device. They live up to what HTC has promised they are capable of. You can easily listen to music or watch videos even in a noisy crowded environment. In quiet room they are built to deliver good mids and treble for overall pleasing sound, among the best on smartphones. Music is crisp and clear even a couple of meters away so the speakers have proven their worth in this phone.
Music listening on the headphones is a pleasure. With Beats audio refined over years, you can be sure you’re listening to best in the class music on smartphones. High bitrate MP3s at 320kbps and lossless audio formats like FLAC gave enough detail to keep your senses delighted. Bass is deep, trebles, cymbals are clear and mids are well balanced.
The native camera app is very convenient to use and offer a lot of filters prior to taking pictures and also one can edit or reapply filter after taking the pictures as well. The panoramic mode is simply amazing and provides seamless stitching of pictures.
The HDR mode of still is also pretty impressive in good lighting conditions. Low light pictures are just unbelievable. The camera in this phone is capable of pushing the sensitivity up to ISO 1600 and can take pictures with really low noise.
This phone offers something which I have not come across in any other phone so far, along with slow motion and fast hd(60)fps, this phone is capable of taking Full HD HDR videos as well which is pretty impressive and the dual membrane HRD microphone records really clear audio as well.
I’m totally sold by the camera in this phone. 4 megapixels is low in terms of resolution and detail, but I’m not the kind of person to view pictures taken from my phone at 100% zoom. 90% if the time I view pictures taken from my phone on the phone only and for anyone who does the same, the HTC one is definitely a big winner here.
Even though Galaxy S4 has more detailed images during day time, One really shines at night and in low light conditions.
Software: Flavor of Sense & BlinkFeed
The launcher on the htc known as sense for all means and purposes stays pretty much the same with a lot of visual changes and additions like the Blinkfeed which is essentially a visualization of your RSS feeds, but the choice of adding new sources is limited. I hope they allow one to add more since Google ready will discontinue. This can prove to be a good replacement for that or else Feedly will take over that role.
You can’t get rid of Blinkfeed and you can only have a total of 5 home screens including Blinkfeed so that gives you just 4 screens to customize with widgets and shortcuts which is a bit if a letdown for someone who doesn’t wish to change launchers and is coming from an older htc phone with 5 totally customizable home screens.
The app drawer also has the same weather and time widget as the Blinkfeed on top and can be used to access the clock and weather apps from there also. The stock grid size is 3×4 but you can change it to 4×5 too if you want more apps on your screen. Google apps and phone tools come in their own folders so it makes for less screens in the app drawer. There wasn’t any Carrier bloat ware as I have the unlocked version which is good. pre installed apps don’t use much space and you het 26 out of 32 gb which is much better than 8 out of 16gb which you get out of Samsung’s s4’s internal memory.
Phone also features an IR blaster, which comes handy if you plan to control your HDTV, music system and Set-top-box with your smartphone. It doesn’t work in every country, but that’s only matter of time. You can always use the unofficial remote apps to put the IR sensor to good use.
Long story short, the HTC ONE is well worth the hype and more. It shows that HTC have gone completely all out in their effort to save their company but building this beautiful phone. They could have gone the samsung way to compromise with build quality, but they didn’t.
I’m sure if they keep their support up and keep the updates coming, HTC will surely live and prosper once again.