HTC have been beaten pretty badly last year with the introduction of Samsung’s S3 and Note 2.  In fact, none of HTC’s offerings in 2012 are as sexy as its Korean neighbor.  While the Taiwanese manufacturer still holds a considerable slice of the pie, it has been no doubt, on a steady decline over the onslaught of more popular, more powerful counterparts.  Yet Peter Chou’s excitement over their new flagship appears warranted.  The few minutes I’ve spent playing around with this new jewel has added it to the sparse list of Android Devices that gained my thumb of approval (The rest being Nexus One, Nexus 4, and Nexus 7).

Unlike most other review pages which would add fillers on what specs make up this new device, I’d rather focus largely on the user experience.  Who cares whether your device is a quad core or an octa core? Who cares whether its an Exynos or a Snapdragon? Not a lot really.  While numbers do matter, the experience undoubtedly bears the biggest weight… and that’s what this review is giving you.

THE GOOD STUFF

The HTC One boasts a wonderful masterpiece back to back.  Following Apple’s footsteps, this new crown jewel is encased in Aluminum, giving it a premium feel.  With its Boomsound speakers on both ends of the phone, one can immediately see a pristine symmetry that could only be a masterful work of art.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to test the speakers as the Internet connection is sloppy and no demo songs are preloaded.

Thickness Comparison vs iPhone 5

It also has this wonderful Blinkfeed UI that, at a glance, immediately resembles a Windows Phone, just nicer.   One can definitely infer that HTC got this idea from those guys at Redmond.  Yet how HTC crafted this is marvelous.  the size of the tiles are much more elegant and easier to see.  Like Windows Phone, they are also animated.  What’s interesting here is that Blinkfeed draws its contents from your Social Network, RSS Feeds, Blogs, and News Sites which means that as long as the phone is connected to the internet, you’ll draw fresh feeds from your profile in a timely fashion.

This phone also boasts about 30% more pixels than the iPhone.  This means that images would theoretically look sharper.  It’s very difficult for me to see the difference though, if any.  But that’s good to know.

It actually also looks thinner than the iPhone 5 although their tech specs says otherwise.  It’s also incredibly light as well.

I also like how HTC has actually revamped the UI such that not only did they conform to Google’s Holo theme, they are also presented with a comfortable combination of colors, textures, color choices, and of course, beautiful rendition.  I am also amazed at how responsive the screen is.  Gone are the days of Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich where the UI lags irritatingly.  It’s really impressive.  Here are some pictures of the phone’s various apps.  You can click the thumbnail to enlarge.

 

      

      

Another thing that I have not been able to test, although which I am quite confident in HTC, is that of the Sense Voice.  It’s basically a microphone that cancels out background noise.  If you have used Samsung products before, and compare them with HTC or Apple, you’d immediately notice the difference in your voice calls.  In case you want to know, the call quality in Nexus One is FAR better than the Galaxy S3.

THE BAD STUFF

Like its predecessor, HTC’s User Experience is abit annoying.  For instance, the Camera App is tricky.  Whenever you take a picture, you will end up taking a video.  You should try it out to understand what I’m talking about.  Further, the Recent Apps button is absent!  So you thought you could see the recent apps just by long pressing the Home button right?

Wrong!

It follows Apple’s footsteps by wanting the user to double click the home button to draw out the recent apps.  As a long time Android user, I find this to be a paradigm shift.  Showing up the Recent apps has always been a long press on the home button.  As to why HTC decided to deviate from that… I have no clue.

The battery, packing a size of 2300 mAh, is pretty much average for a phone that big.  It should last for a day roughly, just like almost every other smartphone out there.  Of course, HTC could do better.  Battery is one of the biggest setback of the iPhone.  If HTC would capitalize on that, then certainly it’d be a great selling point.

Of course, I wouldn’t let this segment end without the screen size right? Right??? I have said many times in the past that a 3.5 inch screen is the way to go… and I still stick to that mantra even in the advent of larger phones.  I really hate it when I can’t navigate comfortably around a phone with one hand… and HTC’s new flagship falls on that category.

It’s too big to make myself comfortable.  While many will simply dismiss this as a preference thing, I really feel different on the inside.  I love the Smartphone business largely perhaps because that’s where my bread and butter comes from.  Yet it really pains my heart to see phone makers deviate from a great single handed experience just because Samsung is herding the flock to a bigger, abominable screens lineup (and that’s perhaps why I really despise that brand.  It desecrates the optimal user experience by turning smartphones into a herd of phablets which are not as good as tablets nor genuine smartphones).

Phones are not meant to be used by two hands.  Neither are they supposed to be juggled around one’s hand just to be able to reach all the possible touch points.  It is to no surprise that Android phones slip easily from the user’s hands… and yes, that generally means more money for the manufacturer.

The Verdict

Despite the bad things I’ve said about this phone, it certainly stands to reason that HTC really outdid itself this time around.  I love HTC One.  Will S4 earn the same love I have for this one? We have yet to see next week.  Yet if one is to grab a new Android Phone this year, this flagship is definitely worth considering.  Its software is visually impressive.  It’s experientially exceptional… and boy, does the hardware look good.

 

1 Response » to “HTC One – The Good, The Bad, The Verdict”

  1. [...] my previous review on HTC One, the stuff I’ll be talking (or writing) about Samsung’s new Juggernaut [...]

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