One thing anybody who knows me will know I am not a fanboy of any particular company or OS. You know: Xbox vs Playstation, Apple vs PC vs Linux, iOS vs Android* cellphones, iPad vs Kindle vs Android tablets. blah, blah, blah. Let’s face it – they all have their Pros and Cons, they all do things well and work great for many people, and do just as bad or work awful for just as many people. But that’s a topic for another day.
Today, I am reviewing my first experiences with the HTC One. So lets get started with the HTC One Review.
Unboxing & Setup
- Opening the recycled bamboo & sugar cane box was quite interesting and reminded me much of opening any iProduct. HTC definitely wanted to give the WOW factor and didn’t make any bones about it. Although the salesperson wasn’t exactly sure which barcode they were supposed to scan. There were 6 or 7 on just one side of the box, and another barcode on the back. She finally got it on her 4th try. (I have an image of the box with blurred out barcodes here so you can see what I am talking about.)
- The look of the phone was just as amazing as all of the images floating around the internet & even the salesperson said “no way this is an HTC!” But who cares just about the looks?
- Pushing the power button and within 5-6 seconds the phone was up and being activated. I was quite impressed. The phone make me sign in to Facebook and Dropbox, although I am sure there was a skip button, but since I had both of those and planned to use them – why not.
- Dropped in my Google Account, and within 2 minutes my stuff was Syncing. I personally use 3 different Google accounts for my daily usage, but it didn’t take that long to get all of my calendars, contacts, emails, Google+ and Google Music/Play apps installed and back to normal.
- Then to my surprise on Sunday (about 48 hrs after the purchase) I received an email from Dropbox telling me thanks for using their services on my new HTC phone, and they were giving me an extra 23 GB of space for free. So I went from 2GB to just over 25GB. Not too shabby for not even knowing that was going to happen.
Battery Usage & Storage
I have been quite impressed with the battery. I was very concerned about not having a removal battery, but when I unplugged the phone at 8am, used it significantly for App usage (Checking my 3 Gmail accounts, Facebook, Twitter, ESPN, Internet searching, GPS) and also to take lots of photos and some videos (I will get those below) and actually make phone calls (yes, I actually use a cellphone to make calls – wow) it was still running on battery at 11pm I was very impressed. Most of my friends and family who have iPhones, Samsung Galaxy (1-3), and HTC EVO could not hold up that long. I didn’t think I would even get 8 hours from it; my expectations were met and beat; but the Galaxy Note II is still going to outdo this phone with battery life.
When it came to storage, I was not one of those folks who complained about 32GB being too small. I was happy with that, and just fine it didn’t have a removal SD card. Now finding out that I get over 20GB of Dropbox space, I am even less concerned. With Dropbox, Google Drive, and HTC’s space – why would anybody complain?
This is mostly meant, from everything I can tell, to be a social media and news aggregator. If you have ever used Flipboard, you have basically seen it. HTC wants the user to use it as the home tab of your phone, but thank goodness it is very simple to change it so your main tab is something else.
Screen – Quality & Size
There are lots of different screens, technologies, and sizes out there at this time. Some people have their preference of AMOLED vs LCD vs Retina, but most people do not even know the difference. Since I am mostly speaking of Android phones in this post, I will just stick to the AMOLED vs LCD. The LCD technology is the oldest technology of all of the aforementioned technologies, and there has been a big debate for years now. In the past I would have probably said the AMOLED screens would have been my choice, but now that LCD’s have caught up, it’s a different story.
When comparing 3 phones side by side (Galaxy 4, iPhone 4, HTC One) the HTC One is much more sharp, more brillant shapes. I much prefer the SuperLCD of the HTC One over the SuperAMOLED screen used on Samsung Galaxy 3 and Galaxy 4 but let me explain why before just giving up. You can also read my iPhone 5s vs HTC One comparison if you are interested in a side-by-side matchup.
AMOLED vs SuperLCD in short:
- SuperLCD screens use much less battery, LCD displays are not affected by direct sunlight as AMOLED screens become slightly distorted,
- LCD uses true RGB subpixel alignment, which has been much more eye pleasing for decades (all tv’s and displays around the world as long as we have had print and digital screens).
- LCD cannot touch AMOLED screens when it comes to Contrast, thus Saturation levels are also increased.
- AMOLED tend to be display as a more “cooler” color aspect (think about those settings on your tv that say things like “Movie, Sports, Living Room, etc”)
I will continue to check new phones and let you know if there are significant changes along the way. My personal thoughts on the two technologies at the moment though are AMOLED tends to be “dull” compared to SuperLCD technology sharpness and resolution. The AMOLED screens have true black, but SuperLCD has brighter whites; the AMOLED still has pixels that are visible when the LCD’s of today look crystal clear and smooth. Either way, it’s all about what you prefer.
Again, it beat my expectations. Although I have Sprint (the slowest carrier and no real LTE coverage as of yet), I was amazed with the call quality. My phone doesn’t bog down when I am on the phone and need to look up something else, like check my calendar.
BoomSound was more than expected! When I turned on Pandora and YouTube, I was really amazed at the quality of the front facing speakers. I have always complained about phones and about my iPod Touch & iPad having speakers on the back, because I need to lay my device down some times. Heck, I do a lot of cooking and when I am in the kitchen I don’t need to drop my device onto the grill. Let me lay it down and still listen to my tunes. The original EVO tried with that little kickstand, but it just didn’t cut it. Why did it take so long to put speakers on the front? The speakers are very high quality, and out perform other phones I have used, and make the iPad speaker sound pretty sad.
The call quality is much better than other phones I have used. Heck it doesn’t sound like I am on Sprint’s network anymore. Now when I am on the phone, I have had people tell me they could actually hear me on the phone. I can also hear people on the other end. This is very helpful with a phone 🙂
Update 4/24/13: I have now put on the headphones that came with the phone and was blown away with the bass and the crystal clear sound. I actually thought I had Sennheiser headphones on my ears. I was listening to Pandora, and during my shuffle mix there was some live versions of songs that played that I really thought I was there in concert. So I was really curious so I tracked down an upbeat song that had lots of highs & lows. LMFAO seemed to work. Wow, the bass was amazing! I happened to have that same song in my iTunes so I dropped it on my iPod Touch and tested it with my Apple headphones, my Kicker headphones, and then tried with my HTC One headphones. The same song on iPod Touch just wasn’t the same. I have to think it has something to do with the BeatsAudio & the built in amplifier.
I’ve always said that smartphones are phones, not cameras, so when there is a phone that is half decent on a phone it’s a bonus. I don’t ever expect a SLR quality phone, otherwise it’s not going to fit in my pocket. But HTC did do something quite interesting this go-round, and man for the most part they did it right. I have been floored with the quality of the camera, as well as the camera app.
HTC Zoe – doesn’t mean much to anybody other than HTC, but this is where your college Greek class would help. A zoetrope means active or turning into life. Basically think of those old cartoon flip-books but if you are too young – here is a YouTube video of what a zoetrope looks like, if you care.
Okay, back to the camera/app – the feature of using HTC Zoe is a pretty cool idea because it takes about 3 seconds of photos (about 20 images) which the phone will then merge into one media file, or you can go into the Gallery and select just the image(s) you want. I plan to post some of these later when I have had more time to mess around.
The Media Gallery – yikes HTC, what exactly were you thinking? This phone throws your media into some some strange sorting methods, but with Dropbox and other ways of accessing the files, I can at least go through them with some sense.
The app itself is pretty amazing because I have many more features than most other phones (aka iPhone) such as ISO, White Balance, filters and such. Sure, I will still use Instagram but I wouldn’t have to if I wanted to grab some really cool photos that are not just a little square. I will add sample images from time to time, if you ever want to see what I have been shooting. Here is just one that I liked from the first day.
I am sure there will be those folks that will say “Oh, it’s only a 4megapixel camera” but those are also the folks who do not even realize that Megapixel is just a marketing gimmick that was created roughly in late 1990’s, which is a completely different story altogether. Google it if you are interested. Short and sweet – this camera is amazing and I am extremely happy with it. Below is the first video I did on the afternoon I got the phone. Not too bad for never trying on this phone before. To get the full effect, change the quality to 1080p when you watch.
- The screen is very vivid, large 4.7 inch, but at the same time phone doesn’t fill like it’s too large. It’s very comfortable holding in hand and while talking on the phone.
- Within the first 24 hours, my little boy tested the shock resistance by throwing it onto concrete. There is a very small scratch on the metal, but otherwise you would never know. I was very impressed (actually happy) that it didn’t break.
- For the sake of trying I tried the TV App. Selected my cable company, turned off my TV and selected Samsung as my tv. Pushed the button on the phone and bam, my tv was now synced to my phone. Yes, it’s a fun trick to play on your friends/family, but something a little more also. I can see what is actually on tv and select the show (aka Walking Dead or Dexter) and it goes straight to the channel. A very similar interface of Netflix, and that is perfect for me so I don’t have to scroll through 200 channels on the guide to see what is on.
There are pros/cons to every device, and those that tell you otherwise are blinded by their fanboy thoughts.
Pros: The display, sound, and camera are all completely amazing. You are not going to find a faster phone at the moment, and you can expect to be able to use this phone for a number of years without the need of upgrading.
Cons: Android 4.2 didn’t come pre-installed, Blinkfeed cannot be uninstalled or deactivated, and the media gallery is a little disorganized
Overall, I am glad I waited even with the delayed release to get this phone.
Disclosure: I have used all devices I mentioned and am not a fanboy of any company. I don’t get freebies from companies, so I spend way too much time looking for any device I am going to pay for with my own money. This is just feedback about my first weekend of using the phone and my thoughts, nothing more and nothing less.
*Blackberry, Palm, and Windows no longer make my lists for phones