Android / Google & Nexus / HTC Mobile / Mobile Devices / Qualcomm

HTC One: How I feel about it.

HTC One_Silver_3V

The HTC One. Ugh…I’ve been meaning to cover this device much earlier than now, but due to certain issues, I decided to hold off. When this device was unveiled, there were mixed emotions: some geeks saw it as a force to reckon with, and some were just confused.

So what were my gripes? Well, for starters, I was really not willing to bet on that new camera. The concept was sound on paper, but my issue was not that the megapixels were less, but more that the megapixels were THAT less. I would have been cool with them bringing out a 5 or 6 megapixel Ultrapixel camera. Why is it 4 Megapixels? See, the issue I have with this parameter is that, I know what happens when pixels are blown out that large. Granted, the light capture on the sensor increases significantly, most of the resulting pics are great for posting on facebook, but when it comes to any other application, such as printing them out on photographic paper, there’s a limit to how much it can be blown up. Anything greater than a 6×9 size and those large pixels start to show their ugly corners. Everything goes straight to the crapper at this point.

Another issue I had with the device was its button placement. Call me old-fashioned, but there’s a reason the HOME key on any device, sits in the middle. Its the metaphorical center of the device, the balance point.

htc_one_buttons

It makes absolutely NO sense to put it on any side. Google intended for it to ALWAYS be at the center. Or at least for it to be configurable that way; hence soft keys. Google made it so easy by including the soft keys, for any smartphone vendor. They no longer have to add any sort of hardware keys, or touch keys; they no longer have to write specific code into the kernel for those keys to work: just get Android up and running, and you have pretty much everything working. HTC decided to go the capacitance key route. AND on top of it, they decided to move the HOME hey to the right, completely get rid of the “Running Apps” button, and just have the BACK button on the left. I have an issue with this. It just doesn’t sit right with me. Android was designed around the concept of customization. And with each iteration of the versions, it has delivered on that front. When hardware vendors still go the way of the physical buttons, its annoying.

Another, less pressing issue, is the size of this device. To put it bluntly, it’s got a 4.7 inch display, and its the same size as the Galaxy S4 which has a 5 inch display. C’mon…what happened to ergonomics?

So now, the HTC One has had some time to settle in, and with all its unique perks/quirks, has had its moment of shock and awe. Now, I’m more interested in whether it delivers on what its promise was:  To be THE smartphone of the year. In one word, NO. I still cannot live with the button placement and it will probably be one of the major reasons I will never get the phone. The camera, I can live with. When the device was released, the camera quality came into question. Night shots and videos, turned out pretty good, but photos in natural light were flat, blurry and lacked any sort of detail. It was pathetic. But then HTC released a firmware update, which basically got rid of the unnecessary denoising algorithms they added to improve picture quality. Now the camera is pretty top notch (I’d probably take it over the Samsung Galaxy S4’s 13MPixel shooter, mainly because I want a camera that can take respectable videos in low light situations (Don’t ask me what kinds of videos those are! :P).

In conclusion, is this phone worth getting? Hell yes! Its got topnotch build quality. Its gorgeous. Its got one of the best displays ever seen on a smart phone. Its literally got night vision when it comes to videos and photos, and it can take both of those at lightning fast speeds. Its got bleeding edge specs. And its got some neat software add-ons (I could care less for Blinkfeed, but HTC Zoe is pretty freaking neat!). For the average consumer: what if it comes down to choosing between the HTC One and the iPhone5? Trust me…go with the HTC One and discover what a real smartphone can really do. What about deciding between the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4? I’d lean more towards the Galaxy S4 if I was interested in their neat software tricks. But Aluminum beats Plastic in my world any day: I would still get the HTC One. But DO I want the HTC One bad enough to upgrade to it? No. Better things are coming. Trust me. We’ve reached the point where device specs have caught up with software response requirements in the android world. Now its time for Device manufacturers to concentrate on design and hardware refinements. We need one more generation of Android smartphone to pass before things really get exciting. But one thing is for sure: HTC is doing its best to blaze the trail.

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