When you’re trying to decide between Android phones, the decision can be challenging. With Android phones, the choices are plentiful, making your choice a tougher one than, say, choosing between iPhone models. Finding the phone that’s best for you involves learning about the features of each phone and deciding which features are the best fit for your lifestyle.
The HTC One is filled with unique features that may be just what you’re looking for in a smartphone. The designers have paid attention to satisfying your senses — the phone is a pleasure to see, hear and feel.
The design of the HTC One is a clear strength. The phone is made of aluminum with a unibody, zero-gap construction method so the phone is solid and seamless. The screen reaches to the edges of the phone adding to the elegance of the design.
This video from HTC explains and demonstrates the design process for the phone:
The phone feels solid in the hand. Critics of phones with plastic casings will enjoy the aluminum body of the HTC One. The back of the phone is curved so your hand cradles the phone, even the edges are beveled making the phone smooth in appearance and feel.
The screen is 4.7″, which may be the sweet spot for those who want a large screen but don’t want to make the leap to a phablet. I was able to use the phone one-handed, including typing information into forms, but my paws aren’t particularly puny.
The screen is sharp and clear, packed with pixels to make viewing small text, photos, video and other information easy on the eyes.
The phone works on 4G/LTE networks and has NFC and Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2. The processor is powerful so the apps flow without annoying lags. You can multi-task on the One, playing music while reading your emails, for example. Double tap the Home button to reveal your last nine open apps.
The unibody construction of the phone means that you won’t be taking this phone apart, at least not intentionally. The back cover stays firmly in place, preventing access to the battery. Rather than investing in a spare battery for reserve power, you can get an external battery pack which is more versatile anyway, powering your phone as well as your tablet.
There is no slot for an SD card so you can’t expand the storage on the phone. Depending on your affection for apps, videos, pictures and other content, you may need to manage the space on this phone more carefully since you can’t expand it. Your saved photos and videos can devour much of your phone’s storage if you’re not careful. On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about trying to keep track of micro SD cards.
The phone only has two touch screen (a/k/a capacitive buttons) on the bottom dock. Missing is the Menu button, which is replaced by an icon of three vertical squares that appears at various places on the screen, depending on the app.
In addition to being satisfying to see and feel, the HTC One is kind to your ears. Unlike many other phones with a speaker on the rear of the phone, the HTC One puts the speakers on the front of the phone. This simple design placement is logical as most people lay their phones down with the screen facing up, not down.
The speakers’ position isn’t the only remarkable thing about the sound of the phone. The One has Beats Audio™ stereo speakers with a built-in amplifier. The sound that the phone emits is truly impressive and will spoil you from listening to other phone speakers.
The HTC One turns your home screen into a mobile bulletin board with BlinkFeed. This feature shows you news articles as well as social sharing posts. You can choose news categories such as Business, Lifestyle, Politics, Sports, Technology & Science, World and others. You can select the publications from their list that you want to include as well as social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can also add your calendar, TV, and Kid Mode for easy access to these apps.
The HTC One camera is loaded with features to help your photos and videos be creative or simply the best they can be. The rear camera is 4 megapixels and the front camera is 2.1 megapixels with the ability to take HD videos and HDR photos. The camera’s processor does the heavy work of making the most of your images, allowing the camera to capture your shots in rapid succession while producing sharp images.
Here are some sample pictures taken with the HTC One camera:
In addition to taking still photos, the One’s camera is loaded with fun and useful features:
Sequence Shot — By holding down the camera icon when you’re taking a picture, you can take multiple photos rapidly. You can either combine those photos into one photo with multiple images or you can let the camera choose which is the best shot and save only that one.
Zoe — With the Zoe feature, you can instantly take 3 second videos with your HTC One. You can either share these videos or pluck out an image from the video to turn into a still photo. This feature is especially handy for you to get just the right shot when you’re trying to capture a moving target.
Zoe also lets you edit your pictures by allowing you to pick the best smile for each person in a group shot and eliminate intruders, in case someone accidentally moseys into the background of your shot.
Interesting tidbit, Zoe was named in honor of the Zoetrope camera.
Slo-Mo — This camera lets you take slow motion video and adjust the playback speed, especially handy for recording sports events or just for fun.
Smartphones are usually seen as fair game for kids who think nothing of grabbing their parents’ phone for an entertainment fix. But while phones can serve as temporary distractions, you don’t want your kids posting to your Facebook account, sending a text message to your boss, or tweeting on your behalf.
Kid Mode lets you restrict the phone to games that are age-appropriate for your kids so they can entertain themselves without sacrificing your reputation. You can also get a premium subscription for $3.50/month that puts more games and kids’ books into Kids Mode. You can enable Child Lock and adjust your Kid Mode access in Settings.
Don’t bet the farm on the Child Lock. Your kid may be able to crack the lock faster than you can…
If you usually have your phone in your hand when you’re watching TV, you’ll enjoy the TV Remote feature of this phone. The phone’s power button doubles as an IR blaster so you can use your phone as a remote control for your TV, cable box and home theater. Set up is easy, you just enter your TV brand (Sony, Samsung, etc.), cable provider and zip code, then point the power button at your TV. No need to punch in codes to try to figure out the model of TV, this phone is smart enough to figure that out by itself.
You can set your favorite channels on the app and hide channels that you don’t get. The app can also show you what’s playing now, you just press a picture to tune in to that show instantly.
The HTC One has an FM radio so you can listen to your favorite local stations on your phone. The phone also comes with TuneIn Radio already loaded in case you want to listen to stations that are farther away.
The stated battery life of the One is 18-27 hours of talk time and 479-500 hours of standby time, based on the type of cell phone network you’re using. Your actually battery life will depend on how you’re using this phone. With all of this phone’s features, such as the Boom Sound speakers, the camera features, TV Remote, BlinkFeed and Kid Mode, you may be making very heavy use of this phone. The One has a Power Saver option you can use to make your battery last longer.
HTC isn’t going to win any awards for originality for naming this phone. Don’t beat yourself up if you confuse this phone with the HTC First (a/k/a the Facebook Phone), HTC One S, or any other of the HTC One alphabet phones that came before the One. If you like the features of this phone, make sure that you are getting the HTC One and not any of the other similarly named HTC phones.
The HTC One is available from:
- Sprint at $99 for new customers, $199 for existing customers for the 32 GB model with a two-year contract
- AT&T at $199 for the 32 GB model and $299 for the 64 GB model, with a two-year contract
- T-Mobile at $99 plus $20/month for 24 months for the 32 GB model
The HTC One is a quality phone with a solid, elegant build and plenty of features. While it lacks a replaceable battery and an SD card expansion slot, the many positive features of the phone make it a worthy contender for consideration.
What features do you like best about the HTC One? Would you like to use your phone as a remote control for your TV? Do you like the camera features? Do you like the idea of having news and social media on your home screen with BlinkFeed? Let us know in the Comments section below!
Many thanks to Sprint for lending me an HTC One for review. No compensation was received for the review of this phone.