Technofreak’s HTC One: my thoughts (second part)

, posted: 14-May-2013 10:20

The more I use the HTC One the more I realise various mobile OS have much in common. They all have the same basic job to do and in many cases there's only so any ways to to do certain functions. It's very often in the small details where the differences are and even then I'm sure each OS could be configured to do a particular job the same way.

To illustrate this point the HTC One has features that replicate the exact same features in Symbian and Meego. Both the Nokia E7 and the HTC One have a notification blind. Both the Nokia N9 and the HTC One uses a similar swiping action to close apps. The music player on the HTC has a familiar appearance to the music players on both the E7 and N9 and in the case of the N9 some very similar features

Where am I going with this? To me it would seem that most of the differences between various OS is as much to do with what features/actions the design team decided incorporate rather than what the OS can or cannot do or some of the hardware like the camera or in the case of the HTC One the excellent stereo speakers. With this in mind many of my comments in these blogs are not so much a reflection on the OS and more as to how it has been used.

Back to the HTC One. There is no doubt this is one very very nice looking phone. I like the screen size. I had thought that a 4 inch screen was about the biggest practical screen for a phone. However with design improvements allowing the screen to extend almost to the edge of the phone has meant screen sizes increase without a major change in form size. The reduced thickness has also meant a net decrease in bulk meaning it still fits well into my shirt pocket without a problem.

However while bigger is better so far as the screen size goes there are some downsides. The power/lock/unlock button is a stretch to reach especially one handed. Perhaps it would have been better placed on the side. Also I find the phone gets uncomfortable to hold on longer phone calls. It's a fraction too wide for my hands which I'd say are normal size. Also due to the width of the phone I find I have to be careful where I position the phone against my ear otherwise the proximity sensor doesn't work and my ear triggers the screen.

I often use the phone with it lying on a desk. The very nicely curved back does not lend itself well to using a phone in this manner and the phone rocks about as you tap away on the screen. One other drawback of such a clean design is the way some apps work, e.g. there is no dedicated camera button. Also the flash light app which I use a bit but not enough to warrant putting on the quick launch tray requires the phone to be unlocked with demands two actions: the power button then the unlock swipe. The N9 suffers the same problem, you pay the price for a nice clean design.

There has been a lot of comments around forums about a “gap” between the back and the plastic body on some phones. There is no gap on my HTC One. The finish is very good and exudes a quality befitting a flagship phone. The only comment I can make about the finish on mine is there is a small ridge on the top and bottom edges of the phone where the metal plates above and below the screen mate against the plastic body. It’s as if the screen is about 2 thicknesses of paper lower than the plastic body, hardly something most people would notice. If this is all people are complaining about then I think they are being a little bit too fussy.

Looking at the OS and apps now, I find the back function inconsistent. There's often two back buttons but not always. One on the lower left of the screen and depending on the app in use another back button at the top left. One back button would be much better in my opinion. To add to this the “Home” and “Back” button on the lower part of the screen (actually below the actual screen but still on the glass) are not always lit making it difficult to see where to tap the screen for these functions. It appears they only light up in darker conditions however there are plenty of occasions where they need to be lit when there’s plenty of light.

As I mentioned in my last blog I tried using HTC Sync Manager to synchronise with Outlook on my computer. I have given up trying to get Sync Manager to work, while others report it works well for them. It appears that it doesn’t work well on Windows 7 64 bit. My solution so far has been to use Exchange Active Sync with my Windows Live account and use this calendar on my laptop. It’s working pretty well but doesn’t sync my Outlook Notes which is a bit of a pain. It’s a pity HTC don’t provide a reliable syncing software.

Battery life seems OK. Some days I’m just getting through one day, which to me for the battery size isn’t all that much. I guess you have to pay somewhere for the fast smooth OS that the HTC One has. Though to be honest I think the screen rather than the OS is a big hog of power. As can be seen in the screenshot there are two places where the battery level drops sharply when I used the Maps/Navigation. I’ll cover more on the Maps next time.



Let’s talk about the Clock app. There are two things I miss with the Clock. First is not having an analogue option. And second is not being able to display the time when the screen is in standby mode. I’ve got used to using the phone as a clock and I’ve looked to see it there’s an app but cannot find one that does it. I have the phone on the bedside cabinet as my alarm clock and it’s even more of a nuisance having to wake up the phone at night to see the time.

Speaking of the alarm function, the alarm isn’t as refined as what I’ve been used to with my other phones where the alarm tone starts off quietly and slowly increases in volume. The HTC One starts off at full volume which is a bit of a rude wake up call.

Otherwise the built-in Clock app is very good. As well as a clock with alarm there is a World Clock, a Stopwatch and a Timer. It’s a well thought out app that is very functional and easy to use. The alarm time is easy to set, plus there is a list of previous alarm times giving you the option to choose a time without the need to go through the whole process of setting the alarm again. You do have to be careful though that you also choose what days of the week you wish to use a particular alarm. It would be easy to choose a previously set alarm and not have it go off because you haven’t chosen that day for the alarm to be used.



As I was writing this blog the phone died. I went to unlock it to try something and no response. Eventually the vol down + power button brought up a screen that gave me a reboot option so all was good again. I’ve had phones lock up and die before, but only when I’ve been doing something that precipitated it, never while the phone was sitting idle. Let’s hope it was a one off event.

Next time I will blog about the Maps/Navigation, the Calendar and the Camera.

About the author

My name is Alan. I’ve been a Geekzone member for almost eight years (as Technofreak) and have enjoyed contributing and helping people on the site and have also gained a lot of help here myself at the same time. My involvement with technology goes back to another life when I was a Technician for NZPO/Telecom. I still remember the first cellphone I used, a Panasonic, which was the size of a handbag. I was an avid user of Palm handhelds for many years, having owned a 515, a T5 and a TX, all fantastic devices, I only recently pensioned off the TX.  These days I find smartphones extremely useful devices for keeping me in touch, especially being out and about with my job. The HTC One is the first real foray into the world of Android for me, it going to be an interesting and learning experience.

Other related posts:
Technofreak’s HTC One: final thoughts
Brad’s root guide for the HTC One
Brad’s HTC One reviews: camera






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