Technofreak’s HTC One: first thoughts

, posted: 8-May-2013 15:00

I was very happy to agree when invited to take part in this TelecomTech blog series on the HTC One. I like new toys and playing with technology.

As a result last Tuesday a package arrived in my letter box and inside it there was a white box with a couple of stickers on the side. Very non descript. Inside was a bubble wrap bag containing a phone and a thin metal tag labelled HTC with a sharp pointer to open the SIM tray. Certainly not exciting to look at, however the bubble wrap cleverly disguised a very very sharp looking piece of engineering, the HTC One.

4.7 inches of gorilla glass screen that extends edge to edge with matte finish aluminium panels top and bottom, with a solid matte finish aluminium back panel that is nicely curved to fit your hand. The edges of the aluminium nicely polished. Sandwiched between the glass screen and the back panel is a thin white plastic body. The design is in my opinion very tasteful and gives the phone a nice solid feel. My words certainly don’t do it justice.

Other than the SIM tray there’s only two ports: a 3.5 mm headphone jack and a USB port for charging and computer connections. I did read that this can also be used for HDMI. There’s also an IR port in the power button.

Basic specs for those that don’t know already:
  • 4.7 inch gorilla glass screen
  • Android OS, v4.1.2 (Jelly Bean), upgradable to v4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • Chipset Qualcomm APQ8064T Snapdragon 600
  • CPU Quad-core 1.7 GHz Krait 300
  • Micro sim
  • Non-removable Li-Po 2300 mAh battery
  • 4 MP camera, LED flash, 1080 HD video 2.1 MP front facing camera
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC Infra Red
  • Stereo speaker with Beats Audio
First impressions were of a very slick, good looking device and to a large extent those impressions have proved to be spot on. The OS is nice and smooth and generally easy to find your way around. This is the first time I’ve really used Android so in some ways a bit of a learning curve, in as much when something doesn’t work as expected is it me or is it the OS. It’s been my experience that most devices do the same or similar things it’s just a matter of finding out how it’s done on a particular device.

 

By nature I’ve always prodded and poked any new device to find out how things work and as result generally find my way around without too much trouble. Finding my way around HTC One has been pretty straight forward for an Android newbie. Some of the actions/functions are quite similar to both the Nokia E7 and N9. The notification blind on the E7 and the swipe to close on the N9 for example.

The things I like so far: Firstly kudos to Telecom New Zealand. The setup onto the Smartphone Network was simple and straight forward when the SIM was inserted. The phone is unbranded, and the “Your Telecom and Y! TWorld logos installed automatically and away I went. A seamless experience.

No, the 4G option isn’t activated and while it would be good to try out 4G I can understand why it’s not currently available on the phone (Telecom’s 4G network is currently under trial, not open to the public yet).

I like the 4.7 inch screen and the thin profile of the phone itself, it just over 9mm thick. My other phones look small and or chunky (the N9 is 12mm and the E7 13.5mm). I like the way the apps screen scrolls up one “page” or one screens worth of viewing at one time instead of having to watch how far to scroll. The stereo speakers provide a great sound.

However there is one big thing I don’t like: there is no reliable way to sync the Outlook calendar on my laptop to the HTC One. I don’t work the same days each week nor the same time each day and every day can have a different schedule. I rely on having my roster on my phone and my laptop. Outlook is my calendar of choice and I don’t wish to go away from Outlook. Right now the HTC One is really only good as a phone and I need to carry another device with me for the calendar. HTC provide software to sync the calendar (HTC Sync Manager) which continually crashes. I’ll keep exploring avenues to solve the Outlook sync problem.

The camera is only 4 megapixels but does a good job. As with most phones the flash is LED. HTC are using what they call ultrapixel to improve the quality of the photo well above that expected for the pixel count. So far I’ve been very happy with the pictures I’ve taken. The focus function works well by tapping the screen to tell the camera which part of the picture you want to be in focus. These pictures were the first ones I took with the phone, as yet I haven’t had a chance to fully explore the camera to its fullest.





Battery life is a bit over two days between charges. Considering it’s nearly twice the size of the battery in the E7 I would have expected better than that though it’s early days and batteries sometimes have a habit of improving after the first few charges.

So far I’m enjoying the HTC One experience and look forward to putting it to work over the coming few weeks and reporting further on my experiences.  

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.



Brad’s HTC One Reviews Part One: First Impressions

, posted: 6-May-2013 11:09

I have played with a few HTC devices over the years and owned some of the HTC Windows Mobile ones before, but never liked their Android offerings. I found the Sense UI skin to be ugly and the devices to be less than attractive. When I first heard about the HTC One I didn’t have high hopes for it and was more interested in the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4 which I thought would be a far superior device.

Fast forward to 30 April when the HTC One arrived in my mailbox. I had seen the images of the One around the web but they did not do it justice. It is a beautiful device.

The design evokes thoughts of an Apple device in its high quality build and styling but it is not as plain as I find the iPhone. I can say without a doubt it is the best looking phone I have seen. It has a good solid feel to it but it is not too heavy with the curved back. It feels very nice and fits well in your hand. It doesn’t have the harsh square feeling of the iPhone 5 and doesn’t have the flimsy plastic feeling of the Galaxy series.

Upon turning on the phone it was clear that HTC had made some big changes from stock Android. The setup wizard has been completely revamped:

Once you finish the setup you are presented with HTC’s new home screen, called BlinkFeed. It is a nice social and news feed aggregator in the style of Flipboard. It supports Facebook and Twitter as well as a large variety of news and info sites across a range of categories.

BlinkFeed is set as the default home panel although this can be changed to one of the more traditional style panels for shortcuts and widgets which I have done. I love Blinkfeed and feel it is one of the best implementations I have seen (Facebook take notice) but I also like quick access to my most used apps and have a preference for a cleaner home screen and it is just a swipe away.

One of the other big changes HTC have made is to the app drawer and it has caused a bit of debate. The drawer no longer has horizontal pagination but is now vertical. The clock from Blinkfeed is also firmly positioned at the top of the drawer and options for the layout can be exposed under the clock by pulling the drawer down slightly. The only issue I have with the new layout is the default grid arrangement of 3x4 which makes no sense, it was quickly changed to 4x5.

Another change HTC has made has been to the typical capacitive buttons. There is no menu button, only back and home, which also serves as search (long press) and recent apps (double tap).

As a result, apps like Facebook (shown left) that do not have a quick menu button result in a Nexus style softkey area with just menu appearing at the bottom of the screen. It is not a great implementation and gives an inconsistent feel. Some of the blame must lie with app developers who don’t conform to Google’s standards but this is something HTC needs to resolve.

Pre-release firmware gave users the option to make the back button via long press or double tap act as a menu button. I would like to see the return of this option ASAP.

Upon reflection this is the only drawback to the HTC One I have come across so far.

There is a lot I want to cover in depth, such as the excellent Ultrapixel camera, apps, the revamped UI, audio and connectivity. These will come later in my next blog posts here on TelecomTech.

I will finish off this post by saying that from the three days I have been using the HTC One I am more impressed with it than I have ever been by a mobile device. Usually after getting a new device I will have rooted it flashed a custom kernel or even ROM. Obviously I can’t do this while reviewing this one (to keep it “stock”) but this is the first time I haven’t even had the urge to do it.

Without a doubt the HTC One comes closer to perfection than any device before it. My Galaxy has been permanently replaced and as I told somebody else, my love affair with Samsung is over.

The HTC One is coming to Telecom New Zealand and will be available online and in Telecom stores from 7th May.

About the author

My name is Brad and I’ve been a member of the Geekzone community for nearly nine years including three as a moderator. I was a long time Windows Mobile (yes Windows Mobile, not Windows Phone) user before deciding to try out Android a couple of years ago. I quickly fell in love with the openness and freedom that Android provides and have built and customised my own ROMs from source. I am a web developer, gamer and all round gadget junkie. I hope that my TelecomTech posts will be informative for potential HTC One owners. 



HTC One: metal design

, posted: 2-May-2013 10:35

In this short video Daniel Jundt, HTC Creative director explains how the came up with the design for the new HTC One smartphone:





About the author

Mauricio Freitas runs Geekzone and blogs on freitasm.com. He loves anything related to technology, specially in the mobile space.





HTC one unbox

, posted: 30-Apr-2013 16:22

A quick video showing the HTC One coming to Telecom New Zealand pretty soon:



About the author

Mauricio Freitas runs Geekzone and blogs on freitasm.com. He loves anything related to technology, specially in the mobile space.





Next TelecomTech series: HTC One

, posted: 30-Apr-2013 15:00

We have just sent out a couple of HTC One devices to some Geekzone readers. The next round of user reviews will be coming up soon.

The HTC One should be available in early May. In the meantime you can see a discussion about this new Android device on Geekzone.



TelecomTech's profile

Telecom New Zealand
Auckland
New Zealand


Telecom Tech is a different type of blog. We're sponsored by Telecom New Zealand, but most of the posts here are from every day users like you.

We choose tech savvy Geekzone users to "test drive" the new handsets from Telecom New Zealand.

The team will post firsthand reports on using these smartphones on New Zealand's smartphonenetwork. Make sure to keep an eye on this blog. Who knows who might be our next "test drivers"?

   

Catch up on previous Telecom Tech reviews - read about the Nokia Lumia 1020Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung Galaxy Note II, Nokia Lumia 800, Nokia Lumia 710 and HTC Sensation.





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