The “HTC One” is damn near perfect
Instead of re-writing everything that has already been said by the myriad of online reviews, this is my experience using this phone as a consumer. Forget specs, let’s talk usability.
An important fact to remember is that unlike most reviewers I am effectively stuck with my One until I cough up another £600 for a new device (I buy them off contract, <3 giffgaff). With this in mind am I wholly satisfied with my purchase? In a word, yes.
I use my phone everyday as a music player, phone, primary connection to the net, note pad, gaming device, and as my only camera. It serves all these functions to perfection, and the battery life is easily enough to keep me going 13+ hours.
So forget the good stuff, what are the negatives?
I made a Google keep document when I first got the phone in which I’ve written down every negative angle with which I can attack it; the angles are limited. It gets a bit hot when you game whilst charging (easily remedied by cutting the CPU); there’s a persistent notification for the power save, which is annoying if you’re as anal as I am about keeping my notification bar empty; and the soft key combination takes a few days to get used to. Oh, and I don’t like the grey and green they use in the notification bar, black and blue looks so much better.
The main negative I could come up with, note my choice of verb, is that I don’t like bits of Sense 5. I love the general look, and some features such as zoes and highlights are a joy to use, but it removes several things that I love in stock android- most notably notification toggles. This is easily remedied with an app but it is something that should have been there out of the box.
As well as the lack of toggles the amount of clocks that are present on the One is ridiculous. Out of the box there is a clock on the homescreen, a clock straddling blink feed, a clock atop the app drawer and one in the notification bar (oh and one on the lock screen too). Seriously HTC, why?
Granted this is hardly a make or break deal but an option to turn at least some of them off would have been refreshing. Of course you can forget this of you use a custom launcher; nova launcher on the One is bliss.
Another gripe I have with Sense 5 is that to change the wallpaper you have to dig into the settings menu. Again, not a big deal, but a jarring intermission in what is an otherwise intuitive and elegant experience.
All these issues are easy to fix, and that really is the bottom line of my experience with the One. I cannot fault the hardware of the device, the screen, the camera, the feel in the hand are all fantastic (as other reviews have covered in exhaustive length), and what issues I’ve had with it I’ve been able to remedy with ease.
For me the One highlights the power of Android as an OS, a marriage of exquisite hardware with software that is easy to bend exactly to your tastes.
For me, as a geek, Android phones don’t need the plethora of gimmicks/features on the s4; I can do everything I want on my One using third party apps and a few rooted hacks.
Ultimately android is now such a consummate OS in terms of application variety, functionality, customizability and hackability, that I care only about the hardware of an android phone, and for me the One has the best hardware to date.
To sum up:
I handle my phone everyday, and the One is a symphony in visual and tactile design. And the speakers are b(l)oomin’ incredible.