SmartPhone – HTC One Review

I have loved Android since it’s launch, however I had yet to be able to replace my iPhone with an Android phone because they felt unfinished as phones and the cameras in Android phones are garbage. Even today, most of the phones are horrible compared to the iPhone. When the HTC One was announced, I was skeptical of their new “Ultra Pixel” camera. My first HTC built device was the original Nexus One from Google and I really liked it, except for the camera and lack of apps at that time. When HTC was said to be back with the HTC One and that this phone was going to change everything for HTC, I wanted to believe it so when the phone became available I pre-ordered one. At this point I am somewhat ok with the app availability on Android and the HTC One camera is AMAZING in comparison to all other phones available on the market right now. The iPhone 5 still has a decent camera but the HTC One trumps it.

The HTC One is a beautiful device. It feels good in your hand and is easy to hold. It has a nice density to it. As far as design goes, it is a complete win. I am not sure how I feel about the touted “Zero Gap Construction.” The metal body is the bread to a machined poly center which seems a little cheap to me. Though one would assume zero gap means solid, it is simply three pieces press fit together and there is a minimal gap that can be seen when you press the device together with your fingers. Even though it is a mostly metal phone, I don’t want to scratch it so I keep a case on it. This keeps me from even noticing the tiny gap. Regardless, this is not a big issue with me as it has been with other reviewers online.

The front facing speakers was a bold move. I have no idea why most phones have speakers on the back. I don’t listen to much audio from the speakers in my phone but I do like them.

The display is super clear. They hit a home run with the HTC One X display a few years back and have continued to impress with quality display.

I am not a fan of Blink Feed, the phones built in news feed that you can’t really customize to well. I decided to set another screen as my default home screen so I rarely even see Blink Feed and am ok with that. I prefer to get my news through the RSS feeds that I subscribe to. Now that Google is discontinuing Reader, I am using Feedly to keep up with the websites I like to follow.

The HTC One camera has a feature they call Zoe which is basically a 3 second video that contains up to 20 images as well. A Zoe also has audio which makes for fun short playback videos. When you have fast moving action, like little kids running around, you can shoot a Zoe and then move the slider around to save a photo from your Zoe video clip. You can also share Zoe video clips to Facebook and Twitter. Now that Instagram supports video, I find myself posting short video clips to Instagram rather than recording Zoe clips.

What stands out above all of these kind of neat features is the camera. The camera is amazing and outshines all other camera phones currently on the market. As a Photographer and someone who wants to post clean/clear photos, the HTC One is answering that call right now. Everybody that I show photos to as I take them on the HTC One is blown away. When I post full resolution photos directly from my phone, people assume I took them with an actual camera.

Here are two unfiltered photos taken right from the HTC One default camera app. These photos have not been retouched at all.

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Now these photos do not have the dynamic range of a full featured camera or DSLR camera but they are pretty decent photos. I have done side-by-side comparison photos with the iPhone 5, Galaxy S4 and the HTC One and the HTC One out performs in just about all lighting situations. Most importantly, the HTC One excels in low light situations. The small camera sensor in most phones are just too tiny to capture enough light in lower light situations but the larger sensor in the HTC One makes up for that. Though the camera only captures a 4 Megapixel image, it is more than enough as far as size goes for a smart phone. A 4 Megapixel image is about the size of an 8×12 photo. Very few people are printing their smartphone photos on larger than 8×12 paper. If you are, get a real camera please.

I recently purchased the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active phone and before that had a regular Galaxy S4. I had to return the phones with in a few days because I could not handle the camera’s inability to take photos in anything other than ideal lighting situations. The Galaxy S4 is so horrible in low light that I plan to write about it. If you are at all serious about the photos you take with your phone and you are ok with the Android platform, the HTC One is the best phone on the market to date. The iPhone 5 is great, but not as good in low light and the HTC One seems to capture more color dynamic range as well.

I have a series of HTC One tips that I posted on DailyAppShow.Com if you want to see some video of the phone in action.

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  • http://openskymedia.com Jason

    Thank you for this. I recently sold my Galaxy S3 and bought a Nexus 4. I’m considering either the S4 or the HTC One. I’ve been leaning more and more to the HTC One. I’m glad to hear you think it’s a good phone, too.

  • http://ijerad.com jeradhill

    It is a very nice phone. Samsung can’t hang with it. The iPhone 5 comes close but the HTC One is so much newer and exciting than the iPhone 5 even with iOS 7 on it.

  • Casey

    I’m hoping this years iPhone is a great one :-)