The HTC One is the best smartphone I have ever used (review)

Summary:HTC needed to knock it out of the ballpark with a new phone and get it onto all major US carriers. They have done both with the HTC One, so now it is up to marketing to help it succeed.

Software and HTC Sense 5

In addition to the fantastic hardware, HTC teams put a lot of work into HTC Sense 5 and related software. Here are some thoughts on these new features:

BlinkFeed

The central focus of HTC Sense 5 is BlinkFeed and it comes as the default home screen. You can of course easily change this or swipe once to get back into a standard HTC Android experience. However, even as a power user, I find I spend most of my time browsing or "snacking" on the information shown on BlinkFeed. Yes, it is similar to Flipboard, but offers more personal information and has a cooler user interface. HTC apparently studied people and found they enjoy snacking on information like this, and even though I thought I would hide this part of the experience, I am loving it.

My wife can't wait to have her HTC One with BlinkFeed setup for Facebook since she primarily uses her phone for Facebook, photos, text messages, and calls.

Phone interface

Speaking of calls, I wrote about the Windows Phone look to the phone utility and I personally love it. I like how easy it is to navigate and how well laid-out the dialer display is.

Application launcher

HTC also provides a custom app launcher and, for the most part, I like what I see when I have the 4x5 grid selected. However, I do not like that I have to drag an icon up to the top to the double arrow (if I am on a different screen) and then back down again to drop it in a folder.

Areas to work on

The HTC One is not perfect, but many of the things I would like to see changed can be taken care of with software updates. Here is my list of cons and recommendations:

  • Custom feeds in BlinkFeed. I see that HTC is increasing content partners — Android Central is there now — but I would still like the ability to fully control the content that appears in my BlinkFeed.
  • Zoes and memory consumption. I understand that the way Zoes work is to capture burst shots, however I wish there was a less manual way than to have to manage hundreds of photos and many that may look nearly identical to each other.
  • App launcher organization. I should not have to drag icons up to the top of the screen and then back down below the clock to place them in folders.

Things I still need to test

I plan to continue testing the HTC One, including the OIS video I mentioned above. I also need to do more testing on the HTC TV utility and IR port, but I don't have cable so there is limited usefulness for me. Anything else you wish me to try out?

Closing thoughts

I plan to buy an HTC One as soon as it comes on T-Mobile. I thought about a Verizon one, but they haven't announced one and they already have the Droid DNA that looks to be about 95% of what the HTC One already is. I also plan to buy my wife one to replace her Lumia 900. This is the first Android phone she has really been trying to take from me and she agrees that the hardware is stunning.

HTC needs to put some major marketing behind the HTC One. It is clearly a better piece of hardware than anything else out there or coming soon and deserves a fighting chance. HTC did just about everything they could with the hardware and software while also making broad carrier deals to get the device launching on three of the top four US carriers. Now it is time to tell the story of the HTC One and let the world touch it.

I recommend you check out some other reviews of the HTC One, summarized and linked on the GDGT page where the critic reviews show an average of 8.9. If I had a rating system, I would give the HTC One something like 9.5 to 9.8 out of 10. I can't really find anything to complain about and the few minor issues I have are correctable with software updates.

Topics: Mobility, Android, HTC, Reviews, Smartphones

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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