My year with the HTC One; still my favorite smartphone of all time

My year with the HTC One; still my favorite smartphone of all time

Summary: I cannot recall ever sticking with one single phone for an entire year, but the HTC One remains my faithful companion and is still going strong.

My year with the HTC One; still my favorite smartphone of all time

One year ago this week I was able to get my hands on the HTC One and still use it on a regular basis. It is rare for me to use a phone for more than a few months, but the HTC One remains my favorite smartphone ever and has earned a permanent spot in my device collection.

In the past couple of months I have jumped around to the Moto X and Apple iPhone 5s, but either my primary or prepaid T-Mobile SIM has also stayed in the HTC One.

The Moto X knocked the HTC One out as my primary for a bit because of the added features from Motorola, but after a couple of months I am finding I don't use those that much and the camera is still a lot worse on the Moto X than the HTC One. I still like the Moto X, but am happier with my HTC One.

I use the iPhone 5s primarily because it gets the newest apps and services first (Pebble appstore, UP24 support, Tweetbot 3, and many more) and photos with more “depth” than the HTC One. However, I like the larger display on the HTC One and still find it to be a better piece of hardware.

HTC One hardware

The HTC One is a perfect combination of size (4.7 inches is the sweet spot between usability and pocketability), high quality design (the metal, beveled edges, and that fantastic display), and innovation (there is still no one who can match Highlight Videos, HTC BoomSound, and HTC BlinkFeed functionality).

I tried a couple of cases on my HTC One over the past year, but 99 percent of the time I carry it without a case. The back is nearly scratch free, even after a full year of use around the country, in shipyards, on runs, and after being dropped several times. I have never had a smartphone with such quality and durability.

I still get better battery life with the HTC One than I do with the Moto X and iPhone 5s. I haven't read much about the battery on the Moto X or iPhone 5s being that limited, but I cannot go through one of my typical days with either of those devices without charging them up. However, I can go a full day with my HTC One, even with a year of charging and usage under its belt.

HTC One software

My T-Mobile HTC One currently runs Android 4.3 with HTC Sense 5.0 and the Android 4.4 update is at T-Mobile going through certification right now. I am a firm believer that HTC Sense makes the HTC One and having stock Android on it kills the HTC experience. I already listed many reasons why I love the HTC One and those remain valid today, which is why my T-Mobile SIM is back in the One right now.

I am looking forward to the Sense 5.5 enhancements, including enhanced BlinkFeed, Highlight Videos improvements, Do Not Disturb settings, and more.

Would I buy another HTC in 2014?

I honestly thought the HTC One would be more widely adopted by consumers and help HTC be successful, but their troubles go beyond one amazing piece of hardware. HTC’s financials were disappointing all last year, including a poor fourth quarter with December sales falling 42.46 percent, as compared to December of 2012.

ZDNet’s Larry Dignan wrote that the recent Lenovo purchase of Motorola Mobility will lead to HTC’s demise as we know it today and unfortunately Larry’s options for HTC seem likely. I started using devices made by HTC back in 2000 (Compaq iPAQ) and 13 years later I am still a major fan of their devices so it personally makes me sad to see them struggle to stay alive. Making one of the best pieces of hardware available is not enough to be successful and they may have to go back to making devices for other partners.

Marketing is one area where HTC fails and unfortunately they spent a lot of money on a weird Robert Downey Jr. Here’s To Change campaign that may have resulted in more people hearing about the name HTC, but nothing that showed how fantastic the HTC One really is. HTC could learn a few things from Apple on how to run successful marketing campaigns.

HTC has addressed their previous failures to update devices in a timely manner and has kept the HTC One updated as fast as carriers will allow. The Android 4.4 KitKat update is starting to roll out in the US now with Sprint certifying and allowing the update first.

Given the increasing pressure from competitors, failed marketing tactics, along with successful designs and an improved update program would I buy another HTC in 2014? Personally, I will consider buying an improved HTC One this year because my HTC One has performed like a champ for a year and there is no reason I couldn’t continue to use it until the internal battery fails. I also know that I can always hack an HTC Android device even if HTC is no longer operating as we know them today.

Would I recommend others buy an HTC device this year? That is not as clear cut. Many people buy a phone and are pleased with its performance as it was out of the box for the two years of their contract. Others want a phone with the latest and greatest software all the time, these people should stick with an iPhone or a Nexus device. I have never had to use warranty service on my phones so am not worried about long term coverage from HTC or others.

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Topics: Mobility, Android, HTC, Smartphones

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    • Please...

      This is not a porn site. Whores are not welcome!
  • Camera tinting issue still exists for some of us

    My biggest issue with the HTC One (on VZW in my case) is that I have the issue where the camera tints images with a purple hue when the device is warm. Otherwise, I really like the device.
    • Return it for a replacement.

      That was my solution. No cost to me.
  • Join the Nokia Revolution!!

    Come on now, we all know Microsoft is about to take over the mobile space with the Nokia acquisition. Victory is inevitable. I recently just mandated all employees upgrade to the Lumia 1020 at full cost to enhance picture taking at corporate events. Employees had no choice as the full price of the device was docked from their pay check at my demand. My rep gave me talking points about the extra security in the Lumia 1020 and I bamboozled my way through finance to obtain permission to do this.
    Mike Cox
    • really?

      how much m$ paid you? i'd like to earn some side money too....
    • Nice!, but teh important question is

      where did you and you rep go for lunch? :)
  • Welcome to the world most of us live in ...

    pick a device, buy it, and live with it for a few years. Glad to hear you have found something you are happy with long term.
  • The number one reason tech bloggers are a poor source of advice...

    ... for regular people is this quote from the article, "It is rare for me to use a phone for more than a few months..."

    I realize that trying out new gear is part of the job description. But, if you can't stay with a single personal device for at least a year (much less the duration of a typical contract), then you either have a short attention span or incurable GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome).
    • Absolutly 100% True.

      "The number one reason tech bloggers are a poor source of advice... if you can't stay with a single personal device for at least a year..."

      So so true. Tech bloggers really do have some serious obstacles to overcome to give an honest, unbiased and accurate product review. Its not easy.

      IT bloggers and article writers that get access to new devices for testing and reviewing have to overcome some of the very same hurdles that movie reviewers do. How many times have you read a movie review that was significantly unfavorable to a movie you either have gone to see, or eventually see some time shortly thereafter and it feels like they seen a different movie than you did? And of course it can happen in reverse. Either way, its become clear over the years that the case with many, probably most movie critics is that there are certain kinds or types of movies different critics don't appreciate much, for their own reasons, and they frequently transpose those thoughts of their own about the kind of movie they have seen onto their critique of the movies quality. Then someone who likes that kind of movie goes and sees it and really likes it.

      Often IT professionals who get products to evaluate, and know they will get more, would find it almost impossible to evaluate a product the same way someone would who intends to keep the product either way long term, and will make efforts to see how well the product can work for them. An IT writer, on the other hand, often already knows what they like and what they are looking for in a specific kind of product and its existence or lack there of can tend to begin the inevitable sway in the related direction of joy or significant disappointment about the present or missing features they expect or hope for.

      As pointed out above, when the writer has no vested commitment to seeing just how well the product can serve them in the long term, what might actually turn out to be a great product for many who have no strong needs in a product and do have some long term commitment to live with the product for awhile, the initial lack of wow factor or hoped for but missing feature can sour an IT writers opinion enough that the product as a whole is never really considered thoroughly as to how well it really can serve the AVERAGE person over the long haul.

      I can appreciate the level of difficulty an IT professional writing a review of a product can have if the devices OS is in no way his cup of tea or if a feature they personally have found to be essential to their best use of the product is missing. But the problem exists that there can be many that may well find the product exactly to their liking. Despite an IT professionals point of view on a missing feature being a deal killer, that very feature may in the long run prove to be significantly inconsequential to many average people and if the IT writer just cant see past that; its a real problem.

      There is no problem with any IT writer pointing out, for example, that a particular feature is missing, and the fact that its missing is a deal killer for him, and why its a deal killer for him and perhaps most importantly why it might be important to others as well. But the writer has to be very self aware of their own personal tastes and the fact that as important as a missing feature for him/her is, they have to have enough insight into the psyche of the general public to truly understand if the missing feature is critical to large numbers of users enjoyment of the product. And all too frequently, it comes across as if some of the writers here could care less about what large numbers of the population are happy with or not.

      This goes for all sorts and kinds of reviews on products here. I for one see virtually no justifiable reason for writers, or message posters for that matter to completely trash products of any kind that multiple millions of users are currently are enjoying. It is absolutely pointless and shows ZERO credibility in relation to the opinion when someone is simply saying millions on millions just got it wrong and they have it right.

      Everyone is certainly entitled to prefer certain products over others. Everyone absolutely should be free to explain why it is they find a product so much better for THEMSELF then a competing product. But when we see some of the absolute trashing some well accepted products get, products that some purchasers actually really like a lot and adamantly explain why, and someone decides to tell the world the product is in reality complete crap, it dosnt come anywhere near to flying.

      And some products, like a smartphone, become very personal products a user can grow into very comfortably and really enjoy a lot, even if its a second or third choice for someone else. It can be very difficult to get much meaningful from a product review from an IT pro who knows they will never use the product for long and particularly if they already have a predisposition against the product for any reason.
  • Best Quality

    The HTC One is the best smartphone I've ever used for my needs.
  • HTC One

    it's a nice, sleek, and stylish phone, and a good smartphone. My only problem with it is the 4mp camera. Not consistent with the 'high end' components included otherwise. For someone not interested in a camera in their smartphone, it would serve well.
  • htc

    I love it.
    • HTC Add On

      I'm diggin' my HTC Windows 8 phone!
      Crashin Chris
  • just goes to show that the "best" device != sales

    The iPhone is popular because of a lot of luck, timing, customer service, built up loyalty since the arrival of iPods, iTunes etc. Yes, nice devices as well, but that is in no small part a coincidence.

    Look at the galaxy S3/4 - consistent bad reviews, touchwiz always panned, but more popular than iPhone. Why - luck, marketing, aggressive push to carriers.

    HTC One widely considered the 'best' smartphone, but poor sales. Why - bad/little marketing, bad luck, doesn't have apple's reputation and loyalty.
    • Not so much built up "loyalty"

      Not so much built up "loyalty" since the arrival of iPods

      since the arrival of iPods, (in the beginning), at least, but instead built up "Library" since the arrival of iPods.

      Owners of iPods, and more importantly, iPod touch already had an iTunes account, songs, apps, ect.

      It was natural for them to migrate to the iPhone as it was an iPod that could make phone calls,
  • Not so much built up "loyalty" since the arrival of iPods

    in the beginning, at least, but instead built up "Library" since the arrival of iPods.

    Owners of iPods, and more importantly, iPod touch already had an iTunes account, songs, apps, ect.

    It was natural for them to migrate to the iPhone as it was an iPod that could make phone calls,
  • R543212

    That was Fantastic ONE..

    It seems i'm a minority in a world mostly dominated by Apple and Samsung phones users. So i did a little research and took a chance on HTC. Ive been using the HTC ONE now for about six months and i was immediately impressed by its elegant looks and outstanding quality from its brushed aluminum body to its double front facing amplified beats audio speakers. I cant tell you how many times Ive wowed my coworkers with the Zoe camera feature which automatically makes slideshows with the pictures and video shots Ive taken utilizing music and other effects. Prior to HTC I was big on Apple iPhones with my last being the iPhone 4S, but all that changed with my new mobile phone from HTC. My teenage son made the switch as well and he's been very pleased.
  • Seriously?

    Reading this blog, all I can say is that there HUGE difference between the HTC One and the HTC One XL I chose when I entered into a contract with Telstra for my business mobile. To say that the HTC One XL's ability to sustain a signal and a battery charge is abysmal is an understatement.

    At VERY best, in battery save mode, not SMSing or making calls I can get about 5 or so hours out of the phone before it dies completely - that's with the Sim card in. (hard to make calls with that!) - interestingly, the phone will last a few days if I take my micro sim card out and use my old Samsung clam shell (carefully placing the micro sim card inside the original frame).

    In addition, the Samsung clam shell gets 3 bars in my home office - the HTC ONe XL (with sim card in gets zip)

    So let's go for a second battery or one with more mAhs! Simple in theory - but cracking the HTC One XL case and replacing the battery is no simple matter - certainly when compared with the Samsung Clam Shell.

    Yes, of course the battery in the Samsung is going to last a lot longer, after all, it's not feeding a large 1080p screen etc etc.

    But 5 hours? That puts HTC Smart Phones (certainly those of the HTC One XL caliber) definitely in the "never again" category!

    Now considering what OTHER smart phone to buy - good bye HTC!
    • addendum

      oh and that should read ..."all I can say is there MUST be a HUGE difference..."

      (and I doubt it)