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T-Mobile HTC One: World's best smartphone on US best value major carrier

I've spent a couple of months with an international HTC One, and it remains the best smartphone I have ever used. My own T-Mobile USA model arrived and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a new smartphone.
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1 of 15 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

HTC One Car Kit and HTC One from T-Mobile

You will find many articles here on the HTC One (links are listed on the last slide), and after spending a couple of months with it, I am convinced it is the best smartphone I have ever used. I ordered a T-Mobile HTC One on Friday and it arrived yesterday, along with a nice free gift from T-Mobile and HTC.

I've previously explained why T-Mobile is the best value major carrier in the US at this time and that is obvious when you check out its available plans and actual device pricing. If you have two to five phones on T-Mobile, then it can't be beat. Let's take a closer look at what sets the HTC One and T-Mobile apart from the rest.

  • No: Unjustified phone upgrade fee of $36 like other carriers.
  • No: Interest payment plan that stops when phone is paid off, unlike other carriers that charge you subsidy fees for an infinite period of time.
  • No: Carrier branding of any kind on the hardware.
  • No: Contract required like other carriers.
  • Yes: Wi-fi calling support so you can still make phone calls with weak cellular coverage at home.
  • Yes: Free HTC One car kit when ordered online.
  • Yes: 42Mbps HSPA+ and LTE on T-Mobile.

T-Mobile includes a free HTC One car kit that looks to have a value of around $60 to $70. The T-Mobile website states that you can expect the car kit in six to eight weeks, but mine showed up with the HTC One, just two weekend days and one business day after I ordered the HTC One. I'll be testing out the HTC One car kit soon, but note that is designed to fit the HTC One perfectly and activate car mode when inserted. The package comes with a car plug, so you can keep your HTC One charged up while driving as well.

Because I like to watch movies on my smartphones, I ordered the HTC One Double Dip Flip case. I understand it isn't the best for phone calls, but I wanted something along that I could prop up to enjoy media.

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Back of T-Mobile retail package

The T-Mobile HTC One will only cost you $579.99, and you can make this amount even easier to pay for by paying just $99.99 upfront and $20 per month for 24 months. You can choose to pay it upfront and have no obligation at all to T-Mobile, hardware or contract. Other carriers may charge you just $199.99 for the HTC One, but the $20 per month fee is hidden in your monthly payment and they never stop charging you this as long as you are with that carrier.

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HTC One retail package and HTC One

The Samsung Galaxy S4 launches this week in the US, and I considered it for a bit, but after looking closely at how I have been using my Galaxy Note II and the international version of the HTC One, I am convinced that the HTC One has additional software enhancements that I actually use. Samsung is known for adding lots of gimmicks and enhancements that look great in commercials, but I rarely use them on my Note II.

On the HTC One, I use the video highlights capability and HTC BlinkFeed quite a bit and find them quite useful and enjoyable. I like HTC Sense on the HTC One, and do not find it causes lag or any other issue on the HTC One.

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Cable, charger, SIM removal tool, and box contents

I had a Developer Edition ordered, but wanted the 1700MHz HSPA+ network coverage, and so far I have not been disappointed.

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HTC One in hand

You can read any number of reviews on the HTC One, and universally read that it is the best smartphone hardware ever made by any manufacturer. I like my Note II, but the HTC One is more pocketable and I enjoy the experience more, so I am switching from my Note II to the HTC One on T-Mobile.

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Back of the HTC One

Note that there is no T-Mobile branding on the front or back of the HTC One.

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Minimal T-Mobile apps on the HTC One

You will only find a few select apps on the T-Mobile HTC One. These include T-Mobile My Account, T-Mobile TV, T-Mobile CallerID, Visual Voicemail, and Lookout.

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T-Mobile My Account

The My Account tool is a handy way to monitor your account from your phone.

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T-Mobile Name ID

This caller ID app is a subscription service available on T-Mobile.

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Notifications

You can't remove, but you can disable.

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T-Mobile TV

There are free and paid options in T-Mobile TV.

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$12.99 per month for subscription

While some content is free, you can also pay $12.99 for full TV content.

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Visual Voicemail

You can pay a fee to have your voicemail transcribed into text.

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Subscription option for Visual Voicemail

You can pay a fee to have your voicemail transcribed into text.

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