HTC One: Beauty meets function, Compromises Ensue

HTC One: Beauty meets function, Compromises Ensue

Device tested: HTC One, AT&T 32GB, LTE

Time: 6 days,



The HTC One is by no doubt, one of the most beautiful devices I have ever used. Its gorgeous, all aluminum body wraps an ultra high res, Super-LCD3 screen that has great color and deep blacks. At a glance, this device just begs to be handled, and its likely to get the attention it deserves. This review is not subjective, but rather my experiences with the device over the last six days. This is not a complete review, and I have listed links to full reviews during my summary.


Ergonomics

Now, I do not want to discredit the beauty of this device, but certainly there were a few compromises made to make the device look so stunning. First, the lock button is almost completely flush, and since it doubles as an IR blaster (which is an engineering feat itself), it is located at the top left of the devices, and really makes one handed operation difficult. Furthermore, the lock button is the ONLY button to wake the device from sleep, which I find to be quite an annoyance.


Next, the One does not have the traditional 3-button android setup, and is gifted only with a back and home button. I found this to actually be quite advantageous, although the capacitive buttons are located so low on the frame of the One, that I often found it cumbersome to hit the button. Moreover, the hit-box area for these buttons is narrow, and since they are located so close to the screen, I often hit the screen instead of the button intended. I also found that since their is no landmark for your fingers (no physical home/menu button) , this increased my inaccurate placement. I imagine that over time you may adjust, but overall these buttons are poorly placed and are not ergonomic.



SMS Lag

I may be an unusual user, but I like to keep all of my text messages, from phone to phone, which is easy to do with iPhones or any HTC device using their utility. I loaded nearly 39,000 SMS messages into the phone, and unfortunately this really slowed the messaging app. SMS messages would be composed without lag, but as soon as I hit the send button, the phone began its 10 second process to copy the message from compose box, to the SMS thread, and then take another few seconds to clear the compose box. I found this to a huge inconvenience. In contrast, I had all of those messages loaded on an iPhone 4S, which was able to handle this amount just fine. That being said, I reset the HTC One, which cleared the all of messages, and this resolved the lag, but I would use this as a foreshadowing event. (SMS inbox quantity is proportional to SMS send lag)


Wifi Reception Anomaly

As you can see, I’ve had quite a few issues with the device, but most of them are preference oriented. The call quality and reception was as good as any other modern smartphone, but I found that placing just one finger over the top right of the device, where the white plastic molding connects the two pieces of aluminum, caused any Wifi signal to go from full bars to none (but did not disconnect) and the same would result with bluetooth streaming if the same area was covered. Although this did not impede my ability to use the device, this was yet another annoyance.



As many of the other reviews have stated, battery life is mediocre, and I was able to get about 12 hours out of the device from unplug to the necessary re-charge. I took a few pictures while at Coachella this weekend, and they are posted below:


Photo Quality




Normal


Night Mode

HDR


Wrap Up

The HTC One is a stunning Android phone, made with sturdy materials but I found it to be ergonomically flawed. In this review, I left out many important aspects that I found were already covered in the Anandtech Review/Verge Review/TechCrunch Review. I wrote this review to share my experience with the device, but should not be used standalone. There is no doubt this phone will be a winner, as even despite many of the flaws above, I actually did enjoy using it. If I could change a few things, the HTC One would be my daily driver. The lock button should move to the side, the capacitive buttons should be moved/redesigned to help avoid accidental screen touches, and I would love to use stock Android. There is no value added with the AT&T apps or sense5. I imagine this phone will sell really well, but given the compromises of the HTC One and my preferences, the One is not the one for me.

-M