HTC One - The Beauty is a Beast (coming from an iPhone 5, the Android annoyances)
Today marks the end of my first two weeks with both Android and my new HTC One, so as promised (I know I'm terribly late, I'm sorry) I wanted to share with you guys my first thoughts, positive impressions and annoyances.
I was getting sick of the iPhone and its super stale boring OS, and after the iOS7 presentation (that I was waiting before the switch) I figured out it was not enough and finally bit the bullet and bought the phone.
When there are so many things you start to hate on a device (battery life, limitations, Lightning-only, etc.), you tend to forget the ones you love and grow fond of, the ones you take for granted and that you don't even think "this will be missing" once you think about changing. When this happens though (and it did, if even you guys can't help), you feel like walking on quicksands, especially for the first times. And who better than you knows how much "big" and confusing can Android be at first. Maybe things are there, but you don't know how to get them. It's not difficult, but it can take some time.
At least in my experience, the iPhone was like... the graphics in Uncharted 2 or 3 - I hope to not get too vague with this.
You might not have the areas as big as ARMA or an RPG, but everything inside that small and hallway-like structure is perfect. Kind of.
I'm not going to talk much about how good it feels in the hand or how stunning the screen and the speakers are; you already know that. They are incredible, up to the point of making the iP5 screen look dull and its sound a bit grainy. I won't even talk about the camera, which I use not much and it's perfect for Twitter and Facebook, being I lucky enough to own a DSLR for more serious stuff.
The phone is fast, quick and responsive almost every time, the battery life is as good as it should be (all day long, 8AM/10PM), and the endless possibilities Android gives you make this (and any other) device highly customizable as you know, although navigating through so many settings can - again - be disorienting at times.
As I said, coming from an iPhone though, I still do have some annoyances I'd like to fix, and being new to Android I couldn't find any solution on my own, hoping for someone to help me here.
This is not related to the Apple device anyhow, but it's definitely something I need to highlight. Something we get to use for basically everything on our smartphones: the keyboard. I bought SwiftKey as fast as I could, hoping to see what the so-acclaimed keyboard could do - and I was not disappointed. Or at least not totally.
The flow is amazing. I mean... really. Coming from the stupid, old and generally bad typing experience on iOS, playing with the swype needed no more than two minutes to get used to, and I already know that I'm not looking back. It is unbelievably accurate and prediction is amazing too; furthermore, albeit a bit weird at first, I found the number pad idea absolutely genius.
Thing is it has two or three little things that annoy me so much and that I really wish the developer fixed asap.
The enter/smiliey button. Seriously? Why can't I have an option to switch the damn smiley button I NEVER use and get the enter key instead? I need to long press first and then tap again twice just to start a new line.
Then I have the 'underlining' problem. I have both English and Italian dictionaries enabled, and for whatever reason every Italian word gets underlined in red as if it was incorrect. Why?
Last but not least is the "Choose input method" problem. You may have heard about it; every time the keyboard shows up, a non-erasable notification pops up in the panel, and although I disabled the stock keyboard I still have the Google voice input one which I can't seem to figure out how to delete. It's not the biggest of the problems, but it's there and it's kind of pesky.
Then we have widgets. I love them, I use them, but the only two I had got accustomed to on the iPhone are missing. They were really, really handy: I'm obviously talking about the "Tap to Post" and "Tap to Tweet" ones. With the jailbreak I also had the "Tap to Note/Remind/Calendar" ones that were extremely useful, but not as crucial as the two above.
They were always in the notification drawer, so accessible from anywhere, and most of all they wouldn't require the app or even a full screen dedicated panel to be open. It was just a quick tweet/status update widget. Is there anything like that, possibly not something that requires the entire screen to work (like the widget in the Android Pro Widget one)?
Lockscreen notification. On the iPhone, at your will, the display will wake whenever a notification arrives, and opening it in the app is just a slide away. I had it enabled for Whatsapp, mail and messages, with an option for the last one in order not to give any preview of the received text in the lockscreen itself.
I don't know if this is up to Widget Locker, with which I recreated the stock Jelly Bean-like lockscreen, but every time a notification is received, I need to press the damn flushed button, open the notification center and go to the app then. Is this so hard to recreate? Can I? How?
Last but not least is the Music player.
Oh man. For once, Apple had really nailed it. It was super easy, quick, good looking and organized, with offline lyrics always at your will and above all highly accessible through the earphones.
For the most part, the famous Poweramp app fixed this problem. I bought a theme as well as the "pro" version, and I'm happy with the look and feel, lyrics are there when I want them, the possibility of editing tags and album art is fantastic and the smooth transition between songs it's amazing. I have three problems though:
1) It doesn't group artists together. Man this is so, so annoying. Know Eminem? Through his career he made lots of feats, so that on iTunes (which I drag all my music from straight to HTC's manager) I had to manually set "Album artist" in order to get it fixed. Everything is under the "Eminem" folder in the iPhone app, as it is on the stock HTC's player, but on Poweramp... This happens. (click 1 - 2)
You may agree on the fact that this is extremely irritating. Is there a way to fix that?
2) It reproduces ZOEs and other files of unknown origins, HTC's stuff. It wouldn't be a problem if I could just delete them, but I can't, because if I do the whole file is erased and I can't have my ZOEs anymore. What will I do, like, a year from now, with all my ZOEs there? Can I just reproduce my music?
3) There is no volume slider on screen, and if I want to use the rocker I have on my earphones... duh, I can't. I can't even switch between songs, fast forward them, go back to the previous one or tell Google to play song x like I did with Siri. When you're on the go, having all these things ready from the earphones themselves is absolutely fantastic, but there's no sign of any of this here, whether it is Google Music, the HTC Music Player or Poweramp. Oh, and the only thing that works - press once to pause/resume - takes forever.
I guess it's over though, at least for now. I focused on the rant n' rave part only because beside these few things, this phone is just superb. I'm loving every aspect of it and I couldn't be happier; I just hope for that 4.2.2 to arrive soon.
Love to hear your thoughts guys, and thanks for reading.
PS_ Please don't judge my English; it's not my first language!