My first car was a 1997 Saturn SL1, a tiny black box with headlights that were too close together and a 0-60 time in the neighborhood of three and a half hours. It had power nothing, automatic nothing, working-properly nothing — and I loved it. I thought I did, anyway, until the night I got to drive my girlfriend’s brother’s brand-new, black Audi A4. I’ll never forget it: it tore through corners and took off with the slightest tap of the pedal, its glowing dashboard of red lights all the while making me feel like I was at the helm of a dangerous weapon. I even loved the sound it made, the roar I’d never heard while putt-putting in my Saturn and praying that rattling sound wasn’t the muffler again. I don’t think I ever went more than 45, but I’ll never forget that night, that drive, or that car.

That feeling is exactly what companies advertise, and ultimately what you pay for. As we learned to take horsepower and navigation systems and cup holders and high-end audio setups for granted, our cars became about something else. Something more instinctive.

Something similar may be about to happen in the smartphone market. Our phones all have big screens, fast processors, and giant app stores; those are the table stakes. So HTC’s spent the last two years trying to build a phone so spectacularly well-made, so beautiful, so intimately personal that from the moment you see it there’s no way you’re not leaving together.

It’s called the One. This year’s model is the One (M8), technically. The original One was a thing of beauty with some crippling performance flaws — the Alfa Romeo 8C of smartphones. This year’s model is supposed to be powerful, long-lasting, feature-rich, and still a work of art. Plus, unlike your average luxury car, it’s not overpriced — it’s the same $199 (or $249, depending on your carrier) as every other good smartphone out there. HTC wants to sell me an A4 for the price of a Camry.

Smartphones are still marketed on what they do, not how they make us feel — and Samsung has that market locked up. But our phones are our most intimate, most personal devices, the ones we use all day every day. Maybe it’s time we start thinking about whether when we turn them on, they return the favor.