HTC One deep-dive review: A smartphone that flirts with perfection

With its high-quality hardware and stunning design, the HTC One is one of the best smartphones you can buy today -- but it isn't without its drawbacks.

By , Computerworld |  

Whew! A lot to take in, right? It is -- and that's the downside: With all this going on, it can be confusing to wrap your head around HTC's ambitious camera software. The Gallery interface is rather difficult to navigate, too, and I suspect many users are either going to fail to notice the Zoe-related features altogether or stumble onto them by accident and become befuddled by what's happening.

Additionally, by saving 20 images and a video every time you press the shutter button, the Zoe feature makes a mess of your phone's image folder -- something that could be particularly annoying for users who rely on automated image syncing services like those provided by Dropbox and Google+. And while you can opt to avoid Zoe altogether, the Highlight Videos are automatically created on the fly and stored on your phone whether you want them or not.

By the way, the One's camera can capture regular 1080p video, too; a 2-megapixel camera on the phone's front also takes 1080p-quality video and is equipped with a wide-angle lens for vanity pics and video chat.

The software

The HTC One runs custom HTC software based on Google's Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) operating system. (I asked HTC if and when the phone would be upgraded to the more current Android 4.2 release, but representatives were unable to provide a specific answer.)

BlinkFeed is a Flipboard-like news stream integrated directly into the launcher.

The One's user interface is quite different from what you'll see on other Android devices, including past HTC phones. First and foremost, the default home screen panel is taken up by something called BlinkFeed -- a Flipboard-like news stream integrated directly into the launcher. You can set it up to include content from a limited range of specific websites or opt to add broad categories like business, entertainment and gadgets -- along with content from a few different social networks -- into your stream.

I found the BlinkFeed concept to be sensible enough in theory; many novice users won't search for apps and configure their home screens on their own, and BlinkFeed provides a nice starting point for easing such people into the smartphone world. It's well-designed, too, and easy to use (though I did find I received fresher, more diverse and more frequently updated content from Flipboard).


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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