HTC One, The “Next Big Thing” or “Next Big Gimmick?”

HTC One
HTC One

So, this is it, the day we have all been waiting for – HTC announced its next flagship phone, the HTC One.  This is the day all of the rumors are laid to rest and the manufacturer finally reveals the facts.  All the bets are on the table and the cards are face up – how well did we all do in guessing the specifications?  Is this the real deal, or was it all a bluff?

Now we can begin sorting through all of the specs, media press releases, all of the excitement, and see if the hype was worth the wait.  We will now get some “hands-on” with the actual device and put it through all of the tests to see what grade it will make.  This is, after all, HTC’s flagship device and it will face some tough competition in the next couple of months from the likes of Samsung, LG, Motorola, Nokia, etc.

Before I even touch one, I will start to make assumptions and form an opinion – it is what we do in an editorial.  The press release calls the HTC One an “unprecedented new smartphone experience,” and that is saying something.  It goes on to say the HTC One has “innovations that reinvent the mobile experience and set a new standard for smartphones,” now this is something I have to see!

The specifications are very good, but a quad-core 1.7GHz processor and 2GB of RAM is old news.  The 4.7-inch, 1080p (468 PPI) is a common size now, as is the 1080p screen; the 468 PPI is a notch above and should compete well, but certainly the specs do not “reinvent” the smartphone.

The four BIG innovations that HTC highlights are:

HTC BlinkFeed – HTC calls them, “A personal live stream right on the home screen,” that is “At the center of the new HTC One experience…”  I got news for HTC, the Windows smartphones came out with this type of feature from day one.

HTC UltraPixel Camera – Now this has some real possibilities.  If it can truly offer 300-percent better low-light photos with this new sensor and “best-in-class” f/2.0 aperture lens, that would be awesome.  I hope that we will be able to test this new camera soon and see just how good it is.

HTC Zoe – The word, Zoe, is Greek, used in the Bible, and means abundant life.  From the demos I have seen, you can film a video with the camera, and then it can play back that video in a number of still shots, at 3-second snippets; much like a slide show where you can add music.  You can then share these “Zoes” on Facebook, YouTube, etc.  A nice feature, but I question how much it will actually be used by the average smartphone user.  Advertisers may want to create and share “Zoes” as a way to capture your attention.

HTC BoomSound – HTC claims it “offers the best audio experience of any mobile phone available today,” and with dual, front-facing stereo speakers, with a dedicated amplifier and Beats Audio built-in, HTC One should have the best speakerphone on the market!  I do not mean to trivialize it, as I am sure it will offer terrific sound for watching movies, YouTube videos and playing games.  I have yet to meet many people that actually listen to music through their smartphone speaker, whether it sounds good or not.  In the office environment, on a bus, on an airplane, in a carpool, while you are jogging – almost anywhere in public, it is just not acceptable or even allowed in some cases.  Even by yourself, earplugs will sound bigger, better, and louder.

There is no argument that the HTC One is a beautiful phone – HTC always produces quality hardware.  The “zero-gap aluminum unibody” is simply stunning and, from what the early reviewers are saying, it matches or surpasses the iPhone in looks and feel.  Coupled with the new camera and sound capabilities, HTC should sell a ton of them, and rightly so.  The two items I am anxious about are:

1- The New Antenna Technology.  HTC claims “people will achieve a crystal clear signal.”  I am a stickler for a strong signal, something I never had an issue with on my Motorola phones.  My Samsung is almost on par with Moto, so I am anxious to see how well this new technology works in everyday usage.

2- Battery Life – HTC has been chided for their battery life in the past.  The 2300 mAh is a deceit size, even beating out the 2100 mAh in the Samsung Galaxy S3; but how is the battery management going to fair with that fabulous screen and sound “system” HTC built-in to the One?

Please do not read too much negativity from me about the HTC One, on the contrary, I am excited to see how it competes against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4, which I think will be its top competitor this Spring.  The HTC One has the looks, screen, and sound to compete; but will it have the battery life, reception, and other specs to persuade customers from purchasing other phones?

Will it, as HTC suggests, set new standards for smartphones?  What are your feelings about the HTC One?  Will you be running out to buy one as soon as they hit your carrier?

One thought on “HTC One, The “Next Big Thing” or “Next Big Gimmick?”

  1. If I was up for replacement, I would think about it. The bigger battery is great, but I really wish manufacturers were aiming higher with battery life. We should be aiming for days not just most of a day if I’m careful. I’m interested to see how the camera actually performs too.

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