The HTC One Is Great, but Not Perfect for Everyone

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The HTC One Is Great, but Not Perfect for Everyone

By Michelle Maisto

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The HTC One With BlinkFeed

The HTC runs the Jelly Bean version of Android, with HTC's Sense user interface running over it and a new home screen feature called BlinkFeed.

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HTC BlinkFeed

"Pulling down" the BlinkFeed with a finger refreshes it. There's an assortment of content to choose from. A user can opt to exclusively see an Associated Press feed, for example, or to have the tiles populated with Facebook, Twitter and ESPN content.

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How It Measures Up

The One features a 4.7-inch full-HD 1080p display and measures 9.3 by 68.2 by 137.4mm. For context, the Apple iPhone 5 measures 7.6 by 58.6 by 123.8 mm and the Galaxy S 4 measures 7.9 by 69.8 by 136.6. The slot at the top is for the SIM card. It's available in the U.S. through AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Cincinnati Bell and Best Buy.

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Unibody Construction

The volume rocker button on the side of the HTC One is metal, and like the rest of the aluminum-and-glass device feels solid and high end. It features a "zero-gap construction" and "full metal body," says HTC. To this reviewer, a minimum of colors and textures, like Apple's approach with the iPhone 5, would have made for an even sleeker aesthetic.

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HTC One, Rear View

Like other HTC devices, the One features Beats Audio, but it uniquely pairs this with dual front-facing speakers. I often set a phone beside me while making Saturday breakfast so that I can listen to the radio. From music to talk radio, the clarity and volume of the One's speakers put the phone in a class by itself.

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Email on the One

Accessing email on the One took a few more taps and swipes than I find ideal. Still, a nice feature of the One's Mail app is that inside an email one can see the threads of a conversation.

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The One vs. the BlackBerry Z10

Trying out the One, I often wished for my BlackBerry Z10, which requires fewer swipes to get to the content I need most. These are the screens both phones "woke" to. To view my email on the One, I'd swipe the home screen aside, launch the email app and then see my mail. On the Z10, a gesture of thumb would instantly show me any new calls, texts, emails from two accounts, Tweets and Facebook messages.

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How They Stack Up

The BlackBerry Z10 features a 4.2-inch display with 356ppi. It's shorter and narrower than the One, but about exactly as thick.

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The Speed Advantage

The Z10 features an intelligent keyboard that, among other things, offers word suggestions over one's fingertips, which is quicker than tapping a word choice over the keyboard. While the One offered the wrong word suggestion and did so four letters in, the Z10 suggested the right word at the first letter. Conveniences like this—I swipe up far more words than I type—have endeared the Z10 to me.

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Google Play

Among the assets the One has going for it are Google's enormous app store and TV and movie purchase options. It was fun to use Instagram while testing the One—an app not yet available for the BlackBerry 10 OS.

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The HTC One's Camera Technology

The One has an excellent rear camera (though close-ups on small details aren't a strong suit). Among other things, it can shoot Zoes, three-minute video clips that can be included in "highlight reels" that the One can automatically create. There's also a site for sharing Zoes, which otherwise appear, when shared, as simply photos.

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HTC One's Camera Technology

The One's camera also includes editing software and lots of filters and effects to play with. The strength of its microphone technology also means that videos feature excellent audio quality, even with lots of background noise.