HTC One First Impressions

HTC One (3)

“A rush of anticipation coursed through my body as I flew up to my room and slammed the door shut. I sat down at my desk and slowly opened the box to reveal the stunning contents. There it lay, the HTC One, clad in its beautiful aluminum unibody. The most beautifully sophisticated phone that my eyes had ever feasted upon.”

That’s about the briefest summation possible of my feelings when my review unit of the HTC One arrived today. Now that it’s spent a few hours in my grubby little hands, I decided that it would be a good time to write a first impressions post of what I think of it so far. So let’s cut the chatter and get down to business.

The Hardware

I don’t have a single complaint in the hardware department. Seriously, this phone is practically flawless when it comes right down to the fit and finish. The aluminum unibody gives it an extremely sturdy feeling while the curved design allows the One to nestle right into your palm. It feels like much more than a phone and more like a finely-crafted piece of precision jewelry that’s reserved for only the super-rich. It’s really an attractive design that looks and feels incredible.

That same design carries around to the front where you have the 4.7″ 1080p SLCD3 display that’s flanked at top and bottom by front-facing stereo speakers. Cut aluminum around the edges adds an excellent touch that contributes to the exquisite look. But the design is also functional with the front-facing speakers producing the best sound that I’ve heard out of a mobile device. They’re extremely loud, crisp, and have decent bass for being in such a small package. The power button on the top also has an IR blaster concealed in it for more hidden functionality.

What about the screen though? Simply put, it’s gorgeous. It’s clear as crystal, bright, and has extremely rich colors. The display is the best one that I’ve seen yet although I can’t compare it to an S4 because I haven’t used one of those in person. You won’t be disappointed here at all and pictures and videos will look incredible on it.

Speaking of pictures, the Ultrapixel camera has also received a lot of hype. I haven’t had much time to try it out yet but the quick shots that I have snagged so far have been quite impressive. Detail far surpasses most other phones and colors were vivid and bright. Low-light performance seemed very good when I checked but I’ll do some further testing on that for sure. For a mobile phone, the One has one of the best cameras out there so you should be pleased in that department.

The Snapdragon 600 processor that’s paired with 2GB RAM keeps the phone blazing through everything that I’ve thrown at it. Even with several apps running in the background while downloading apps and streaming music, the One kept itself nice and fluid during my usage. I’ll be doing some more intensive testing in the coming days but I have no doubt that it will perform admirably.

The Software

Sense 5 is HTC’s latest attempt to get away from the old versions of Sense. While it’s still a heavy skin, it’s improved quite a lot and plays nicely with the design of the phone. It’s much faster than it used to be as well as having a darker, sleeker UI. While I was never a fan of older versions of Sense, I’m really enjoying Sense 5. It has features that are actually useful and cuts down on at least a bit of the bloatware. Kudos to HTC for trying to mend the problems that they’ve had in the past with Sense.

Fair warning, the Sprint model that I’m testing has a fair amount of pre-loaded bloatware. Some is HTC but a lot of it happens to be Sprint pre-loaded apps. Luckily, these can be uninstalled but it’s still a minor annoyance. Some of HTC’s stuff is good though. Such as their live gallery app that actually makes me want to go and look at the photos that I just took rather than being a jumbled mess like some of the other manufacturer’s galleries. And their Beats audio software has progressed to the point that it actually improves your music. What used to be a junky equalizer is now a nice effect to tighten and enhance your bass as well as still maintaining a good balance in sound. Music sounds so good on the phone, especially through some nice headphones.

Conclusion

After a few hours with the HTC One, I can now sum up my initial feelings on the phone. It’s by far the best device that I’ve ever used and if it was available on Verizon, I would walk into the store this very minute and buy it without a second thought. It’s simply that good that I could recommend it to anybody. Of course, I’ll have to see how I feel after a week or two but for now, I’m loving the HTC One.

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