One Helluva Phone

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One answer to the question: What 2013 smartphone leaves all other smartphones eating its dust?

You won’t see a posher phone than the HTC One in 2013. It looks, feels, and sounds expensive. And calling it a phone may be an insult. It’s really a pocket entertainment system that will tempt you to drop calls just so you can continue playing with it.

The last HTC phone I used was the Touch Diamond back in 08. I can’t believe that the HTC One 2013 (formerly called the M7) is nearly 10 Gs less expensive than the Diamond was upon release. No better example of technology driving down prices.

The Diamond, great as it was for its time, was nothing but a phone. The HTC One? Well, I’ll bet you my HTC One that it sounds better than your flatscreen. Kidding. You’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers!

Why does the HTC One sound so good? I’ll give you three reasons: Beats Audio, HTC BoomSound via front- facing stereo speakers, and a dedicated amplifier.

Beats Audio, the mobile tech brand of the iconic Beats Electronics, LLC (as in Beats by Dr Dre and founder Jimmy Iovine of American Idol fame) is enabled across the entire device. So you get the same nuanced quality of sound whether you’re listening to Adele, The Avengers, your mom’s voice, or your interview subject struggling to make himself heard above the din of a press con.

I’ll make you another bet. The first time you experience the HTC One’s front-facing stereo speakers, you will wonder why no one thought of it until now.

Lest you think this is unabashed PR baloney, let me share with you my one typing complaint. As a BlackBerry devotee, I am very demanding about my typing and file-naming comfort. The HTC One falls short simply by being a touchscreen and having to contend with my bad typing habits. While typing the last five paragraphs alone, I’ve had to return from having hit the home button by mistake and landing on the home screen.

I also cheated and corrected this part of my review on my desktop. For some reason, I couldn’t attach the Polaris document to an e-mail. The drop-down menu tells me I can ‘Attach Picture’ and ‘Attach Video,’ but it doesn’t allow me to attach a file. Thank heavens for Dropbox. I just put all my files there and shoot them out in an e-mail by simply hitting ‘Share.’

Finally, get ready to work your brain-hand coordination. While Samsung and BlackBerry have their ‘Back’ buttons on the right, HTC One has it on the left. And the centrally positioned home button in most phones? It’s on the right.

The One
The HTC One, while needing lots of customization (there’s no default File Manager app, for one thing) runs on an Android platform. So you can change almost everything you don’t like and tweak your apps and widgets to your hearts content.

The packaged widgets are quite cool though. HTC BlinkFeed allows you to personalize your live feeds. So you can get your daily news, app tips, Facebook updates, tweets, and the local weather report streaming on a single screen. The changing weather icons and very realistic weather screensaver are my favorites. There are widgets perfect for drivers and travelers: Car, Traffic, Navigation, GPS, Maps, and Twitter (for those handy MMDA traffic feeds). The traffic widget is a fun and useful toy that can log your travel time around the city. Frankly, I haven’t had time to try it because I’m still searching for a holster that can secure larger phones to the steering wheel.

You will want to download a better video player from Play Store, however, especially if you’re used to video players that have a force-rotate button when you have auto rotate off. (If you watch movies on your phone while lying down, you’ll know what I mean.) But no rush. The picture and sound quality often make me forget what I want to download next.

Print ed: 07/13


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