Review: HTC One impresses but software disappoints

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm •  Published: April 8, 2013
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Rather, HTC calls it an "Ultrapixel" camera. The story is that the sensor pixels are twice as big as they are in most phone cameras, which means they can gather more light. More light per pixel means better pictures in indoor lighting, at least in theory. In practice, I found the images to be better than those of other Android phones in low lighting, but not as good as those from the iPhone 5, which are of higher resolution. Low-light pictures taken on the HTC One do show relatively little "noise" — which usually looks like colored speckles — but the images aren't particularly crisp.

Another hardware feature that reaches but doesn't deliver is the infrared diode on the top edge. Through it, the phone can control your TV or cable box. But setting up the software is daunting. I was confronted with going through a list of 1,800-plus channels and manually selecting which ones I get from my cable provider. Even if I were to set this up, I still couldn't control the DVR functions of the cable box from the phone. So as a replacement for the remote, the HTC One falls short.

The phone's other big shortcoming isn't really new, or unique to this model. Rather, the problem is that HTC is doing what it's always done, and what competitors like Samsung do, too. It can't leave Android alone, but tinkers with it to "improve" it and put its own stamp on it.

The result is a baffling interface, with four different "home" screens from which to launch apps. It might reward those who take the time to customize it and really get to know it, but most people aren't like that. They're better served by simple, consistent interface. Google recognizes this and keeps Android relatively simple on its own Nexus line of phones. HTC and Samsung seem determined to make things complicated.

AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA are set to start selling the phone this month. Prices will be about $200 with a two-year contract. There's no word yet from Verizon.

If you're looking for an Android phone, do yourself a favor and check out the HTC One in a store. Samsung Electronics Co. will outspend HTC Corp. many times over in marketing when Samsung's Galaxy S 4 comes out shortly. But if you take the time to feel the One in your hand, it will probably be your One.

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Peter Svensson can be reached at http://twitter.com/petersvensson