The HTC One: A Remarkable Device, Anand’s mini Reviewby Anand Lal Shimpi on March 21, 2013 4:49 PM EST
Final Words and the Galaxy S 4 Comparison
The One is without a doubt the best Android smartphone I’ve ever used. HTC’s build quality and materials choices have been steadily improving over the past couple of years and I honestly don’t know a more fitting name for its latest flagship other than the One - it’s the one to get. Even iPhone users looking for something different might be tempted by the One.
For me it’s the camera performance and the highlights reel that really seal the deal. The fact that the One is an excellent looking device built out of top notch materials is just icing on the cake.
The rest of the spec list is equally fitting. I’m glad to see 802.11ac make the list. The great speakers and display are both useful and impressive.
Sense took a real step towards subtlety with 5.0, and it’s finally at a point where I don’t really mind the customizations. My preference is still for vanilla Android, but the latest iteration of Sense is far closer than it has ever been. The real trick is ensuring timely updates with major Android releases. If you’re an infrequent smartphone upgrader, the Nexus line is still the best option there.
Despite how well the One does in the build quality, looks and camera departments, HTC has an uphill battle ahead of itself. Samsung is clearly the dominating incumbent in the Android space, and it has the luxury of an order of magnitude higher quarterly revenues to support its smartphone business. If there ever was a David v Goliath race in the smartphone space, it would be between HTC and Samsung.
Zoe and the highlights reel are great features that need marketing to demonstrate and spread their word. The litany of new camera and interaction features that accompany the Galaxy S 4 will likely translate very well to cleverly crafted TV ads. I’d argue that HTC’s camera features (great low light performance, highlights reel) are more useful to me personally, but Samsung’s features (touchless scrolling, dual camera, smart pause) are easier sells to the mainstream smartphone market. Similarly, design and materials choices are obvious advantages for the One, but it’s easier to market a thinner and lighter phone.
Ultimately, HTC appears to have built a great phone for enthusiasts and one that can be marketed, with some effort, to the mainstream. Samsung, by comparison, seems to have its targets set squarely at the mainstream and it has the features and the marketing budget to really capture the attention of that audience. You can argue about the merits of features like the ability to automatically pause video based on whether or not you’re looking at it - personally I’d take better camera performance - but that’s a much easier feature to explain in a TV commercial than why larger pixels matter.
The One is expected to be widely available beginning next month.