HTC One through Ting

Should You Buy The HTC One?

April 20, 2013 - Written By Norman Yan

The HTC One is the successor to the HTC One X and One S of 2012 which were met with positive reviews, yet only a lukewarm market reception. Considering all the issues that HTC is currently facing with record low profits and supply issues this may be HTC’s Hail Mary phone; a far cry from its glory days as the top dog in the Android market. With a 4.7 inch 1080p display, aluminium chassis and Snapdragon 600, the HTC One is definitely one of the best phones currently on the market, but the same could have been said about the HTC One X and S, yet those failed to pull HTC out of its slump.

Currently phones in the Android market can be divided into tiers and the HTC One is definitely in the top-tier of smartphones, but it still faces stiff competition from the likes of LG Optimus G Pro and its main competition the Samsung Galaxy S4. The problem with determining whether or not you should buy a phone made more complicated because almost every phone is flawed in some shape or form so it is hard to determine which is the ‘better’ phone. There are situations where one phone may have a better display, but another might have a better camera, as a result it is difficult to say a phone is the ‘best’ on the market since it depends on the needs of the consumer.

To make it easier to determine whether or not the HTC One is the right phone for you, we will be doing a simple pros and cons analysis of the device, but will be looking at situations where the pro or con does not actually apply to the end-user.

Pro:

  • Aluminium Chassis: The aluminium build of the HTC One is definitely a major selling point of the device. This is an important selling point for the HTC One because aluminium gives the phone a sense of quality that its competition, such as the Galaxy S4 with its plastic body can’t possible match and puts it in the same league as some of the premium build quality phones in the world such as the iPhone 5, an area that Android typically lagged behind in. Another benefit of the metal case is the increased durability, especially when compared to devices such as the Nexus 4, which feature a glass-centric body, which have a similar premium feel, but is prone to cracking and shattering when dropped.
    However the use of an aluminium chassis is negligible if you buy a case. It doesn’t mattered if the phone is made out of platinum threaded diamonds, if it is covered by a rubber/plastic case, you won’t ever experience or see the high quality build materials. If you are someone who buys a case, the difference in build material becomes negligible which is something you should consider.
  • Cutting Edge Display: The 4.7 inch 1080p on this phone is by far one of the best if not the best display currently on a mobile device. With a pixel density of 468 ppi, the phone takes the crown when it comes to pixel densities blowing away the pedestrian densities of the iPhone 5’s 326 ppi and the current generation of 5 inch 1080p display phones displays of 441 ppi. While some may say that the there is no benefit with having a pixel density greater than the 300 ppi required for a ‘retina’ display, 300 ppi is only a retina display for people with 20/20 vision, but people with 20/10 vision will require a pixel density in excess of 450 ppi for pixels to become indistinguishable. Of course pixel density isn’t everything when comes to displays, there are other important factors including colour reproduction, contrast ratios and brightness. Fortunately HTC hasn’t overlooked these areas, the HTC One X had one of the best displays when it comes to colour reproduction, accuracy and calibration, easily comparable to that of the iPhone 5. LCD displays also tend to be brighter than their AMOLED counterparts, which is the display technology favoured by the Samsung Galaxy series.
    However the LCD displays are beaten by AMOLED displays when it comes to contrast ratios. When there is a black image on a LCD panel, the screen is displaying black, while AMOLED displays would simply be off, which means AMOLED displays are both more energy-efficient and have higher contrast ratios than LCD displays. While LCD may have more accurate colours, AMOLED displays have more vibrant, over-saturated colours, which some people prefer over perfectly accurate colours.

Cons:

  •  Non-removable Battery: A problem that has resulted from the HTC One’s aluminium unibody is the non-removable battery. The Samsung Galaxy series prides itself by having a removable battery, but considering the current market trend with more and more phones featuring a non-removable battery it make a watertight and thinner body.
    However the HTC One is paired with a reasonable 2300 mAh battery and combined with the Snapdragon 600 processor it should be able to easily last a day of usage, also how many people with a phone that has a removable battery actually carries a spare battery around with them? However a removable battery is important to the longevity of the device because batteries degrade over time, and after a year a battery is typically at 70-80% of its original capacity, so a removable battery allows for easy replacements.
  • No Expandable Storage: MicroSD cards use to be a major selling point of Android devices, however a recent trend amongst manufacturers is the removal of this feature from other phones. There is no doubt that there are benefits with having expandable storage since allows for easy transfer of data between devices as well as basically more storage space.
    There are benefits with just having a single storage medium, there is an added simplicity  because some applications do work in odd ways when a phone has a microSD card with where files and stored. Also realistic the 32 and 64 GB versions of the HTC One should be realistically enough for most people, so having extra storage while nice is essentially redundant.

Elephants In The Room:

  • Software: Love it or hate it, the HTC One comes preloaded with Sense, while the latest iteration isn’t as bloated as previous versions and it does present some new additions such as Zoe, BlinkFeed etc. I am a fan of AOSP based ROMs, but I do understand why some people prefer a skinned version. 
  • Camera: The HTC One comes with a 4 ‘ultapixel’ camera, the benefits of the camera have been quite heavily debated. HTC argue that 4 megapixels is more than enough for 90% of users and the benefits of having a lower resolution sensor is reduced noise during low-light shots as well as smaller files allowing HTC is enable new features such as Zoe, which captures a moment instead of just an image. Another important consideration for mobile cameras is the lens quality and in this area the HTC One is able to stand up to the competition, despite this, some people refer the higher resolution images that result from having a higher megapixel camera.

When you are purchasing a new phone, there are many factors to consider, while there is no such thing as a perfect phone, the challenge is then finding the perfect phone for you. Hopefully this article has helped in your decision for your next phone purchase.