HTC One M7

date_range  19 April 2014

Android
Customization

I still fervently believe that the best phone ever made was HTC’s Sensation. The build quality was outstanding and I loved it so much, I still have it. I like to hold it sometimes and remember the awesomeness of HTC. It was light years ahead of any other Android phone at the time and still better than most current phones.

I’ve had my HTC One (I guess I need to add M7 now) a little over a year now. Overall, it’s fantastic. The build quality is still there and the software is incredibly stable. From a smartphone, I think that is two of the best qualities that most manufacturers miss. Samsung phones always feel incredibly plasticy and the iPhone seems like its made from tinfoil. If I had one, I’d carry it round like a baby bird… Over the last year, HTC have been lightning quick at updating to the latest version of Android as well, within a few weeks of KitKat being released, I had an OTA pop up.

What I will admit, however, is that as soon as the OTA was installed, I was on HTC Dev unlock the bootloader. I think it was 2 hours and I had a custom ROM on there… And that’s another thing I love about HTC phones; how easy the software is to customise. Going back the Windows Mobile days (do you remember the HTC HD2? I had 3 different operating systems on that thing!), the reason I got an HTC Diamond was because you could push HTC software to the limit. XDA Developers is my home sometimes and I check for new ROMs at least once a day. You never know when a developer has thought of a new tweak.

One thing I have learnt is that benchmarking is virtually pointless. I started out being a freak for Antutu and Neocore but now the scores are faked by most manufacturers. Real world performance is the name of the game, and the HTC One is all about that. Except for opening YouTube. If anyone knows why the YouTube app takes an age to open please do write a comment below!

So what don’t I like about the HTC One? My first is a general complaint; no hardware camera button. What happened to those? Microsoft made it a requirement on Windows Phone but why did these suddenly disappear? The camera is a core component of the modern smartphone and all the manufacturers keep saying these phones are “centred around their camera’s” but how many digital cameras do you know that don’t have a shutter button? I want it back on my phone damn it! Duel LED flash is the next; it really does help! Boom Sound needs to be boomier. I rather embarrassed myself comparing the volume of an iPhone 5 loudspeaker to the HTC One ones; they might have even been a little bit quieter, although there was more bass and less tinnyness.

Now some more positives to finish the feedback sandwich. Blinkfeed is incredibly useful and I love that it is now updatable via Google Play. HTCs wrapper for the email app is beautiful and functional and I can’t use an Android device without thinking something is missing. Finally, the IR blaster and accompanying TV app is a fantastic addition and invaluable when you can’t find the remote.. or too lazy to reach for the coffee table.

So, will I get the M8; no. I have 6 months left on my contract and it doesn’t seem worth it this time. I’m currently using the InsertCoin SixthSense ROM and the only thing that doesn’t work is the touch gestures because a kernel for the M7 that supports it hasn’t been devised yet. When it has been I’ll have a mini M8 on my hands because I don’t count a “depth-perceiving” camera as a feature worth upgrading for… Sorry HTC.

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