Rob has loyally covered iOS topics for several years at iSource.com, but with the HTC One in hand and a smile on his face, he is welcomed to Phandroid as a brand new Android enthusiast.
A few weeks ago I made the leap and bought my first Android phone after previously only owning iPhones. This week I decided to focus on a few more of the main selling points of the HTC One–the camera, BlinkFeed, and BoomSound, and my experience with them.
HTC One camera
So much has been made of the HTC UltraPixel camera, and the decision to go with 4 megapixels instead of following the trend of increasing camera megapixels with each new iteration. I’m not going to get into the technical aspects of why HTC chose this route. Rather, I’m going to share my experience with the UltraPixel camera and my everyday experiences with it.
One of the biggest selling points of the UltraPixel camera is the ability to take low light pictures — and boy does it excel in this area. For my day job I work outside, in Florida, often on a boat, and I take a lot of pictures. Some of the pictures are for work, but most for my personal collection. It has been my experience that with very bright outdoor pictures, the UltraPixel camera on the One has a tendency to washout the sky more often than not.
You can tweak the settings, and tap on different areas of the view to force a change in the focal point, and I’m sure results will vary. However, with low light scenes that I often experience with heavy tree canopy, or in the early morning hours, performance is better than I imagined it could be.
I am still experimenting with Zoe’s, but what I’ve seen so far I’ve liked. It’s a great feature to have on your phone if you have kids or animals and you don’t want to miss that perfect picture. Plus, I love how HTC automatically creates a short movie from all the pictures taken during the day and adds music to it–nice touch, and sharable, too.
The camera has a lot more settings than I’m used to compared to the stock camera of the iPhone 5, and I’m finding more and more little things I can do if I dig down into the settings far enough. This is great for the tinkerer, but there is a little learning curve on discoverability.
HTC One BlinkFeed
Advertised as one of the “big” selling points for the HTC One, BlinkFeed is the forgotten feature in a feature rich phone. I really thought I’d use BlinkFeed… I really did. When I first set it up I made the mistake of adding too many social feeds to it, and it became cumbersome, and overlapped too much with my go-to social app — Twitter.
I’ve set up my Twitter feed in a way that I feel works well for me, and I send articles I don’t have time to read off to a news aggregator app to read at a later time. I have no need to duplicate this process. In my opinion, BlinkFeed is a visually stimulating feature that loses its usefulness fairly quickly.
On day one I decided to change the location of BlinkFeed from my home screen to the first screen to the left. Then, I forgot it was even there for two weeks. A friend happened to ask me how I liked using it, and I perked up, remembering that I hadn’t even used it in a while. So I decided to give it another try.
I think the magic with BlinkFeed happens when you can keep the content small and focused on a specific group, or topic. So far so good, but I still only remember to open BlinkFeed once or twice a week. Perhaps I would get better use of it if I once again made it my home screen?
HTC One BoomSound
Now this is how a smart phone speaker is suppose to sound! Designed around dual front stereo speakers with built in amplifiers this is the best sounding smart phone I have ever used. HTC’s decision to put the speakers on the front of the phone, instead of the bottom or back, was huge. You can listen to movies, music or share a moment with a friend and everyone can actually hear what’s coming over the phone for once.
Now, having said that, one thing that has bothered me from some of the reviews and opinions I’ve read is that the One is too loud. Huh? Some have gone so far as to say that they have to turn it down at times because notifications are too obnoxious. To that I say” meh.” I don’t buy it. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if it was a little louder. Maybe in an office setting it could be a problem, but in everyday use for me a louder phone would be just fine. What has your experience been with BoomSound — is it as loud as you thought it would be, or could it be louder still?
The HTC One continues to impress me even three weeks after my purchase. I’m still getting used to the complexities of the camera and Android in general — more on that later. Having said that, I’m happy with my decision to give the HTC One and Android a try.
The hardest part for me with switching phones and platforms has been the notion of starting fresh and not to try and make my new phone look and operate like my iPhone. This will take some getting used to. I plan on being in this for the long haul, so for now, I have found common ground that works for me, but also gives me plenty of room to experiment and try new ways of doing things along the way.