After Samsung’s announcement last night, the stage has been set for the battle for Android phone supremacy. While Samsung has completely dominated as of late, Sony’s Xperia Z and the HTC One look primed to make things a little more interesting this time around (hopefully). HTC’s flagship for 2013 isn’t set to hit the market until the end of this month but several outlets have already published extensive reviews on the device. Let’s take a look at how HTC’s latest fairs, in this Review Roundup.
The Verge came out with a pretty positive review of the One, praising HTC once again for their hardware design chops. Also, the latest version of Sense appears to be much better according to their experience, but camera and battery life came up short:
I’m a sucker for beautiful hardware, and this device is one of the best-designed smartphones I’ve ever used. HTC’s done great hardware before, though, and ruined it with ugly and problematic software — this time, it’s manageable. Not great, not as good as stock Android, but manageable. Here, the problem lies with the camera. Maybe I’m in the minority when I say I care about the quality of my cellphone images, but I do, and the One just doesn’t deliver. Its battery life is also disappointing, though I’m not as concerned about that – it’s just a fact of life at this point.
Engadget similarly has praise for the device’s well-designed body, but they on the other hand, think the camera was sufficient for their needs. They also agree that Sense has improved, but it still has its issues here and there:
We love the phone’s industrial design and the camera, while the Snapdragon 600 chipset and 1080p display aren’t bad either. We’re not sold on every aspect of Sense 5, such as BlinkFeed and the One’s two-button layout, but overall the user experience is much improved. As far as we’re concerned, HTC has a hit on its hands.
Gizmodo UK also loved the device and sees it as a worthy competitor the best the market has to offer, supporting the opinion that in terms of quality, the battle between flagship phones is neck to neck:
Compared to the competition, the One still fares well. It’s certainly at the top of the Android stable, with only Sony’s Xperia Z and the bargain-basement Nexus 4 (and probably whatever Samsung’s got in store) able to give it any competition. It’s also one of the few devices that can compete with the iPhone on lustworthiness — the rock-solid build and that awesome screen certainly give it a dinner-party-wow-factor in a different league.
Slash Gear hits a very crucial point in their review. The device is praised in almost all aspects, except for battery life once again and issues with the camera’s low-light performance but the highlight is definitely how they believe the battle will be decided in the marketing:
Nonetheless, there’s a sense that HTC’s challenge isn’t in the device – after all, it had good phones in 2012 – but in the market. Samsung’s risen star in the Android ecosystem has left little room for rivals, and HTC simply lacks the marketing heft to build the same brand-recognition that “Galaxy” has achieved. That’s notwithstanding the fact that HTC’s phone looks better, is built better, takes generally better photos, and has arguably better software than the Galaxy S III; we’ll have to wait and see how it holds up to the new Galaxy, but Samsung will need to pull out all the stops if it hopes to even get close to rivalling the One for its perfect quality feel.
With that said, it’s clear now that HTC has made a device with a gorgeous screen and amazing build quality. It’s trying a different approach to its camera which leads to mixed results. Sense is still not perfect but HTC has definitely made some improvements there, but where it fails it seems is in battery life, making it a tough decision if that’s a big factor for you when purchasing a phone. If you can live that with sub-par battery, however, the HTC One appears to be a highly recommendable device, especially if you enjoy the premium-feeling build quality this phone certainly has.
As for HTC’s position in the smartphone market, it’s all gonna come down to marketing, marketing, marketing. Unfortunately for the HTC One, as great of a device it is, marketing doesn’t appear to be one of the company’s strong points.
Is the HTC One your next phone? Let us know!