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HTC First review

The so-called Facebook phone is great once you dial back all that Facebook

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Our Verdict

The HTC First is a good phone, but not for any of the reasons being highlighted in its marketing. It's compact, durable and has great LTE service from AT&T. Sans Facebook Home, it's exactly the type of device we wish we'd see more often.

For

  • Finally, a 4.3-inch LTE-capable stock Android phone
  • Solid, durable construction with a good screen
  • There's stock Jelly Bean under Facebook Home
  • Chat Heads are fun and functional

Against

  • Facebook Home is a glorified screensaver
  • Below average camera
  • Variable battery performance
  • No removable storage or battery
  • The Facebook phone needs a dedicated camera button

HTC Phones have developed a bit of a reputation for unreliable battery life, exacerbated by the closed body design of its phones, rendering the battery unswappable. The HTC One X and One X+ were real power drainers, and while the HTC One has improved on this, it'll still draw down pretty quickly if you go nuts with it.

HTC First review

Just like those phones, the HTC First is a sealed design. Within the body there's a 2000 mAh battery.

The First's battery has better stamina than most HTC phones we've used. With light to moderate use, it has no trouble getting the through the day. We often found it at around 60 percent when we were turning in for the night.

Heavy use, however, has the potential to drain it pretty fast. Gaming, big downloads or lots of media streaming will drain the phone before the day is out.

Connectivity

Never mind Facebook Home, the real special thing about the HTC First is that it's a stock Android phone with LTE service. That's a very rare thing.

HTC First review

It's also AT&T's LTE service, which is blazing fast here in the San Francisco Bay Area. During our testing, we did occasionally drop to regular 4G, but our connection was still quiet fast.

Our data speeds were consistently in the double digits, and usually above 20 Mbps. Sometimes it was as high as 40 mbps. That's as advertised, and impressive.

Currently, this is the fastest data service you can find on a stock Android device. If the First achieves any sort of status outside of being the first device with Home, it will be for this.