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HTC One review

Ultrapixels, Zoes, Blinkfeed and more: HTC is going all out

BlinkFeed is HTC's attempt at moving away from the traditional homescreens of old on Android phones and bringing users something that will make the HTC One (and other models in the range) a little more unique.

The feed is a simple interface that borrows heavily from the Live Tiles of Windows Phone, which HTC is a main contributor to. The tiles are various sizes though, which makes things a little less repetitive for scrolling through to 'snack' on content.

The idea is a really sound one: giving a mish-mash of content, be that from curated news feeds on certain topics, videos shared from the HTC Zoe camera app or social network updates from your buddies.

HTC One review

There's an interesting rhythm to the content, as while news is clearly the most 'snackable' of all on offer (rather than hearing what TV programmes your friends are watching at that point) they obviously wane at certain times of the day, meaning you're left with a sea of Twitter updates.

We were initially very sceptical about BlinkFeed when we were told all about it from HTC before the One launched - but the Android 4.3 update fixes many of these.

For instance, the feeds are grouped by topic, and while you can now add in feeds from outlets you like, the quality of the images and overall mix still leaves a little to be desired.

It's actually rather hard to add in your own feed, as if you use the search functionality you're met with a mix of content, from tweets to other sites linking to your search term, rather than just the RSS feed you probably want.

You have to go online, find the link and then tap it to add it to the Blinkfeed list, which isn't ideal. At least once this is done you can easily access what you want to see, and we have to admit the tweet/link/article mix HTC provides is pretty entertaining.

HTC One review

Similarly, there's no 'learning' involved here either, so you can't vote up or down certain topics, or exclude certain people from being shown on the timeline.

Again, we're not too bothered about this latter feature as BlinkFeed is actually pretty adept at getting things right, using data from Facebook and Twitter to see who you interact with regularly. Turning off retweets would be welcome though.

But more interesting than all of that is that BlinkFeed actually works much better than we thought it would. In the months we've been using the One we found that time and again we returned to the feed to just get a feel for what's going on rather than opening the specific Flipboard, Facebook or Twitter apps themselves.

This won't be the case for many of you, as it's a pretty subjective feature, but spend the time to curate it and you'll reap the benefits.

We particularly like the fact that tapping an article will show the picture and text in a reader-style mode, without the need to open the browser.

HTC One review

It would be nice if this downloaded more quickly or cached over Wi-Fi (although you can auto-refresh the feed) as sometimes we're left waiting for more than a few seconds to read an article. Otherwise, all ace.

This has been partly addressed in the Android 4.3 update, by allowing a Read it Later functionality (or you can save it to another app, which is nifty).

There's a pleasant 'snick' when you pull down the most recent story to refresh the feed, and in a move taken from Apple, you can tap the top of the screen to get back to the top of the list when you've gone a little too deep into your BlinkFeed - something that we only found by accident when we realised that scrolling all the way back up to the top was going to take a LONG time.

With the Android 4.2 update you can also press the back button to allow the same function - it's a good move from HTC as it's a very intuitive gesture.

The overall UI is incredibly pleasing, not just because of the different sizes of the tiles. The weather and clock at the top of the app are a strong replacement for the traditional widget we're used to from HTC, and offer the information just when you need it.

On top of that the slight pull down from the top of the list is a natural gesture to get you to the settings and ability to customise your feed - it's touches like this that show HTC has stepped things up with the One.

This is also the place to search through the current feed, which is actually a hugely valuable too. So often we want to mention something we read, but can't find it instantly. A quick BlinkFeed search will find all mentions of that term in news, TV or among your friends' missives, and brings a more holistic feel to the listing.

HTC One review

It's a shame that BlinkFeed isn't present on the lock screen, but given you can disable the lock screen altogether (a feature we're surprised hasn't been offered on more phones) it's not really needed.

Over time, you'll find your dependence on BlinkFeed will diminish as it becomes a mobile commodity - it's not a bad thing, but because you can't customise it very well at all, it's not very addictive. This is mitigated slightly with the newer changes, but it still needs work.

The method of choosing categories is overly complex and while we like the improved options and results, there's so much more to come here. Also, not being able to turn it off from your home screen (not that we'd want to) is going to irk some users.

Overall, we were very impressed with BlinkFeed compared to the hopes we had for it; there's still a lot to do in terms of making the app more personal, as well as being able to choose and exclude the feeds and friends you get information from, as some news 'sources' are nowhere near such a thing.

However, on multiple occasions we found ourselves reading really interesting articles that we wouldn't have done previously, so for that reason alone we have to give BlinkFeed a big thumbs up as a USP on the HTC One.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, HSPA+
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyOne
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 800, LTE 1800, LTE 2600
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution4 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Screen Size11.9 cm (4.7")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)143 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), Instant Messaging, Email, MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service)
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density468 ppi
Height137.4 mm
Width68.2 mm
Depth9.3 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameOne Smartphone
Processor Speed1.70 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Product LineOne
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number99HTT009-00
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Marketing InformationWith a sleek aluminum body, a live home screen that streams all of your favorite content, a photo gallery that comes to life, and dual frontal stereo speakers, the New HTC One is ready to reshape your smartphone experience.

HTC Zoe™ Your photo gallery brought to life.
Capturing a moment takes more than one image. That's why the new HTC One includes the HTC UltraPixel Camera. Press the shutter and the HTC One automatically captures up to 20 photos and a 3-second video-a picture that's alive. So your entire photo album becomes a living, breathing gallery.

HTC BoomSound™ Sharper, richer, louder.
On the average smartphone, sharing music or a video with friends is a frustrating experience. A tiny speaker will tame even the most ferocious track. But the new HTC One's BoomSound™ changes all that. Dual frontal stereo speakers powered by built-in amplifiers deliver bigger sound with less distortion and more detail.

HTC BlinkFeed™ Your live home screen.
With HTC BlinkFeed™, simply pick the social networks, news and feeds you want to stay updated on and they'll all stream live to your home screen. The pulse of your world is in the palm of your hand.

Refined design. Rugged build. Inspired results.
Full metal body. Zero gap construction. And tapered edges that offer a slim but satisfying grip. The new HTC One is phone design that doesn't compromise.

Your interactive TV guide.
Tired of remotes taking up valuable couch space? The new HTC One is ready to help you channel surf. With Sense TV, all it takes is a few simple steps and you'll be able to select TV channels, access program guides, adjust audio and more with your HTC One. Find your favorite shows, and it will notify you when they're on. Take control of your TV experience with your phone.

Sense Voice: Call clarity-even in a crowd.
The world doesn't include a volume knob. So talking on the phone in any loud, crowded environment can be a challenge. The new HTC One solves that problem with Sense Voice. It includes dual built-in microphones that detect loud ambient noise and will then dynamically boost the in-call voice to compensate. Hurrah for clarity.

Get 25 GB of Dropbox space free for two years*
With Dropbox integrated into HTC Sense, you can automatically save all your photos and videos to Dropbox - and access and share all your pictures directly from the Gallery. Dropbox also makes it easy to edit and share files while you are on the go, so you never have to email yourself a document again. To discover all that Dropbox can do, sign-up or log-in to Dropbox on your HTC phone and receive 25 GB of Dropbox space free for two years.
Limited Warranty1 Year