HTC One Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat Update Review

Earlier this week HTC and AT&T finally got their acts together and released the HTC One Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat update that brings with it a new version of HTC Sense 5.5. The update offers some nice changes, but the phone features took a couple of steps backwards with a disappearing app, a camera issue and some minor changes that might annoy users.

In various places around the operating system we see some minor changes. One example includes a new settings icon in the pull-down notification area.

settings icon htc sense

HTC Sense 5.5 comes with lots of tiny changes like this updated icon.

When a user connects to a public Wi-Fi hotspot that requires the user to agree to some legalese before logging on, the new interface now shows a button in the notification area. This is a big improvement for those of us who frequent places with Wi-Fi.

htc-one-phone-app

The phone app starts finding Contacts the moment users start typing numbers.

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In the phone app, the screen where a user types in a number will instantly search the Contacts for people with the same string of numbers in their phone number. For example, if I type 828, then the phone app will find them and show how many people have those numbers in their phone number. Tap the icon to show the list.

Now users can find contacts faster. A user’s contacts list shows the most used contacts at the top.

lock screen widgets htc one

Add Widgets to the lock screen by swiping left at the top of the lock screen.

A couple of other simple improvements include quickly adding widgets to the Lock Screen by swiping left and tapping the plus icon (see above). We also like the built-in printing feature that makes it simpler to print photos, documents and more from a phone.

Camera & Gallery Changes

The HTC One will create a Highlight from images or videos taken at an event. It picks a theme and adds some music. Now there are new themes and users can add their own music. However, if you liked the old themes, too bad. They’re gone!

In addition users can add links to favorite photo sharing sites like Facebook, DropBox, Flickr and Google Drive. See images saved on those sites from within the app.

purple hue from htc one camera

Notice the slight purple hue in the upper part of this image taken under low light on a HTC One after the Kit Kat update.

Unfortunately, a few users discovered a degradation of the HTC One camera, which normally shoots nice video and images. Some people see a purple hue in their images. This isn’t a new issue for the HTC One, but phones that didn’t suffer from the problem now do, including mine. Users report that HTC replaced their phone so contact HTC if the update messes up your camera.

Blinkfeed Updated

htc one blinkfeed

User can now easily turn off the annoying Blinkfeed. Pinch in with two fingers to show the option. Tap to turn it off.

Blinkfeed shows up when users hit their HTC One home button. HTC changed the menu of news and social sites offered. Many don’t like the feature and now they can turn it off. Pinch in with two fingers and tap on the Blinkfeed ON/OFF button at the top left as seen above. HTC may not like this, but a lot of users will.

HTC Car Dock No Longer Launches Car App

HTC makes a great car dock that holds the phone perfectly on a dash or windshield. Before the update inserting the phone into the dock automatically launched HTC Car. The app offers a customizable grid of easy to use icons and the time, date and weather. One hardwired app launches the tunein app which streams radio.

htc car app

The HTC Car app offers a nice interface while driving.

The update breaks this functionality, removing the Car app’s icon. After reaching out to HTC, they offered no solution or acknowledgement. We’ll update readers if that changes.

A workaround brings the app icon back, but doesn’t launch it automatically. Download QuickShortcutMaker from the Play Store. The free app will show the Car app under the Applications tab. Tap it and hit Create. This puts the app icon on the Home screen. Now the user can launch the app manually.

Battery Life

HTC claims power enhancements should improve battery life. I noticed no difference since updating. If anything, my battery drained quicker, but that could come from using it more after the update to get used to all the changes.

Conclusion

The update to Android 4.4.2 and HTC Sense 5.5 brings some nice little changes. There’s nothing revolutionary that makes the HTC One drastically better. However, it gives us hope that the upcoming announcement of the updated HTC One M8 will offer even more improvements to make this again one of the best smartphones available on with Android 4.4.2 KitKat.

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Comments

  1. matthew says

    I find that if I do not have power to my car dockwhen I put my phone in, the Car Mode app launches without issue. But if the dock is plugged in, it does not launch 99% of the time. Very annoying. Last time this worked without issue was in 4.2.2.

  2. Kevin Purcell says

    Matthew — I think I’m seeing the same thing. Today I plugged it in without the car running (no power to the dock) and the same happened. Need to test this out to confirm. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Fred says

    One big thing that the update messed up, for me at least, was the removal of the enabled flash player in the stock browser.

    I’m not too happy about it.

  4. Smit says

    Hi Kevin my name is Smit i am from India i bought my htc one 2 months back i have the recent update of 4.3 but now i am not able to update my phone to 4.4 All my friends had Got this update What should i do ?

  5. Smit says

    Every time when i go to software update it is telling that your phone is up to date What should i do ?

  6. sam p says

    I’m running sense 5.5 on android 4.3 and just about all the features you described are already present. Is there anything in the kitkat upgrade itself that’s actually worth having?

    • dslate says

      Same here, I already have pretty much all these functions. Is there a point in updating?

  7. Fred Hoeppner says

    Hello Kevin

    Hello Kevin, My wife and i both updated to Kit Kat. My phone works fine, but her Gallery App no longer plays video (big problem). Short of factory reset, is there something we can do to fix this (like re-install update)? Thanks – Fred H.

  8. Fahd says

    i have htc one running 4.3 in AU. most of the features mentioned are already available including new settings icon, the ability to disable blinkfeed, ability to add widgits on lock scree, smart dialing. i’m confused :s is there actually anything new in the 4.4.2 ??

    • Robert B says

      It stands for Near Field Communication. If you turn his feature on and someone else has this feature turned on you can move files (pic and video) back and forth by placing the phones together (back to back). This makes it faster than using message or sending an email with an attachment.

  9. Seana Hodge Holland says

    The only issue I have found with this upgrade is that the bluetooth in my car can no longer access my phonebook. anyone have that fix?

  10. David Lantzke says

    Since updating HTC One to 4.4.2 it no longer “wakes up” from a power off state to sound wake up alarm. This is a stated feature in the Help menu and a nice one as the iPhone doesn’t do it. Tried rebooting but doesn’t resolve. Have not attempted a hard reset.

  11. Preston says

    I updated to 4.4.2 on an HTC one m7 on the att network in the us and everything works fine but the Bluetooth if I’m listening to music and navigating the phone or multitasking, the bluetooths skips or more accurately mutes and it is often and it will even do it if I’m doing nothing

  12. Mike says

    I have no issues with the Kit Kat update except 1 that they didn’t need to make. Texts. I have to delete texts one by one. Prior you could delete multiple texts at one time. Do you know how long it takes to delete a text string of 20+ texts one by one.
    Every other part of the update is good. This text problem should be fixed. Or when I upgrade it won’t have a Android system.

    • Fred Roach says

      What? I can delete them just fine.. Whole threads and also multiple messages Within the thread. Use the 3 dotted menu bar on the top right. Not much else to say.

  13. Malcom says

    One major issue I’ve experienced a after this upgrade is the Internet browser doesn’t keep tabs from last session open. It closes all open tabs and reverts to the home page. There’s no setting to open all tabs from last session.
    Chrome works fine.

  14. adam says

    I updated to 4.4.2. last week. Since then I try to open texts and it doesn’t open them 90% of the time, just says it’s loading the text but nothing happens. Same with phone book too, won’t sync with contacts properly, won’t ring people s phone numbers in address book, won’t open either. Contacts for my linked email don’t work either, it’s really slow and all my apps are fine, any suggestions? Thanks

  15. Malcolm says

    I had a lengthy support session with HTC. They recognize that the update has broken many services but don’t have a solution so far. I was promised a call back to help me revert to previous version but nothing so far. If you haven’t applied this ‘update’, please DON’T.

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