The HTC One is arguably the best Android phone available and bests the iPhone 5 in several ways. iPhone users who are on the fence between upgrading to an iPhone 5 and switching to Android should take a close look at the HTC One. Its excellent design and build quality is something users must see in person to fully appreciate.
I’ve been using iPhones since the day Apple launched its first phone and have upgraded to each new model as they launched. I’ve been very satisfied with using iPhones as my daily drivers, but I’ve bought and used several Android devices over the past couple of years. While I certainly liked certain aspects of each Android device I tried, none of them was good enough to boot the iPhone from my pocket. Some of them had horrible battery life, a few had horrible cameras and others were built of cheap plastic.
As we mentioned in our HTC One Review, the device is a new class of Android phone. It is complete. It just feels good to hold and use. If Apple’s designers secretly built an Android phone this would be it.
Read: HTC One Review
HTC Has a Superior Camera App
The iPhone 5 camera is pretty good as far as smartphone cameras go, but the iOS camera app leaves a lot to be desired. One reason iPhone users download so many camera apps is because the stock camera app doesn’t do much beyond snap photos and shoot video, just like it has since 2007. Yes, Apple’s added Panorama and HDR modes, but users have to launch a photo editing app to apply filters or otherwise tweak photos.
HTC’s built-in camera app has dozens of settings to make it easier to capture the perfect shot. Holding down the HTC One’s on-screen shutter will take photos continuously until you release it. It then offers to let you choose the best shot out of the bunch. An HTC feature called Zoe captures three seconds of video (with audio), along with 20 images with a single tap of the shutter. The result is a mini multimedia collection rather than a single photo. HTC’s camera app also allows users to tweak settings like ISO and White Balance, things that can’t be tweaked in iPhone’s native camera app.
And then there’s Zoe, HTC’s secret sauce that adds a whole new dimension to taking photos. Enable Zoe and one tap on the shutter records three seconds of video and 20 photos in quick succession. Zoe might sound gimmicky, but it’s perfect for shooting pictures of pets and fidgety toddlers. The Zoe feature will even stitch together highlight reels from a day’s worth of pictures and video automatically.
Front Facing Speakers
It’s pretty obvious that speakers should face the listener, but the iPhone 5’s single speaker sits on the bottom edge of the device next to the Lightning port. iPhone users will often cup the speaker while listening to music or video to redirect the sound towards them.
On the other hand, HTC put a pair of speakers on the front of its flagship phone that project directly toward the user. HTC calls the speakers and built-in amplifier BoomSound. The pair of speakers deliver stereo sound when holding the device in landscape mode, which is exactly what’s needed when playing games or watching videos. The net effect is that HTC One users can actually hear whatever’s playing without scrounging up a pair of headphones.
HTC One’s Bigger, Better Display
Apple blessed the iPhone 5 with a very nice Retina Display that’s small enough for almost everyone to handle comfortably. HTC went a little bigger, but it didn’t cross over into crazy big territory like some of its competitors have.
The HTC One’s 4.7″ display is bigger than the iPhone 5’s 4″display, making it better for video, web browsing and most apps. The HTC One’s display has a resolution of 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels), matching most HDTVs’ resolution, while the iPhone 5’s display has a resolution of just 1136 x 640 pixels. The HTC One packs 45% more pixels per inch (PPI) in its display than the iPhone 5 (468 PPI vs 326 PPI).
The physically larger display won’t please everyone. Those with smaller hands will have to stretch their thumbs to tap on some parts of the screen, but it feels right in my big hands. More importantly, it’s just easier to read and view content on the HTC One than on the iPhone 5.
Better Gmail, Google Apps
Like other Android devices, the HTC One plays better with Google’s numerous services than the iPhone 5. Yes, Google makes some nice iOS apps, but the Android equivalents are more polished and have deeper hooks. HTC One owners can use Google apps such as Maps, Chrome and Gmail as defaults. HTC One users only need to log in to their Google accounts once and the device uses those credentials to authorize additional apps.
Those who must perform mobile email triage on mobile devices will truly appreciate the difference between the robust Android Gmail app and the simplistic iOS Mail app. Gmail on Android simply blows Apple’s Mail app out of the water.
The HTC One is a Remote Control
The HTC One’s power button doubles as an infrared port, allowing the phone to serve as a universal remote control. With a few quick taps I was able to set the phone’s built-in TV app to control my 60″ Samsung HDTV and Comcast cable box. The app doesn’t require users to look up codes and test them like other universal remote controls force users to. Instead, you just pick the type and brand of each device and the app asks you to try powering the device on. If your TV doesn’t turn on, the TV app tries again and again until it finds the proper settings. The app found my TV’s proper settings after the fourth try and my cable box on the first try.
The iPhone 5 doesn’t have an infrared blaster for control TVs, but it can control the Apple TV over WiFi. This is nice since it’s so easy to lose the tiny remote that ships with the Apple TV, but you can’t control your TV’s volume or other home theater components with Apple’s Remote app.
The HTC One isn’t the perfect phone for everyone, but iPhone users itching for change will find this Android phone refreshing.