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HTC One – is it THE One? Or is it back to Blackberry?

June 20, 2013

BlackberryZ10v2So, for the past 5 years, I’ve had a love-hate affair with my Blackberry 9700.  I bought it when it was the shiny new vehicle  from RIM and was originally planning to upgrade to on a new OS 10 as soon as it was available. Along the way, I hit a bit of a squirrel moment (thanks Rogers guy). I saw the beauty of the HTC One, the new HTC offering.

Although looks are the least important of a tech toy to me, it goes without saying that sex sells. And the HTC One is definitely sexy. Additionally, my partner owns an Android phone and has been clamouring for me to try one.  I faced a major dilemma in my cell phone life.  Stay with my beloved Blackberry and do my patriotic best to support a Canadian company? Or, take a risk and sample the Android life.

Based on the fact that Bell has an option that allows you to test-drive a phone for two weeks, I decided to give the HTC One a try.  I would give HTC and Android the opportunity to ‘wow’ me into stepping over to the dark side.  I still feel the tingle at the back of my neck as I turned off my trusty BB and started porting things to the new toy.

Its been 4 days and here is my progress to date:

Day 1:

  • SHINY! And sexy out of the box. Not much else in the box though.
  • Managed to add most of my contacts via GMail and my music.  Also managed to get my email accounts assigned and synched.
  • The music was more difficult than expected, requiring the installation of proprietary file manager HTC Sync Manager. Ended up using Windows Media Player for ease of use.
  • Took a few pictures, seems easy to use although focus is harder because it doesn’t do the ‘hold and focus’ then click thing.
  • Where the heck do I find things on this phone?
  • Not entirely intuitive, I might add. Partially impaired by the fact that out of the box, there are no further instructions than a small slip of paper stating to ‘charge the battery before use.’ Not too helpful for the HTC and Android noob. The manual is available in PDF format from the Bell site.

Day 2:

  • First phone call made, good clear sound and volume.
  • Having found the interesting info feed called ‘Blinkfeed’ that shows news and highlights customized to the user on the home page, I was intrigued and attempted to customize to my preferences.  Being a Canadian sports fan, I was hoping for hockey, of all things. No dice. Nor was there anything aside from some tech feeds that even remotely interested me.
  • After some research – the Blinkfeed thing is based on location, which for me, is Canada International. Nice, but how many Canadian sports fans want to see/read from ESPN? A big fat none. UEFA.com? More than ESPN! But still no CBC? Or TSN/Sportsnet/TheScore? FAIL.  Their ‘customizable’ feed is not. Customizable, that is. NO adding of fave RSS feeds or anything except your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Flickr accounts. Not really impressed. But not a total deal-breaker.
  • Listened to music most of the day, nice clear sound – very loud, in fact. Functional and basic, but not exciting music player – have yet to find anything related to an equalizer or similar.
  • Still getting used to the Android interface

Day 3:

  • Still struggling to use the touchscreen keyboard and the predictive text is wearing on me. Is are not Os. But tell the phone that. I guess my fingers are fatter than I thought.
  • WordPress, Facebook, Twitter all work fairly smoothly as does the web browser.  Am entirely impressed by the sharpness of the screen and web pages/pictures/font.
  • Have now tried the camera outside and inside – not terrible, but difficult to focus. Have to adjust to the tool.  The filters look pretty fun, too. Some of the pics look pretty good for a 4MP camera. Maybe that super-pixel thing is gonna work.
  • A little unimpressed when I tried out YouTube – having picked Gangnam Style off the official Psy channel. Blurry, but good sound. Try more later.

Day 4:

  • On a suggestion, tried some HD movie trailers. SEXY is back. Into Darkness looked amazing on the One. Crisp, clear and great sound. That was what I wanted in an upgrade to my phone.
  • Thoroughly frustrated.  Cannot download attachments from my email to share or do anything else apparently. Apparently GMail is supposed to be ok, haven’t tried it yet as it isn’t my primary account.  The response on the HTC site is to “While files downloaded from the web are stored in the Downloads folder, documents from email attachments are not. To locate these files later, Install a file manager app from Play store, which will allow you to browse the contents of your device storage.”  I have to install an app to find my files? What? Utterly unimpressed.
  • Twitter, another of my favourite apps. I am able to read and RT, favourite and follow, but modify or quote a tweet? Again, my fingers must be too fat, because I cannot for the life of me move the cursor around to do so. Or even add a quotation mark. Frustration mounting.

What will Day 5 bring?  I am still trying to be objective. I am trying to give it a real try. But as I try out the features I use the most, I am losing faith.  Since I haven’t used the Z10, I cannot say it will be any better, but its is supposed to be similar to the gestures and functionality of the Playbook, which I own and am comfortable with. So far, the HTC One is disappointing me on the social media stuff I was expecting it to excel at. To be fair, I’m going to see if I can keep on trucking for the entire trial period. Maybe I’ll be won over by other features as I get accustomed to the phone and OS.

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