HTC ONE Review

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Sat 2013/08/10 22:16 JST in Gadgets

Its been a year since I switched to Android after being an iPhone user since the 3GS days. The Samsung Galaxy S3 was what I had been using for the past year and it served me well up until a certain point.

My main mobile is now the HTC ONE which came out a while ago - today I'm going to give it the quick going over and talk about what happened to the S3 and why I didn't go for the S4 instead. I'll also talk about why the HTC ONE has a crap OS unless you change it to CM10.1 ^o^

The end of this post has sample photos taken on the HTC ONE.

At the time, the HTC ONE was not available in Japan and there was like no stock *anywhere*
I found an online store called Clove in the UK and after placing an order it arrived about 3 weeks later as they had to wait for stock to come in.

The SIM Free HTC ONE cost me 420 pounds - lucky I don't live in the UK anymore or 84 pounds tax would have been added onto my bill ><

While there seems to be a trend for these sleeves to be kept on even during use - I just had to remove mine ^^;

Inside the box - USB charger with UK 3 plug adapter thingy. Headphones, instructions and SIM pin.

When I got my hands on the HTC ONE however, it reminded me of why I jumped ship on the iPhone - the customization level is extremely low and feels like they tried to target the mass iPhone crowd by making it as easy as possible to get up n running.

For me however, I switched to Android because I wanted those customization features and the HTC ONE was a disappointment right out of the box with its Sense 5 OS - ironic naming as it doesn't make any sense at all.

The home screen for example comes with something called BlinkFeed - you can connect your twitter (and Facebook I think) to it but all the RSS feeds are from preset blogs in the system - you can't add your favorite site and are forced to read from sites that are already programmed into it.
Some of Sense 5 "in action" below.

The best thing about the HTC ONE are the weather icons which are animated and look really nice.

Settings screen.

Most android devices have toggles for various settings like Bluetooth, brightness, WiFi etc but the HTC ONE had none! I had to download an app just to do this ><
This again reminded me of the iPhone which didn't have toggles - of course they just announced toggles for iOS7 recently which they call Control Center though.

You can't set the icon bar at the bottom to transparency either.

Did I mention that I liked the weather icon? ^^

The screen is really nice when compared to the S3. I thought the S3 had a great screen until I put it side by side with the HTC ONE. The S3 screen seemed kinda yellow.

For apps like MiraiClock3, a nasty bar shows at the bottom of the app which you can't get rid of that contains only one menu button ToT.

While the OS is crap, the build of the HTC ONE is oozing quality all over.

Lovely matt silver back. Has some Beats Audio thing built in.

The cutting on the edges all around the device looks great.

The camera quality however is not as good as the S3 I feel - grainy and at times its got this strange glow around the edges of photos. I always make sure there are no fingerprints on the camera before taking a snap though.

There is only one physical button on the HTC ONE and its at the top. Ah I tell a lie - the volume buttons on the side too.

The stereo speakers on the HTC ONE are just amazing - pretty much the same quality as a pair of separate mobile speakers.

No biggie but the micro USB cable is off center.

The supplied headphones feel a bit cheap n tacky though.

As I wasn't happy with the default Sense OS, I went about to replace it by installing Cyanogenmod just like I did with my S3.
Cyanogenmod (also known as CM10) is a customizable operating system for android devices - you basically replace the current OS.

The steps I took are copy pasted below from XDA Developers.

First time installing CyanogenMod 10.1 to your HTC One (GSM), or coming from another ROM:
- Unlock your device via
- Flash the latest official ClockworkMod-Recovery via Fastboot
- Copy GApps and CM10.1 ZIPs to your SDCard
- Boot into Recovery
- Flash CM10.1 zip from SDCard
- Flash GApps zip from SDCard
- Reboot
- Don't restore system data using Titanium Backup!
- Restoring Apps + Data might cause problems and is not recommended, avoid it if possible!

Upgrading from earlier version of CyanogenMod 10.1:
- Copy CM10.1 ZIP to your SDCard
- Boot into Recovery
- Flash CM10.1 zip from SDCard
- Reboot

Upgrading from CyanogenMod 10:
- Read known issues ans FAQs
- Copy GApps and CM10.1 ZIPs to your SDCard
- Boot into Recovery
- Flash CM10.1 zip from SDCard
- Flash GApps zip from SDCard
- Reboot
- Wipe data of clock app
- Reset everything under Settings -> Date & Time otherwise editing alarms might cause FCs

Download resources:-

Google Apps:


Once Sense 5 has been completely replaced by CM10, you get a new loading screen. Some of CM10 in action on the HTC ONE below.

I LOVE CM10! Its just such an awesome OS! I've tried many flavors of Android including Paranoid Android and wot not but found that CM10 has a nice balance of everything that I need to be productive on my phone.

iPhone 4, HTC ONE and Galaxy S3 screen comparison. iPhone screen feels so small ><

This is my apps screen - as you can see its got a load of icons because I've changed the density of the screen using an app called Density Changer. If you are going to use it please do so at your own risk though!

Apps which I should mention that increase my productivity are Unlock with Wifi - I didnt see why I had to key in my pin when at home - good thing there was just the app for that which removed the need to mess with the unlock screen when its connected to your WiFi.

Its not stupid either meaning that somebody could not just steal your phone and bring it to outside of your house to unlock it - you need to unlock it at least once and then you need not unlock as long as you are within range of your home WiFi.

I must also mention IME Switcher - I need to type Japanese a lot so I use Google Japanese IME but the English spelling on that is terrible. Switching keyboards on Android can be cumbersome so this app enables you to switch keyboards from the notification tray.

My file explorer of choice is Solid Explorer and I use Airdroid to control various aspects of my Android.

And here is my 2nd page of apps. Now to compare it to the original HTC apps screen...

...the HTC ONE only has a 4 x 4 grid compared to my 8 x 6 grid.

I used the Urban Armor Gear case for the S3 which I loved so I got the same brand of case for the HTC ONE from Amazon for 26USD.

I drop my phone a lot and know that I would have ended up with a smashed screen by now which means downtime - can't afford any downtime - not right now!

The Urban Armor Gear case has got rubber all round and a sturdy back to protect the phone.

The case does add thickness and cover up the lovely silver casing though ^^

The external USB adapter from my S3 works with the HTC ONE enabling me to do a backup of the whole system on external media - this HTC ONE doesn't come with a MicroSD card slot.

Now lets take a look at some of the stuff I've installed.
With the new OS up n running - MiraiClock3 doesn't have that annoying bar at the bottom.

This is the Bikini version of MiraiClock which we are going to give out first to folks who attend Culture Japan Con next week.

Mirai-chan so cute ><

Some of my music selection - mostly lounge.

My official LINE account has reached over 400,000 followers - thanks to all!

For RSS feeds I recommend Feedly. For those who are not beknowist, RSS feeds are a convenient way to keep up to date with your favorite sites.
Feedly is great because its nice n simple and looks really nice too with its flat UI.
To start using Feedly, click here to see what this site looks like in the Feedly reader.

The mobile version of Mirai Gaia is currently quite crap - will fix it but its of low priority when compared to all the other stuff on our plate right now ><

The Feedly reader will enable you to keep up with my ramblings when you are on the move too.

My video player of choice is V Player which plays MTS files too.
As for this video - its the first motion test of the Smart Doll.

This is what the Instagram app looks like. My Instagram account username is dannychoo.

My S3 was serving me well until it started to freeze which would be remedied by a reboot. Then the freezing got worse to a state that the phone was completely unusable.
I hadn't the foggiest as to what was wrong - searches for "Galaxy S3 Freeze" came up with results which were standard for any mobile phone.

Linus (who also switched from iPhone to Android) also had the same problem with his S3 but his google foo was better than mine and he discovered that this problem affected a lot of the S3 units regardless of whether it was stock OS or CM10.

Apparently there was some bad disk sector and the way to fix the problem was to install a Dummy File Generator which filled up the disk space on the S3. This would then force the phone to freeze where it should be left for 20 mins to slowly "fix" itself.

After repeating this process, the freezes became less and less until there was no freezing at all.

By the time I found out about this however, I had already ordered the HTC ONE and was using my old iPhone for a while - its was painful going back to iOS after using Android for over a year - having to dig into settings just to toggle some features seemed not so clever where Android provides a toggle in the notification panel.
In this post I talk about all the other reasons which make Android so much more customizable for my workflow.

I could have gone for the S4 instead of the HTC ONE but after my experience with the S3, I don't think I can trust that line of phone anymore as it left me in the lurch at a time when I needed to be productive.

If I was to complain about the HTC ONE then it would be the shabby camera but apart from that the HTC ONE has been serving me well so far.

The rest of the photos in this post are taken on the HTC ONE. Some photos are decent - some are not so and it looks like it really depends on the lighting at the time.

And thats it! Hopefully the HTC ONE will last me for a while to come. What phone are you using of late?