From an iPhone to an HTC One

It’s not that I don’t like iOS, I’m not here to talk about that. I think iOS has come very far, it’s extremely stable, user-friendly, fast, and clean. I have an iPad, and I love it. Treat this review more like first impressions of a Mac and iOS exclusive user who decided to take the plunge into a new platform and phone.

When I visited the AT&T store in mid-June, and laid eyes on the new HTC One, I was immediately struck by its quality build, and just-the-right-size screen. Personally, I thought it was one of the most beautiful phones since we were introduced to the first iPhone and the iPhone 5. It’s enclosure, the finish, the glass… It’s a real pleasure to hold in your hand. The only thing that had me concerned at that point was the operating system, Android. What will happen to my important apps, which are available, and could I get used to this different OS, and separate myself from iOS?

I went about my business for a few weeks contemplating whether to get it or not, and finally the day came when I decided to switch.

The Arrival and Setup

The packaging is nothing to rave about, it’s just a simple cardboard box. The phone is inside not necessarily snug in position because of the terrible packaging. The setup itself was fairly simple, you login with your Gmail account, and you’re good to go. If you don’t have a Gmail account, it will ask you to create one, and walks you through everything you need to do, no-brainer.

Post-setup and problems getting up and running

The main problem switching from an iPhone to the HTC One was getting my contacts consolidated properly with the One, ’til this day I have problems with that. I don’t know who to blame for this, but if you look at your OS X Address Book, it’s broken down into “iCloud” contacts, and “On My Mac” contacts. It was very confusing because you can’t get your iCloud contacts to an Android phone, unless those contacts exist in “On My Mac” lists. Eventually I figured it out, and was able to set it up properly, now everything is working “semi-smooth”, but who knows if that will change to get better, and we know Apple won’t do anything on their end to help OS X sync with smartphones that are not iPhones.

Another major issue for me which ’til this day I’m trying to figure out, is how to sync my pictures. All my pictures are in Aperture. I can technically upload my entire library to Flickr, and display the images on my HTC One, but I don’t know if this is the right solution. We all want simple solutions for something that, in this case I think is HTC’s fault in not solidifying a way to harmonize this device with other platforms. Lets not even get into the HTC One syncing software, that’s one horrible, useless mess of a software app, completely devoid of any good user experience, and decent utility for that matter. Definitely does not complement the HTC One at all, or OS X.

Aside from those issues, I can’t expect everything to be like the iPhone, because this is after all another phone OS, which has it’s own pros and cons, just like iOS does.

The Good

  • Doesn’t lag on animations, it’s very fast
  • Love Gesture Typing, couldn’t live without it. Check http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ig7icgTHtDY
  • Pleasure to hold, great build quality
  • The 4.7 inch screen is impressive with 1920×1080 pixels, that’s 469 pixels per inch
  • Great call quality
  • Battery life is excellent
  • My car is more compatible with it
  • The speakers with BoomSound and Beats audio are absolutely impressive. The sound that comes out of this phone in unreal for a smartphone
  • I can easily pair it with my MacBook and send and receive files with ease via Bluetooth
  • Google Play to sync music like iTunes Match, and it’s free
  • Camera shoots amazing quality pics
  • Everything is just more customizable
  • TV Remote, can control all my TVs, Dish Hopper etc
  • The interface is more modern than others like iOS
  • The blinking green light for alerts is really awesome, and it’s all we have when there are new alerts
  • Multitasking window is great to switch between apps and close them completely

The Bad

  • Bloatware is extremely annoying for the most part
  • Back button to go back is one of the most useful buttons on the HTC next to the Home button, and these buttons are common in Android devices from what I’ve seen. However, there’s no forward button. Lets say you’re in the browser visiting a bunch of websites, and you go back to see the previous site, really easy with the back button. However, when you want to go forward to the newest page you were visiting, you have to go through the OS menu options, and locate the forward button, very confusing. It’s like if someone took the reverse from the shift stick of a car, and placed it in your digital screen under a menu option. Makes no sense.
  • Sense 5 concept is great, but still needs a lot of work. For first time users the whole double icon menus get confusing. Screen slides can’t be re-organized, you have to delete the screens to arrange them
  • Don’t see text messages on lock screen when phone is asleep
  • The screen doesn’t even turn on for alerts, and there’s no option to do so
  • HTC is a wider phone, so it’s easy to touch screen with palm of hand and open or click things you didn’t want to
  • The sleep button is the only way to immediately access the phone. Unlike the iPhone, which additionally you can press the home button to get immediate access, you get used to it eventually, but it’s annoying at first
  • Can’t have wallpaper on regular icon pages only Blink custom icon pages. Pages must remain with black backgrounds
  • Gmail application is great, but can’t add other types of email accounts to it. However, the preinstalled Mail app supports all accounts, including Gmail, but visually it isn’t as good as the Gmail app, so I’m stuck using two apps for mail

The Product and Support

The “first” HTC One I received was the Black version. I quoted “first”, because the phone was defective, and I didn’t realize it was defective after a couple weeks of use. I figured it would’ve been something easy to handle like you do when your Apple products are defective. You either go to the store where you bought it (in this case AT&T), or call and get a replacement. The phone is still under warranty, and I didn’t expect any problems from this process.

I think this is where HTC also fails. I honestly think as a first time customer I rate them a 1 out of 10 for service. Their customer support is the worst I’ve experienced, and they should fix that fast if they want to get anywhere ahead in this industry, especially with Americans. I called them to fix the problem, and they didn’t want to help me at all, not even offering a replacement for their defective phone. They told me to take pictures of the device or talk to AT&T. Why AT&T if HTC manufactured the damn product!

Getting the phone replaced was one of the most time-consuming things I’ve ever experienced when dealing with a warranty of any product. AT&T sent me across town to their warranty store, uncaringly denied me plus saying I was the one that damaged it. Finally, I spoke to AT&T’s Customer Support over the phone, was transferred to their warranty department, and finally received a replacement.

This alone can deter a lot of prominent customers to even try their products. When a company isn’t competent enough to invest in good customer service, it can literally be make or break for many people. AT&T made it right for me, but HTC didn’t. They didn’t even attempt to help me, customers deserve better than that. When a company is offering “premium” products for people, a certain level of service is expected. I’m one of those few that made a switch from the iPhone to the One, and am taking a chance with HTC. I’m hanging in there hoping it gets better from here on out. Clearly, if they refuse to address many of the issues that are obvious, it’s a scary thought on what’s ahead.

HTC isn’t clear about software release dates either, and it’s all very confusing for new customers. Recently they mentioned Android 4.3 to be the new update instead of Android 4.2.2 which was slated to be released last month (August)? Out of nowhere they announced they were skipping it, which could be a good decision, but it worries me if this is how they handle software upgrades overall.

Conclusion

I can’t speak for all the iPhone/iOS to HTC One/Android switchers, but overall, the HTC One and Android are both phenomenal products. So far I couldn’t be happier in their offerings, and hope it only gets better in the not so distant future. The positives far outweigh the negatives, and I don’t plan on getting the new iPhone 5s anytime soon! We’ll talk when the iPhone 6 is released! Just constantly thinking about losing the customizable features of my HTC One is enough to deter me from going back to iOS-land in the meantime.

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