"Well Done, HTC. Form & Function."4.5 starson by MrGadgetman
Pros: Build, Screen, Camera, Speakers
Cons: LED Status light, Bloatware
Summary: For me personally, HTC has redeemed themselves, because they used to put out junk and I went out on faith giving them another shot. After a lot of research and playing around in the store, I decided to pull the trigger and trade in my Galaxy Nexus for this unit. I didn't really need a new phone, but I was drawn if not allured by its beauty. My GNex gave me no issues.
First the Good:
1. Construction & Size; this unit is built with outstanding quality. It is gorgeous to look at and it feels great holding it. The size isn't cumbersome and it fits right in your hand or pocket. It's got a little heft, but not too much to complain... it just feels like, hardware. I don't think I want a phone from this point on that isn't made of aluminum. It is the first phone that I thought was worth the actual price.
2. Camera; The camera takes great photos by day (though a little heavy on the processing) but let's face it; they all do. Daytime capture is easy. This unit does however excel at night shooting, thanks to its large aperture and large sensor. Instead of using a 15MP sensor and a tone of image enhancing, HTC went back to basic photography principles and threw in a larger sensor, optical stabilization and a large aperture. More light through the lens and a larger sensor to catch it means better photos, and since no one uses their smartphone to print billboards, they did away with the need to have a 10+ MP sensor, as it is overkill. The results are great pictures at half the image file size.
As far as usability, I love how you don't have to manually switch between still camera and video functions. Just get the subject in the sights and press the corresponding button, boom. Just a note: Since it only captures 4.0MP, you cannot switch capture resolution size. Not a problem since 4MP doesn't consume a lot of space.
3. Speakers: Short and to the point... They rock! I thought it to be a gimmick until I tried them out. You'll just have to see (hear) for yourself. Ringers, notifications, etc all come through loud and clear with great clarity and no distortion. All those stereo ringtones and notifications I spent time to create years ago are finally being realized! [evil genius laugh]
4. Screen: The screen is gorgeous and bright. Nothing else to say on that.
Most of these units have far more features than I'd ever use, but suffice to say that this one is no exception. People have either loved or hated Blink Feed. I actually don't mind it. I however went through the trouble to set it up properly too, so I only get stuff I care about to show up. True, you cannot turn it off, but you can exile it to the farthest panel on the left so it's out of the way. I absolutely LOVE that this thing is also an IR remote control. I have all my TVs (All Sony LCDs, and Sony A/V Receivers too) programmed and there is an awesome TV listings app that can tune to your shows for you.
Since this unit doesn't have 4.2.2, I have been forced to revert my thinking as there are some features that I have come used to on the the GNex that had the later version of Android. I don't knock the HTC hardware for that; I'm sure it will catch up soon enough.
The phone is fast and responsive. Apps launch quickly.
Now the gripes (minor or not):
-The tiny on/off button doesn't inspire a lot of confidence against sticking or breaking, especially since it doubles as the IR transceiver. We'll just have to see. Time will tell.
-The LED notification lights are miniscule and unless you have the phone level in your eyesight looking dead at it..., you'd be hard-pressed to notice that it's blinking, that is unless you're in a dim room. The integrated the LEDs are inside the speaker grill and while that cleans up the appearance of the face..., function was sacrificed. Hopefully, an update to the firmware will increase brightness to combat this.
-Video capture is either HD (720p, 1080P) or MMS (text message quality) that's it. No in-between. The phone won't dumb itself down to SD video, get over it.
Any further gripes would just be nit-picky. As with anything new and different, there are always going to be growing pains associated with the learning curve. Are there things I miss about my Nexus...? Sure. But, the gains in features are so numerous and the things I will miss are certainly not dealbreakers. No phone is perfect. All in all I am pleased. Well done, HTC. You are forgiven.