Top positive review
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Initial review - very good indeed! *Now with follow-up*
on 8 April 2012
This is a preliminary review, since I've only had the phone for a couple of days, and am still exploring its possibilities.
However, so far, I've been very impressed. The build quality is beautiful (a solid piece of polycarbonate with a gorilla glass screen spanning the whole front face of the device). It's slim and lightweight (unlike previous HTC models, that tended to be heavy beacuse of their use of an aluminium unibody, and rather on the chunky side). The HD screen is stunning - bright, vibrant, and with incredible detail. This is the first phone display I've seen that out-does the brilliant IPS display of the iPhone. The quad core processor means that the phone undertakes even the most demanding of tasks with ease - no lags or stutter - everything is wonderfully smooth.The camera seems to offer good performance (though haven't used it in a sufficient variety of settings/conditions to come to a definitive view). The sound (with Beats Audio enhancement) is excellent - combined with the screen and processor power, it makes watching 1080P HD video a real treat.
A lot has been made of the issue of battery life - both because of the power requirements of this device, and because of HTC's past record of less than impressive battery performance (the HTC Desire I've been using until now, while not terrible, wasn't great either is this respect). After a few days use, my view is that HTC have clearly done some work on the battery issue - reasonably demanding use (a few hours of video/web browsing/game playing), synching multiple email accounts, WI-FI, 3G and GPS 'on') and the phone will get through a normal working day (but will need an early evening top-up). Given the screen and processor in this phone, that's acceptable in my view.
Downsides? Not many. I have noticed some patchiness in pinch-to-zoom and text reflow with the stock web browswer - but hopefully this will be corrected with an update (or I'll use an alternative browser). Fortunately, I've not experienced the screen flicker and 'banding' issues that some users have reported.
One issue to bear in mind is the inevitable size of this phone - unavoidable if one wants that amazing screen. Having moved-up from a smaller phone (with a 3.7 inch screen), the phone doesn't feel easy to use in single-handed operation - just a bit too wide and tall. The slick polycarbonate body also gives the feeling that it might slip out of the hand if using it one-handed (though I'll buy a skin and see if this helps grip for one-handed use). So, for those with small hands, this might just prove too large to handle comfortably - worth bearing in mind, and perhaps considering the slightly more compact HTC One S as an alternative.
The verdict so far - not quite perfect, but as close as I've seen any phone get to being the ultimate all-round mobile device.
FOLLOW-UP. Well, it's now been a few weeks that I've had the phone, so thought it worthwhile to add some additional comments. In all, I continue to be very impressed with the device. I did mention a few glitches, such as rendering issues in the stock browser. However, last week I installed the OTA (over the air) update from HTC, and that seems to have solved those problems. Moreover, the update includes some other valuable fixes. Firstly, according to HTC, there's a battery fix that increases the life by 20% - I'm finding now that the battery does indeed last longer (I've also installed Juice Defender, which adds additional lasting power). I've read other reviews and comments about the battery life, saying how terrible it is. Maybe this is a reflection of different patterns of use from different people, but for me the phone comfortably gets through the day, which is all I reasonably expect from a high end smartphone of this kind. Also, HTC have fixed a problem with the camera software - apparently, it previously stopped images being saved in files larger than 3MB, thereby reducing the definition and quality of images. This has now been fixed, meaning that the 8MP camera can peform at its best, and I've been very impressed with the quality of images.
So, in all, I'm really pleased I went with this phone - a great performer, with that added 'wow factor' and beautiful styling.