Sunday, December 08, 2013

HTC One 4.4 Kit Kat Impressions

A day after Android 4.4 Kit Kat was announced, HTC USA announced it would release 4.4 for its HTC One within 30 days.  Surprisingly, HTC USA delivered on their promise and Android 4.4 was available OTA on November 30, 2013, exactly 30 days after their announcement.  That is really impressive in this day of product and update delays.  It's expected that carrier specific HTC One will receive 4.4 sometime before February.  In the meantime, here are my impressions of Android 4.4 Kit Kat with Sense 5.5.

The brief OTA change log:

Updates noticed:
  • Added Lock screen widget capabilities.  Switch to the right pane to add widgets.
  • Changed Lock screen keyboard no longer uses the Android keyboard you selected but defaults to the system keyboard
  • Updated Gallery app adding additional online sources like Dropbox.  Now you can view from: Google Drive, Dropbox, Facebook, Flickr, and Picasa
  • Added HTC Apps
  • Added HTC Backup
  • Added Google Photos
  • Updated to Polaris Office 5
  • Updated YouTube
  • Updated Google Maps
  • Updated Camera firmware from 5.1.658161 to 5.5.2321372617 - will show the green box immediately when you open the camera app to display it auto-focussing
  • Battery life seems to be improved the same.  I will update this posting with my findings after a few more charge/recharge cycles but right now I'm estimating about a 10% improvement
  • Updated Weather app now opens to all favorite cities rather than the last city
  • Added emoji to the HTC native keyboard but they aren't the same as the official Google Keyboard emoji
  • Music app now shows play progress in a circle rather than a bar
  • Adds a new "Highlights" drawer to Blinkfeed when you swipe to the left
  • Updated TV App
  • Updated Google Hangouts that can now integrate SMS
Some features from KitKat you won't see:
  • Smart Caller ID - there is no search built into the dialer (I personally wouldn't like this or would like to have the ability to disable it)
  • Google Now Launcher with Google Now on the left pane and home screen listening for "OK Google" voice command
This update isn't as dramatic as the Android 4.2 to Android 4.3 update, which brought significant performance improvements, updated a bunch of Google apps, and updated most of HTC's apps like TV.  I haven't noticed any negative aspects to the 4.06.1540.2 update with Android 4.4 so I'd recommend any HTC One users to get the upgrade when it's available.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nokia Lumia 1020 Photo Review Compilation

Even after a year of releasing the 41MP Nokia 808, the 41MP in the Lumia 1020 still wowed the crowd with this year's announcement. The Lumia 1020 is the first time Nokia has attached a 41MP camera into a Windows Phone 8 device. That's a lot more pixels than any point-and-shoot commercially available right now and steps into DSLR territory. A lot has been said about the Lumia 1020 being better than a DSLR or better than a point and shoot so I compiled some comparison reviews that I found to do a fair comparison of the photos and gave my thoughts to them.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Photos from the Nokia 1020 compared to HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S II

A took a scroll with my Nokia Lumia 1020, HTC One, and Samsung Galaxy S II and took photos from each of the phones just to see if the Lumia 1020 is really as good as what people say it is.  Here are some of my photos and some comparisons:

Nokia Lumia 1020HTC One

A closer look...
Lumia 1020 (top) compared to the HTC One (bottom)

 The HTC One doesn't have much detail and looks fuzzy compared to the Lumia 1020.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Quick Comparison of the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S 4

The two hottest Android phones for 2013 duke it out for people's hard earned cash.

CategoryHTC OneSamsung Galaxy S 4 (SGS4)Brief Rationale
WeightWinThe SGS4 is lighter at 130g while the HTC One weighs 143g
DimensionsWinThe SGS4 (136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm)is shorter and thinner but a tad wider than the HTC One (137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm)
Build MaterialWinMany reviewers complain that the SGS4 plastic build is cheap compared to the HTC One's aluminum unibody
Manufacturing QualityWinThe SGS4 has a lower defective return rate and gaps are smaller than the HTC One.
ErgonomicsWinHTC One has odd button placements compared to other Android phones has a difficult to reach power key, flush volume keys, and slippery body.
CPUWinBoth HTC One and SGS4 use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 600 but SGS4 is clocked at 1.9GHz while HTC One runs at 1.7GHz. The difference is very minimal in real life usage.
RAMBoth have 2GB but SGS4 has faster RAM with DDR3 (HTC One uses DDR2)
Display SizeWinThe SGS4 fits a 5 inch display in a body that isn't much wider than the HTC One. Both are 1080p displays but the HTC One has a higher pixel density but you can't tell the difference between the two with your naked eye
Expandable MemoryWinThe SGS4 supports microSDs up to 64GB and includes 16gB onboard memory while the HTC One is usually found in 32GB variants (a AT&T and developer version are available with 64GB)
BatteryWinSGS4's battery is larger and software better optimized to last longer
Camera (Daylight)WinSGS4's 13MP camera captures much more detail
Camera (Night)WinHTC One's large sensor captures more light
LTEIf you're in Canada, only the SGS4 supports band 7 LTE (2600MHz) providing up to 100Mbps.  Otherwise it's equal for both phones.
SpeakerWinHTC One has front facing stereo speakers
FM RadioWinHTC One has a FM radio while the SGS4 does not
WiFiBoth support 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
NFCBoth have NFC
GPSBoth support GPS and GLONASS
CategoryHTC OneSamsung Galaxy S 4Rationale
SkinLighterHeavierThis is subjective of what you like more.  The SGS4 is more cartoony while the HTC One is more flat and modern. But the HTC One is missing some functionality like clearing all applications in the multitasking window
Included SoftwareWinThere is more usable included software with the SGS4 like a file browser, task manager, better video format support, and notification toggle out of the box.
Speed of UpdatesWinHTC is known to update their phones more quickly.
Longevity of UpdatesWinSamsung issues updates for longer time for their flagship phones such as their former flagship, Galaxy S 2.
Price and Availability
CategoryHTC OneSamsung Galaxy S 4Rationale
PriceWinThe HTC One MSRP used to be $579 USD, now $599.99, which is cheaper than SGS4's $649.99 USD. On contract prices are currently still a $50 difference in HTC One's favor.  On top, HTC has also been running a trade in program that will give you $100 or more back for your old phone.
AvailabilityWinSGS4 is more widely available on various carriers such as Verizon.

From a check list comparison, the SGS4 heavily wins against the HTC One.  I personally chose the HTC One over the SGS4 because of the look of the phone.  You really can't go wrong going with either phone.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review of the HTC One from a Samsung Galaxy S II User

With two huge flagship phones released to the market so close together it's inevitable that they would be compared to each other - which explains all the reviews comparing the HTC One to the Samsung Galaxy S 4.  But if you're like me and bought Samsung's earlier smash hit, the Samsung Galaxy S II (SGS2), you're probably looking to upgrade about now so here's a Samsung Galaxy S II user's impressions of the HTC One.

I'm reviewing a HTC One Unlocked US edition running 1.29.1540.16 (Android 4.1.2) and comparing it against a Samsung Galaxy S II GT-I9100 UK Unlocked running Android 4.1.2.

The former Android flagship has finally met its match in the HTC One

Friday, May 17, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S II UK International 4.1.2 Jelly Bean Released and Impressions

After waiting months and months since Samsung first starting rolling out Jellybean in Spain, UK unlocked Galaxy S II (XEU) can now officially upgrade their phone and taste some of that Jelly Bean goodness and the latest TouchWiz Nature UX.

Like all firmware upgrade processes, make sure you take a back up of whatever you need from your phone.

Note: This update will wipe out your homescreen settings

You can update via OTA:

Or through Kies:

You'll need to update Kies before you can update your phone since Samsung just released a new version of Kies today

In the first hour, I'm regretting the upgrade. The UI looks so garish and cramped.  All your home screen configurations will be lost on the upgrade.