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The HTC One Google Play: Is It Worth It?

Last updated: December 4, 2018.

Here is the HTC One Google Play

The HTC One, as well as other devices like the Optimus G Pro and the Galaxy S4, are examples of likable devices – they’re one of the best in the market now, but not one of them is without flaw. The common recommendation of most people on how to make the devices better is to equip the phone with stock Android. HTC One and Galaxy S4 both have it, which is called their Google Play edition and looks almost like a Nexus. Google has given its word to HTC and Samsung for updates on the Android OS while the two companies are left responsible for the optimization and developer resource policy.

HTC One Google Play

The standard HTC One device was extremely likable, while the HTC One GPE is also comparatively good. The Sense is much preferable right now, but a change of heart is possible depending on how much improvement the firmware of Android and One GPE would get.

Here’s a comparison of the HTC One and the HTC One GPE.

1. Build quality and design

  • No differences. The HTC One and the HTC One GPE look exactly the same.

A2

2. Display

There are both good and bad points when it comes to this criteria. The display of One GPE seems to have a different calibration from the HTC One.

  • One GPE has cooler colors and is, therefore, more accurate. The colors lean more towards the blue spectrum, but only slightly.

A3

  • The auto-brightness of One GPE can be adjusted more gradually. There are some cases where it looks darker.
  • The One GPE also does not get as bright as the standard HTC One. The company has its technique for white/color balance adjustment so that the standard One looks like it has great color contrast.

3. Battery life

In terms of battery life, the One GPE wins by a few points. Compared with the HTC One, it has a longer battery life despite the continuous syncing of services that are power-intensive.

4. Camera

  • The camera of the HTC One is way better than that of One GPE.
  • In terms of image quality, the One GPE tends to soften the images and as a result loses a huge amount of detail. This is even exemplified by the 4mp resolution of its Ultrapixel sensor. The photos look awful especially when the scale is above 50%. Google probably intentionally increased the softness of the photos because a lot of people are complaining about the sharp and noisy digital processing of HTC.
  • The One GPE also has overexposed photos and has issues with the autofocus – which are similar problems of Nexus users. Many OEMs with stock Android have been licensing or developing their own software for autofocus because of this (HTC uses DxO Labs library for its Sense devices). HTC puts the blame for the problematic autofocus on the implementation of stock Android, and this reasoning is what users will probably get for other concerns or issues.
  • The camera app of stock Android has no ISO settings, no filters, no burst shooting, limited scene modes, and does not allow you to adjust the contrast or sharpness or saturation. To top it off, the user interface is really poor, and there’s also very few settings available for the video.

Take a look at this quick comparison. The first photo is taken from the HTC One, while the second photo is taken from the One GPE.

A4
A5

The camera of the One GPE is decidedly awful. Basing on this alone, and for people who would really love to have a handy, good camera with them all the time, then this would make it easier to pick the standard HTC One.

5. Storage

Free storage on the One GPE is slightly more than the HTC One. Users get 26gb available on the One GPE while users get about 25gb on the standard One.

6. Wireless

  • Tethering is problematic on the One GPE. This is a constant problem each minute: there’s either lost connection or there will be no moving data. This does not occur with the standard One.
  • Data and signal are spottier on One GPE, but the signal conditions are nearly the same as both review devices are on AT&T.
  • HTC One has no interruptions in data connectivity, while the One GPE experiences it sometimes. This happens at least once every few days, although the device is able to fix itself after a few seconds.
  • The One GPE has a higher data speed by 5% to 10%, as tested by speedtest.net. This is despite the identical APN settings.

7. Call quality

HTC One and HTC One GPE has the same call quality. It gets loud and is not worse than other smartphones.

8. Audio and speaker

  • Bluetooth audio seems to have identical quality on both phones. The quality is good as well as the reliability of streaming.
  • It is notable that the One GPE has a Beats Audio mode switch. This can be found in Settings > Sound

9. Performance

The One GPE has a better performance, which is noticeable when you are exploring the OS. But the experience feels similar as you open and run the apps.

  • Camera quality. One GPE has a poorer camera quality, which can easily make you rethink about buying this phone. The HTC One also has better camera settings.
  • Sense vs Stock. The Sense 5 looks much better than stock Android.
  • Keyboard. The Sense keyboard has better accuracy and prediction whereas the stock Android keyboard is sometimes less responsive.
  • Home button. Launching an app from the app drawer and clicking the home button will take you back to the app drawer. You need to double tap the button for it to go home. In this regard, the One GPE gets the point because its home button does not behave this way.
  • Multi-tasking. You also have to double tap for the multi-task to launch. The UI of HTC for multi-tasking is much preferable as you don’t even have to scroll through all your open apps.
  • Dialer. HTC Sense 5 has a poor dialer – it erases the phone number you recently dialed when you multitask out of the app. The stock Android on HTC One GPE has a better and more user-friendly dialer.
  • Power saver mode. HTC One has a power saver mode that automatically activates when your battery reaches a certain percentage. HTC One GPE does not have this feature.
  • Power control button in the notification bar. Sense 5 does not have toggles for power control in the notification bar. It’s a good TouchWiz feature, so its absence is depressing. Google, meanwhile, has a secondary notification pane in an attempt to address the issue. But it’s nowhere near what we’re looking for.
  • IR blaster. One GPE does not have an IR blaster, but it is not that big of a deal for now.
  • BlinkFeed. The One GPE does not have BlinkFeed, which is a bummer because BlinkFeed is a good time killer especially when you are stuck in a line. This, of course, varies per user.

The verdict

From all those criteria, it is easy to conclude that the GPE One is less favorable than the HTC One. The better camera and awesome keyboard are themselves good enough reasons to stay with Sense. But that is a personal choice, and there are some people who would still prefer the GPE One. The GPE One is obviously targeted for the niche of stock Android users who want to its functionalities on a high-end phone.

The one real edge of the One GPE against the standard, Sense HTC One is the next major version that will be released by Android soon (maybe this Fall, or maybe not). The “K” release is big news. As such, users of the One GPE would have a feel of the newest Android version several months before the release of the new Sense version on HTC One. But of course, that is based on how good Google would keep its promise in giving quick and timely updates to the GPE phone.

The One GPE is not the worst smartphone, except for some down points like the camera. It may be fixed by software updates (let’s keep hoping on that) or it could remain that way. But don’t get your hopes up because Google’s major weakness is the cameras in Android.

The fact that One GPE is stock Android does not automatically mean that it will provide an excellent display and custom UI skin. The skins are now less on branding and more on functionality and features. The importance of having the latest version in the fastest time possible is what is important, even for the enthusiasts. The GPE One has a very small niche that is very specific of those things mentioned. Without effective software updates to fix the issues with the current One GPE, it would lose its reason to create another GPE phone.

The OEM side is having a bigger piece of the cake when it comes to innovations. This happens not just in the Android OS but also in Samsung and Motorola, to name a few. Developers and third party providers rarely support Google’s innovations with Android, not until someone big such as HTC or Samsung ships a device that uses it. For this reason, Google uses its Play and Play Services as a platform to launch its innovations on Android and make it accessible to millions of handsets.

Obviously, the One GPE has a lot of things to work on. It is a good phone, but it is not as extraordinary as stock Android enthusiasts would hope for.

Would you buy the One GPE?

SC

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