Device shortcomings (late night though rant)

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by Krimsonmyst, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. Krimsonmyst macrumors 6502

    Dec 18, 2012
    **Note - I noticed I wrote 'though' instead of 'thought' in the title - my apologies.

    So it's 1:15am here, I don't yet feel like sleeping, and while looking at my HTC One I was inspired to put pen to paper (so to speak).

    Over the last 2-3 years, I've done a loop of every ecosystem. I used to be an Apple Store employee, so naturally I had the 4, then the 4S, and for a very brief period of time I had the 5.

    I then tried a Lumia 800 (I know it was outdated at the time, but it was a freebie that I had the chance to use for a few weeks). Then I went to the S3, and the S4, and now I have a HTC One.
    I've got to say that for the first time in a long time, I feel like the mobile industry is letting us down.

    I mean, its no secret that different manufacturers focus on different aspects of their products to make them unique, or to focus on that OEM's 'vision'. Apple has it's ecosystem, Samsung has it's specs, Sony has it's cameras/waterproofing, HTC...well, HTC tries to go for a bit of everything I guess.

    The point of this post, however mundane it may seem (and however much I might groan tomorrow morning when I read it again), is to just illustrate how the industry seems to so obviously let key competitor advantages go un-addressed in their new products.

    I'll start with my most recent example. I had an S4 that I bought on launch day, here in Brisbane, Australia. Coming from the S3, I had a fair idea of how it would work, and I quickly got into rooting and modding the hell out of it. The screen was fantastic, I loved the expandable storage and removable battery - and the camera was really, really top notch (for everything other than low light).

    I decided that after having the S3 and 4, I wanted to try something different, so I picked myself up a black HTC One (I think the black looks much better than silver). Immediately, differences were noted. I never thought that the build of the S4 was poor, but the One is spectacular. GREAT feel in the hand, perfectly machined and just really really sexy looking. The screen was great as well. I prefer the slightly more saturated tones of an AMOLED display, but the LCD is still really gorgeous. The idea of speakers on the front is genius. How has no-one thought of doing this before?

    All of a sudden, the plastic build of the S4 was a shortcoming. But the shortcomings of the One became PAINFULLY apparent as well. For everything stellar about the One, there is something mediocre (or worse). The standout is the camera. My god, this thing is horrible. Is it possible to get decent shots out of it? Yes. Is it easy? No. To get similar to the level of quality that I found on the S4, I had to really try to set certain shots up. And the UltraPixel thing, I feel is little more than a marketing gimmick. Does it have better low-light shots? Marginally.
    I also feel that the battery life of the One is slightly less impressive than the S4...but I don't have the S4 anymore, so I can't do a side by side comparison.

    If we could somehow fit the hardware of the S4 into the body of the One, well that would just be amazing.

    Then of course we have the Apple corner. To be honest, I really tried to like this season's offerings from Apple. I REALLY did, to the point where I went into my old workplace (somewhere I'm not super-welcome anymore, now that I don't carry an Apple phone) and played around with the 5S and 5C. I sort of half came close to wanting a 5C, because the bright colours were something different and unique, but again, the shortcomings reared their ugly heads.
    For every handset with meticulously machined holes and brilliantly smooth, exceptionally solid polycarbonate - it was still a phone with last year's hardware, running this year's OS, which feels tired - to say the least.

    Every time I thought about going down the store to pick up a 5C (which I so nearly did last saturday, like, I was literally about to get in to the car), I kept thinking about what I'd be giving up from my Android device:

    - That gorgeous, big screen
    - Drag n' Drop functionality
    - Not being tied to iTunes
    - Not being able to share to and from any app
    - Not being able to refund apps I've paid for and not liked
    - Home screen customisation
    - ROMS/Mods/Tweaks
    - Choice of default app setting
    - Choice of keyboard

    You get the idea. For everything that is appealing about an Apple handset, there's one or two things that are just dealbreakers for me. I don't think I could live without SwiftKey anymore.

    Honestly, I feel that if HTC had at least put a proper camera into the One, I'd be completely stoked with it, and could forgive the other shortcomings. But it really is a low point for the phone, and unfortunately I can't see anything coming out soon that makes me too excited (maybe Nexus 5, we'll see).

    So there you go, my late night rant. It's taken me about 20 mins to type this, and while I'm insanely tired, I think that I may have made some decent points.

    Thanks for reading it all, and goodnight.
  2. ChazUK macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2008
    Essex (UK)
    Good read.

    My only gripe with the One is that camera. Its sufficient (most of the time) but that's about it.

    I do hope that come the next generation HTC One, the optics are sorted and it gets the spec bump it will need to compete (not that I have any issues with the Snapdragon 600 chip set in mine).

    I'm lucky enough to always have my iPhone 5 and HTC One with me when out and about so the camera isn't that big of a deal breaker to me, but, I wouldn't mind that extra spec to make my One into the perfect phone.

    To end, goodnight to you! :D
  3. MRU Suspended


    Aug 23, 2005
    As I have said as nauseum in regards to different smartphones .

    The grass is not always greener on the other side, its just different grass...

    Every device has its flaws, yes HTC did it with the One's camera. Samsung tends to be plastic build and touchwiz that cause issues and with Apple its reluctance to increase screen estate and Sony it tends to be awkward design or poor washed out screens. BB10 & Windows 8 its the lack of third party developer support, and ALL of them bar the iPhone has utter crap syncing software with Mac computers (in the iPhones case its crap software on PC).
  4. Black Magic macrumors 68020

    Black Magic

    Sep 30, 2012
    So why didn't you try out a Moto X? I left Android a while back and if I were to come back, I think the Moto X would be my choice.
  5. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    He's in Australia-- no Moto X outside of North America.
  6. Tsuchiya macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2008
    I agree with most of your post. My compromise was an S4 with a good case to hide the plastic back (still looking...).

    Hopefully HTC knock out a great sequel to the One, I felt that it came so very close to what I would want in a smartphone.
  7. Dontazemebro macrumors 68020


    Jul 23, 2010
    I dunno, somewhere in West Texas
    If touchwiz wasn't so doggone unoptimized, I think hands down, the S4 would be the best phone on the market. But yes I agree, every handset has its issues.
  8. KentuckyHouse macrumors 68020


    Jan 29, 2010
    Lexington, KY.
    I've had all the phones the OP talks about (save for the latest Apple offerings) and I completely agree with him on every point. While the plastic of the S4 doesn't really bother me, I get why it does some people, especially if you've used a One (or even Moto X, like I am now).

    I've actually stated that if HTC had just put the camera from the One X or One X+ in the One, I'd have been satisfied with it. But the UltraPixel was just awful for me. The only other gripe I had with it was the insanely slow charging time (something that may have been fixed with recent updates...I'm not sure).

    Someone asked why not try a Moto X, and being that the OP is outside of America, I understand why they can't. But if they ever open this phone up to the world, I'd highly recommend it. I've always been a removable battery and SD support kind of user and this X has completely weaned me off of them. It's seriously one of the best experiences I've ever had with an Android phone (and I've had a lot of them). And after the recent update that dramatically improved the camera, the phone now has no glaring weaknesses.

    I will still be getting the Nexus when it's released, but if nothing else, the X has just reaffirmed to me that I'm a stock Android sort of guy.
  9. onthecouchagain macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    Can't stress how poor the HTC One camera is. In regular lighting, anything white or lit is always overexposed. It's ridiculous.
  10. mellofello macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2011
    Put the s4 in a case. Problem solved.

    My buddy is running a metal back on his s4. does wonders for the look.
  11. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    So my wife ended up buying a iPhone 5 last week (5c/s not available in Switzerland yet...). We've been using Macs for many years, but for phones for many years we were just getting along with low end prepaid android phones. Earlier this year I upgraded to a Nexus 4, and now it was my wife's turn to pick a new phone. So why did she end up with the iPhone 5?

    The S4/S4 Active was in consideration, but she didn't like Touchwiz.
    Both the HTC One and the S4 are too big for her.
    The "mini" versions of the above are still bigger than the iPhone 5 and have questionable hardware.
    Essentially there is no decent Android phone with a smaller form factor.

    In the end she said she wanted the iPhone 5, and I didn't even try to argue against it because at least for her, it is the best phone available (ok, the 5s would have been better, but not in this country...).

    So of course I did play a bit with the new phone. Positive impressions:
    - the camera is so much better than in the Nexus 4
    - great out of the box functionality of the phone + iOS 7
    - I like the solid volume buttons and the mute switch

    Somewhat negative impressions:
    - no "Back" button
    - no swype
    - having to pay extra for the nano-SIM
    - can't just charge with standard USB cable

    Of course it is not as customizable as an unlocked/rooted Android device, but for most people this is not so important. And having guaranteed OS upgrades is nice... in particular when I see all the "Phone XXX will get Android 4.2.2 in three weeks" when actually 4.4 (or Android 5 even) is around the corner.
    With all that, my next phone most likely will be a Nexus 5... however if the camera is not improved compared to the Nexus 4, I might eventually join the iPhone family instead.

    --- Just something I wanted to share, and it seems to loosely fit in this thread.
  12. Krimsonmyst thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 18, 2012
    Couch, I always put a lot of weight behind what you have to say, simply because I feel you're a very unbiased and objective commenter on mobile products.

    I'll admit, I was thinking (or maybe hoping) that you were wrong about the One camera. Sadly, it really leaves a lot to be desired.

    Mind boggling that they did it in the release period where Samsung released one of, if not the best phone camera to date.
  13. Krimsonmyst thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 18, 2012
    Also, for what it's worth, I am actually able to get a moto X through a grey import.

    However, it'll be at&t branded, and warranty would be sketchy at best.
  14. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    Any chance you could get a Developer's Edition through that channel? Don't think it would improve your warranty situation but it is fully unlocked, has all the US GSM bands and T Mobile/AT&T LTE bands (not sure what you need) and wouldn't have any of the carrier restrictions/bloatware.
  15. onthecouchagain macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    Agreed. Your description of the one's camera in your op is 110% spot on.

    Marginally better low light. Pretty horrendous every other time.

    And only decent if you adjust the settings and put work into it before taking the shot. But when you want to take a quick photo, that's the last thing you want to do.

    Ultra hype. Ultra unfortunate.


    I'm hoping the nexus 5 will bring that all around quality in a smart phone that you (and I) are seeking, OP.
  16. kasakka macrumors 68020

    Oct 25, 2008
    It's a real shame that smaller phone sizes are not good enough. The S4 Mini would've been fine if it just had a 720p display instead of the qHD crap. The HTC One Mini is not mini by any measure.

    Of the larger ones, HTC and Sony really ****ed up with their big bezels. Only the S4 and especially Moto X seem to combine maximum screen size while keeping the rest of the phone slim. Much of that on the MotoX is that they didn't bother putting branding (or physical buttons for that matter) on the front like HTC and Samsung do.

    We are getting to a point where phones are so large that they're unwiedly to use with buttons at the bottom. I often accidentally press the capacitive buttons on my S4 and when I actually do want them, they're hard to reach if using the phone one handed. To me that seems like today's phones should be operated with gestures anywhere on the screen rather than buttons.

    But aside from screen sizes/resolutions and buttons, right now phone hardware is excellent. Most have pretty decent battery life, nearly all are very fast, have more than decent cameras and are chock full of sensors.

    Alas, it's the software that lets them down right now. iOS 7 is almost like an Adobe product - ugly, sloppily put together, inconsistent and performing less than stellar especially on merely a generation older devices. It's a reskin for something that didn't really need one. It barely adds some features that have been jailbreak apps for years.

    Android on the other hand, as an operating system needs better support for 3rd party system features. Wouldn't it be nice if you could add for example a flashlight option to quick toggles without messing with rooting, ROMs and whatnot? Stock Android is helplessly feature-deficient while manufacturer skins often have some good features but then lots of baggage elsewhere. I'd rather see an Android environment that works more like a "build your favorite combination" rather than "pick one of these, deal with the annoyances".

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