Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Here's to Change: Win a Brand New HTC One Phone!


I've owned an iPhone for more than six years now. I remember swearing in 2007 to my now-BFF Sean, who was then my boss, that I'd never get one. I had a "fancy" flip phone at the time, the kind with a full keyboard & a nice-for-the-time camera &, obviously, no Internet access. Those were the days when I called friends for directions, texted my tweets to 40404, had to be at an actual computer to check my email - almost unfathomable to me now.

Yes, my iPhone revolutionized my life (albeit not always in a good way. Hello, texting thumb & relentless connectivity!) For the better part of a decade, I've been a dedicated user: I've owned four models, shattered three screens, had one phone lost or stolen (still not sure which), been gifted a replacement from a kind Internet stranger... Needless to say, my iPhones & I have been through a lot. But despite it all, I'm one of those people who consider my cell phone absolutely indispensable, & the iPhone in particular - using it is second nature, an extension of my arm, the easiest thing ever.

So when Laura, a representative from HTC, reached out to me to see if I'd be interested in testing out the new HTC One, I was initially wary. Me, willingly forfeit my iPhone?! It was almost unthinkable, especially considering that I'd purchased a new 5s on the day they were released, just a couple weeks prior. But HTC's newest campaign, Here's to Change, is all about embracing the unknown. (They've even done a bunch of fun commercials & videos with Robert Downey, Jr., about it.) Embracing adventure & stepping outside my technological comfort zone, I told Laura I'd love to take an HTC One for a spin.

I never thought I'd be pulled away from my beloved Apple products, but let me be the first to say that the HTC One gives iPhones some stiff competition. Here are some overly verbose thoughts about the difference between the two: what I liked, what I didn't, & how they stack up against one another.

Typing

Let's start with the negative: I had a really hard time getting used to typing on the HTC One. In my first three weeks with it, my friends made fun of me hard for the ridiculous typos & poor punctuation that is so uncharacteristic of my text messages to them. After about a month, I discovered the Swype function, which allows you to just drag your finger across the keyboard to the letters you want, without raising it - & then "connects the dots," if you will, to spell out your words. Once I got the hang of Swype, all my typing trepidation disappeared, & I was back on track with proper spelling & the use of commas. 
  • Winner: Initially, iPhone had a major edge for me in this category, but the discovery of Swype was a total game-changer. Someone with less-ingrained habits and/or more dextrous thumbs might catch on more quickly.

Texting

In all honesty, losing iMessage was, in my view, the single worst thing about switching away from an iPhone. I have an unlimited texting plan, but many of my friends don't, & with iMessage no longer an option, we've had to cut down on our communiques or switch to third-party apps like WhatsApp & Google Hangouts. Those are easy to use, but they're just not as easy as iMessage. 
  • Winner: iPhone. Although actual texting on the HTC One is fine, the lack of iMessage was a hard hit.

    Screen

    I thought the HTC One screen, at  4.9", would be too unwieldy compared to the 4" iPhone screen I was used to. The first time I put the HTC One in my pocket, I thought, "Or are you just happy to see me?!" With further use, though, I find that I actually prefer the HTC One's screen, as it gives me a little bit extra to hold onto (TWSS?) For someone who's dropped her iPhone(s) countless times, having enough to hold onto is the difference between a shattered or intact screen. It also makes for better-than-the-iPhone video viewing.

    • Winner: HTC One

    Coolness

    There's just something about being an iPhone owner, you know? I've always been a little bit pretentious about it, so going into my HTC One ownership, I was admittedly a little nervous about whether I was sacrificing my yuppie status. I needn't have worried. While owning an iPhone is certainly trendy, I find that it's a bit of a conversation piece to use a phone that's slightly outside the norm. I've gotten a lot of questions about the HTC One since I started using it, & it's sort of fun to be able to introduce people to a new phone that they might love. 
    • Winner: A tie, to my surprise!

    Photography

    While I really love the iOS7 function that allows me to take a square, Instagram-ready photo, I have to say that the HTC One's camera is awesome - like, just awesome. I'm not a pro photographer (as evidenced by the fact that I use my phone as my primary form of picture-taking), so I don't know all the technical terms, but I found this camera to be a lot more reliable in terms of focus, lighting, editability, etc. The HTC One's UltraPixel Camera features "HTC Zoe," which lets you create four-second moving images, sort of like in Harry Potter, & the ultra-wide front-facing camera lets you fit more people into the image than you can with an iPhone. 
    • Winner: HTC One

    Apps

    I thought I'd have a hard time getting used to Google Play, the Android's app store, but it was just as easy to use, & all of the basic apps that I use most often are available through it. I missed the A Beautiful Mess app, which isn't yet available through Android, but my life will not suffer greatly from an inability to prettify all of my Instagram photos. 
    • Winner: An easy tie

    Dropability

    Did I mention that I drop my phone a lot? I drop my phone a lot. I haven't had a case on the HTC One the whole time I've been using it - & because of its size, I haven't dropped it nearly as often as I typically drop iPhones, but when it has hit the floor, it's proven much sturdier than its Apple counterpart. Case in point: While using my iPhone 5s to take a picture at the beach, I dropped it, & it shattered. My brand new phone, totally devastated, its insides showing behind pieces of fallen-off glass! I wouldn't go throwing my HTC One against walls or anything, but with its aluminum body, it seems easily more hardy than any iPhone I've ever owned. 
    • Winner: HTC One, far & away
    Of course, there are plenty of other differences between the iPhone & the HTC One, which can be compared to the differences between using a Mac & a PC. In my experience, the HTC One feels more like a tiny computer; using it feels similar to working on my laptop (which is not a Mac). Increasingly, I've learned that my initial inclination toward the iPhone has been based only in comfort & familiarity: I know how to use it, so I think I prefer to use it. The reality, though, is that phones like the HTC One offer just as much (if not more) functionality.

    Here's to change, indeed.


    If you want to learn more about the HTC One, here's the full rundown. And if you like what you learn, you can join me in using the HTC One, because HTC is giving away a brand new HTC One to a lucky reader! This giveaway is open to readers worldwide; the HTC One is available on all four major US carriers & also in Europe & Asia. There are a few ways to enter over the next two weeks, & I'll announce a winner on Wednesday, Dec. 18th. All I'll need from you upon your win is your physical address (no P.O. boxes, sorry), phone number, email address, & the name of your cell phone carrier. HTC will ship your new phone by December 20th, & you will rock out.

    May the odds be ever in your favor!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway
    Disclaimer: HTC provided me with an HTC One to use & one to give away, but as always, all opinions are my own. Ain't nobody pullin' these puppet strings.
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