HTC First review: The socialite
Stock Android gallery
The Default view of the gallery is Albums, which is what we're used to seeing - it lists all folders with photos in the phone. Rather than the familiar stacks, the app uses a grid of photos, two on a line.
Besides, Album view, you also get Locations (photos are grouped based on where they were taken), Times (grouped by when they were taken), People (if the photos have tagged faces in them) and Tags (these are general tags you can add manually).
A handy option is the Make available offline feature - it lets you easily select multiple online albums and download them for offline viewing. The Gallery app supports online albums like Picasa (but not Facebook) and you can set it to sync photos only over Wi-Fi.
Getting inside an album displays all the photos in a rectangular grid, which is horizontally scrollable. When you try to scroll past the end, the photo thumbnails will tilt to remind you you're at the end.
Anyway, the single photo view is updated too - above the photo are several sharing shortcuts and a delete button, while below is a line of small thumbnails of all other photos in the album. You can tap those small thumbnails to move to other images or you can just swipe to the side.
There is a capable image editor on board. It can be accessed from a small icon from the bottom left hand-side corner, and offers light adjustments (so you can bring out the shadows or the highlights), effects, color styles, red eye correction, straightening a photo, sharpening and face glow (which detects faces automatically). Most of these options have a slider that lets you fine-tune the strength of the effect.
An app called Movie Studio handles editing videos and it's quite feature rich. You can add multiple videos to the timeline and trim their start and end points, you can add titles and effects (including transition effects) add music and there are multiple options available when you decide to export the video (resolution, quality, etc.).
The video player is far from perfect - you get play/pause and a slider to scrub through the video but that's it. There's still no dedicated videos app (you have to go through the Gallery). The player however, includes support for the the DivX and XviD codecs.
Stock music player
The HTC First comes with the latest stock Music app. It has the same side-scrollable tabs like much of the other stuff in Jelly Bean and comes with plenty of updates.
The tabs are used to organize your music library - there's Recent, Artists, Albums, Songs, Playlists and Genres.
From the Settings key you can get into the equalizer. It can be turned on and off and features several presets that along with a user defined one. If you plug in a headset, you can also play with the Bass boost and 3D effect sliders.
While the player is running, the lockscreen features the album art and track info for the current song along with simple playback controls. The notification area also lets you control the playback via an expandable notification.
Excellent audio quality
The HTC First audio output came out pretty impressive as is the case with most recent HTC smartphones. It did great in the active external amplifier part of the test, posting great scores all over the field. In addition it had volume levels higher than the majority of smartphones out there, including the Apple iPhone.
More impressively, the only area of the First performance that degrades is when you plug in a pair of headphones. Volume levels remain at the same high level, too, so the overall performance.
And here go the results so you can see for yourselves.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
|HTC First||+0.26, -0.19||-89.7||89.4||0.0083||0.019||-88.8|
|HTC First (headphones attached)||+0.27, -0.30||-89.6||89.4||0.013||0.021||-45.3|
|HTC One||+0.11, -0.14||-92.4||91.2||0.0012||0.013||-92.4|
|HTC One (headphones attached)||+0.16, -0.07||-92.1||90.9||0.014||0.055||-70.8|
|HTC Butterfly||+0.13, -0.29||-82.5||82.3||0.0090||0.022||-80.8|
|HTC Butterfly (headphones attached)||+0.16, -0.24||-82.3||82.1||0.0094||0.042||-59.7|
|HTC One X||+0.02, -0.08||-82.1||82.1||0.137||0.393||-80.7|
|HTC One X (headphones attached)||+0.10, -0.10||-80.6||80.6||0.174||0.459||-60.8|
HTC First frequency response
You can learn more about the whole testing process here.