HTC First review: The socialite
The HTC First comes without a preinstalled office editor. You will have to hit the Google Play Store if you really need one.
The calendar's functionality is as good as ever. There are four views - Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Agenda. The app can easily handle several online calendars as well as the local calendar.
You can add multiple reminders for each event and search through all events.
The Clock app defaults to desk clock mode that looks a lot like the lockscreen. The usual alarm functionality is still present - you can set multiple alarms, each with its own repeat time, ringtone and label.
The good old calculator is here too - it has big, easily thumbable keys and you can swipe to the left to bring up the advanced functions (trigonometry, square root, brackets, etc.).
The HTC First comes with a GPS receiver, which also supports GLONASS for faster, more accurate locks. You can use the A-GPS functionality to get near instantaneous locks. Alternatively, network positioning will also do if you only need an estimate of your location.
Google Maps is a standard part of the Android package and we've covered it many times before. It offers voice-guided navigation in certain countries and falls back to a list of instructions elsewhere.
3D buildings are shown for some of the bigger cities and you can use two-finger camera tilt and rotate to get a better view of the area.
You can also plan routes, search for nearby POI and go into the always cool Street View. The app will reroute you if you get off course, even without a data connection.
Google Maps uses vector maps, which are very data efficient. The latest version has an easy to use interface for caching maps - you just choose "Make available offline" from the menu and pan/zoom around until the desired area is in view (there's an indicator showing how much storage caching that area will take). You can later view cached areas and delete ones you no longer need.
Note that there's a limit to the size of the area you can cache - you can't just make all of the US available offline, not even a whole country. We managed to cache New York City and some surrounding regions before Maps told us the area is too big. Also, there's no address search in the cached maps and you can only cache map data in supported regions of the world.
Google Play Store
The Google Play Store enjoyed a major overhaul recently, which brought an extra dash of eye candy to its looks, while retaining the same functionality. Running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the HTC First has access to the latest available apps. Still, don't go overboard with installing every app you see, as your storage is pretty limited due to the lack of microSD card slot.