HTC One preview: Take two
HTC Zoe is a wiz at photo retouching
HTC Zoe is more advanced than any other gallery on a phone and it works thanks to the dedicated ImageChip 2 that the One uses. When you use the camera in Zoe mode, every time you press the shutter key, the phone captures up to 20 full res shots and a 3 second video (1 second before you press the shutter key and 2 seconds after). All that information is required for the advanced features of Zoe.
One of those features is Events. Zoe can be used as a regular image gallery with photos stacked together according to their folders, but Events groups photos by when and where they were taken. Each event has a 30 second highlight video, which is stitched together from those 3 second clips plus a slideshow, including some of the pics. You can remove clips and add new ones to the highlight video, add a video effect and also include a background music (the tracks are preset, though it is possible to add new ones to the list).
The videos and multiple full-res shots come into play when editing images as well. Since the phone has a video of the scene during which the photo was taken, it can find moving objects and put a red X on them so that you can tap and remove the ones you want, but keep the rest. The result is a full-resolution 4MP image.
Zoe can also make sure everyone in the photo is smiling and their eyes are open - it detects all faces and circles them, then you can swipe to go through all available images of that face until you find the perfect one.
Yet another feature is called Sequence shot. It takes a shot of a moving object and it creates a cool effect "multiple exposure" effect where that object appears several times on the photo. It's perhaps easier to show the effect than explain it, here's a shot of a BMXer jumping over a ramp. You can tweak the effect by adding and removing clones.
The Zoe arsenal of effects doesn't stop here - there are some vanity effects too. One such effect is Face contour, which allows you to easily slim someone's face. There's also Skin smoothing, an automatic lightning fix, Eye enhancer (which makes your subject's eyes open wider), Eye brightening, Red-eye removal and Anti-shine. The strength of these effects is adjustable with a slider so you can fine tune it.
That's just the Retouch section of the Photo Editor. There are also effects, frames and transformations available. Basically, Zoe is a knowledgeable Photoshop helping hand in your pocket.
Music player with Beats
The HTC One comes with a custom music player, which is HTC Beats enabled, of course. It can organize your music library by Artist, Album, Songs, Playlists, Genres, Podcasts or Folders (we don't see this option very often). The phone will also easily stream songs over DLNA, you're not limited to the music library you have in the internal memory.
The music player has some handy features out of the box. It can automatically look for and download Album art and artist photos (you can limit it to Wi-Fi connections only) and it can also search for lyrics. The lyrics can be displayed either in karaoke mode or just as text.
There's no equalizer on board, you just have the option to toggle Beats audio on or off. That's not ideal, but at least the BoomSound stereo speakers on the front of the HTC One are quite loud. Unfortunately, we didn't have our sound meter on us, so we'll have to wait until we get the One in our office for a full review to test if they can really hit the promised 93dB.
The Video player on the HTC One has a pretty simple interface, there isn't even a dedicated app, you just pick a video from the gallery. Anyway, you get a Play/Pause button and a slider to scrub through the video, a button to launch the camera and a small square with the current time and battery charge. Those automatically hide after a few seconds, of course.
The video player can use the Beats audio sound enhancement just like the music player, which is great for watching videos. The video player supports DLNA and you can use an MHL adaptor to plug the phone into a TV.
One pretty unique feature allows you to change the playback speed of the video. This is helpful for clips, you've shot in one of the high frame rate modes, it allows you to watch either a High Frame Rate (it playbacks in real-time, just like The Hobbit) or in slow motion.