The LG G2 uses the same gallery app as the Optimus G and G Pro - in essence, a near stock Adroid gallery with a few custom touches here and there. It automatically locates images and videos no matter where they are stored on the phone. By default, images are sorted by albums, but you can sort by location or time as well.
The different sets are tiled neatly across the screen. You can expand or shrink individual albums using a pinch to zoom gesture, making the elements of the grid of photos either really huge or very tiny.
HTC decided to transform the gallery on the One into your animated album, which is always alive. That is possible thanks to HTC Zoe, which is more advanced than any other gallery on a phone and it was made possible by 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.
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.
The video player on the G2 has a fairly simple interface, giving you just a grid of all the videos on the device. There's an alphabet scroll to help users locate videos faster but that's about it. You can, of course, play videos from the Gallery if you prefer its folder-centric organization. For each video you've started, the thumbnail gets a tiny clock icon, which shows how far into the video you are.
The interface during playback is nothing overcomplicated, yet it's quite powerful. The live preview feature is back - it's a YouTube-like pop up preview of the video above the scrubber.
To get the basics out of the way, the available controls during playback include a scrubber for jumping to various parts of the video along with the standard play/pause and skip buttons. There's a pop-out button at the bottom right corner too, indicating that the app is part of the QSlide functionality on the Optimus UI. LG have implemented MX Player-like controls too - a swipe left or right will move the video forward or backwards, while a swipe up or down will tweak brightness.
One of the new additions is a Video Speed control (you can set values from 0.5x up to 2x). There's a lock button too, which hides all controls for pure full-screen viewing. Another cool feature in the video player is Live Zooming. You can zoom in (with the familiar pinch gesture) during playback and some serious magnification is allowed, not just a quick resize or fit to screen.
The video player also supports all popular subtitles formats. You can open subtitles manually in case the subtitle file is not using the same name as the video file. Non-Latin subtitles are supported as well and there are the usual options of choosing the font, color, size, etc.
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.
Just like with the LG G2 you can adjust the playback speed on the HTC One. 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.
This is what's important - codec support. The LG Optimus G Pro handled everything we threw at it - DivX, XviD, MKV and MP4/MOV up to, and including, 1080p resolution. The AC3 audio codec (among lots of others) is supported, so you don't have to worry about the sound. There are were no issues with higher bitrates and file sizes, either.
The HTC One, on the other hand, failed pretty miserably when it came to codec support . It couldn't play all our DivX videos save for one, MOV files were out of the question and did choke with some audio codecs (like AC3).
Finally, the most important part - screen size. The LG G2 is a much better device for watching movies on as it offers the bigger canvas and it's an absolute joy watching high-res movies on it. However the HTC One has its edge with the front-facing speakers.
The music player on the LG G2 has an interface that is simple, easy to use, but still full of functionality.
The Now playing interface places a big album art image in the center with controls above and below it. Swiping the album art left or right is the easiest way to skip songs back and forth.
There are equalizer presets and you can even create custom ones.
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 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.
SoundHound is the track recognition of choice for HTC and it has even been integrated it into the music player UI. It easily ID's a song from just a short sample. Or you can say the name of the artist and song and SoundHound will find it for you, including lyrics. The free app however only offers a limited number of uses (99).
HTC's approach to the music player is simple - it has Beats Audio and here's the album art. LG on the other hand delivers a custom tailored experience to everyone via its equalizer presets and manual mode.
Winner: Tie. Both devices offer the usual set of multimedia apps and both deliver them with a twist. The HTC One has a flat-out better gallery thanks to Zoe, but a cleaner music and video player. The LG G2 delivers an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink video player and a music player with equalizer, but no automagical features to match Zoe.
HTC set out to deliver the best loudspeaker output on a smartphone to date. And looking at the numbers the HTC One is the clear winner here. The LG G2 sounds okay on its speaker but its speaker is rather quiet and you might miss a few calls with it now and then.
More importantly, the HTC One also has far nicer sounding output with deeper bass and less distortion. The front-facing speakers are also far more comfortable for multimedia or playing games as they provide more immersive experience.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overal score|
|HTC Butterfly S||66.7||61.9||72.2|
|Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4||70.6||66.2||77.3|
Winner: HTC One. Clearly.
The LG G2 showed nicely clean output in both parts of our traditional audio quality test. The smartphone got pretty decent scores, but was led down by its volume levels, which were only average.
The scores stay close to perfect even when you plug in a pair of headphones. The stereo crosstalk worsens a bit but the rest of the readings are virtually unaffected (frequency response actually improves a bit). Unfortunately, the volume levels remained just as uninspiring.
The Beats-powered HTC One offer arguably the best audio quality in the smartphone world right now. 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 far higher than its competitor here.
More impressively, there's next to no degradation when you plug in a pair of headphones. The stereo crosstalk rises a tiny bit, but that's the only affected reading. Volume levels remain at the same high level, too. This is the second smartphone in a row where HTC makes the Beats audio logo stand for something other than a simple equalizer, but as we said last time, the wait was probably worth it.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
|LG G2||+0.03, -0.28||-91.9||91.9||0.0097||0.011||-91.3|
|LG G2 (headphones attached)||+0.07, -0.03||-91.5||91.8||0.037||0.041||-54.3|
|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|
LG G2 and HTC One frequency response
You can learn more about the whole testing process here.
Winner: HTC One. Another one that doesn't need much explanation - the One has the cleaner and louder output.