I’m sorry HTC, it’s not you - it’s me.
I have been a longtime loyal fan of HTC, we’ve been through everything together. For almost 8 years I’ve stood by your side, through thick and thin - but I’m sorry, HTC, we need to part ways.
My closest friends and family know that I’m a pretty big fan of Android. The platform, integrations, flexibility, and configurability - I love it, and I can honestly say that I’ve never seriously considered going to iOS, ever. I mean c’mon, my favorite thing to do is talk shit about Apple during our monthly coffee club meetup (really about iOS, I’m actually a big fan of my Mac).
I’m also a huge power user of my phone - I use it for everything. My phone is important to me, it is engrained in my personality and sparks my creativity. From group selfies at community building events, tweeting about startups and technology, to live streaming pitches and presentations. I know my phone inside and out and need it to be just as capable as I am.
We go way back.
As far as brand choice goes, it has always been HTC. My first smartphone was the newly released G1 on T-Mobile in 2008. Touch screen, sliding keyboard, trackball - it had everything I ever wanted, and it was amazing. Two years later I upgraded to the brand new HTC Evo 4G on Sprint. Great phone, flashed new ROMs on it more times than I can remember, but it was SOLID.
Early 2013 rolls around and HTC releases the One M7, different than anything we’ve ever seen before. It was beautiful, sleek, light, fantastic display, and a surprisingly decent camera (being the first run of the UltraPixel). Sense 5 was the best Android interface I’ve ever used, way slimmer (and more mature) than Samsung’s TouchWiz. And don’t get me started on the IR blaster - that alone made me fall in love (one remote to rule them all). I upgraded in April and it was the best phone I’ve ever owned.
In 2014 we saw the release of the One M8. I wasn’t incredibly impressed, the dual-camera thing look a little gimmicky - but it seemed to have good reviews. The most common complaint seemed to be about the camera, it just wasn’t as good as an iPhone or even Samsung. So many great things were going into this phone in terms of design and hardware, but they were falling behind on standardized features. Samsung and Apple both released their own fingerprint scanners, cameras were getting better, processors were getting faster. After the release of the M7, I knew, just KNEW they were working on something. So I waited for their next release.
2015, HTC releases the M9 at the Mobile World Congress, and the results? Marginally better, depending on who you ask. More RAM, faster processor, bigger battery, new camera (kind of). I read a ton of reviews. TONS. From almost every major tech publication, I read them all, including the comments. I was disappointed - but I had faith! Surely they're just haters and have never actually experienced HTC like I have, so I bought the HTC One M9.
First, here’s what I like about the phone: it’s fast, Sense 6 + Android Lollipop is amazing, the IR blaster is where it should be, the screen is vibrant, Extreme Battery Saver Mode is actually really good, the front facing UltraPixel camera is awesome (I take a lot of group selfies), Boomsound is incredible, and it’s an all-around good looking phone. A quick note about Boomsound, a lot of people have made similar comments like, “Why would you ever use speakers like that when you can hook it up to a bluetooth speakers or headphones?". Here’s why, because whenever you’re out and about or at a friend or family’s house and you want to show them this hilarious YouTube video and you don’t have any of those available - you’ll understand. Seriously.
Now for the criticism. This phone gets hot. Wait, let me clarify that - this phone gets fucking hot. And when the phone gets hot and processor overheats, you know what happens? The battery life plummets. It doesn’t matter how much bigger the battery is, this thing won’t last all day on regular usage. Putting the USB port right next to the headphone jack - if you have them both plugged in at the same time with nothing playing, it makes some incredibly awful sounds. Power button on the side - what the fuck. Some reviewers commented on this saying it was weird, but we all just assumed muscle memory would take over. Nope, it doesn’t - it’s inconvenient as hell. You’re constantly locking/unlocking your phone, accidentally adjusting your volume, AND it’s incredibly hard to put in a car or camera mount. The older UltraPixel camera was replaced with a super generic, generally shittier camera that has no optical stabilization (i.e., blurry pics without details), and the act of taking a picture is really, really slow when compared to other top of the line phones. Other than that, I just have weird hardware/software issues - app downloads failing randomly without explanation, phone freezing and rebooting constantly. I send in my crash reports, HTC - do you even get them?
Then there’s the HTC One M9+ they released shortly after that had an added fingerprint sensor. I’m not even going to comment on this. HTC, I thought we were friends.
It’s time to say farewell… for now.
Maybe I’m naive. Up until this point I have been one of the biggest HTC champions, I wanted to believe HTC was listening to their consumers, and that they were implementing new features to play ball with the other big boys, and fixing the most common issues - but I suppose not. I’ve always had high hopes for HTC, I’ve always believed in them - but I never knew how to tell them how I felt about their products, until now.
No more leaving me high and dry, no more watching your leadership team change and have me worried about the future of the company and products. I’m sorry HTC, we need a break.
I really don’t like TouchWiz (but I’ve heard it’s better this time around), and I’ve tried using a phone with buttons on the back, but it just isn’t the same. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I know I can’t do this anymore. HTC, the only advice I can give is - stop making so many models of phones, stick to what you know, and fix the things we want. You know what they are - admitting they’re issues doesn’t make you weak, it only makes you stronger.
Oh, yea. I’m still not getting an iPhone.