The HTC One: Don't Drop It

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The HTC One has been widely lauded by the tech press as the best Android smartphone hardware you can buy today.

Sadly, I'm here to report that I disagree. I cannot recommend this device.

The HTC One is the fanciest Android smartphone you can buy today. It is the Android to buy if you are impressed by metal construction and Breitling watches. It's the iPhone of the Android world, if you wish.

This is clearly the Android smartphone that can compete with the iPhone 5 for a spot in the Museum Of Modern Art. The design is extremely beautiful.

Here is the first problem: A smartphone is not a museum piece. It's something that you hold in your hand and potentially drop on the ground. The primary task of a smartphone is that it needs to feel secure in the hand.

The HTC One feels terrible in the hand. It's too big and, more importantly, extremely slippery. It feels like a moderately used bar of soap, ready to fly out of your hand any second. It's a little bit like getting into a car where you can't get a comfortable seating position but you have a back ache from the first second.

Interestingly, HTC also makes the two smartphones that may have the best feel of any smartphone, ever -- the HTC First, aka the so-called Facebook Phone, as well as the HTC 8X for Windows Phone. The contrast couldn't be more stark. Holding the HTC One feels terrible, whereas the HTC First and 8X are a pleasure.


The other obvious comparison is the Samsung Galaxy S4, which looks rather unremarkable compared to the HTC One. No pedestal in MoMA for the Samsung Galaxy!

However, in a simple blind test, the Samsung Galaxy feels pretty good in the hand. Not great, like the HTC First or HTC 8X, but decent enough. It doesn't feel like it's about to slip out of your hand anymore than most phones.

The HTC One is made in fancy metal, and it looks like it could have been carved from one piece. As it turns out, it is not. After only hours of using it, in my case, the front plate covering one of the two speakers came off. Nothing of the kind has ever happened to me in 17 years of often carrying as many as four cellphones simultaneously.