NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The HTC One has been widely lauded by the tech press as the bestAndroid smartphone hardware you can buy today.Sadly, I'm here toreport that I disagree. I cannot recommend this device. The HTC One is the fanciest Android smartphone you can buy today. Itis the Android to buy if you are impressed by metal construction andBreitling watches. It's the iPhone of the Android world, if you wish. This is clearly the Android smartphone that can compete with theiPhone 5 for a spot in the Museum Of Modern Art. The design isextremely beautiful. Here is the first problem: A smartphone is not a museum piece. It'ssomething that you hold in your hand and potentially drop on theground. The primary task of a smartphone is that it needs to feelsecure in the hand. The HTC One feels terrible in the hand. It's too big and, moreimportantly, extremely slippery. It feels like a moderately used barof soap, ready to fly out of your hand any second. It's a little bitlike getting into a car where you can't get a comfortable seatingposition but you have a back ache from the first second. Interestingly, HTC also makes the two smartphones that may have thebest feel of any smartphone, ever -- the HTC First, aka the so-calledFacebook Phone, as well as the HTC 8X for Windows Phone. The contrastcouldn't be more stark. Holding the HTC One feels terrible, whereasthe HTC First and 8X are a pleasure.
The other obvious comparison is the Samsung Galaxy S4, which looksrather unremarkable compared to the HTC One. No pedestal in MoMA forthe Samsung Galaxy! However, in a simple blind test, the Samsung Galaxy feels pretty goodin the hand. Not great, like the HTC First or HTC 8X, but decentenough. It doesn't feel like it's about to slip out of your handanymore than most phones. The HTC One is made in fancy metal, and it looks like it could havebeen carved from one piece. As it turns out, it is not. After onlyhours of using it, in my case, the front plate covering one of the twospeakers came off. Nothing of the kind has ever happened to me in 17years of often carrying as many as four cellphones simultaneously.
There are other parts of the HTC hardware that are great, however.The display is the best I've seen at 1080x1920 in a 4.7-inch size.The CPU is the market-leading Qualcomm ( QCOM) Snapdragon 600. WiFi is801.11ac. Basically, the hardware specs are almost exactly like theSamsung Galaxy S4. For now, the HTC One is a spec leader. One other part of the hardware that's class-leading is the speakers.They are stereo and point forward. I have never heard any othersmartphone match it. You can watch a movie on this one and fill up asmall living room with sound. Truly the best of its kind. What about the software? Several points to be made here, none of them positive: 1. Which version of Android does it run? It is based on Android4.1.2, which was current as of October 2012. The current version ofAndroid is 4.2.2, and you have had it for a while already if you havethe Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which was introduced in October 2011.