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Customizing Your HTC One. Htc one beats audio

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Note: Our original review was of the unlocked, GSM One S. We’ve updated the review with impressions and tests of the 199 (with contract) T-Mobile model as well. Check out the Hardware, Connectivity and Software sections to see the biggest differences between the two devices, which are generally quite similar.

When I first saw the HTC One series, in that top secret subterranean bunker where HTC likes to preview its phones, my attention and desire were immediately drawn by the One S. I didn’t care about the 4.7-inch, quad-core One X and its supposed flagship position, I wanted to know more about its 4.3-inch ultrathin brandmate. That’s no knock on the One X, which ticks all the boxes for a legitimate Galaxy Nexus competitor, but the 7.8mm thick One S offers a much more mainstream form factor and price point, while also being the thinnest smartphone that HTC has ever made.

That sort of instinctive reaction is exactly what HTC is going for with its 2012 range of Android phones. It doesn’t want customers to think of distinct tiers of devices, it’s trying to pitch us options A and B — or One X and One S, in the company’s vernacular. Sticking with the theme of singularity, however, most buyers will only have the budget to own one Android 4.0 handset, so which One should it be?

Hardware

T-Mobile’s version of the One S isn’t quite so futuristic. Its aluminum body doesn’t undergo the microarc oxidation process, but instead has a “gradient anodized” finish, and a very slight shift from light to dark gray as you look up and down the phone. It’s still nice to hold and feels great, but unfortunately your phone’s creation story won’t be so impressive. The ring around the camera lens is also blue rather than red on T-Mobile’s One S, and your opinion on the change will be purely an aesthetic one — though we like it.

The phone’s sides curve in from the rear toward the display, which reciprocates by sloping off the lateral edges toward the back. The overall effect is one of coherence and unity — something sorely missing from the patchwork-like rear cover of the Sensation. I’m reminded of minimalist running shoes by the gentle curve along which the One S’ display and aluminum case meet. Having the glass reach out to the edge of the phone and beyond makes it look sumptuously modern, while also softening that edge and improving feel in the hand.

Industrial Design

The One S is among those rare few phones whose design moves the whole mobile industry forward. In chronological terms, this is just a higher-spec successor to the 4.3-inch HTC Sensation, but its look and feel are wholly fresh and original. The side-mounted Micro USB port and qHD display resolution are the only remnants of yesteryear’s handset.

Everything has been rethought, optimized, and streamlined: the aluminum unibody case is now an incredible 7.8mm thick, the speaker grilles have been micro-drilled into the overall shell (rather than fronted by discrete metal plates), and the black One S variant has even been treated with a super-futuristic process called microarc oxidation. That’s something usually reserved for satellites having to endure the inhospitality of space, and involves plunging the aluminum into a plasma bath and electrocuting it with 10,000 volts, thereby carbonizing the material and converting it into a ceramic. The One S as a whole won’t survive reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, but part of it might.

Screen size Dimensions
Galaxy Nexus 4.65 inches 5.33 x 2.67 x 0.37
HTC One X 4.7 inches 5.30 x 2.75 x 0.37
HTC One S 4.3 inches 5.15 x 2.56 x 0.31
Sony Xperia S 4.3 inches 5.04 x 2.52 x 0.42
Motorola Droid Razr 4.3 inches 5.15 x 2.71 x 0.28
Apple iPhone 4S 3.5 inches 4.50 x 2.31 x 0.37

Conversely, the top edge is a little too sharp, and although the One S is styled almost identically to the larger One X, it feels harsher and less welcoming. That’s in part down to the aforementioned microarc oxidation treatment, which gives the surface a rougher feel. Despite being 1mm thinner and 10g lighter than the One X, the One S isn’t more able or portable. The difference in height is also negligible — the One S has plenty of vertical bezel — but it’s the narrowness of the One S that makes it an easier phone to handle than its bigger sibling. 4.3-inch phones have been growing in usability ever since HTC introduced the first of them in 2009 and the One S keeps that trajectory going. You might not fall in love with its austere metallic surface or some of its edges, but there’s no denying that its ergonomics are as good as we could previously expect from 4-inch devices and below.

INTERNALS

HTC’s emphasis on thinness with the One S leads to a number of internal sacrifices. The battery is enclosed and not removable by the user, there’s no microSD card slot, and the SIM card required is of the Micro SIM variety. Swapping Micro SIMs can actually be done without having to reboot the phone, but good luck trying to open up the compartment where the card resides. Every time I’ve managed to pry it open, the act required a lot of force and felt like I was breaking the phone.

On the plus side, Qualcomm’s all new Snapdragon S4 is the dual-core chip powering the One S, whose centerpiece is the 28nm Krait CPU that should ensure this handset’s 1.5GHz of power will go further and last longer than previous generations of chips. There’s also 1GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in storage, an MHL / Micro USB port, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA, 802.11n, Beats Audio integration, an 8-megapixel camera with f/2.0 lens, 25GB of free Dropbox Cloud storage for two years, and a couple of kitchen sinks sourced directly from Peter Chou’s Taipei office suite.

Display

The HTC One S comes with a Pentile Matrix Super AMOLED display. The “Super” part of the name is what allows HTC to fit all those components behind the screen — it denotes that the touchscreen digitizer and AMOLED panel have been fused into one, which together with the lack of a backlight (unnecessary with self-illuminating OLED displays) makes the screen supremely thin. It’s the Pentile Matrix aspect that most people have a problem with.

“Pentile” has become a dirty word in our industry because it describes a pretty shady practice: using an RGBG (red, green, blue, green) subpixel arrangement instead of the standard RGB to build cheaper, but also lower-quality, displays. The main problem with RGBG is that you get color fringing on high contrast edges (e.g. white text on a black background), which tends to get in the way of displaying crisp edges and fine detail.

customizing, your, beats, audio

Most icons on the One S exhibit a fine sliver of green subpixels on their left edge and a similarly slender string of red subpixels on the right. Admittedly, you’ll have to look closely to spot these inaccuracies, but once you do, they’ll be impossible to unsee. It’s the same thing as noticing you can hear a weather presenter’s intakes of breath — once you’re aware of it, the only thing you’ll be paying attention to is his next breath, not what he has to say.

Other phones that feature Pentile displays include Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, Nokia’s N9 and Lumia 800, and the Droid RAZR / RAZR Maxx from Motorola. The Galaxy Nexus manages to hide its shame by having much higher pixel density, whereas the Nokia handsets’ use of the accursed technology is more (though not entirely) forgivable because of their age.

The One S might very well be using the same panel as found in the RAZR — both phones have 960 x 540 resolution and measure 4.3 inches diagonally. That means you’ll see rich color saturation and great viewing angles, but also a blue-green tinge when you look at the screen off-center and a consistently inaccurate color temperature. The latter issue is most starkly felt when you place the One S next to the One X. Whites and grays on the X unit’s 720p Super LCD appear as they should, whereas the One S shows them with a hint of blue that’s characteristic of AMOLED screens.

Overall, the One S’ display seems like it was built for a showroom. It will wow casual onlookers with its vibrancy and brightness, but long-term users will quickly find it deficient in a number of important areas.

Beats Audio

What’s Beats Audio? Does it work?

Those two questions have been unfailingly asked by every person to whom I’ve shown the HTC One S and / or One X. The Beats label is an understated little marking on the back of the phone, but it’s also the only insignia it carries besides HTC’s own logo. Beats integration is a big deal for HTC.

My answer, as consistent as the question, has been simple: it’s a marketing gimmick. Beats Audio boosts the bass and volume on whatever you’re listening to, but doesn’t actually make it sound any better. And if it’s not better, why bother doing it?

While the bass is most noticeably amplified, there are also some tweaks to the high end, which resulted in a couple of odd spikes in songs like The Chauffeur by the Deftones. I wouldn’t say the Beats Audio processing is unpleasant — the popularity of the standalone Beats headphones is based almost exclusively on the modern listener’s preference for exaggerated bass — but they just seem to make the music different, not better. If you want the most natural and realistic rendering of your music, you’ll probably be keeping the Beats setting switched off.

Boost Audio would be a more fitting moniker

That would be a massive shame in HTC’s estimation, after it worked hard to make Beats Audio compatible with any audio-generating app, including third-party streaming services like Spotify and Vimeo. I’d have more sympathy for the company, however, if the branding exercise had some real substance behind it. Jimmy Iovine’s blusterous promise of “music as the artists intended it” is nowhere near being fulfilled by these Beats Audio handsets and HTC is running the risk of alienating users by selling them a feature of dubious value.

As to the question of audio hardware, the loudspeaker on the back is neat and unobtrusive thanks to the clean new design, but its output is pedestrian. Sadly, the Beats Audio crew haven’t yet figured out how to “reengineer” speakers. HTC also throws in a nondescript pair of ear buds with an in-line mic, which is a change of course from its previous habit of including higher-quality Beats-branded ear buds. My best advice for the ones in the One S box is to leave them in the box.

Battery life and reception

My immediate reaction upon seeing that the One S has a 1,650mAh battery was that it wouldn’t be enough. Running a 28nm Snapdragon SoC may help efficiency, but if you’re going to record 1080p video as this phone is capable of doing, you’ll find a battery of that size running out of juice pretty quickly. Sure enough, the Android battery-tracking chart fell off a cliff while I was doing my camera testing, which was a mix of still and video capture with the screen kept on most of the time. Nonetheless, even with a 40-minute photography session included, the One S managed to go a full 24 hours between charges for me, which is reliable endurance by anyone’s smartphone standards. Just be warned that pushing that 1.5GHz dual-core processor to its maximum won’t take you as far as other, less powerful, phones might.

Both the HTC One S and One X impressed me with their data connectivity. In a spot where I would typically get 5.4Mbps download speeds with the Nexus S, the One S consistently generated 6.4Mbps, reaching as high as 8.2Mbps on occasion. On the other hand, a couple of my speed tests showed the One S dipping to 4Mbps as well, so its performance was definitely better, but also somewhat mercurial. T-Mobile’s HSPA network offered the same experience: at points incredibly fast, but wildly inconsistent. Over the course of a day of network testing, I saw download speeds as high as 14Mbps and upload speeds up to 13Mbps, but far too often speeds fell into the 75-100Kbps range. Normally we’d blame the network, but across different countries and carriers it’s a little troubling, and it gets really frustrating waiting 90 seconds for a page to load when the last one loaded instantly.

This was also borne out by my experience with voice calls. When the connection is good, audio in both directions is loud and clear, however there were a number of instances when the One S failed to maintain a clear line in areas where I’d expect it to. Calls were never dropped, but sound quality deteriorated badly.

Camera

SPECS AND FEATURES

The HTC One S and One X share the same camera system, which is composed of an f/2.0 lens, a backside-illuminated 8-megapixel sensor that can shoot 1080p video at 30fps, and a dedicated HTC ImageChip processor. If you’re counting cores at home, that means the Tegra 3-equipped One X is up to six processing cores (and that’s without counting its 12-core GPU!). In any case, the ImageChip is designed to sit between the raw photonic data captured by the sensor and the usual JPEG software compression, in order to both accelerate and improve the processing of photos you take. Frankly, the One S was always going to be a fast performer thanks to its screaming Snapdragon processor, but this extra bit of specialized processing power isn’t going to waste. Taking a picture with this phone is a lightning-quick affair.

Never one to miss a branding opportunity, HTC has a name for this holistic overhaul of the camera: ImageSense. Only part of it is hardware, however. HTC has made huge strides on the software front, the biggest of which is that it now pairs video and still recording modes into one, no longer forcing you to switch between the two. The buttons to capture either still or moving images are sat right alongside one another, which may seem like a small convenience but actually makes photography with this phone so much easier and more pleasurable.

The good vibes are compounded by the ability to shoot photos while recording video or to pull out still images from recorded video after the fact. In practice, I found only the second implementation of that feature useful. Tapping the screen to shoot a photo in the middle of a video inevitably leads to camera shake, plus the processing overhead for pulling out that picture actually leads to skipping in the resulting video (see the second half of the sample video below for an example). The frames you get out of videos aren’t full-size 8-megapixel shots, they’re the same size as your recording resolution, meaning that the best you’ll get out of them are 1920 x 1088 images (HTC overshoots by eight lines of pixels).

HTC puts the dedicated ImageChip to good use in a couple of other ways. Firstly, there’s now an automated burst mode, which you can activate simply by holding down the onscreen camera shutter button (the one that confusingly looks like an aperture instead of a shutter). The One S will then take up to 20 images and offer you a choice of selecting the best one or saving all or some of them as a sequence, handily contained within just one file. Other phone makers can only hope to emulate the same effortless experience as offered on the One S. The other Chip-harnessing enhancement is the addition of new filters to HTC’s preloaded set of artificial camera effects. You now get a selection of Instagram-aping image treatments, including Vintage, Country, and Mono color options. They’re surprisingly good additions and do a neat job of filling the gap left by Instagram’s absence on Android.

Update: Well, that absence didn’t last long. Instagram is now finally available on Android as well as iOS. Doesn’t make these filters any less attractive, though!

With its abundance of utility and versatility, HTC’s ImageSense software is my choice for best camera app on any platform. It keeps all the familiar options like tap-to-FOCUS and white balance adjustment, but layers on features we’ve not yet had from any other phone maker. I did see the app crash once during my time testing it, but its operation was otherwise consistently quick and painless thanks to the processing power built into the One S.

ImageSense is refreshingly rich on features you’d actually want to use

IMAGE QUALITY

As good as the software may be, every camera is ultimately judged on the quality of the images it produces. In that respect, the One S acquits itself rather averagely. You can get stupendously good-looking photos under the right lighting conditions, but the company is still guilty of over-processing images, blurring out fine detail in its efforts to reduce noise and consistently oversaturating colors so as to give a more vibrant look to photos. Both signal that HTC is prioritizing image quality on the phone’s display and on smaller web formats over the full 8-megapixel size it advertises. I’d be disappointed if this wasn’t so virulently popular a practice among smartphone makers.

In spite of HTC’s best efforts, noise and graininess do sneak into photos taken with the One S, mostly under low-light conditions. My biggest problem with the camera output is illustrated by the photos of red London buses in the sample gallery above. They appear to be a uniform crimson in color, whereas in reality their exterior is blemished by dusty grays and affected by the sunlight, resulting in a great many shades of red and pink interplaying across the surface. None of that is recognizable in the over-processed images from the One S.

HTC carries over the same processing algorithms to video recording, where they’re more effective thanks to the lower resolution of the output. In simple terms, you’re never going to see the finest details in anything you shoot with the One S, which HTC hopes won’t trouble the vast majority of users who just want simple, unobtrusive operation. That much is guaranteed by the One series and ImageSense, although the One S design is such that your left hand’s fingers will often stray onto the lens. Another handling issue I encountered with it is that the two microphones for stereo audio recording are placed at the very top and bottom edges of the phone, which makes them neatly symmetrical but also means they’re cupped in my palms when shooting video.

The HTC One S records 1080p video at 9.6Mbps, roughly two thirds of the bitrate of the Sony Xperia S (14Mbps), though the results still look good. Not spectacular, but good. HTC includes a software image stabilization feature for video, which works well and allows for smooth panning across a scene. The other sort of motion that can trouble phone cameras — that of subjects moving quickly through the frame — is handled admirably well by the One S, as the sample video will attest.

HTC also touts a newly-developed intelligent flash, which will reduce its light intensity when it senses a nearby subject so as not to overexpose it. It works decently well, but we’ve seen this feature on a bunch of (if not most) recent phones and can’t give the company as much credit as it seeks for it. It’s useful, just hardly unique. Also consistent with current-gen technology, the front-facing camera on the One S produces a dire mix of noise and smudgy noise-reduction blur, reducing it to the usual function of Skype facilitator and nothing more. If there’s one way in which this front-facing camera differs from most, it’s that it can be a real magnet for dirt and dust because of how deeply it’s recessed behind the aluminum frame.

Software

And now, to the main event. As with cameras and image quality, smartphones are judged primarily on the quality of user experience they offer, which starts and ends with the software. HTC is building atop a fantastic base with the One S by using Google’s latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich. The Galaxy Nexus has shown how blindingly fast and fluid this OS can be, and there are already significant app-related advantages to being on the latest platform. Google’s updated Gmail app and the Chrome for Android beta are both available only to users of Android 4.0.

SENSE 4

If you ask us, HTC should ship ICS in its bone stock variety, only adding legitimately worthwhile alterations like ImageSense where their value is easily demonstrable. Alas, HTC operates in a world where hardware differentiation alone won’t suffice and, like every other major Android manufacturer, the company goes to the trouble of sculpting out a comprehensive software skin for Android, which it calls Sense.

Sense 4 has been formulated as a direct response to the public outcry against Sense 3.x, which was too frilly and ornate. Gone are the superfluous animations and flourishes, the chrome has been trimmed down, and most of the faux 3D effects have been dispensed with. When viewed as a solution to the troubles of the previous Sense, this new software can be classified a success. But you know what solves all the problems of the older Sense? Ice Cream Sandwich.

It’s not impossible to improve on Google’s Android 4.0 UI, it’s just that HTC hasn’t done it. The company has taken a modern, harmonious piece of software that finally offers a level of polish heretofore unseen on Android and is dragging it back to the dark ages of 2011. The dialer is unnecessarily convoluted, the icon design clashes aesthetically with both ICS and internally within Sense, and instead of onscreen software buttons, we’re given the old capacitive keys. No big deal, you say? Well, the soft menu button still needs to make an appearance now and again, which it does discreetly on the stock Ice Cream Sandwich and crudely on HTC’s version. Because there’s no software key bar for it to show up in, the menu button generates the entire bar for itself, with its three vertical dots stood stranded in that vast expanse of space. It’s an untidy eyesore that doesn’t need to exist.

Externally cohesive, internally conflicted

Another salient example of taking a step forward for Sense and a step back from ICS is the onscreen keyboard. The Sense 4 keyboard is the best HTC has yet offered on a touchscreen device, thanks in large part to the widened second row making for a more comfortable typing experience than on previous versions. It has decent haptic feedback and reprises the T9 Trace input option available since Sense 3.0. Those are its good aspects. The bad is that the lower left corner is still occupied by an inexplicable button for pulling down the keyboard and a language-switching toggle. I happen to text in multiple languages myself, yet have never felt such a sense of urgency about alternating between English and Bulgarian as to desire a dedicated button. That’s an option you could easily relegate to the settings menu without alienating your users, which is the route taken by most phone makers and Google’s stock keyboard.

Other than the praiseworthy ImageSense camera suite, HTC does two further things well in the Sense 4 software. The first is the switch of the multitasking menu from the vertically scrolling one available in stock ICS to an isometric card view that can be scrolled horizontally. It works identically to what you’ll find on the Galaxy Nexus, but gives you a different view unto the apps. This sort of superficial modification fits right into the overall theme of Sense 4, which has been designed to duplicate what’s already in Android 4.0 with an added coat of HTC paint.

The other, more tangible, software enhancement is HTC’s gesture-based DLNA interaction. Once you pair your One S with a nearby DLNA-capable TV (or one connected to HTC’s Media Link HD wireless adapter), you can send data to it from the phone via a simple three-finger swiping gesture. You can stream video off the phone wirelessly and simultaneously continue using it for other purposes, and a three-finger downward swipe will nullify the connection when you’re done. It’s a useful capability that can easily become a favorite for those who like to store media on their phone.

Although ImageSense and the DLNA gesture control are laudable, both could have been introduced without the ruination of Google’s Android 4.0 design language. And HTC didn’t just make ICS look worse, it’s thrown in a couple of usability problems of its own. Among the most basic is the fact that app icon labels don’t have enough of a shadow behind their white text, resulting in light backgrounds making those labels unreadable. Another is that the lock screen habitually shows the weather widget even when I’ve quite deliberately set it to not do that. The weather widget still features an unwanted animation and, more importantly, obscures the usual four-icon launcher that lets you unlock the phone directly into one of those apps.

The only changes in T-Mobile’s variant of the device come in the form of bloatware — lots and lots of bloatware. The carrier preloads nearly a dozen apps, all identifiable by their pink icons: from “411 ” to “T-Mobile TV,” plus a few third-party options like Polaris Office, Where’s My Water, and an app for the Amazon Store. Most are unlikely to get much use, and nearly all are impossible to remove; you’ll just need to train your eyes to not see pink icons in your app drawer.

In summary, HTC has rejected Google’s latest Android aesthetic in favor of a tired UI design whose iconography is over two years old in some parts, it has layered in change for change’s sake, it has made some aspects of the UX worse, and it’s brought no substantial improvements to the experience of using an Android phone.

Performance

In spite of shooting itself in the foot with classically dubious skinning decisions, HTC hasn’t been able to prevent the combination of Ice Cream Sandwich and Snapdragon S4 from working like a dream. UI lag is nowhere to be found and apps pop open with a satisfying quickness. Even the most basic tasks like loading up the camera and taking a quick snapshot, browsing through your galleries, or finding a destination in the Maps application are tangibly improved by the One S’ combination of software and hardware. Google’s latest OS is simply much more responsive than anything that’s come before it and Qualcomm’s newest processor generation is equally ahead of the company’s earlier efforts. The benchmarks below bear out my experience with the One S in full.

Quadrant Vellamo GLB 2.1 Egypt (720p) GLB 2.1 Egypt (1080p) AnTuTu
HTC One S 5,141 2,420 57fps 29fps 7,107
HTC One X 4,430 1,614 65fps 32fps 11,322
Galaxy Nexus 2,002 1,065 28fps 14fps 6,079

A few quick notes are merited with respect to the benchmarks used herein. Firstly, GLB stands for GLBenchmark, which, like all the other tests, is available from the Play store. Biases and limitations exist in all of these scores: Quadrant runs its 3D tests at the device’s native resolution (favoring the lower-res One S), while AnTuTu is partially constrained by the 60fps frame cap on the phone (limiting its final score). Vellamo is also a Qualcomm-produced benchmark, so it should come as little surprise to see the Snapdragon leading the pack there. Taken as a group, however, these data points provide enough evidence to reliably conclude that the HTC One S and One X share the crown as the fastest Android smartphones out today.

Customizing Your HTC One

In this chapter, you learn how to customize your HTC One to suit your needs and lifestyle. Topics include the following:

  • → Wallpapers and live wallpapers
  • → Replacing the keyboard
  • → Sound and display settings
  • → Setting region and language
  • → Kid Mode

Your HTC One arrives preconfigured to appeal to most buyers; however, you might want to change the way some of the features work, or even personalize it to fit your mood or lifestyle. Luckily, your HTC One is customizable.

Change Your Wallpaper

Your HTC One comes preloaded with a cool wallpaper. You can install other wallpapers, use live wallpapers that animate, and even use pictures in the Gallery application as your wallpaper.

    Pull down the Notification bar and touch the Settings icon.

Wallpaper from Gallery Pictures

You can use any picture in your Gallery as a wallpaper.

    Select the photo you want to use as your wallpaper.

Live Wallpaper

Live wallpaper is wallpaper with some intelligence behind it. It can be a cool animation, an animation that keys off things such as the music you are playing on your HTC One, or it can be something simple, such as the time. There are some very cool live wallpapers in Google Play that you can install and use.

    Touch the live wallpaper you want to use. In this example, we will use the ST: Red Alert Live Wallpaper.

You can find wallpaper or live wallpaper in Google Play. Open Google Play and search for “wallpaper” or “live wallpaper.” Read more on how to use Google Play in Chapter 11, “Working with Android Applications.”

HTC Wallpaper

Choose a static wallpaper.

  • Swipe left and right to see all the wallpapers.
  • Touch a wallpaper to preview it.
  • Touch Apply to use the wallpaper.

Enjoy Amazing Audio Quality with HTC One Sound Explosion Mod

Modern smartphones have replaced various other gadgets which we used for various purposes. We use them to surf the web, capture images, record voice, navigate tracks, read ebooks, communicate with the world and so on. Gone are the days when we had to carry an iPod or Walkman for listening to the music on the go. What could be better than our all-in-one gadget for enjoying our favorite music or video?

Our smartphones come laced with refined audio engines that pour pure melody into our ears. Our HTC One features the famous Beats audio engine that is known for stunning audio quality. But do you think that the audio output of the HTC One could be made sound even better? If you compare the audio qualities of your phone with stock settings and the Sound Explosion Mod by doc3000, you’ll say, “Yes”!

Just about a month ago, we shared the IntenseBLAST audio mod by ZeroInfinity for the HTC One. That mod was meant for boosting the speaker volume of the HTC One. The Sound Explosion mod, on the other hand, aims at not only boosting the audio volume of your device, but also takes its quality to a whole new level. It redefines every single bass and chime effect and purifies the sound to give you an ultimate audio experience on your HTC One.

Features and Compatibility

The HTC One Sound Explosion mod utilizes BBE, SRS, VRS and Dolby sound technologies. It brings a fully reworked sound processing on the HTC One. doc3000’s audio mod has following features:

  • Impressive sound with clarity and purity
  • Perfect sound details and contrast
  • Definitive sound channels separation
  • Wide stereo field for amazing effect
  • Theater-like audio experience
  • Low audio distortion
  • Louder speaker and headphone volume

The Sound Explosion mod for the HTC One really works. Whether it be the sound of the speakers or the headphone audio, the difference is striking. You need a rooted HTC One with a custom recovery (CWM/TWRP) to flash the mod. The audio mod is compatible with-

  • Any Sense ROM based on Android 4.4 KitKat or above
  • Google Play Edition ROM (Android 4.4)
  • HTC One with CM 11 ROM

How to Install

  • Download the appropriate Sound Explosion mod zip file and copy it to your phone.
  • Reboot your device into CWM/TWRP recovery. To do it manually, turn off the device, press and hold Volume Down Power buttons together for a few seconds till the screen turns up. Using volume keys, scroll to RECOVERY option and select it by pressing Power button.
  • After getting into the recovery mode, backup your current ROM using the Backup option.
  • Then tap the Install button and select the Sound Explosion mod file.
  • Confirm installation and wait till it is finished.
  • When the mod is installed Wipe Dalvik Cache.
  • Finally, reboot the device.

HTC through the ages: A brief history of HTC’s Android handsets

customizing, your, beats, audio

HTC’s phone division isn’t doing too well at the moment. it sold a huge chunk of talent to Google and has now resorted to producing phones via third-party manufacturers.

HTC was there at the beginning, producing some of the first Android handsets, the first Nexus handset, and launching the first handset that really added refinement to Google’s new mobile operating system.

It’s a company that’s known for two things: design and its Sense user interface that is layered over the top of Android. The company hit it big, moving from making phones for other people into a global mobile brand.

That meteoric rise was followed by fall, bringing us to today’s position where HTC stands as a warning to ambitious rising stars: the tide can turn quickly and when it does, the fall will be a hard one.

But along the way, HTC has delivered some outstanding handsets. Let’s check them out!

customizing, your, beats, audio

HTC Magic

Having made the first Android handset in 2008. the T-Mobile G1. it wasn’t until the HTC Magic appeared in 2009 that HTC had its logo on the back. It took second place to Vodafone on the front and “with Google” on the back, but this is where HTC’s identity as a power in Android really started.

The HTC Magic launched on Android 1.5 Cupcake, while many of us were still trying to get to grips with the sweet treat names, and saw its unveiling at Mobile World Congress 2009. It offered a 3.2-inch display and had a 3.2-megapixel camera. Many of its rival devices weren’t smartphones and those that were mostly offered physical keyboards.

It was a raw Android experience, a slightly bumpy introduction to a full touch world for the Google OS.

customizing, your, beats, audio

HTC Hero

With the Magic out in the wild, HTC made its big move, launching the most significant handset for both HTC and Android. The HTC Hero took the raw Android experience and added HTC Sense over the top. HTC Sense was loosely derived from much of the work that HTC had been putting into its Windows Phone experience, but in Android it found a natural home.

Sense introduced things like customisation and personality, adding polish to Android that was missing from an OS that still felt rough and experimental. The HTC Hero also reinforced HTC’s passion for design, with a pronounced chin and tactile back, resulting in a lovely handset.

The Hero was essentially just a repackaged HTC Magic, but bumped the camera to 5-megapixels. The HTC Hero launched in London in a fashion that revealed that HTC knew how to have fun.

customizing, your, beats, audio

Google Nexus One

With the calendar rolling forward to 2010, Google made a significant move: it launched the Nexus programme. The Nexus One was built by HTC and it saw Google creating a handset to run on stock Android where all other manufacturers were skinning its operating system.

HTC managed to keep its logo on the back however, and there was a lot of HTC design in the Nexus One. The trackball was lifted from the Hero and the design shows hallmarks of HTC phones that followed, particularly the metal Band reaching around the rear, reflected later in the Sensation.

The Nexus One launched on Android 2.1 Eclair and had a 3.7-inch display, and featured capacitive controls rather than physical buttons for navigation. There was a 5-megapixel camera and it came with a microSD card slot.

The Nexus One caught the eye of Philip K Dick’s estate who claimed the name infringed on its intellectual property, while Apple also took HTC to court over the design. Something of a hot potato, but important both for HTC and Android.

HTC worked with Google again on the Nexus 9 tablet, but the Nexus One remains HTC’s only Nexus smartphone. Fittingly, it was followed by the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, as Samsung began its mighty Android rise.

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HTC Desire

While HTC was enjoying the Nexus limelight, it trumped the Google phone with the launch of the HTC Desire. This swapped the trackball for an optical system instead, leading to a sleeker phone.

The HTC Desire was the flagship at launch, but also saw HTC fragmenting its smartphones into many different lines and models. It was launched alongside the HTC Legend (and next in our gallery), but there was already a hint that HTC was launching too many phones.

Arriving with Android 2.1 Eclair with Sense over the top, the HTC Desire offered power and refinement, with a 3.7-inch display and 5-megapixel camera. It borrowed from the Nexus One design in some areas, but returned to physical navigation keys underneath the display.

The HTC Desire HD followed later in the year, with a larger 4.3-inch display, as well as the Desire Z, which offered a slide-out physical keyboard. The Desire name still survives today as a mid-range category of devices.

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HTC Legend

The HTC Legend was launched alongside the HTC Desire, but was something of an oddity. It was lower powered with a smaller 3.2-inch display, but offered a far more important design. This was the first time that HTC really went to town with metal bodywork.

The results were stunning. The HTC Legend retained an insert in the rear and a removable bottom section, but essentially took the HTC Hero design, slimmed it down and made it a metal unibody. Some saw this as the company trying to design a phone to appeal more to the female market (and we’re not including the HTC Rhyme on this list), but the Legend made its mark, a mark that still ripples through smartphone handset design today.

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HTC Evo 4G and HTC ThunderBolt

The advent of 4G sees two handsets sharing this section of HTC’s history. The HTC Evo 4G was launched onto Sprint’s network in the US in 2010. It was close to the Desire HD which launched a few months later globally. Importantly, however, the Evo 4G is credited as being one of the first 4G handsets, sitting on Sprint’s WiMax network.

However, there are those who will argue that that credit should go to 2011’s HTC ThunderBolt, the first LTE handset launched onto Verizon and again a reworking of the Desire HD. At this time, sticking 4G or LTE on the name was an important factor as next-gen networks pushed faster speeds and the entertainment or business benefits that came with them.

But these two devices serve as an illustration of the approach that HTC was taking: it was building smartphones for individual networks, resulting in an explosion of different hardware configurations and ever-expanding software offerings.

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HTC Sensation XE

Meanwhile, HTC was looking for more adjectives to push its handsets and Sensation was the flagship for 2011. The regular model launched in Spring, but towards the end of the year HTC launched a more significant version: the Sensation XE. It was this model that saw the first integration of Beats Audio.

The HTC Sensation launched with a 4.3-inch display and introduced a wonderful design with a wide metal Band reaching diagonally across the back. It also had a concave edge to the display. HTC’s design panache was unquestionable in the Sensation, but it was the XE that really pushed things forward.

The Sensation XE carried Beats branding and came with iBeats headphones in the box, as well as boosting the hardware slightly over the original version. The Beats integration ran across a number of subsequent handsets before the companies parted ways. Beats Audio is now a part of Apple.

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HTC One X

In 2012 and towing a very fragmented collection of handsets along behind it, HTC redesigned its flagship positioning. It launched the HTC One branding saying that this was one way of thinking about phones, but then launched the One X, One S and One V in three different positions and confused that message.

The One X was the flagship and offered a polycarbonate unibody design. It launched on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, with Sense 4.0, and came with a 4.7-inch display. To further confuse things, the One X was powered by a quad-core Nvidia chipset, but a separate version known as the One XL carried a Qualcomm dual core chipset and offered LTE connectivity.

The One X was a great handset, again pushing design, but the One branding wasn’t very clear: HTC was telling us what the message was, but was doing something else, namely launching lots of handsets.

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HTC One

With HTC’s One branding getting lost in 2012, it repeated the process in 2013, launching a phone that was actually called the HTC One. This phone, above anything else, showcased a precision of manufacturing and skill in design that’s still aped elsewhere.

Using a metal body, and aiming for a zero-gap construction, the One came with a 4.7-inch Full HD display, a quad-core processor and included 4G/LTE as standard. It pushed the latest methods in a number of areas, offering sophistication in build, clarity in naming and bags of power.

The biggest hit was BoomSound. Giving over space for two front-facing speakers, BoomSound universally impressed everyone, out-performing the sound quality of all smartphones at the time and many since. The One also offered Beats tuning for the headphones.

It then introduced the UltraPixel camera. As HTC looked to differentiate, it opted for a 4-megapixel camera, stepping down from the 8-megapixels of previous handsets, and jumping out of the megapixel race against companies like Samsung. It was a gamble that didn’t pay off, with many saying that the camera changes were a mistake.

The HTC One also leaked heavily prior to launch, where the M7 working name fell into common usage, with then CEO Peter Chow filmed chanting “M7” on stage at a company party. The name stuck and is now retrospectively applied.

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HTC One (M8)

With a HTC One handset on the market, HTC moved to officially accept that it couldn’t avoid the M names. It launched the HTC One (M8) throwing the model number into brackets, following heavy leaks where the phone had been identified as the M8, or “mate” adding to confusion.

The One (M8) offered staggering design. It progressed HTC’s unibody to be entirely metal and offered a finish that was unrivalled in its quality, at least until the launch of the iPhone 6 six months later in 2014. It launched on Android Lollipop with Sense 5.0.

But the One (M8) didn’t stand still on the camera and its most talked about feature was the dual camera on the back. Rather than addressing the criticisms of the M7, it added a second sensor to the UltraPixel camera and offered a range of novelty effects, which didn’t really help the camera’s fight against the Samsung Galaxy S5.

It did step the display up to 5-inches, however, and stuck to a Full HD resolution.

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HTC One M9

HTC officially dropped the brackets and launched the One M9 with a flourish, proclaiming a jewellery grade finish for its 2015 handset. It undoubtedly poured more attention into the details than any previous handset, but by this time it felt like the third iteration of the same phone, progressively losing the impact of the M7 and M8.

In many cases it felt like an incremental update of the One (M8), sticking to a 5-inch Full HD display and presenting itself visually in much the same way as the previous handset, so there wasn’t anything hugely noteworthy aside from the refinement in design, which for many went too far.

To make matters worse, the M9 dropped UltraPixel and Duo Camera for a straight 20-megapixel camera as the company jumped back into the megapixel race. But that camera failed to impress critics, seeing HTC stumble.

The M9 no longer felt competitive against rivals, like Samsung’s redesigned S6 edge launched at the same time, that stole headlines for its refreshing design and excellent camera performance. The M9’s position was then questioned with the launch of the One A9, a lower-tier handset with a radically different design, making the M9 feel like the last of a line.

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HTC 10

HTC 10 was a return to form for HTC, with a serious, bold, design that harked back to the M7, but fuses in the modern looks of the One A9. It drops the One and M branding, for something of a reboot.

There’s a 5.2-inch Quad HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset with 4GB RAM and 3000mAh battery. There’s a 12-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilisation, which the front 5MP camera also offers. BoomSound evolved to BoomSound Hi-Fi, with Hi-Res support across the handset.

Importantly, the HTC 10 made the departure from old HTC Sense, with a new lighter version that was closer to the Android foundation that it sits on. The aim was optimisation, efficiency and reducing bloat. It was well received by reviewers, but standing in the face of fierce competition, lost out to Samsung innovation and cheaper rivals like OnePlus.

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HTC U11

HTC’s big story in 2017 was moving from metal to glass, with Liquid Surface delivering some of the most striking colours we’ve ever seen on a handset. What the company also did was confuse customers, announcing the reasonable U11 early in 2017, then the U11 so late in the year, that it was 2018 before it made it to market.

While all the compelling specs come together in these flagships, it was arguably the move to an 18:9 display that was the biggest trend of 2017 and HTC seemed to be just behind the curve, leaving the U11 launching against the flood of newer handsets. Indeed, HTC’s successor to the U11 arrives just a few months later.

But what the HTC U handsets really demonstrated was HTC’s design influence on the industry: where it was all about metal handsets, HTC’s stunning use of glass has pulled the likes of Huawei and OnePlus into the realms of beautiful glass finishes too.

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HTC U12

The HTC U12 was the company’s flagship phone for 2018. It came with HTC’s Liquid Surface with three colour options and an exotic glass finish. The HTC U12 also adopted an 18:9 aspect ratio on its 6-inch display making the big phone easier to handle. It was weighty though and perhaps chunkier than it needed to be.

At the time we felt that the U12 was a good phone but didn’t do enough to stand out from the crowd, meaning the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Huawei P20 Pro made for better options.

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Goltilar

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