The HTC One remix takes every feature that we all love in the HTC One (M8) and fits it into a smaller and more compact shell. Measuring just .42 inches in depth, the HTC One remix still has a sizeable 4.5 inch super LCD2 screen built tough with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It also features HTC’s now iconic aluminum shell with clean lines and accents that grab the attention of any onlooker and give the phone a uniquely premium feel as you hold it in your hand. The remix also packs a 13 megapixel rear facing camera in addition to a 5 megapixel front facing camera, which can shoot video in 1080p HD and take portrait quality front facing photos. The front facing camera has premium features like a self-timer and auto Touch Up functionality that enhances the lighting in low light and produces natural skin tones. But the feature that sets the HTC One remix apart from other phones is HTC’s Boom Sound technology, where the speakers are positioned on the front of the phone facing you as you interact with the phone, providing the ultimate sound experience with built-in amps and bass-to-treble balancing software.
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The HTC One remix is both smaller and less powerful than the original HTC One (M8). It is important for buyers to keep in mind that the HTC One is possibly the best of all the present Android phones so terms like "smaller" and "less powerful" are relative. The specs of the HTC One remix are slightly below those of the latest phones on the market and it is larger than the iPhone 5s. Had this smartphone been released in 2013, it would have been one of the top devices.
The HTC One remix is basically Verizon's rebranded version of the HTC One Mini 2.
Exterior Design and Build Quality
The HTC One M8 has a metal unibody, its edges are rounded and the back is sloped. While the HTC One remix does keep the original's shape, its polycarbonate band cuts the back into three separate segments. This does not greatly diminish the outward appeal of the HTC One remix, but it does make it less attractive than the HTC One M8. That said, this design decision may have been for improved function rather than lower cost. The HTC One remix is definitely easer to hold, partly because of its smaller size and partly because of the improved grip due to the polycarbonate banding. The banding makes it less slippery than the all-metal One M8.
The ports and buttons are in the usual locations, with the micro USB port on the bottom along with a 3.5mm audio jack and power button on top.
NanoSIM and MicroSD Slots
One side offers a nanoSIM slot and there is a volume rocker on the other, along with a microSD card slot. The nanoSIM and SD card slots are only accessible via pinhole press but an accessory for this is included with the device. The access to the SD card slot may be awkward, but is still easier than with devices that hide the slot under the back cover. Additionally, cloud storage is so easy to get that many users will not even need an SD card. Other drawbacks include the fact that neither slot is labeled, so that it is possible to mistake the microSD slot for the nanoSIM one and vice versa.
Cameras, Display and Speakers
The HTC One remix gets a 13-megapixel rear camera on the upper back beside the LED flash. The battery is sealed and not accessible to the user.
The 5-megapixel front-facing camera is on the top right of the 4.5-inch display (measured from corner to corner). There is a sensor for ambient light on the top left of the front. There are two BoomSound speakers, one above the display and the other beneath it.
Size and Shape
The measurements of the HTC One remix are 5.4x2.6x0.4 inches and its weight is 0.3 lbs. It is as tall as many other devices with larger screens and therefore it seems to have a narrower rectangular shape than it should. A part of the reason for the narrower look is the fact that the display has a large bezel on the bottom. Some users may find that the shape makes it easier to hold, but those who want a compact device should test it to make sure that it meets their size requirements.
Display and Speaker Quality
The 4.5-inch display offers users a 720x1280-pixel resolution, which means that they will get 326 pixels per square inch. The pixel count is significantly less than the 441 pixels in the screen of the HTC One M8, which measures 5 inches.
For the most part, the ppi is irrelevant as the HTC One remix has a very good display; it offers amazing contrast, brilliant colors and decent brightness. It deals with glare better than many other devices so that users will be able to read easily even in bright sunlight. Those who wonder if the display might be too small should consider the fact that 4.5 inches is more than adequate for a decent user experience on a smartphone. It is important to note that it is half an inch larger than the iPhone 5s and the display never feels too small.
The drawback here has to do with Android as its persistent soft keys take up a lot of the display. Only a few apps (like YouTube) are able to deliver a true full-screen mode. This is not a better option than the hard and soft keys that used to occupy the front bezel on Android smartphones; they would have been better on the HTC One remix given that there is a lot of space under the display.
Most of the speakers found on smartphones, tablets and notebooks are of a low quality or produce low quality sound. With that being said, the BoomSound speakers offered by HTC are better than most. This is not to say that they are good, but that they are the best of the bad. They may not be useful for enjoying music on a regular basis, but they are good enough to share different types of multimedia content. The fact that they are at the front means that it is unlikely that they will ever be muffled by the case.
The processor in the HTC One remix is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU and it comes with 1.5 GB of RAM. That processor would have been on the high end back in 2013; furthermore, today's smartphones offer between 2 and 3 GB of RAM.
The HTC One remix performs well in daily use with its shutdown and startup taking only a few seconds. The user is also able to move around in Android with few problems. The good performance is not affected by resource-hungry apps and games. All of this is to be expected since the device is not a budget model designed for light use. However, those who opt for this device (especially those with 2-year contracts) should note that they will probably face issues in 12 to 16 months when more demanding apps are released, along with Android updates. This issue can arise even with higher end smartphones; some users have found that the Samsung Galaxy G4 has bugs just 16 months after launch. This problem is even more likely with middle-of-the-pack phones.
The operating system on the HTC One remix is Android 4.4.2 KitKat and will likely get an Android L upgrade when that launches. What will happen after that point is uncertain.
Buyers of the HTC One remix will get 16 GB of internal storage space that they can expand to 128 GB with a microSD card. Only 10 GB of that internal storage space is available for apps and other content, which is on the low end.
The battery in the HTC One remix provides 2100 mAh and this may seem low when compared to other newer devices; for example, LG's G3 has a 3000 mAh battery. That said, the HTC One remix does have a smaller display and fewer pixels. While the battery does provide enough power for a full day of moderate to heavy use, the user will not be able to replace it.
Android 4.4.2 is what the HTC One remix runs, but it comes wrapped in HTC's Sense UI which does not make any major improvements to Android. The appearance is somewhat different which may not be appealing for those who are not accustomed to it. Users will also get bloatware like the music service that HTC provides as well as a few other unnecessary apps. Similar worthless apps from Verizon are included as well.
HTC's BlinkFeed is one of the more visible features on the HTC One remix. Just like on the HTC One M8, it can be accessed by swiping to the left on the home screen. BlinkFeed is similar to Flipboard and serves as an aggregator for updates from Facebook, Twitter and similar social media sites. It is fairly useful as long as users do not have too many social media feeds.
Also available is the Google Now Launcher, which can be found in the Play Store and will provide a more familiar Android experience for those who want it. It will remove much of the home screen's clutter and replace HTC and Verizon apps with those from Google.
The camera technology in smartphones has made significant progress in recent years. The 13.1-megapixel lens will certainly impress users who are upgrading from older devices; however, it is somewhat lacking when compared to other high-end phones and even some of the older Lumia devices.
The camera performs well in that it focuses quickly and adjusts to different lighting, but the colors are somewhat drab. In addition, the modes it offers are not impressive. The user may alter ISO, white balance and exposure value but adjustments on the go are difficult. In any case, the adjustments will have to be evaluated in the photographs. There are filters included that allow users to modify their images, but these are no better than those that come with Instagram and other photo apps for Android.
The front-facing camera is labeled "selfie" in the menu and comes with the same options except for ISO. Users can alter and beautify pictures by eliminating red eye and smoothing skin among other things.
The HTC One Remix is a mid-tier smartphone that performs at a slightly-above-average level. Its best feature is the display and HTC deserves credit for solving the issues with overhead glare. The speakers are also another good feature when compared to other similar devices. The performance is fine now, but will likely diminish before other high-end devices.
The build-quality is good; however, it is not a very compact smartphone despite being essentially the same as the HTC One Mini 2. Buyers who want something small should make sure to evaluate it in real life before purchasing, just to make sure that it is compact enough.
Everything considered, it is not the worst smartphone on the market. A few of last year's high-end devices may equal or surpass it. The best way to go about choosing one would be to view each of them in person and pick the one that feels right.
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