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printed April 20, 2014
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Hands-On with the HTC One

Hardware Software Comments  39  

The software of Sense 5 is mostly just refined from Sense 4. It's cleaner and simpler where it needed to be, while keeping the best features, like the many lock screen options. But there are a few key new features.

 

One Interface

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

BlinkFeed is a new home screen that's basically like FlipBoard. You can swipe sideways to a regular home screen with widgets and shortcuts, and add more of those. If you launch an app from a traditional home screen, hitting the home key will take you back to that traditional home screen instead of BlinkFeed. So your default home screen (BlinkFeed or traditional) is whichever one you were on last, making it easy to avoid BlinkFeed if you don't like it.

BlinkFeed brings together the visual parts of your Facebook and Twitter feeds, plus selected news feeds. It can be customized, but you can't plug just any old RSS feed into it, and it won't show anything that doesn't have a photo or video.

The other huge new feature is Zoe. A Zoe is captured just like a regular photo. But when you go back to look at a Zoe, it has a three-second HD video clip, which plays automatically in albums. HTC calls it a living photo. A Zoe also includes a set of burst photos starting a half-second before you hit the shutter button, and you can scroll through those to make any photo the "main" photo of that Zoe, letting you scroll through time in case your timing was off with the button. All of these burst photos are full-resolution (4-megapixel.) It's a neat way to use new technology to blur the line between photo and video.

Zoes, photos, and videos all come together in automatically-created albums based on location and date. Looking at an album, you're presented with a banner video at the top, which is a highlight reel of all media in the album. It uses special algoritms to find the most interesting content to highlight. It applies a theme and timed music. It's created on the fly. If you like it, you can tweak it and share it online using a new online service that links to Facebook and Twitter.

The quality of these highlight videos is impressive. They've done a great job with this concept. The videos will make your life look a lot more interesting than it really is.

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