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printed November 23, 2014
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Review: HTC First and Facebook Home

Form Performance FB Home Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  5  

Screen

HTC could easily have gotten away with sticking a qHD or WVGA display in the First, but instead chose a higher-quality 1280 x 720p HD LCD screen for the 4.3-inch display. The panel offers plenty of pixels to make everything look clean and sharp on the screen. It's bright enough that I had no trouble using the First as a camera outdoors, and it looks great when indoors. Viewing angles are good; there's no color change, and brightness drop-off is minimal as you tilt the First one way or the other.

Signal

The First is a fine phone when it comes to AT&T's network. It easily hopped onto AT&T's HSPA+ network where I live, and transitioned to LTE quickly when/where available. The device performed on par with other devices running on AT&T's network in the greater New York City area. In areas of weak coverage, it sometimes took two attempts to push a call through, but data sessions were always relatively quick. I didn't miss any calls with the First, and the phone never dropped AT&T's signal entirely.

Sound

Phone calls made with the First were some of the clearest I've heard on AT&T's network. Voices came through the earpiece as if the people were standing in the next room. Truly, this phone produces incredible clarity and warmth. I wish calls were much louder, though. The First's earpiece is just barely loud enough in a slightly noisy house. That's with the volume set up all the way, mind you. If you take the First outside on a windy day or anywhere people are talking in groups, (coffee shop, restaurant, mall,) you'll struggle to hear calls. The quality of calls routed to the speakerphone are not quite as good as when sent through the earpiece, and volume is also a bit anemic. Ringers and alerts were loud enough, and the vibrate alert produces strong vibrations.

Battery

I thought the First's battery performed particularly well. I used the First over the course of a weekend and found that, despite constantly checking Facebook and email, the battery lasted well into a second day before it needed to be recharged. I also found that the First had no trouble living through an entire day of intensive use, which included lots of calls, email, Facebook, SMS/messaging, browsing, downloading apps, and so on. Most people will need to charge the First once per day with relatively no worries.

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