HTC One Google Edition 4.3 First Impression

Yesterday was a very exciting day to say the least. Early evening we saw HTC Sources popup, and an hour later we saw OTA updates for HTC One and Galaxy S4 both go live at the same time. I've been using the official 4.3 version for almost a full day now, here's what I got to say about it.

People started to begin bashing the Google Edition Devices due to the lack of updates. Many people expected to get Nexus update speeds, even though no one said they were going to. Turns out the Google Editions get the OTAs one week after the Nexus, now that's not to bad is it?

Anyways enough rehashing what has happen already, let's get to the facts. I've used it for a day now and I'm Impressed but not blown away, and here's why.

+Ryan Moore and I talked about this a great deal. 4.3 is no doubt a nice update, but you don't really feel anything has changed, as it all looks the same. I can't speak about the S4 as I've not used it on 4.3, but I can tell you the HTC One GE on 4.3 has some amazing improvements which are mostly under the hood.

  1. HTC One Suffered from sound issues. It seemed the Beats and Google's own equalizer were conflicting with each other. Enabling the equalizer would result in beats turning off and a horrible tinny sound. Turning the equalizer off and Beats back on, the sound would never recover and stayed horribly tinny. I'm very happy to report that this issue is a thing of the past. Google has implemented their Surround Sound now and it provides outstanding sound, even better and louder than stock Sense.
  2. PhotoSphere is now fixed as well. HTC One on GE 4.2.2 has a horrible experience stiching the photoSphere together, and it resulted in terrible overlapping and an almost unusable experience. This is now fixed in 4.3, and it now works exactly as it should.
  3. IR Blaster is active in 4.3. This means you can control your TV and other equipment with the infrared port on the HTC once again, however you'll have to find an app on the Google Play Store to use this function.
  4. HTC has removed a lot of the Sense framework and leftover Sense Nonsense that was present in 4.2.2 GE, you'll notice a lot more free ram in 4.3, and is a lot closer to the true stock Google than we saw in 4.2.2.
  5. I'm sad to report HTC has NOT removed that dreaded black menu bar for those rare apps that didn't follow Google's guidelines for menu placement within apps. However, there are custom kernels you can flash to enable the HTC Logo to act as the menu button, thus removing the black bar.
There are a few other minor features on 4.3 of course, but these in general were the ones worth mentioning for the HTC One. The overall experience does seem to be faster, but I'm unsure if this is a placebo effect or not, as benchmarks are about the same as 4.2.2.

If you have anything to add to this list of notable features, please feel free to add your 2 cents to the comments below.