Moto X and HTC One

After switching back from the Moto X to the HTC One, is Motorola's best really the best? I'm wavering. And excited for 2014.

I have a habit of doing weird things at trade shows. OK, lots of weird things — but the last two I've been to I've switched No. 1 phone in the middle of them. At IFA in Berlin last September, I fired up the LG G2. Never mind that I was starting from scratch — the damned thing put the buttons on the back! And sure enough, it worked. (LG was honored last week at Mobile World Congress for its innovation, by the way.)

And this past week at MWC in Barcelona, I put down the venerable Moto X and once again picked up the HTC One, which was my main phone for a good six months of 2013. 

Now I've made no secret about my feelings for the Moto X. There's a reason (a number of reasons, actually) why we declared it our favorite smartphone of 2013. But holding that HTC One in my hand again, and once again seeing Zoes and Video Highlights, I couldn't help but think ...

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What if we were wrong?

It wouldn't be the first time, of course, nor would it be the last. The design of the HTC One still holds up, nearly a year after it was announced. (In fact, I'm more than a bit jealous of those who have one of the colored models, and not just straight silver, like me.) The camera's still not perfect, but it's definitely better than the Moto X. HTC's Sense 5.5 is much-improved (I got the update along with Android 4.4.2 while in Spain, which is part of what led me to give the phone another shot), but I still think parts of it are a little overdesigned, and I still use Action Launcher atop it. And those speakers. Oh, how I'd missed those speakers and BoomSound.

The HTC One was, and still is, one hell of a phone.

I miss the Active Display feature of the Moto X. I miss built-in Trusted Bluetooth. (Pebble Locker takes care of that.) I miss Touchless Control. And, most of all, I miss the smaller form factor of the Moto X, which fits my hands better. So there are, always, trade-offs. 

Neither Motorola (now a Lenovo company!) nor HTC will sell as many phones as Samsung this year. The Galaxy S5 probably will get more coverage than the new HTC One and whatever Moto comes out with in 2014. (I'm going to fight that as much as I can, but it's also a simple matter of numbers.)

But make no mistake — HTC isn't going anywhere just yet. We'll see what's next on March 25, and I can't wait.

And now, a few more thoughts on the week that was:

  • I finally got to try T-Mobile's free roaming data in Spain and France. More on that this week. The short version is 2G data is all but unusable now (or maybe I'm just that impatient?), but TMo's $50 roaming data "pass" isn't too bad.
  • Google Glass owners wondering where the February update went would be advised to look in the Explorers forum for an answer. (Or, I suppose, to blogs that sadly ignored the spirit of such non-public forums.) It'll be really interesting to see what we get when the update indeed drops.
  • Mad congrats to our pal Ashley Esqueda for making the leap to CNET! They somehow forgot all about her time with us here at Mobile Nations — but you can watch all 93 episodes of the Mobile Nations Monday Brief here. Good times, those were.
  • I completely agree with Derek Kesser in that folks are hating on the Galaxy S5 just because it's Samsung, much in the same way they hate on the iPhone just because it's Apple. The "ZOMG it looks like a Band-Aid" thing is funny, only not really. I've spent time with the GS5 and have no problem saying I like it much more than the GS4. Can't wait to see what more folks think of it.
  • And I'm still wrapping my head around what Nokia's doing with Android and the Nokia X. Jerry made some good points on why it's not a good thing for anyone. Not sure I agree with all of them, but they're still good points to consider.
  • That said, we've already submitted all of our Android apps to Nokia's new store. Just because.
  • I'm still catching up on all the TV I missed last week. I'm ready for the final two episodes of the first season of HBO's "True Detective." (It's a must-see.) Still behind on Justified and House of Cards. And Game of Thrones will be back before we know it.
  • Interesting changes are coming to Delta's frequent-flyer program in 2015. Will be be enough to get me to switch? Will the other airlines follow suit, making any attempt to jump ship moot? We'll see. Delta's been pretty good to me, all things considered.

That's enough for now. It's Mardi Gras weekend here. One last day off, then let's get back to work.