HTC One Google Edition vs HTC One: What's the difference?

Google and HTC have confirmed the news that there will be an HTC One Google Edition, or "HTC One with Nexus user experience" as the Taiwanese company termed it on its blog announcement.

This is the second "Google Edition" device we've seen announced that strips away the manufacturer's user interface and replaces it with stock Android: the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition was the first handset to make this move.

So what's the difference between this Nexus experience device and the Sense original? Could this be the ultimate in Android handsets?

1. Designed for life

The design is identical, which is great news for those who love HTC's latest handset. Whichever device you pick, you'll get that slick metal body and that luscious 4.7-inch 1080p display, which we rate as being one of the best mobile displays your money can buy. However, the HTC One Google Edition is appearing only in the silver finish: there will be no black option and there won't be the rumoured red or blue versions either.

2. The latest Android

This is the meat of the sandwich. Stripping away the customisations of HTC Sense means you get the pure Android experience of Android 4.2.2 as found on the Nexus 4. That means you'll be in line for the latest Android updates way before they hit the regular HTC One. There's plenty of refinement in the stock Android experience and there will be nothing to get in the way of your Android enjoyment.

3. Bye bye BlinkFeed

But you'll lose plenty. The integrated social experience that enhances your contacts will go. There will be no BlinkFeed giving you news, you won't get HTC's launcher or menu adaptations and you won't get features like HTC's new TV app. It might be a purer Android experience, but the HTC Sense 5 experience is really good too, so you stand to lose a lot of polish. There's also the IR blaster, a hardware feature paired with HTC's TV app, which you won't get.

4. Multimedia masterclass: UltraPixels and BoomSound

While you're getting that UltraPixel sensor in the HTC One Google Edition, you'll miss out on the fun of Zoe capture and those animated galleries and summary videos. The camera interface will be stripped back to the basics of the Nexus 4, which isn't great.

On the sound front, you'll get those dual stereo front-facing speakers, which sound fantastic for movies and music, as well as when making calls, but as Beats Audio is both a hardware and software feature, you'll lose the Beats icon and the option to switch it on and off. Android does have an equaliser option, so we think you'll still be able to get great audio whether through headphones or those speakers, but it won't be Beats.

5. Price of change

The HTC One Google Edition will be on sale in the US through Google Play from 26 June and will cost you $599 (£394) SIM free. That's the same price as the regular HTC One, so there's nothing to choose on price. However, you'll be buying the device outright, so you'll have to have the cash up front.

So which should I get?

We're sticking on the side of the original HTC One. Much as we like pure Android, there are little touches throughout Sense 5 that we really like. It's those little details that make the difference. Things like the animated galleries and the richness of the contacts experience feels a step ahead of stock Android. We've got both the Nexus 4 and the HTC One on the desk here in Pocket-lint towers and we love the HTC One experience.

Of course the Nexus 4 is less powerful and the display isn't as good, so it's a step ahead of the Nexus 4 in a number of areas. The power that the HTC One Google Edition offers will make for a great stock Android experience too. Whichever you pick, you'll be getting one of the nicest phone designs out there: the metal body will feel great in the hand regardless of the software you've got packed into it.



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