In April, HTC and Facebook announced the HTC First. The phone was designed to offer constant updates right on your home screen. If you are entirely into the social world with Facebook and need the quick fix, you can pick up one of these devices for just $0.99 with a two-year agreement on AT&T. Overall, the HTC First is an average smartphone running Android 4.1, Jelly Bean from a good manufacturer.
The phone feels comfortable to hold and very light weight at 4.37 ounces. However, the display is OK for a smartphone. It measures 4.3 inches and offers a 1280X720 resolution. With brightness turned up to about 75% – 80%, the screen appears a crisp in many apps and a little softer on the home screens. The text did appear smooth in all cases. Other reviewers indicated that with a pixel density of 341 ppi, the display appeared above average to them.
Storage on the HTC First is limited to the 16 GB of internal storage that comes with the device. There is no opportunity for a microSD card or adding memory. This is a little disappointing given Facebook is one of the most popular places to share photos. With such a limited amount of space, around 11 GB after the basic app installations, it doesn’t leave much room for photos or videos.
Speaking of pictures, the rear camera is indicated as being 5 megapixels, while the front-facing camera is 1.6 MP. The pictures on the rear camera were less than ideal in many situations, especially low light. It is a good camera to use while wondering around, but not a great choice for capturing stunning photos on your vacation.
The software choices made for this device are definitely geared to Facebook users. It is hopeful that updates will occur frequently to better integrate other social aspects to the device. Seeing updates from friends and family right on the home screen without launching Facebook provided a pleasant experience.
Cover Feed, which is built into the software, provides you with a live stream of your Facebook feed through which you can scroll. When you receive a notification on the home screen, simply double-tap the notification to open it. Or, clear them away to see your Cover Feed again. This is a nice feature that helps add to the Facebook experience.
If you are talking with someone through Facebook, a profile picture will appear in a little circle called a Chat Head. You can move these around the device even while you are doing other things like checking email or browsing the web. This feature also allows you to send and receive both texts and Facebook messages using the same technique.
On the lock screen, you will see a circle with your Facebook profile picture. You can move to Apps, Facebook Messenger, or the last app you had open. This is nice for those who live in the Facebook world. However, it doesn’t supply as many options as other Android devices when unlocking your device.
As a phone on the AT&T network, the HTC First was very good. Calls sound clear and the data connection was faster than many WiFi hotspots. AT&T’s 4G LTE service in Nashville is very good and consistent. The experience on this device was no exception.
If you are a Facebook fan and need your constant updates with little effort, stop by your local AT&T store to check out the HTC First. It comes in black, white, red, and pale blue. If you are looking for something a little more powerful, larger, and Android, you may wish to consider another device like the LG Optimus Pro instead.