Thursday, March 28, 2013

35 HTC One tips and tricks


The HTC One is the most desirable new phone in the world right now. Metal-bodied, great-looking and a seriously powerful gadget, this is the mobile that could turn things around for HTC.


How to change keyboards
One of the few software criticisms we made about the HTC One was that its keyboard isn’t exactly the slickest in town. However, one of the neatest bits of Android is that you can swap-out things like keyboards. The first thing to do is to head to the Play Store to find your perfect Android keyboard. The most popular third-party one is Swiftkey.

Once you’ve downloaded your keyboard, you need to select it to act as your main keyboard within the Settings menu, from the Language & Keyboard submenu. However, many third-party keyboard apps have their own setup wizards anyway.

Enabling Swype-style input on the keyboard
There are ways to customise the standard HTC keyboard too, though. The most important is gesture-based input, which we find speeds-up typing no end. Instead of tapping away on keys, you draw a line between the characters and the HTC One calculates which word you want. It works a charm too. To turn this mode on, go to the HTC Sense Input menu within Settings > Language & Keyboard and tick the Trace Keyboard checkbox.

How to customise the apps menu

The HTC One lets you fiddle with the look of the apps menu a little. You can choose how icons are organised, and how many appear in each row. As standard, it displays just three in each row for a chilled, spread out look. To bump this up to four, drag the apps “scroll” down to reveal the app menu’s Settings bar. Tap the 3-pip icon and you’ll see an option for Grid Size. The organisation options are found in the drop-down menu to the left of the 3-pip button.

How to change icons in the HTC Sense dock
The easiest-to-access app shortcuts of all are those in the shortcut dock, which stays on-screen in both the apps menu and your home screens. You can choose what’s in this dock on the apps screen. Just hold a finger down on an icon, whether in the dock or not, until the screen zooms out a little then drag it on, or off, the bar. 

You can add app folders to the Sense dock
Folder functionality lets you keep boxes of apps on the apps menu – just like those of the iPhone iOS software. These folders can sit in the main shortcut dock just like a single app shortcut. They’re added in the same way too.

How to take a screen grab
Unlike most older Android phones, the HTC makes it dead simple to take a picture of whatever’s on-screen. It’s the perfect way to capture an amazing score in a game that doesn’t have some of form of brag function as standard. To take a grab, press the power button and the Home soft key at the same time. The pic will be then saved to the phone’s gallery.

Installing a custom UI

Do you outright hate the Sense UI? Do not fret as you can swap it out for another one. Whenever you press the Home button, it’s actually directing you to a home screen “app”. Install another and you’ll get the option to be directed to one other than HTC’s. Top candidates include Nova Launcher and ADW.Launcher. To find a bunch, just search for “Launcher” in the Play Store.

Adding widgets to a home screen
Here’s a nice basic one that most of you probably know already. To add a widget to a home screen, just find a bit of empty space on a screen and hold a finger down on it. This will bring up the widget control panel. Two-thirds of the screen will be made up of a box of widgets, with the other bit left for teeny versions of your homes screens, onto which you can drag widgets.

How to customise the lock screen

The HTC One lets you control what your phone’s lock screen looks like, but you don’t do this from the lock screen itself. Instead, dive into the Personlize menu within Settings. Here you’ll find options for home screens that incorporate music players, your calendar or photo album. You can even turn off the lock screen entirely.

Modifying LED notifications
A neat little hardware feature that barely gets any attention is the HTC One’s LED notification light, which sits behind the top speaker grille. You can control which types of notifications earn the notification LED flash within Settings > Display, Gestures & Buttons > Notification Flash. You can’t control its colour though, sadly.


How to get rid of Blinkfeed
You can’t get rid of Blinkfeed entirely on the HTC One. HTC is clearly that bit too proud of it. However, you can hide it from view. To do this, you need to create another home screen to use as the face of your phone. HTC veterans may want to include the classic HTC clock, which you’ll find in the HTC One’s treasure trove of widgets.

Next we need to set this screen as the default home screen. Hold a finger down on an empty bit of home screen, waiting until the widget drop screen pops up. At the top of this screen you’ll see teeny versions of your home screens. Hold a finger down on one of these and a Set as Home Screen option will appear. Tap it and Blinkfeed will be gone. Well, more or less.

Adding sources to Blinkfeed
Like Blinkfeed? It works best if you customise it with the sorts of info you want – whether that’s tweets, Facebook updates or articles from the internet. To do this, head to your Blinkfeed home page and drag down on its panels to reveal the settings bar. The triple dot button here takes you to an area where you can add Blinkfeed sources, while the drop-down bar to the left lets you pick between types of active source.


The filter button
 The HTC One’s camera filters selection is so up-front that it’s actually pretty easy to miss. The filters button is the icon that looks a bit like a colour venn diagram, sitting below the camera/video select buttons within the camera app. HTC offers a bunch of filters, including creative ones like a distorting warp and customisable vignetting.

How to turn on Zoe Mode
Zoe mode is one of the key features of the HTC One. It takes a short video clip that can also be sliced up into twenty still images. One of the neatest parts of Zoe mode is that once it’s shared through HTC Share, a short URL is produced that makes sharing the video with friends dead simple.  It also allows re-touching, including removing objects from the video. We’ve had trouble getting this to work properly, but you can find the feature by inspecting a Zoe vid in the gallery, tapping Edit and then Retouch. You’ll find Object Removal in this menu.

Best settings for general use

To get photos with the most detail, we recommend at least trying out using HDR as your go-to photo mode. HDR stands of High Dynamic range, and it combines three exposures to eke out as much detail as possible. As the HTC One is so powerful, the processing only takes a second or two – it doesn’t slow you down too much. Unfortunately, we can’t see any way to get the HTC One to save both standard and HDR shots at the same time, as you can with an iPhone.

How to auto upload photos to Flickr
If you’re a big photo sharer, you can set the HTC One to automatically upload your songs to the ‘net. You’ll find this option right down the bottom of the camera app’s Settings menu. As standard, the only option is to upload to Flickr for HTC Sense.

Wireless camera shutter
A neat hidden feature of the HTC One is that you can use a Bluetooth headset to take photos you’re when within the camera app. Hold down the central button on your remote and the camera will take a shot.


When to use Beats Audio
 Beats Audio is a signal processing mode that’s used in a fistful of HTC phones. It’s designed to mimic the style of the Beats by Dre headphones – that means a lot of bass for that booming club sound. It works wonders on the internal speakers of the phone, cutting out the harsh mids, but with a decent pair of headphones you’re best off without it unless you have a craving for more bass.

How to turn off Beats Audio
Don’t like the sound of Beats Audio? You can switch it off – as standard I’ll turn on automatically when you play music. You’ll find the switch for the feature on the top layer of the settings menu, under the Phone subhead.

Quick music navigation
If you have a big music collection on your HTC One, flicking through all your tracks or albums can be laborious. To make it quicker, use a two-fingered scroll. This cycles through letters of the alphabet rather than entry-by-entry.


How to play any video on the HTC One
The integrated video player of the HTC One offers much less than flawless video codec support. If you have a library of videos downloaded from the net, many of them probably won’t play. To fill the gaps you’ll need a third-party app, preferably one with its own hardware acceleration. Our go-to pick is mxplayer.

How to transmit video to a TV

The HTC One does not have a dedicated video output socket. However, there are a few different ways to get your videos over from the phone to your TV. The neatest of the lot requires a special accessory, the HTC Media Link, a box that connects to your TV. This lets you swipe any content over to your TV using a three-fingered swipe. Alternatively, the microUSB socket on the phone is MHL compliant, letting you use it as an HDMI port with the right connector. You'll find these online.


How to reset the accelerometer/gyroscope
This is one most of you shouldn’t really need, but is useful if you find accelerometer games are way out of whack. You can re-calibrate the accelerometer and gyroscope manually – these sensors can tell what angle the HTC One is being held at. The calibration works much like a spirit level, and is the G-Sensor Calibration option within Settings > Display, Gestures & Buttons. You’ll find it right down at the bottom of the menu.

One way to diagnose touchscreen issues
If your HTC One’s touchscreen has gone a bit dodgy, you can try to diagnose the problem using the phone’s Developer Mode. This is a set of options you’ll find in the Developer Options menu within Settings. The one we’re after is called Show Touches, which shows little circles where the screen is sensing points of touch.

Hard-soft reset
Software misbehaviour can often be cured with a simple reset. You can turn the phone on and off again, but getting the good old “pull the battery out” effect requires an HTC special move. You could rip off the back, but it’s not something we’d recommend. Instead, hold the power button down for ten seconds to simulate the cutting of power. A prompt should pop-up warning you that the hard-soft reset is about to happen.


Sleep mode is key
The HTC One has a battery saving mode that’s crucial if you want to have a phone that’s able to last more than 24 hours. Sleep Mode, an option found in the Power sub-menu of Settings is one of the most important to switch on, as it turns of 3G when it’s not needed. 3G is a real power-sucker.

You can also select how intensive the Power Saving mode is in other respects. Turn Power Saver mode off in the Power menu, then tap the Power Saver menu option (not the slider) to select which parts of the phone are throttled by the mode – CPU, display, vibration feedback and the data connection.

Apps and Games

Enable non-Google Play apps downloads
Unlike iPhones, Android phones can install apps other than those downloaded from the official app store. However, this feature is disabled as standard – mainly because some (well, many) apps from the net will be infected with malware. To turn off this security measure, tick the Unknown Sources box in the Settings > Security menu. Android apps online are shipped as APK installer files. To install them, transfer them to the internal memory then find and run them using a file browser app like ES File Explorer.

Enabling offline speech recognition
Virtually all top-end phones offer pretty serious voice recognition these days, but you generally need to have internet connectivity for it to work. The HTC One lets you download a pack of offline voice recognition data to let you use it when you have no Wi-Fi or mobile internet reception. You’ll find the option to download the pack in Settings > Language & Keyboard > Voice Search.

How to stop the phone auto-creating app icons
The HTC One automatically creates home screen app icons and widgets for downloaded apps. It’s a way to stop you having to curate your own home screens, but some of you may not like the clutter. To stop the HTC One from doing this, go to Google Play, head to its Settings menu (accessed through the 3-pip button at the top-right of the screen. Here you’ll find a tick box for auto-add.

If screen brightness goes down while you’re playing a game…
One curious thing we’ve noticed while playing games on the HTC One is that the screen brightness can unexpectedly dip. The reason why is simple – the placement of the ambient light sensor means it’s easy to cover the thing up, or shade it, with a hand when the phone’s held in landscape orientation. To avoid this, try turning your phone around. Simples.


Backing up to the cloud
The HTC One comes with an allocation of HTC online cloud storage. You can set the HTC One to automatically back up your data to this storage, or you can use Google’s cloud servers. You’ll find this option in Settings > Backup & Reset. You can also make the phone auto-upload pictures taken to Flickr. You’ll find the auto upload function in the Settings section within the camera app.

Lock screen security

A lock screen security layer is hardly the height of security sophistication, but it’s the best way to stop being stitched up on Facebook if you’re in the habit of leaving your phone lying about when with friends. We’ve all been there. Within the Screen lock menu of Settings > Security you’ll find options to use a Pattern unlock, a password, a PIN number or Face Unlock. Our top tip is not to use Face Unlock as it’s pretty useless as security measures go. And it makes you look silly.


Get straight to Google
The quickest way to get to a web search on the HTC One is using a clever Google shortcut. Hold a finger down on the phone’s Home soft key and you’ll be taken directly to the Google search page.

Using Google Now
Google Now is a recently-introduced Google service that’s designed to pre-empt what you’re going to look for. It does this using info cards that appear on the Google Search page. If you’ve been searching for places in a certain location, Google Now might offer up directions as to how to get to that place.

How to go full screen in the stock browser

If you want to make the full use of the HTC One’s 4.7-inch screen when browsing the web, you need to enable full screen browsing. This hides the address bar, giving you that extra bit space for web sites. To find the setting, pull down the address bar and tap the three-pip button to bring up the menu. Scroll down to Settings, tap General and select the Fullscreen tick box.

Next: Read the full HTC One review or find out what's new in the smartphone world.

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//PART 2