Sometimes the little things aren’t so little. You already know about the big things—the features that HTC advertised, or that reviewers focused on in the specs. That’s most likely why you bought the M7. But here we are years later, and while those things still matter, there are still plenty of small things about the M7 that you might not have even noticed.
For instance, have you ever made a slideshow with your photos by going to Gallery > Events, tapping on the moving photo, and adding style and music with the Options buttons? Ever created a slow motion video with the Camera app by going to Menu > Slow Motion Video?
Yes, these things may not give you the same sense of wonder you felt when you first got the phone and gazed at its beautiful screen, but you can still discover new things. These little things may not be equivalent to waking up on your birthday as a kid, but the small things do count— like not having to set your alarm because you don’t have to work the next day.
1. HTC as Remote Control
Have you ever noticed something strange about your Power button? Like that, it has a hidden infrared remote control port? It does, and it can be used to control cable boxes, HDTVs, gaming systems, and home theaters. There is a large list of supported devices.
Your HTC One can handle multiple rooms and even houses. You can use the volume rockers to manipulate the volume on these devices. That’s what that pre-installed TV app is for. When you tap on the TV app, it will assist you with directions on how you can sync your devices.
The M7 can even create a lineup of your favorite and recommended TV shows. To change the channel, just select the show’s title. The HTC display does need to be on to take advantage of the full functionality of this feature. You won’t be able to use the volume rockers to adjust the volume on other devices when the M7 screen is off.
2. Self-Diagnostic Tool
You know your phone isn’t charging the way it’s supposed to, but where do you even start? Is it the charger? Is it the battery? The Self-Diagnostic Tool can help you narrow it down by telling you what aspects of your phone are and are now working.
Developers are a fun but mischievous lot that shown an appreciation for back doors and shortcuts. Dial the code *#*#3424#*#* as if you are making a phone call to a very peculiar number, and don’t include any spaces. A new menu will materialize that lets you run diagnostic tests on Bluetooth, the charger, LEDs, camera, Wi-Fi, the backlight, and more. You can run a test on everything or specifically what you are interested in.
You may be given additional instructions, but your HTC will guide you through it. The phone will let you know whether the component(s) passed or if there’s a problem that it can detect. The M7 isn’t the only device with a secret menu, but it’s nice that it’s amongst the Androids that offer it. This is one of the best features of the HTC One M7 that not too many people even know about.
3. Full-Screen Mode for Internet Browser
When you’ve got a display like the M7’s, why settle for a partial web browser view? You don’t have to; just enable the full-screen browsing option. You can hide the status bar by going into the browser’s menu (three vertical dots). Then enter Settings.
Select General and tick the Full-screen checkbox. While you are browsing a webpage, you can also use that same menu to view the full desktop version of the webpage. There’s also a faster way to conduct a web search. Long-press your M7’s soft Home button, and you’ll be whisked away to an awaiting Google search.
4. Control Over the Notification LED
Sometimes there is nothing more annoying than a blinking light. Luckily, HTC One gives you some control over this. Go to Settings and tap on Display, gestures, and buttons. Choose Notifications flash.
Now you can designate what you want the LED to flash for. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use this to change the color of the light. Apps probably won’t change the color either, as the actual LED would have to support this.
5. Sound Quality
The HTC One M7 is great for sharing. Sharing music, sharing video—these are not things you would normally seek out your phone for—unless it’s for convenience or a last resort. But the M7 can handle this pretty well, with its dual front speakers and built-in amplifiers. And to top that off, it offers Beats Audio for when you want to maximize bass.
If you aren’t all about the bass, you can turn Beats off via Settings > Phone. And it’s a complete package with the HTC Music app. If you are into karaoke, try tapping on the music note icon when a song is playing on Gracenote. HTC Music will oblige by showing the lyrics in sync with the song.
6. Interface Customization
Ease of use is one of the shining features of the M7, but there are still tweaks that can be applied to make it even better and add a personal touch. For a crisper touchscreen typing experience, try calibrating the keyboard by long-pressing Settings located to the left of the space bar. There you will find the Calibration Tool that will walk you through calibrating your keyboard. You can customize your lock screen from Settings > Personalize.
If you want to take customization a lot further, famous developer Wanam has created a few Xposed modules that work on the M7 and M8. Keep in mind that these modules only work on rooted phones.
These modules give you extra features and make modifying your phone more easily. If rooting your phone seems like it’s a little more adventurous than you feel comfortable with, try customizing your BlinkFeed by swiping down on the stream and tapping the three vertical dots to the right.
Download: Xposed Framework Sense Toolbox
Download: Xposed Framework XSense (Xposed Sense)
7. Shortcuts and Tricks
There are a few built-in shortcuts and tricks that can help you save some time. You can switch from the front to the rear-facing camera by swiping down on your screen or from right to left (for portrait mode).
Double-tap your Home button to see your Recent Apps. Instruct your phone to ring more quietly when you pick it up (after all, you’ve heard it at that point) and more loudly when the phone is in your pocket by going to Settings > Sound > Quiet ring on pickup & Pocket Mode.
The volume rocker isn’t just for sound, either—it can be used to manipulate the brightness of the phone’s flashlight. Certain apps will scroll faster if you use two fingers. Want to make your texts larger? You can zoom in by pinching the screen. Do you need to see the history in your browser? Long-press the Back button. All of these little tricks add up to being some of the best features of HTC One M7.
The camera features are a huge part of what makes this phone first class instead of coach. It does exceedingly well in low light and handles backlighting better than most. And it’s not just the hardware that’s impressive. The M7 also comes with HTC Zoe, which rapidly takes up to 20 photos in succession and a 3-second video to ensure that every second is thoroughly captured.
You can take a 360-degree panorama that will let you relive that moment and make others feel like they are there as well. HDR or High Dynamic Range uses three exposures to provide as much detail as possible. You can customize presets within the photo gallery’s Edit > Effects screen by long-pressing a thumbnail and dragging it to Customize on the right. You can even take photos remotely using a Bluetooth headset by pressing the center of your remote.
HTC is, I daresay, one of the most dependable manufacturers out there. HTC phones can last a long time. And the manufacturer pulled out all the stops with the M7. Yes, it’s true that there are newer versions—three in fact—but the M7 still stands strong. With the M7 being an example of what HTC is capable of, it’s pretty exciting to see what HTC 10 has in store.
The HTC One M8 was an equally impressive phone. The HTC One M9—well, it wasn’t much of a departure from the M8 and seemed to suffer from a lack of new features. But it seems like HTC might have learned from M9’s mistakes when they made 10. Currently, however, the M7 is about one-fifth to one-sixth of HTC 10’s price. Not a trivial difference.
What’s your favorite M7 feature? Let us know in comments.