As an old school Windows Mobile fanboy, the letters HTC rings more than a few bells around these parts. In the last 2 years or so, they seemed to have lost their way. So much so, that the CEO vowed to refocus the brand and return the quietly brilliant to just that. And here you have it, the HTC One, the supposed savior.
I paid close attention when it was announced and perhaps I was a but too harsh. I went on record saying HTC was indeed lost and the HTC One was not nearly enough to reverse the damage. Boy was I wrong. With the device in hand, it was only a matter of minutes before I felt myself eating those words. The HTC one is currently the best designed and might be the best overall device on the market, hands down!
I accused and damned the HTC One for little to no innovation in the design department, I said “it looks exactly like an iPhone 5.” I still stand by this statement, but I hate it a lot less for that, in fact, I love the design. It’s all metal casing, curved curves (wait, what?) and perfect weight puts it in a class of its own. The HTC One really is a joy to not only look at on a daily basis, but to hold and use equally as much.
Leaving nothing to chance, HTC made sure to cram the device with a future proof set of specs, even the most demanding of Android fanatic could appreciate. Coming home with an amazing 4.7 inch, 1080p display with a crazy 468 PPI rating, it is without the best display on the market!
- Android 4.1.2 with HTC Sense 5
- Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 600, quad-core, 1.7GHz
- Total storage: 32GB/64GBi, available capacity varies
- RAM: 2GB DDR2
- Battery: 2300 mAh embedded rechargeable Li-polymer battery
- 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
- NFC capable
- Compliant with Bluetooth 4.0
- Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX™ enabled
- Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n
- DLNA® for wirelessly streaming media from the phone to a compatible TV or computer
- Support consumer infrared remote control
- micro-USB 2.0 (5-pin) port with mobile high-definition video link (MHL) for USB or HDMI connection (Special cable required for HDMI connection.)
- Dual frontal stereo speakers with built-in amplifiers
- Studio-quality sound with Beats Audio™
- HDR Microphone
- Sense Voice
Sporting all the usual suspects in the connectivity game, the HTC One has NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, a digital compass and Wifi with AC support. On the sensor side, the now standard gyro, accelerometer, proximity and ambient light sensors are all there and even an IR blaster to control your living room devices. Oh, and a huge 2,300 mAH battery to get you through the day. As for the special HTC goodies, you get HTC’s Ultrapixel camera, Boomsound and the fan favorite HTC Sense featuring a new social feed called “BlinkFeed.”
HTC’s UltraPixel is perhaps short for 4MP camera, or so I would have joked. Except, the camera is just as capable if not better that most other smartphones on the market. HTC decided to break the megapixel race to the top and focus on a better sensor and developing a smarter camera. Yes, it paid off! Even 1080p video shot was nice and crisp, although, I would have love to see what HTC could have done with an 8MP camera. Oh well, there is always next time.
- BSI sensor, Pixel size 2.0 μm, Sensor size 1/3′
- Dedicated HTC ImageChip™ 2
- F2.0 aperture and 28 mm lens
- Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
- Smart Flash: Five levels of flash automatically set by distance to subject
- Front Camera: 88 wide angle lens with HDR capability
- 1080p Full HD video recording for both front and back cameras
- HDR Video
- Continuous shooting and VideoPic
- Slow motion video recording with variable speed playback
- HTC Zoe™ with highlights and HTC Zoe™ Share
- Retouch with Object Removal, Always Smile, and Sequence Shot
Now featuring a dual speaker design, one to the top and one to the bottom, HTC’s Boomsound is unlike anything you’ve heard before; on a smartphone at least. With a combined 4 speakers all together and some crazy powerful drivers, the sound delivered from the phone is simply stunning. For the first time, the “Beats” brand doesn’t feel like a total waste of time.
At the heart of the HTC One’s experience is a new social undertaking called “Blinkfeed.” It’s not at the heart because it’s totally awesome and you’ll never know how you could have lived life without it, it’s at the heart because it’s the first thing you see what you unlock your phone and it cannot be turned off. Yea, I know, tell me about it! Fortunately, it’s not that bad, it’s pretty good even. Blinkfeed lets you aggregate your facebook, twitter, linkedin as well as a bunch of other big name websites right to your home screen. Humph, how about that.
As for sense, the new Sense 5.0 featured on the HTC One might be the first time in history Sense UI did not damn the phone it was running on. Clearly a momentous day for HTC! Jokes aside, HTC has done a fair bit to trim Sense down a bit. Sense shows up in places you don’t mind, making it a joy to interact with, making it actually useful!
Keeping it grounded, the HTC One is not without some annoyances. For instance, if you do not appreciate HTC Sense at first glance, it cannot be turned off as easy as we’d hope. Simply switching to a different launcher still leaves HTC sense all over the stock gallery, contacts, calendar and a ton of other stuff.
HTC went with a custom button layout to the front, which uses only a back and home button. Unlike most other Android phones which have a dedicated multitasking button, on the HTC One, you’ll have to double tap the home button to launch the custom multitasking interface, also, holding the home button prompts Google Now.
On the not so serious list, I found the power button at the top of the phone (which also doubles as the IR Blaster) a bit annoying to get to sometimes, especially given that most phones these days have the power button at the side. Because of it’s design, the HTC One does not support removable batteries nor expandable storage cards. If either are important to you, you’ve got some thinking to do!
HTC has put together a winning formula here, an absolute killer design, the best display money can buy on a phone, an above average performing camera, superior sound quality to anything else on the market and some software innovations like BlinkFeed and HTC Sense. When the entire thing comes together, you’re left with one hell of a premium device. I am not the kind of guy to run around handing out 5 out 5’s to every or anyone, but HTC earned it today folks! The HTC One gets a 5 out of 5!