HTC One review

HTC One review

T3 5
  • Can HTC's flagship Android smartphone compete with the the Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5s? Find out in our full HTC One review

    HTC One review

    Love

    • Great design & build quality
    • Ultrapixel camera
    • Stunning screen

    Hate

    • BlinkFeed limitations
    • All Android keyboards
    • Gets warm from heavy usage

    Update: The follow-up to the HTC One is due to be announced on 25 March 2014. We've rounded up everything we know (and everything we think we know) about the new phone - check out our HTC One M8 rumours piece...

    The HTC One is a smarphone that has been built with one purpose, to revive the ailing fortunes of its maker by being not only the best Android smartphone out right now, but also by remaining the best handset in months to come (Samsung Galaxy S4 we’re looking at you).

    To even stand a chance of doing this it’ll need to be as fast as the Google Nexus 4, as beautiful to look at as the Sony Xperia Z and then also boast the kind of feature set that we’ve now seen from the Samsung Galaxy S4.

    This then all has to be wrapped up in a Full HD package that won’t weigh a tonne but still boasts a build quality that would make the iPhone bow its head in shame. No pressure then.

    HTC One: Size and build

    Well to start off with the iPhone 5 can start blushing because in terms of build quality the HTC One is almost flawless. A precision machined aluminium body is then seamlessly joined to the rest of the phone using a technique which leaves no gaps, and we mean none at all.

    It’s certainly on a par with Apple’s own standards and even though we’ve only had a short time with the S4 we’re going to go ahead and say that its got that safely beat.

    All that aluminium must surely translate into weight then? Well at 143g it’s not the lightest smartphone being safely trumped by both the BlackBerry Z10 and the Galaxy S4. That said it never becomes noticeable instead giving the feeling of being sturdy. This is then carried across with the 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm dimensions which put it as being just slightly thicker than the iPhone 5.

    On the top you’ll find the power/lock button and on the side is the volume rocker, which, from a design point- of-view is the weakest aspect of the phone. On the front you’ll notice two rectangular grills which is where HTC has managed to cram two speakers for stereo sound.

    HTC One: Features

    The One comes with an almost unrecognisable Android 4.1.2 thanks to HTC’s latest version of its Sense UI. Whereas with the HTC One X you could still see hints that there was Google’s operating system lurking underneath the One has almost entirely ditched all of this for a cleaner experience that offers less hassle.

    The most notable addition is BlinkFeed, a news aggregator that can be customised using your social networks and by adding a number of compatible news sources. In principle it’s a brilliant idea however we found that day to day it’s just not customisable enough and with only pre-approved news sources available it never truly feels like a rival for Flipboard.

    This could of course change over time as more are added but for now it’s just not the revelation we were expecting, something that’s made even more disappointing when you realise that it’s permanently placed as one of your homescreens.

    HTC One: Screen

    The HTC One comes with a 4.7-inch 1080p Full HD display sporting a ludicrous 468ppi. When you first look at it the effect is actually underwhelming thanks to the large black expanse of an, as yet, unused BlinkFeed, however take a few pictures or head over to YouTube and you’ll soon realise the error of your judgement.

    It’s a stunning panel that produces dazzling levels of contrast and colour reproduction and while we know the current trend is to go bigger, we’d argue that HTC has absolutely nailed it with this 4.7-inch offering.

    HTC One: Camera

    The HTC One sports a 4MP Ultrapixel camera. Yes you saw correctly, Ultrapixel - not Megapixel. All camera sensors are broken up into tiny photosites, each photosite then translates into one pixel so while the HTC One has less of these than most of its rivals, it’s actually still taking up the same amount of physical space because the photosites are much bigger. This means it can collect a lot more light and then in turn produce much better looking photos.

    While the Ultrapixel story may prove a tad confusing for buyers, thankfully the theory does translate into real life with the One producing some of the best images we’ve seen from a smartphone camera, so much so that we’d place it in the same league as the Nokia PureView 808. Its ability to capture low light images is exceptional while colour reproduction is outstanding.

    Along with the Ultrapixel camera is HTC Zoe, a new feature which takes 20 images whilst also recording a short three second video clip. The advantage of this is that not only do you have a short clip (known as a 'Zoe') for social networks but you can also drag through the video and pick a picture if you’d rather just send a still.

    It's unlikely that you're going to be using the Zoe mode on a day to day basis, but that's not to say it's no good. It works really well but if you're going to send a video it'll probably be longer than three seconds and if you wanted to take a picture you'd probably either do it separately or find an app that lets you take a picture while you're recording.

    HTC One: Performance

    Under the hood you’ll find a 1.7GHz quad-core processor along with 2GB of RAM, which combined makes the HTC One one of the fastest smartphones on the planet. While we would question the need for such an overt amount of power it certainly means that navigating the One is absolutely seamless with no lag whatsoever when gaming, playing video or through heavy multi-tasking.

    One thing we will note is that the One did get quite hot when downloading large apps from Google Play or when playing a high-resolution game like Real Racing. While it certainly isn’t as bad as the Xperia Z it definitely seems to be a trend that is appearing as smartphones get more and more processing grunt.

    HTC One: Battery

    While HTC hasn’t provided an official battery life for the HTC One what we have learnt is that the experience can be wildly differing. We’ve had some comments complaining that the battery life is woefully bad whilst others describe it as on par. In fact we’d differ with all of these and say that it’s actually not bad at all.

    If you’re going to spend your day mainly texting, tweeting and browsing then you’ll get a comfortable day's usage with the One finally beginning to complain by the late evening. If however your commute is filled with Real Racing, heavy data usage and a serious dose of YouTube then we’d probably recommend having a charger at work.

    HTC One: Verdict

    The HTC One has placed Samsung in a unique position. When the Samsung Galaxy S3 came out it simply became the best Android smartphone available making it the only true rival to Apple’s iPhone by default.

    With the Galaxy S4 however things have changed, HTC has been suffering from declining sales and in order to regain a fraction of its lost market share the company needed to not only create the best phone it has ever made but also the best Android phone.

    So while Samsung’s upcoming sequel may appear to be a veritable powerhouse we can confidently say that the HTC One is the best Android smartphone you can buy right now.

    HTC One release date: 29 March 2013

    HTC One price: £519.99

    Read our round up of the best Android phones.

  • The HTC One is the brand's latest flagship Android phone bringing with it a revamped camera along with the new HTC BlinkView homescreen

    HTC One review

    Love

    • Great design & build quality
    • Ultrapixel camera
    • Stunning screen

    Hate

    • BlinkFeed limitations
    • All Android keyboards
    • Gets warm from heavy usage

    The HTC One is the brand's latest flagship handset, following on from the similarly named HTC One X and HTC One X+. Does the HTC One bring enough to the table to compete with the likes of the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Nokia Lumia 920?

    T3 was invited along to take along to take a look at the new phone prior to the official unveiling - here's what the thought...

    Stayed tuned for some hands-on picture...

    HTC One: Size and build

    The handset feels extremely thin and measures just 9mm at its thickest point, tapering to 5mm at the sides. The One tips the scales at 143g, which is slightly heavier than the One X (130g) as well as the iPhone 5 (112g) and the Samsung Galaxy S3 (133g).

    Although there's a notable difference in the weight on paper, we reckon you'd be hard pushed to even notice the tiny chunk of extra heft as the One certainly feels pretty svelte.

    The on/off button on the top edge sits almost entirely flush against the phone, giving a very slick finish. Likewise, the volume rocker on the right-hand edge of the phone also fits smoothly against the phone chassis and has a metal finish, with textured concentric circles for a premium feel.

    The flagship model features a silver, brushed aluminium finish, and they'll also be a black version available from launch as well.

    HTC One: Features

    The One's main innovation is the inclusion of HTC BlinkFeed. This is a new homescreen in the form of a picture-based news feed that you can scroll down through. You can customise it by choosing which particular feeds it gets its content from - HTC tells us that will be at least 15 top media titles at launch.

    You can also add Facebook to the equation. The idea is to give you one handy place to kill time when you turn on your phone to have a quick rummage around your social networks and the news.

    The new model also sports HTC BoomSound - a revamped version of HTc's Beats audio tech, which also sees the speakers being moved to the front of the handset.

    The updated Sense UI also includes HTC Sense TV, which means that the handset can be used as a TV remote, thanks to the IR control on the phone's power button.

    HTC One: Camera

    Also big news on the One is the camera, with HTC trying to bust the megapixel count myth by using an 'Ultrapixel' sensor. The idea is to focus on individual pixel size rather than pixel count, as the latter doesn't necessarily mean better pictures, although we understand that the UltaPixel camera will have a 4 MP sensor.

    We're not sure that the anyone but the most ardent tech fans will understand, or even care about the 'Ultrapixel' re-branding, but we look forward to giving the camera a proper test.

    According to HTC, the new sensor absorbs a whopping 313% more light than an average 13MP sensor. We'll have to take their word for it at this point, but obviously that's something that we'll look at as soon as we can get a full review model in at T3 Towers.

    HTc has stuck with the HTC One X's market-leading aperture size of f/2.0, compared to the the iPhone's f/2.4 and the Samsung Galaxy S3's f/2.6 (when talking apertures, the lower the number, the better). This combined with the new sensor means that the One has been designed with low light photography clearly in mind.

    The camera also includes Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) - the first of its kind on an Android phone. You'll also be able to record HDR footage in 720p HD at 60fps and in 1080p at 30fps.

    HTC One: Zoe Mode

    The maker has also introduced Zoe Mode, presumably named after the zoetrope. This enables you to simultaneously shoot both high-def video and still images in burst mode and records both before and after the shutter button is pressed so that you don't miss any of the action.

    From this, the One can create so-called 'Zoes' -  three-second video clips, where each frame can be isolated as an individual shot.

    These can then be displayed in cutomsied galleries with backing music, like a slideshow.

    These can be shared to HTC's Zoe Share website, where it will live for 180 days for free. HTC hasn't made firm plans on what happens after 180 days just yet - presumably the brand is waiting to see how popular the service is before making any long-term plans.

    HTC One: Screen

    The One sports a generous 4.7-inch screen with a full HD resolution and an impressive pixel density of 468ppi, compared to the 326ppi found on the iPhone 5.

    The screen also features the same lamination as the One X, which means that the viewing angle is excellent. Controls underneath the screen have neen trimmed back to just Back and Home soft keys.

    HTC One: Performance

     

    Under the chassis, you'll find a Quadcore Qualcomm Snapdragon processor clocking in at 1.7GHz. You'll also get 2GB of RAM plus a choice of 32 or 64GB of on-board storage. Add to that the two years of free storage (25GB) on Dropbox and you should have more than enough room to store your cherished content.

    HTC One: Verdict

    The HTC One One looks like an impressive smartphone, although whether the brand can make successfully convey its key features is another matter. We reckon the Ultrapixel issue may well confuse things for all but hardcore tech fans, while the Zoe Mode is also set to be somewhat devisive. Stay tuned for a full review.

    HTC One release date: 15 March 2013 (pre-order from 19 February 2013)

    HTC One price: TBC. Available on all major networks

    Hands-on review by Libby Plummer

    • HTC One and HTC One Mini Blue edition first look and hands-on
    • HTC One hands-on preview
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    • Video
      HTC One X vs iPhone 4S Camera Test video

      HTC One X vs iPhone 4S Camera Test video

      00:49
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      02:29
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      HTC One X vs Galaxy Nexus review

      HTC One X vs Galaxy Nexus review

      02:07
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      02:24
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      HTC One X review video

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      HTC One Mini hands-on preview

      We get our hands-on the smaller HTC One, the HTC One Mini

      01:48
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      HTC One X+ Vs HTC One X

      Two huge Android phones go head-to-head but what's new? Find out.

      01:26
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      HTC One X+ specs video

      HTC's biggest phone just got bigger and here's why

      01:26

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