Published on June 6th, 2013 | by Lachlan Cotter
Htc One Review
Summary: The HTC One is one of HTC's boldest attempts at a smart phone and it has paid off. With an amazing set of software behind it the One can easily be anyone's dream phone after all anything you dislike about it can be fixed with a simple app (Except blinkfeed).
The latest flagship phone the HTC One employs new tactics in the field of smartphones with a new take on smartphone management, aluminium chassis and a sparkly new sense 5.0 interface. Its rivals, such as the Samsung galaxy S4, are up for a fight…
In detail, what does this sleek aluminium body have under the hood? Well, the answer is a quad-core snapdragon processor pumping out 1.7 GHz, 2GB of DDR2 RAM and a stunning 4 Ultra-pixel camera, along with a large 4.7 inch full HD screen with an amazing pixel density of 468 ppi, a more-than-enough 32GB of storage, pumping out Beats Audio technology and top-end Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G / 4G connections, all topped off by a completely re-imagined version of HTC Sense. So what isn’t to love about the HTC One? The fact is practically nothing.
To begin, the feel of the sturdy, slim and lightweight is unlike any other in the smartphone market and overall I consider it one of the best-designed smartphones out right now. The Taiwanese firm has extended the screen to the edges of the chassis, further meaning you’re getting a 4.7-inch Full HD display. More so, it is even thinner than its predecessor, the HTC OneX. Despite the reduction in width it is quite heavy, weighing in at 143 grams, but what you are left with is a premium built phone. It doesn’t feel bulky nor heavy, it feels like a first-class second-to-none piece of tech. Held side by side with a Samsung Galaxy S4, it leaves the product with a lot to be desired.
The curved back of the HTC One allows it to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, and the deep cut lines on the back give an additional textured feeling to the phone. There are dual, front facing speakers where the supreme BoomSound emits from, and they look fantastic utilizing a small hole for use of an LED light, which will flash different colors dependent on your notification. There is also a zero gap construction at hand, which means that you won’t find any gaping distance or loss of light, which is just a minor additive to the already premium feeling phone.
The buttons, such as the volume control, also look perfect with great contrast to the body itself. However, occasionally I do find myself mistaking the lock button and the USB port when trying to charge the phone, which isn’t anything that will make anyone stray away from the HTC One. Also, it’s worth noting that the locking/power button also doubles as an infrared transmitter for TV control purposes, but it lacks distance.
It can be easy to scuff the aluminum body, but only if you really fling it at concrete (do not try at home). When it comes to minor amounts of dirt it cleans very easily, at least on the silver version. There are reports that the black version of the device isn’t as easy to clean.
HTC was hard at work rebuilding the interface, and what we gtt with Sense 5.0 is a responsive, organized, clean look, which is generally what most people hope to see in a interface. Simplicity is within Sense 5.0, so you rarely see yourself searching up how to adjust or remove something, as you take to the tips relatively quickly. There is, however, no doubt that this does take a toll on the battery and your settings will clearly display that, but a recent update has decreased the original hard hit it had on battery life.
The option to add widgets and such has been taken down substantially, with BlinkFeed taking the limelight. Despite this, a relatively large amount of customization is available on the lock screen and themes. Instead of your home button taking you to the classic HTC home screen, BlinkFeed pops up, which will be explained in more detail a little later in the review. For regular HTC/Android users a simple swipe to the right brings back the recollection of the old sense.
What the HTC One really boasts is speed, which is what you’d expect from a searing 1.7 Ghz processor. There is an edge over phones like the S4, as opening and closing apps is instant, and an amplitude of tabs will not hinder its racing pace. The fast speed and number of tabs is a breathe of fresh air, especially in day-to-day life, and certainly undermines what sometimes can feel as a sluggish IOS or Samsung product. The new speeds also allow quick and easy access from the lock screen, which also allows a modest amount of notifications to blare up if need be.
What is really incredible about the HTC One is how easily it is to fix something you dislike. It sounds silly at first, but I really felt distasteful toward the music player and simply utilized Google Play to search for a new one, and boom bam, I had rocket player, which was a fantastic alternative. Later on, I found myself with most uncomfortable with the auto-correct, so I simply whipped out Google Play and installed a new one. It’s that simple, the alternative I chose was swift key, which makes use of heat sensors in the keyboard, slowly correcting little mistakes I made, and it learnt those mistakes as well and automatically began doing it for me. It really is a fresh take on the android market to have an almost self-fixing phone, and you have minimal issues implanting useful OS changing apps, which severely increased my experience and will allow users to take a similar approach to fit their needs.
BlinkFeed (The Love/Hate situation)
BlinkFeed is a new, inbuilt alternative from android’s common home screen. What it does is take all the news from your social media or apps, such as Sky sports, and put it all in one handy place. You can quickly switch between Facebook and Twitter, or a simple highlight reel displaying the top news from said apps. The issue with BlinkFeed is that if your not like me and you don’t commonly use Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, you’re stuck with a screen that just seems in the way and won’t really do much. Moreover, you cannot remove BlinkFeed, which is a real pain for some. If you are pro-active with social media though, BlinkFeed is a delight and I commonly refer to it when scrolling through a number of updates or even news stories, which can easily be implemented. I love it, but it is a 50/50 thing and it will appeal to some rather than others, so make your own judgement, baring in mind that it can be used for more than just Twitter.
The interface on the HTC One is simple – really simple. It does everything in a way that makes you feel like you’re never missing anything and getting a stylish system, as well as BlinkFeed. Regardless, the HTC One retains the old Android, but revitalizes it in ways that give you a much more immersive and impressive experience. It feels as though they are answering the needs of their users and simplifying the use of an Android device.
After all the tech behind it, the HTC One is rather intriguing as I began connecting the relative accounts I already had social media/Google account wise. The HTC One instantly began filling my contact pages with people I’m already socially connected to, leaving little room for you to actually stress with planting numbers in. Even more so, it allows a quick add of someone who calls you, so if at some point someone calls that you don’t have on your list, it ss very simple to add them. This is also a plus with Skype integration, allowing you to grab numbers of your current contacts quickly.
However this isn’t to say that the HTC One doesn’t come with some set backs, for example adding celebrities because you simply tweeted them, which strangely enough, it does do sometimes, which can really clog up your phone. This is a rarity though, so don’t worry too much. Call-wise, the quality on the HTC One is above-par; calls are clear and you don’t find your ear tapping the screen and ending the call *Cough Samsung*
Messaging is also very smooth, with not many stutters once you become accustom to the keyboard of your choice. The HTC One’s heat sensors allow the keyboard to slowly learn common mistakes, and will start to correct you before you even notice, or do so yourself. Sometimes pressing enter doesn’t actually accomplish sending the message, as you may find some apps have a separate enter key you have to manually press, which can be a drag sometimes.
Now the HTC One doesn’t disappoint when it comes to speed, even on 3G if you load a whack off of Wi-Fi, and on 4G you are looking at even faster paces almost instantaneous. One great feature about the One (get it) is that it comes with a toggle on and off flash player! This is great for sites that have a bit of Flash here and there, so when you run into these problems on the S4 you’ll either have to live with it, or sideload the Flash player on there. Here you can simply toggle it to save power and increase performance. Switching between URLs and tab’ through Chrome is a joy, as it is so swift and pacey and the size of the screen really adds to webpages that aren’t mobile device ready.
Now the One’s camera is unworldly. The use of ultra-pixels enhance light capture by 300%, in-turn creating brighter, more crisp and vibrant images. What it also brings to the table is fast sensor response, so if you’re like me and you’re an Instagram nut you can quickly land snaps without even the slightest stutter. As a matter of fact, sometimes I find myself actually not noticing I have taken the shot, it is that responsive. You can also alter the ISO levels, change exposure, contrast and sharpness and also enable HDR mode through the onscreen menu.
The front camera shows off a good-looking 2.1MP camera, allowing decent quality snaps. The smartphone ups the ante during daylight with even crisper pictures, and a number of modes are available with the swipe of a button, for example the sweeping-panorama option. To top all of that off, the HTC One has amazing low-light captures, outperforming pretty much every phone out right now. It’s also worth noting that the pictures are taken in 16:9, stopping those puny images you see on Facebook commonly.
With some great effects, I made these little angels.
A new feature from HTC takes 0.6 seconds of HD footage before you press the shutter button and three seconds afterwards, meaning you get a ‘moving photo’ which you can stroll through to get the best snap from the few seconds of imagery. Even more so, these can be compiled into little 30 second snippet collages, which is great for apps like Vine. You wont necessarily find yourself taking a lot of “Zoes”, but indefinitely the capability of being able to choose the perfect picture really helps when you pose those cheeky grins for Instagram.
The One lacks in the music player, but that is a simple solve with Rocket Player on Google Play, and Boomsound is AMAZING! I usually listen to music playing Fifa and it’s nice not to have to put headphones in to mimic a similar quality and allow the music to play throughout the room. It really does maintain the songs quality and integrity, let’s just hope those moron’s don’t start using it at the back of the bus…
Beats Audio really outperforms most phones’ basic music capabilities. Hell, you don’t need Beats to even notice the quality, a simple pair of in-ear Sonys for £10 will really give you an experience… I think it’s time to address the elephant in the room though, the lack of expandable storage. You must wonder if you will actually surpass 32GB. I have, say 3000 songs, and all the apps i want on it so far, and there is 13GB left of usable memory. So don’t ponder too much on it, I doubt it will become an issue.
Battery life varies massively on the One, but from a basic school day for me, by the time I’m home I have roughly 15% left after a full charge. This is alright, but in the long run you will need a beefier battery to really surpass the S4. It is worth saying that the phone does get fairly hot, perfect for winter… bad for direct sunlight, so I suggest you avoid leaving it in the baking heat very long. Otherwise, yet again, it shouldn’t be an issue, as it charges quite fast.
Now here in the UK i am with T-Mobile and i pay £37 a month for unlimited data, texts and 2000 minutes which isn’t a bad deal at all. If you price it up with the likes of an S4 or Iphone 5 in most cases it is significantly cheaper, if your looking to buy the phone brand new your looking at a price region of £400-£500 which yet again is not half bad.
The HTC One is my dream phone, and amazes everyone whom I show it to. Its strong hardware and stupendous camera really give it an edge along with the sleek looks. I really cannot find much to dislike about it, and I highly doubt anyone else that uses it will either. It impresses so much, my IOS hog of a father has even decided to get one now. That is a result, that’s why i’m giving the HTC One a 5/5