The HTC One has been out for a little while now and it has received rave reviews. And now, after having put it to the test for a few weeks, we’re ready to share our thoughts on HTC’s latest flagship device. So it’s time to find out, is the HTC One all it’s cracked up to be?
HTC has undoubtedly been inspired by cupertino’s designs with the HTC One, and that isn’t a bad thing. Its sleek aluminum body screams quality and it feels like it’s meant to last. The full metal body also offers a slim grip that feels secure and satisfying in your hand. But while its design is very durable, we still recommend a case for the HTC One, especially since its backside is not impenetrable from scruffs. In any case, its great design is complimented by a 4.7″ full HD 1080p display with a 468 PPI. This display is super sharp and is able to get plenty bright with vivid and especially accurate colors. These colors are not over saturated or pumped up to look extra colorful – they just look accurate and are easy on the eyes. That said, some may lament the fact that the display is smaller than many other flagship smartphones, but we find the 4.7″ of real estate to be more than enough for a smartphone.
When it comes to HTC’s Sense U.I. overlay for Android, we have always really liked Sense That said, many have criticized Sense ever the years. This time around for HTC Sense 5.0, HTC has overhauled the Sense U.I. design quite dramatically. The result is a less cluttered, and less widget heavy overlay, that is replaced with a clean and more modern user experience. As a matter of fact, If you like Windows Phone, then this is as close you’ll get to it on Android. Furthermore, this is our favorite flavor of Android to date because it’s so clean and simple to navigate.
A key feature in this new version of HTC Sense is HTC BlinkFeed. BlinkFeed is a live home screen which pulls in the latest updates from your favorite social networks, as well as your favorite news stories. If you like the Flipboard or Pulse apps, then you’ll like BlinkFeed. All in all, BlinkFeed is a nice touch and compliments the phone’s homescreen very well, but it’s hardly a cutting edge feature. Also, new is Sense TV which transforms the HTC One into a universal remote. This is a feature we’ve seen on the likes of the S4 and is again, hardly cutting edge, but it’s a job pretty well done.
When it comes to audio, HTC has made a concerted effort to offer the best audio experience – both inside and out. To that effect they have packed in Beats Audio for listening through headphones, and new to the HTC One is HTC BoomSound which offers Dual frontal stereo speakers powered by built-in amplifiers. All in all, its nice to see a phone designed more practically with front-facing speakers, especially since that seems to be such a rarity. However, in practice, the phone’s speaker does not get all that louder than most of the competition, so you’ll still want to carry a long a portable speaker with you for when you really need to pump up the volume.
Size doesn’t always matter, and HTC has proven that with the 4MP UltraPixel camera on the HTC one is one of the best you’ll find on a smartphone – if not the best. Photo snaps are super fast too boot. The photo results also offer accurate color reproduction and very good low-light performance for a phone.
HTC has also included the HTC Video Highlights feature which automatically creates a 30 second show from your photos. All you have to do is pick out music and voila! You have a mini-video masterpiece. Again, this is a nice feature to be bundled out of the box, but it’s nothing that we haven’t seen available from third party apps for a while now. It also offers nice effects for your photos that borrows some photo effects commonly found on Instagram.
Call quality on the HTC One is very good thanks to Sense Voice which provides dual built-in microphones. These mice detect loud ambient noise and will then dynamically boost the in-call voice to compensate, the result is a clear conversation – even if you’re in a noisy environment. And when it comes to battery life, the built-in 2300mAh battery life is will get you through nearly 24 hours with moderate use.
The HTC One doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles that the Galaxy S4 does, but what it does offer, it does really well. HTC has done a nice job revamping HTC Sense overlay, and it is refreshing in the way that it’s clean and easy to navigate. All in all, between the lovely and hardy design, excellent display and great camera, the HTC One is turning out to be a leading smartphone. Furthermore, the HTC One is as good as Android gets, at least for now. It’s also worth noting that the phone comes with 25 GB of Dropbox space free for two years. The HTC One is available across all AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. Pricing begins at $199 with a 2 year contract for the 32GB model and $299 for the 64GB model. Google just announced an HTC One model with a clean version of Android for $599.
The Good: A major improvement over last year’s HTC One X, Excellent build quality and design thanks to sleek aluminum frame, excellent display with accurate colors, clean and modern Android overlay with Sense 5.0, very good battery life, 1.7GHz quad-core chip provides plenty of pep, camera produces very good photos excellent low light performance
The Bad: Not the largest display out there, no crazy cutting edge features. No memory card slot – although 32GB of built in storage should suffice for most, video quality is pretty good but lighting can be inconsistent and shaky. Sense keyboard can be frustrating to be use.