The HTC One is the most waited Android flagship smartphone this year. Dubbed as the HTC M7 in the prototype stage, it was clearly known that It will compete with the best smartphones in the industry, given HTC’s recent history. Leaked by @evleaks just days before official announcement made it clear that HTC is using Aluminium unibody, while the use of full HD display and Snapdragon 600 processor could be easily guessed. It was only rumoured that HTC is using some kind of new technology that helps in taking good shots in low light. Dring the official announcement, HTC advertised and self-praised their new Ultrapixel camera and BoomSound speakers.
HTC has always been known for their exquisite designs and materials used to build their devices. After using polycarbonate unibody in last year’s flagship, they are now back to aluminium unibody with the HTC One. Due to the problems of signal reception, HTC has used Apple’s patented technology of using plastic inserts into aluminium to improve the signal reception. No matter which angle you look or feel the HTC One with, you can feel that this phone is nothing less of a jewellery. Be it the laser cut speaker holes or the bevelled edges, the phone’s design feels premium yet solid. Even with the curved back the device feels slippery and always gives us a thought that we might drop the device, thanks to use of smooth aluminium. The attractively red Beats Audio symbol could be erased after some time of usage. The only bits that do not impress us is the buttons on the HTC One. The power button is mysteriously staying on the top of the device inspite of a bigger screen. Almost all other brands have shifted the power buttons on the right or left sides of the device making it easier to reach with your thumb, but not HTC. Also the volume rocker is very hard to feel without looking at it. There are only 2 capacitive buttons which might feel awkard to new users before getting used to it. Although it may not be as tough or as indestructible as Sony Xperia Z, the HTC One can be called as the best designed smartphone of 2013. Yes, we said it, it has a better design than the Apple iPhone 5.
The full HD screen used on the HTC One is better than the one used on any smartphone right now. Although its black may not be as deep as the screen on the Samsung Galaxy S4, it is better in terms of brightness and sharpness. The colours are almost accurate and the contrast ratio is second only to the Super AMOLED HD screen used in the Galaxy S4. The outdoor visibility during the daylight is just about adequate without much contrast loss even at extreme angles. The screen is protected using a Gorilla Glass 2 panel. The touch response of the 10 point multitouch capacitive screen is perfect.
Bucking the industry trend, HTC One comes with a 4MP camera, which feels like almost criminal on a specifications sheet. HTC’s Marketing Team must be in a lot of pressure to defend a 4MP camera. But they came up with a marketing term called as ‘Ultrapixels’, which they say, increases per-pixel quality. Each pixel from an Ultrapixel sensor is 3 times bigger than other smartphone cameras, hence better quality in theory.
You’ll not be much surprised to know that it even has an Optical Image Stabilization Lens equipped in such a thin frame. OIS reduces the shaky effects in real time. HTC tells us that most of us click meaningful images mostly in the lowly-lit conditions such as in a club, restaurant or a party. Apart from Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC One, no other smartphone right now has an F/2.0 lens coupled with OIS which gives users very good images in low-light, without blowing out the details with LED or Xenon flash units. The general image quality is good with low noise reduction & good colour accuracy. But the white balance is a bit off and the images come out a bit dull than you would expect sometimes. The images clicked in day-light lacks the wow-factor of images shot in the night with the HTC One. Also, no matter what HTC tries to convince us with, the 4 MP resolution is a bit low and you feel the itch to have images with larger resolution when you try to zoom into image, but you simply can’t! Looking at the images clicked in low-light would leave you with a ‘Money Well Spent!’ feeling. The videos come out very stable and clear, thanks to OIS. Thanks to dual MEMS microphones, the voice recorded in the video is ultra-crisp and clean, much better than any other smartphone out there. You can click full 4 MP resolution images even while recording a video. HDR images came out very well with a bit of dramatic setup of contrast and colours. HDR videos is nearly a gimmick and you would not use that mode much, thanks to a bit of stuttering. It will help only in tricky lighting conditions. The stitching of multiple images is nearly smooth in the Panorama mode but I left myself wanting the 360 Degree panorama, thanks to Android 4.1.2 in HTC One. The camera UI is very neat and not filled with icons similar to some other camera UIs out there. The image clicking and video recording buttons are placed side-by-side and you can use both of them instantaneously, thanks to fast image processing with ImageSense 2 chip which is used in the HTC One.
UI & Other Features
The HTC One currently runs on HTC Sense 5 built upon Android 4.1.2 but the Android 4.2.2 must be rolling out soon. The whole UI is smooth and you won’t crave from stock Android experience. In our experience, this is the best designed custom Android UI with elegant design and smooth animations as well as performance. The multitasking UI is also better as you can see 9 recent apps with previews where as you get to see only 4 recent apps in stock Android UI. You can also create folders within the application launcher. There is smart dialling where you can type a name and it suggests the person’s contact but typing some starting numbers won’t do the same. There are custom Mail, Contacts and Clock apps which are very easy to use.
You get Notes, Tasks, Polaris Office and PDF viewer apps by default. The Notes app syncs with Evernote, Tasks syncs your data with Google Tasks which seems a very good addition. The HTC One comes with a lot of extras such as IR Blaster which you can use to control almost all the standard equipments that can be controlled with an IR remote control. The HTC One uses the same ‘Peel’ technology that is used in the Samsung Galaxy S4. But the HTC One has a slightly stronger IR transceiver which means you can control the devices with longer distance in comparison to Samsung Galaxy S4. The HTC Blinkfeed is a replacement for Flipboard. It’s UI partly resembles the Live Tiles on the Windows Phone. The Blinkfeed can annoy you as there is no way to remove it from the home screen without replacing the HTC Launcher. Although you can set a different pane as the main home screen which will help in not bringing you back to the Blinkfeed every time you hit the home button. ‘Highlights Reel‘ shows you short video previews from video recordings and HTC Zoe files. HTC Zoe lets you record short video clips and provides you with multiple shots. You can later pick the favourite shots from Zoe or use them to remove unwanted disturbances from the image, such as someone walking past by when you clicked the image.
Performance & Battery Life
HTC One has a 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor under the hood and it is one of the fastest processor around. It is blazing fast and is capable of performing any function with ease, be it frequent multitasking, tabbed web browsing or high end gaming. Nova 3 is one of the heaviest games of all time on Android, which ran flawless and butter smooth on the HTC One but it made the device hot. Thanks to the plastic inserts at the top and bottom of the back, the Wi-Fi and cellular reception of the device is exceptionally better than previous devices from HTC. The stereo ‘BoomSound’ loudspeakers on the front of the device. The Beats Audio on HTC devices isn’t just a gimmick anymore, the audio sounds great in with the headphones. HTC One comes with in-ear-canal type headphones with internal mic which looks similar to Beats Headphones. Though smaller than the battery used in the Samsung Galaxy S4, it performs equally and admirable, if not better. The 2330 mAh battery lasted more than a full day and till the noon of the next day in normal usage. Even if used heavily, the phone was alive the whole day with multiple Mail accounts and all the social and chatting apps in sync while being connected to the Internet.
Price in India
This makes the HTC One a great ‘Jack Of All Trades’ device and defeats Sony Xperia Z and the Samsung Galaxy S4. But to transform a great device into great sales is yet another tough job. The HTC One price in India is currently INR 42,500 but I think they should cut the price a bit and under price it to the Samsung Galaxy S4 to create huge amount of sales, although in combination of TV and newspaper commercials.
HTC One Quick Specs
|OS||Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean (upgradable to 4.2.2 Jelly Bean)||Processor||Quad-core 1.7 GHz Krait 300|
|Touchscreen||Capacitive touchscreen||Display Resolution||1080 x 1920 pixels|
|Display||4.7" S-LCD 3||Primary Camera||4 MP|
|Dimensions||137.4 mm x 68.2 mm x 9.3 mm||Weight||143 g|
|Flipkart||In stock||Rs. 36250||Shop Now →|