We’re a bit late to the party, but as they say..It’s better late than never.
The HTC One has to be one of the top Android handsets you can buy in 2013, even though it’s already June. The device, which sports a 1080p 4.7″ screen, 1.7Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU, 2GB of RAM and a 4MP “Ultrapixel” Camera, is no slouch. However, is it the device to get for you? We’ll find out in the full review.
We’ll start things off on the hardware side. The device is made out of a single piece of aluminum, giving it that premium feel that iPhone users have been enjoying since the iPhone 4. It definitely feels like something special-the curved back makes if fit perfectly in your hand, while giving you that “cool” feeling when you pick up your phone in the morning. That’s something you can’t really get with plastic.
Inside the device you’ll find yourself a 1.7Ghz Quad-core Snapdragon 600 CPU that is definitely no slouch. In my testing, it got through every single task incredibly fast, as I never saw any lag at all. There’s also 2GB of RAM inside the phone in case you have any of those memory-intensive apps.
When you first put your eyes on the HTC One, you may notice the pair of Boomsound speakers on the front of the device. I’m surprised manufacturers haven’t thought of this before-sound should be facing directly toward you, not to the back or on the side. Kudos to HTC for innovating in this ‘direction,’ as music and video playback sounded much more crisp and louder than devices such as the Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5.
Storage side of things, there’s either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage available on the HTC One, but you’ll find that the 64GB version of the device is exclusive to AT&T. Unfortunately, HTC decided not to put in an external microSD slot, which is understandable, considering that the device is made out of a pure block of aluminum. As a result of this, there also isn’t a way to remove the battery, which has a size of 2300maH.
Another thing that needs to be mentioned is the button layout HTC decided to put on the One. In a few words, we’ll say that it’s downright awful. First of all, HTC decided to put the power button on the left side of the decide, as opposed to the traditional right hand side, which isn’t a big deal. But in order to further go against the orthodox, HTC decided to place capacitive buttons on the device-and if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s a home button on the right, back button on the left, and a big HTC logo in the middle that has no function at all. You short press the home button to go home, long press to go to Google Now, and double tap to go into Multitasking. This completely goes against when Google tried to make manufacturers switch to on screen navigation buttons in Ice Cream Sandwich, and is a pain.
The HTC One comes with Android 4.1.2 with Sense 5, but HTC promises that they are working on an Android 4.2 update for the phone and will be released soon.
Sense 5, in reality, isn’t all that bad. In the lockscreen, you get a quick glance at the weather, as well as 4 customizable app shortcuts for quick and easy access to your most used apps. After unlocking, you’ll be presented with Blinkfeed-an unremovable widget that presents all your latest updates, such as news, social networks, and apps.
You aren’t able to remove Blinkfeed from your homescreen, but you can choose another home screen as your default so that you don’t have to see Blinkfeed every time you unlock your phone. I found myself actually using Blinkfeed quite a lot-I’m a heavy news reader, so being able to quickly glance and scroll through my news is heaven to me. HTC incorporated the scrolling feature as well, it has a carousel animation to it and is actually pretty darn smooth.
HTC has heavily customized most of the apps on the One, with the addition of a few other apps that aren’t present in stock Android, such as FM Radio, Tasks, Voice Recorder, and PDF Viewer. Another neat treat is the exclusive deal HTC has with Dropbox, as if you own an HTC One and sign into your Dropbox account, you’ll automatically be graced with 25GB of free space for 24 months.
In my experience, all of the software was easy to navigate and required no “Google-ing” in order to figure out how to use a feature. The HTC One also comes with an IR Blaster, so that you can control your TV as well as your Cable Remote directly from your phone. Since I don’t own cable, I wasn’t able to try out the latter, but turning on and off my TV was incredibly fun, but I don’t know how useful it’ll be than just walking up to your TV and pressing the button.
Bloatware side of things, the Sprint HTC One comes with a few pre-installed apps: Lookout Security, Qualcomm Enhanced Location Services, Sprint TV & Movies, Sprint Worldwide, and Sprint Zone. None of these are particularly useless, but could be replaced with other apps, such as Play Movies.
As you probably know by now, HTC is trying out something new in the smartphone department by offering a 4MP “Ultrapixel” camera on the HTC One. This basically means that the pixels on the HTC One’s camera are bigger than competing cameras, ultimately bringing in more light into your photos. In my testing, I found that the HTC One could take incredible low-light photos, but wasn’t up to par with other smartphones such as the iPhone 5 in daylight photos.
On a software side of things, HTC has added a few neat features into their camera on the HTC One. One such addition is burst mode-if you hold the “Take photo” button, the camera will automatically take 20 quick photos and allow you to choose from the best photo. Or, you can simply tap the “Choose Best Photo” button if you want the phone to decide for you.
There are also a bunch of live filters and other features inside the camera software, useful to say the least, but not something that I find very practical. If I’m to take a picture of something, I’d much rather quickly take the picture and edit the photo after.
Here are a few samples of the HTC One Ultrapixel camera in action:
One thing that definitely needs to be mentioned is battery life. Since I am a heavy smartphone user, I found that I was getting through the battery incredibly fast, and it could not last me a day without getting at least a charge in the afternoon.
The 2300mAH needs to power the 1080p 4.7″ screen, and its questionable why HTC couldn’t slap on a larger battery. If you’re a heavy power user and need your phone to last all day, you might want to look somewhere else, or carry a separate charger.
The HTC One is without a doubt HTC’s best smartphone to date. With its Quad-core processor, 1080p screen, and great Sense software, you can’t go wrong signing a 2-year contract. All of the major carriers except Verizon (coming soon) carry the device, so if you’re looking to get it, you’ll eventually find it somewhere.
If you already own an HTC One, tell us how it is. What’s your favorite feature about it? Least favorite?