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HTC One Review

htc-one-review
03 Jun 2013
htc-one-review

HTC One was released amidst a very tough competition, it was released at a time when Sony had already unleashed it's best phone the Sony Xperia Z. Samsung Galaxy S4 was around the corner followed by LG Optimus G Pro, the competition in the sector has never been so fierce. HTC also faced troubles meeting the production challanges. With all that pressure pilling on, HTC came up with the best designed phone ever. HTC One is one of the most exciting pieces of phone design. The display is amazing to look at, The new Sense UI looks great on the beautiful display. The ultra - pixel camera is another +1 to it.

Key features

  •           Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support; 3G with HSPA; LTE
  •           4.7" 16M-color 1080p Super LCD3 capacitive touchscreen with 469ppi pixel density
  •           Android OS v4.1.2 Jelly Bean with Sense UI 5.0
  •           Quad-core 1.7 GHz Krait 300 CPU, 2 GB RAM, Adreno 320 GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chipset
  •           4 MP autofocus "Ultrapixel" camera with 1/3'' sensor size, 2µm pixel size; LED flash
  •           1080p video recording @ 30fps with HDR mode, continuous autofocus and stereo sound
  •           HTC Zoe
  •           2.1 MP front-facing camera, 1080p video recording
  •           Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA; Wireless TV out
  •           GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
  •           32/64GB of built-in storage
  •           MHL-enabled microUSB port
  •           Bluetooth v4.0
  •           NFC
  •           Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  •           Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  •           Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
  •           Aluminum unibody
  •           Front-mounted stereo speakers with BoomSound tech
  •           Class-leading audio output

Main disadvantages

  •           4MP camera has disappointing performance in good lighting conditions
  •           Non-expandable storage
  •           Awkwardly-placed and uncomfortable power button
  •           Sense UI still lacks connectivity toggles in notification area
  •           Non user-replaceable battery
  •           Poor video and audio codec support out of box


Design and Build Quality

htc one top

The HTC One makes a wonderful first impression. The phone is made with a beautiful block of aluminium. The curved rear of HTC One sits very confortable in the hand. Looks like HTC has worked very hard on every detail. The front of the HTC One is the most appealing part of HTC One to me.

htc one front

Besides the beautiful looks HTC One has excellent build quality. It is not the slimmest or lightest phone - it weighs 143g and is 9.3mm thick, But it is certainly one of the most sturdiest phone. The metal construction and Gorilla Glass make it incredibly tough. To make a phone so incredibly tough HTC had to comprise on some things. As there is no removable rear cover. You cannot replace the battery. there is no microSD card slot. HTC has put a huge (32GB) internal storage but for some people it's not enough.

htc one bottom

Display

The display of HTC one is stunning it is surely the most refined display ever packed in a smarphone. HTC One is not the first phone to have a Full HD 1080p resolution screen as Sony Xperia Z has that honor. But HTC One's 4.7 inch display panel is remarkably better than Sony's. It has a maximum brightness of 481cd/m2 and contrast ratio of 1,202:1 compared to Sony's 409cd/m2 and 454:1. HTC One has also better color reproduction and viewing angles.

htc one display

The only area of the HTC One screen performance that is not quite perfect is in direct sunlight. It's still good, helped by its good brightness levels, but it's not quite up there with the best we have seen. It even falls behind two years old Samsung Galaxy SII.

htc one display

I am not sure if HTC One's Full HD display panel gives any real benefits over a 720p panel in field of clarity, as by putting Nexus 4 and HTC One side by side I did not feel any difference in clarity at all even with my nose pressed to the screen. I think manufacturers should focus on some other options making the display better instead of making the resolution more higher.

Power

Talking about the power HTC One a real power house. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 600 chipset makes it a moster. It has four cores clocked at 1.7GHz combined with Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM. It easily defeat the previous record holder Sony Xperia Z by a mile in Quadrant, The HTC One scored 11,617 leaving behind Sony's 7,744. In Geekbench it outclassed the Sony's 1,911 by achieving 2,733. The only benchmark where it was left behind was the SunSpider where it scored 1,154ms. In real world HTC gives best results, The operation of the phone is silky smooth. menus slide past without a lag, Apps loads very quickly and the smarphone responds incredibly well to every swipe and tap of the finger. Despite having to power the Full HD display Gaming is astonishingly smooth. I had the pleasure to enjoy the smoothest gameplay of Real Racing 3 and Modern Combat 4 on the HTC One without any stutter. The gameplay was smoother with a very good frame rate.

The good thing is the Power of HTC had no effect on the batter backup of the phone. The One's powerful 2,300mAh battery is right on par with the Galaxy SIII.

Camera

At a time when major smarphone manufacturers are moving towards 13 megapixel lenses, HTC took another direction reducing the resolution making the pixels larger. HTC calls it "UltraPixel". HTC claims that these Ultra pixels capture more light. Combining the Ultra Pixels with the optical image stabilization HTC tried to improve the image quality in low-light situations. But the low light images captured on HTC One's Ultra Pixel camera were no match for the images captured with Nokia Lumia 920.

htc one camera sample

However HTC One does impress with the macro mode. The images captured with macro mode on were incredible and much detailed. The panorama mode is also impressive. We were able capture some quick widescreen images without any major stiches. The camera app is beautifuly redisigned. the menu can be opened by a tap on the top left corner. switching between front and rear cameras is easy with just a horizontal swipe. By taping on the bottom-left corner you can have access to more than a dozen filters. There is a burst mode too for capturing fast paced action. One of the new features is Zoe. You can access Zoe by tapping on the top of the screen. what it does is that, it shoots 3.6 seconds of 1080p video, simultaneously shooting 20 full resolution 4-megapixel images this feature is also handy for taking action a perfect action shot. HTC One can also combine these short clips and still images to make a 30-second highlight videos. This feature could have been more useful. if you were able to take photos while making a full length video.

Software

HTC comes running Android 4.1.2 skinned with the latest HTC Sense 5.0. HTC should have released the phone with the latest Android 4.2.2 which Samsung Galaxy S4 is running. But, HTC has done a good job by adding its own addition to it. The notifications drawer  has a link to the full settings menu. HTC has included it's own gesture keyboard alongside Android's stock keyboard.

The key feature of Sense 5 is the BlinkFeed, which replaces the traditional Android homescreen with live tiles of web content, news stories and social media posts. It looks more like windows phone tiles. It is the first thing you see when you unlock the phone and it looks amazing, scrolling down you will see more vibrant tiles loaded with pictures, news headlines and social media status updates.

htc one blinkfeed

You can customize the BlinkFeed with a dropdown menu. You can add remove a limited number of websites. you can also toggle the social media integration on and off. You cannot remove BlinkFeed completely but you can move it to another homescreen. But I don't think any one would want to do that. BlinkFeed is a feature you will fell in love with.

htc one blinkfeed customizations

There are some limitations with BlinkFeed which HTC should take care of in the next software update. There are only 12 specific websites to choose from and 39 categories, 11 of which are different sports. HTC should let the user to add websites of their own choice. The social network integration is also not much inspiring. The picture post are reasonable, But we would rather open our Facebook or Twitter apps than see disjointed, individual status updates scattered among the news stories and content updates.

htc one app drawer

The BlinkFeed also has an influence on the Gallery App, which has a similar tile-based interface. it not only display the camera photos, but also display images from Facebook, Dropbox and flickr.

Bottom Line

HTC One is a smartphone that will bring HTC back in the game. It is stylish, tougher and reiable, It has great processing capabilities. The interface is simple but beautiful. It sits comfortably in hand. The screen on the HTC One is surely the best screen ever produced.It certainly is a smartphone worth buying. The price of HTC One in Pakistan is around Rs. 73,000 which seems a little overpriced, but that is what you have to pay for such a beauty.

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