HTC One review: To rule them all

GSMArena team, 22 March 2013.

Introduction

Voted Manufacturer of the Year in 2011 by the GSMA and emerging as the top US smartphone vendor later that year, HTC hit a rough patch and was struggling to find form through the better part of 2012. Complacency, fatigue, or something else - we don't even want to think arrogance - the company somehow forgot that even great products, which the One X and One S certainly were, need proper support and marketing to sell.


HTC One official photos

At the speed smartphones are evolving, a bad year can cause all sorts of trouble and HTC had to learn it the hard way. Fortunately, the financial trouble seems to have had no impact on the company's ability to produce excellent smartphones, as the HTC One is here to prove.

Arguably one of the most exciting pieces of smartphone design in recent times, the HTC One is also properly powered and flaunts a screen that should please even the most demanding eyes. It also brings an overdue redesign of the Sense UI and a new camera that takes a completely new approach to mobile photography.

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, 2Ám 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

The One is a tempting package indeed and even though it will take HTC a while to get out of the slump, this is certainly a confident step in the right direction. With proven performers in both the computing and screen departments, it's only the low camera resolution that will potentially raise doubt. HTC say the extra-large "ultrapixels" are worth the sacrifice though, and we are as keen as you are to find out if that claim is justified.

HTC One Review HTC One Review HTC One Review
HTC One studio shots

With a spec sheet like that, the One has nothing to fear when it takes on the likes of the Xperia Z and the Galaxy S4 in the battle for the ultimate flagship. Here's hoping that it delivers on the promises in real-life performance.

As the tradition goes, we start with the unboxing and hardware checkup right after the break.

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