Saturday, 25 May 2013


One thing is for sure about HTC for this product cycle, it’s got to get it right. The last year has been difficult for the Taiwanese manufacturer.  I waxed lyrical about the HTC One X this time last year. I still stand by my assertion that it was one of the best Android phones of the previous cycle, if not the best. Things did not however, go to plan for HTC. Out blitzed by Samsung’s massive advertising campaign for its S3 handset and failure to land attractive deals with mobile operators saw the One X brushed aside all too easily by Samsung’s marketing clout and superior network operator deals. The vast majority of Android phones out there are of a pretty poor standard. Will this be a diamond in the usual rough of Android phones? And can the HTC One save HTC from obscurity?

HTC have recently been experiencing a renaissance in design. Be it the One X, 8X or Desire U there is no doubt that HTC has upped their game in the design stakes over the last year. The One is no exception. This is truly a stunning device to hold. I’ve been cradling this thing as though it were my first born for fear of denting its beauty by dropping it and, well, denting it. It has a premium feel to it that only Apple products can match. In this respect it really does put Samsung’s S4 with it’s Fisher Price finish to shame.

There are a few niggles in the design. One of which is having a power button at the top of the phone. I’m used to having a power button at the side of a phone as on my Nexus 4. With a phone as big as the One it’s a little too difficult to power the screen on with one hand. I understand why it’s there. HTC has implemented an IR blaster in to the power button for controlling your TV. I just don’t know anyone that uses a phone to control his or her TV; it seems like a novelty feature at the expense of day-to-day use.

Specs wise the One is beastly. It sports a 1.7Ghz quad core CPU with 2GB of Ram and an Adreno 320 GPU. To say this thing runs buttery smooth would be an understatement. The screen is fantastic. The resolution level exceeds the visual acuity of my peepers, viewing angles are great and everything looks so sharp you could practically shave with it.

The camera is a little different from most other phone cameras this cycle in that rather than going for say 13mp like the S4. The HTC One has 4mp; the big difference though is that HTC has termed their pixels Ultra Pixels as opposed to Mega Pixels. The reason being that the One’s sensor lets more light in. Meaning that the camera is great for use in low light situations (which is coincidently when I take most of my pictures). I actually like the camera; low light pictures I’ve taken in restaurants/at parties have certainly been an improvement over images that normally rely on a flash and have allowed pictures to appear more natural. In regular light pictures are still pretty sharp and of a decent quality.

One of the best qualities of the HTC One is the sound. The device has hands down the best quality sound I have ever heard on a phone. When watching videos/listening to music the sound is well rounded and the stereo speakers help add depth. Its sound output is incredibly loud. I tested it against my MacBook to get an idea of what it compares to and the One was only just beaten for output by my apple machine. God forbid kids start playing music through this thing on the back of the bus on my way to work in the morning.

Software wise the phone runs Android 4.1.2, which is an older version of Jelly Bean, though it is upgradable. It has the usual HTC Sense skin over the software. Blink feed is a nice touch though the ability to not be able to add my own news feeds to it is an annoyance (I’m a bit of a BBC News hound, which is unfortunately not available for Blink Feed). Whilst Sense 5 is not as invasive as previous versions I can’t help but want a stock android version for this phone.

Speaking of the standard Android operating system, Google’s developer event I/O announced that stock android would be coming to the Galaxy S4. Were Google to announce stock android for the HTC One? Then Google would have on its hands the best phone on the market and a phone to rival and surpass the iPhone in all three important smart phone areas; design, specifications and operating system. As it stands, Google chose to turn the Galaxy S4 into a stock Android Nexus device. Which is kind of akin to a diamond covered in crap.

HTC One at CeX

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