The release date of the HTC One may still be a bit of a mystery in the U.S., but in Europe it’s already in the shops. Initial user reviews are positive, but is this the phone to defeat the threat of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and bring HTC back to glory?
Key features of the HTC One include:
• Aluminum body
• Full HD 1080p display
• BlinkFeed home screen
• Zoe UltraPixel camera
Design & Looks
There’s no doubt about it. The HTC One looks good. Perhaps not quite as good in the flesh as in HTC’s beautiful marketing photos, but still good. And, in terms of materials used – metal and glass – it’s a close match for the iPhone, and far ahead of the plasticky Samsung crowd.
The phone is large, but very thin. And because it’s curved with tapering ultrathin edges, it looks and feels even thinner than it really is. It’s quite heavy, but that helps create a premium feel. The industrial-looking speaker grilles above and below the screen add to the feeling of supremacy.
Central to the design is the very large 4.7-inch screen with its full HD 1080p resolution – practically a match for the Sony Xperia Z and Samsung Galaxy S4. Although the Sony and Samsung have 5-inch screens, it’s unlikely that you’ll notice the difference. You’ll be able to watch videos in full HD, view photos in unprecedented detail and play games in extraordinary 1080p definition.
HTC Sense 5 & BlinkFeed
The HTC One runs Android Jelly Bean (version 4.1) and HTC Sense 5. For the One, HTC has scaled back its user interface modifications, but introduced a new kind of home screen called BlinkFeed. BlinkFeed streams content from news feeds, social media sites and calendar events. It changes the look of Android significantly, making it look somewhat like Windows Phone 8. The only problem is that there’s no way to remove it if you don’t like it.
Another area in which HTC is making huge efforts to distinguish itself from its rivals is in photography. HTC has made a radical decision here. Instead of increasing the number of megapixels, it’s decided to reduce them to just 4! The theory is that better results will be obtained from a sensor with a smaller number of larger pixels, as each pixel is able to gather more light. It’s an intriguing theory, but in practice photos taken using the HTC One lack the fine detail you find from rival smartphone cameras.
The HTC One is powered by a very fast quadcore processor and is 4G/LTE compatible. Memory is either 32GB or 64GB, but there’s no microSD card slot. Battery life is typical for a high-end smartphone.
HTC is seeking to differentiate the One from rival handsets through its metal construction, UltraPixel camera and distinctive looks. It’s unquestionably a strong performer, with an amazing screen, quadcore speed and high quality audio. But as its release date in the U.S. has been pushed back, will it have what it takes to match the Samsung Galaxy S4? Ultimately, the current generation of flagship phones from HTC, Samsung, Sony and Apple are all amazing products. Brand loyalty and personal preference are now more important than technical specs.