Hands-on with the HTC One (video)

Daniel Bader

February 19, 2013 12:24pm

htconelowres-1

One thing in mind

The HTC One is here. It’s a gorgeous 4.7-inch device with a 1080p screen and a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor. While the hardware specs were not the main focus of the press conference, the company has both hardware and software prowess in the bag.

HTC wanted to avoid “hand overload,” and designed the One to fit as comfortably in one hand as possible. It’s only slightly larger than the One X at 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm (the One X is 134.8 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm) and slightly heavier at 143g than the One X’s 130g. But the phone does not feel bigger, thanks to an edge-to-edge Super LCD3 screen with Gorilla Glass 2 and an Ultrapixel camera that does not protrude. In fact, the One embodies a design ethic that even Apple would envy, with smooth curves along its all-aluminum sides, manufactured using precision diamond-cutting tools. If it all sounds a bit hyperbolic, just wait until you feel one yourself — it’s very, very nice.

A Snapdragon 600 processor and 2GB RAM accompany either 32 or 64GB of internal storage (no SD slot, unfortunately), a 2300mAh battery, dual front-facing speakers, dual microphones, an infrared sensor built into the top-left power button, and finely-hewed volume buttons.

htconelowres-9

Simplify, and then do it again

HTC had a plan to simplify the user experience with Sense 5.0, which takes shape in BlinkFeed, the default homescreen view, and the lack of a dedicated multitasking button. Indeed, the One only has two capacitive buttons on the bottom, Back and Home. To reach the multitasking menu which, like so much of Sense 5.0, eschews 3D in favour of clean, flat, high-resolution assets, you double tap on the home button. To get to the Google Now search interface, hold down the home button.

You can do away with BlinkFeed if you so desire, but its Flipboard-like aesthetic treats you as a rapid consumers of information; it sources, consolidates and immaculately presents content from up to 1400 sources. It may not replace your dedicated news reader, but it certainly appeals to the news hoarder in me, and since it’s always available it stands to reason I’ll end up using it a lot.

The app drawer has been overhauled, too, with a vertical grid design that allows you to create folders. Of course, the regular home screen is available to you (up to four maximum) for a legacy Sense feel, but the whole thing runs at a clip you wouldn’t believe. This thing is crazy fast.

Cameras, Zoe and Passion

The One is not only immaculately designed, but it attempts to do as much as possible behind the scenes. The Ultrapixel camera, for instance, takes Zoes, a combination of still photos and short bursts of video which it then combines into a short movie clip with titles, music and seamless edits. We’ve yet to see what the experience is like in the real world — all the examples we saw were heavily doctored, we imagine — but in theory Zoe sounds like a potent combination of Vine and BlackBerry StoryMaker (hattip to Techcrunch’s Chris Velazco for the analogy).

We’ve also yet to see real-world photo quality, but curated examples from HTC point to amazing low-light performance and incredibly fast shutter speeds. One of the first things we plan to do is compare the One to the Lumia 920 and iPhone 5 in a photo and video quality shoot-out, so stay tuned for that.

htconelowres-21

How it stacks up

We won’t be able to tell for some time whether the One competes with Samsung’s upcoming flagship, or whether it bests Sony’s Xperia Z in features, smoothness and usability. But HTC has done its homework here: it has created a device sized perfectly for today’s market without alienating its core group of loyal buyers. The 4.7-inch screen size is certainly big enough, and the 468ppi screen is insanely gorgeous. This is easily the best mobile display on the market.

We’ll have to see how the Snapdragon 600 chip and 1080p display holds up our retinue of battery tests — that’s the big question mark here — but Qualcomm is promising 40% better speeds and improved battery life over its predecessor, the quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro. We’re also curious to know how quickly the One will see Android 4.2 or above, since HTC has performed immeasurable surgery to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. The operating system, for better or worse, is basically unrecognizable from stock. This is the farthest from a Nexus device you’ve ever seen the company produce.

But since HTC desperately needs a hit, and this is its flagship phone, we’re happy to see it launching on multiple carriers at the same time in Canada. It will fit in very nicely on the shelves of Rogers, Bell and TELUS, and Virgin customers finally have a great Android flagship for 2013.

  • Rio

    I am an iPhone person and if I were to switch to Android if would 100% be HTC.

    The ONE X and this, both look beautiful

    • Mexico Ron

      Aluminum body, antenna integrated into the body. Long press the home button to get a voice-driven interface, double-tap the home button to bring up the multitasking switcher. Can’t quite put my finger on where I’ve seen ALL of that before…

    • Comment Master

      I think HTC is the WORLD’s best in terms of quality products and design..people say apple is good at design but come..on..they either make their design tall or fat..for the next version while HTC redesigns everything..way to go HTC

    • Bigger Pixels

      The lack of SD card; the non-removable battery and the added difficulty of adding Custom ROMS to HTC phones are a deal breaker.

      I love the dimensions and the 4.7″ but unless they price it within $50 of a N4 I think I will pass.

      Why add all those expensive added-value options and omit the the SD card?? oh yeah, presure from Operators so that they sell more Data-plans.

      This will be ONE-big fail.

    • scrooge

      You honestly need more than 64GB of space on a phone? What the hell are you putting on it?

    • freestaterocker

      @Mexico Ron it does all sound very iFamiliar…

    • BIll Murray

      If the S4 is metal and aesthetically pleasing…then HTC is Effed. But, it most likely will not, and the 5″ size of the s4 could be too big for a lot of people as i think my htc one X is just pushing the boundaries of a comfortable phone to hold.

  • Dr.Hugo

    Copy the BB10 , seems everybody is going this way but different OS

  • Temi

    snapdragon 600? So already they are putting out a processor with supposed 40% better speed than the one I paid for recently? I really hate tech

  • Marc

    From the live feed, I also saw that they were launching on Wind (it was the very last logo in the bottom right hand corner).

    The “One” thing that I think this phone will have over the S4 is the materials. I can’t see Samsung bring anything to the tablet like aluminum when those cheap plastics have been serving the bottom line so well for so long.

    • _ThaNerd_

      Who cares about aluminum or not?!?!? LMAO! Phones these days last max 3 years (and thats stretching it). With the latest technology always around the corner a good phone is one with great specs such as screen res, fast cpu and the most important BATTERY life. I don’t give a rats a$$ about the freakin back cover. Plus they all get scratched, dented, and deteriorated so why not get a phone with easy/cheap to replace material ie plastic.

    • Denis M

      WIND is a carrier in Greece and Italy. The Official HTC press released listed them as a launch partner so I’m guessing that’s what they mean.

      Although, the One is launching on T-Mobile i nthe US which make’s it compatible with WIND/Mobilicity/Videotron.

    • Tomatoes11

      They used Aluminum for the Tab 7.7 and frankly, the plastic tab 10.1 was just as nicely built.

  • Dan

    Looks like it is inspired by the Z10.

    • d

      Ya completely. Right after the Z10 was announced HTC ran out and quickly designed this in less than a month and will have in market in another month. Crazy quick aren’t they?

    • Castle

      There were leaked pictures of the Z10 over a year ago

  • Tom

    Sounds great, but I keep reading on XDA about how great Sony has been about making available the code, headers, and info that they need in order to support phones.

    So, if HTC or Sony doesn’t provide the updates I want, and I have to turn to XDA, I’d be well served to have a Sony…

  • Mike

    Shut up and take my money!

  • hebdo27

    I love my HTC One X, can’t wait to try this one. I traded in my S3 (after 3 mths) for the One X solely because of the screen quality. Hoping this new screen will BLOW ME AWAY!

  • SC

    Am I the only one not too fond of the speaker grills? Looks rather tacky. I would like to try this in-store, the screen probably looks superb though

  • mjolnir

    HTC I really hope you do well! Honestly with SoC’s being so power efficient I am sure I can live with 2300mah. With 32/64GB the lack of microSD is a non-issue too; unlike just a year and a half ago when on-board storage was 8/16GB. With one of the best mobile cameras (pureview is WAY too bulky I’m sorry) and best build quality (I prefer aluminum over plastic), I am 99% sold. I doubt the GS4 can sway me enough, and unfortunately for the XperiaZ I am not going to buy into a S4 Pro SoC in 2013 though I really liked the water-proof feature.

  • Sam

    It seems HTC isn’t very smart, didn’t the one x fail last year due to no removable battery and no micro sd slot? this phone will share the same fate if Samsung continues to bring those things to the table. Rip HTC..

    • Kevin

      Hardly the reason why they failed. They did lose a couple customers here and there because of the lack of those features but the biggest thing is the absence of (any) good advertising.

      If they play their cards right, spread the word and plaster this phone everywhere in a head to head commercial war with Samsung, they just might a chance. With at least 32GBs, MicroSD is negligible for most and the battery life is going to be a huge question mark for all the upcoming phones until people get them in their hands.

    • Tomatoes11

      HTC failed for a lot of reasons, and marketing is the least of it. The main issues with the One X and all HTC phones for that matter.

      -Sense lags and was bloated
      -small battery
      -very litte storage
      -Not enough ram for the SOC they used(poor planning and QC)
      -Buggy software where you wouldn’t even get notifications and Rogers took forever to release the fix.
      -Very poor tactile feel of the buttons which are flush and in the worst possible places.(They haven’t looked at this issue at all and even made it worse by screweing up the capacitative buttons somehow which is quite the amazing feat. LOL)
      – Manufacturing defects like a mother f’er in both the HTC 8x and One X. Including micro usb port that doesn’t register every time you plug it in, screens that flex, sim tray slot sticking out from the body, rattling volume rockers, and the list goes on and on.

      So I would say they either won’t ever sell as well as Samsung or maybe by the HTC Five or Six.

  • joe public

    Hey its a new Z10. Well android has moved from copying apple to now making knock offs of blackberry products. Way to go android be original as Sammy s4 looks like a Z10 as well.

  • Enzo

    Hey Look it’s the white Z10 !!!

  • Nexus

    Software matters. If it’s not a “Nexus”, then it won’t have the latest version of Android OS.
    Also, Stock Android (specially Google Now) rules!

    • Adrian

      You are kidding me, right? Stock Android? Touchwiz and Sense phones seem to have far more features than plain old vanilla Android. Also, you mentioned Google Now? It’s also available on HTC and Samsung phones. I am no longer impressed with the Nexus phones. What can the N4 do that this HTC can’t?

  • joe public

    Is this keylime pie?

  • Patrick

    Omg – “No SD slot! No removable battery!” Really? Getting sick of the same complaints from these people.
    The general public DOESN’T CARE. If you consume THAT much media that 64gb of space and 9hrs of HEAVY battery usage aren’t enough – then you’re living a pretty boring life.

    • Adrian

      Exactly, and the lack of SD and removable battery had no impact on the iPhone’s sales. It really isn’t that big an issue. The only people who complain are the whiners on sites such as this.

      Personally, I prefer to have a removable battery though. I really don’t need to carry around 128GB of data all the time. 32GB is fine with me. 64GB is great.

  • Yannick Wolfe

    How can Comment Master state that HTC is the world’s leader in design when this phone is clearly copied from the iphone 5 and the Z10.

    My friend, you need to take a second look at all this.

    Really.

  • Billy

    Edge to edge screen sucks. My finger touch the screen when holding making for so many errors nine touches.

    No sd card? Fail!
    No removable battery? Fail,

    Conclusion. FAIL!

    ANOTHER CRAP HTC PRODUCT JUST JOT GETTING IT

  • Geoff

    I’m in a strange situation where none of the “typical” requirements that I’d need in a phone matter anymore. Every Android smartphone coming out is going to be fast enough and smooth enough that I’m not worried about the speed. They are all coming out with screens that are right on the edge of too large and all stunning enough for me. Phone updates matter to me, except that I seem to change phones often enough that it is only a minor inconvenience.

    These days, my biggest issue that can’t be worked around is the camera quality. I’m looking forward to picture comparisons and if this phone can One-up (pun intended) others like the Xperia ZL then HTC can have my money.

  • zzZZzz

    I would’ve preferred a memory card, but I think the 32gb, if at least 26 are usable should be fine. Same goes for removable battery. My One S easily lasts me through a day and I see no reason why this One shouldn’t. My main quarrel with the device is the new Sense – I don’t really sense it being all that great and lastly HTC’s latest policy of very LATE software upgrades and hard to crack bootloaders.

    Beautiful device, no doubt about it. But I might just get a Nexus 4 instead.

    PS
    As for the copying, the ONLY thing it copied from iPhone is the brushed Aluminum edges you see on the iPhone 5 (though that would hardly be a reason to sue), but HTC has a patent agreement so it’s all good. Z10 wise, please! All you see is a black screen on a white slab. That’s the only thing that’s similar. The black is totally different. The dimensions of the phone are different. The texture of the phone is different.

  • 15ive

    I don’t care anyone says,HTC,has the best-looking phones.

  • Tomatoes11

    Wow, this thing is huge for a 4.7 inch phone. Go watch the videos of it next to a Nexus 4. Fail HTC, fail.

    Taller and thicker than a GS3 with a smaller screen. Fail.

  • skazzberry 2.0

    Did HTC run out of names for their phones?

  • S2556

    Don’t like the new sense and HTC locks their phones down like crazy so that alone I pass. When you buy this phone you should expect updates 6 months to a year after release because of how much they have modified the OS.
    There are a lot of pluses with this phone however it still has the same downfalls that kept me from the One X

  • tomatoes11

    Droid DNA and HTC One comparison at pocketnow. Same size as the DNA but with a smaller screen…HTC design at its best…

  • Jonathan L

    I just want to know – has HTC fixed the overheating and random shutdowns that have plagued their phones in the past. If so, then I would definitely get this ONE!!!

  • Ken

    Funny I have the Amaze 4 G and have been told it will get the Jelly Bean update, well I’m still waiting and I may have to start breathing through my ears in order to be here for this great event. HTC is to slow on there updates, great phone but I may switch to smoke signals.

  • lelo

    Another beautiful design by HTC. Can’t wait till they make a nexus phone

  • aryana

    copycat from BBZ10!!! It looks exactly like Z10

  • jackmam

    great phone but what the fck did they do to the android interface? as I watch this I am associating it with the new OSes coming out like ubuntu and bb10. barely a hint of android!

    man sense 4 rapes this new sense (5?)

  • ElNad

    If I can install CyanogenMod maybe. But never with Sense. Sorry HTC.

  • RICO

    Hahaha this site should be renamed Underdog. Whether it is BB or HTC people rant and rave about how superior the mediocre products are. Reminds me of the One X last year. The S4 blows this phone away. Watch. And like usual HTC will fight to stay afloat. What a boring phone. Windows tiles and that’s it

  • Android fan

    64 gig is enough for me, and for that removable battery I carry a external backup battery with me just plug in and charge .I can charge my device up to 3 time in a day with my backup battery and it all fits in my pocket.I love my htc 1x and I can’t wait to get my hands on the HTC One

  • robbers

    Can’t deny that the design is heavely borrowed from bb z10 which was shown as a prototype almost a year ago, so yes, they did have time to copy it.
    However, htc did improve over rim’s design. This is one of the best looking phone ever.

    • joe public

      Well well android has moved from copying apple to now making knock offs of blackberry products. Way to go android be original as Sammy’s s4 looks like a Z10 as well. Android is and always be the cheap Chinese knock off of quality products..

  • S

    If HTC is short on money for advertising because they used them to build this kind of stuff, I am fine with that and I don’t mind 100 million people hold a plastic S4.

  • connor

    first phone i’ve seen in years that from a design stand point actually looks futuristic. modern and sexy.

  • hancero

    OMG!!! this phone is incredible ! i was about to get the new bb z10, but man im getting my hands on this badboy, wont even wanna wait to see what is like the rumored galaxy4, it will be about the same specs anyways. btw blackberry should be working on his second generation z10 and get into the smartphone wars not playing catch up

  • tony

    If anything this is what the z10 should have looked like… Because the z10 is a piece of sh!t

  • meh

    Man, need to see this in person..looks awesome.

  • androidftw

    I’m an Android person, but doesn’t this look too much like an iPhone?…

  • Michael

    Blink feed = Windows Phone rip off.

  • jonny

    How is it that with every phone we keep hearing faster processor and better battery life, yet the battery life has hardly moved in the last 5 years.

  • jonny

    I don’t care if it has a removable SD slot or the battery, but I am really tired of plugging in all the time. No wireless charging is not a deal breaker, bit it would have been a very nice feature to have.

  • Mike

    I think all smartphone and tablet makers should place speakers on the front of the device, it just makes sense when your trying to watch or listen to something, a brilliant design that way at least, will be sticking with my note 2 though.

  • Deli

    i think a majority of people will be fine with 64gb. I prefer the flexibility of a sdcard and removable battery. I think most folks will be more than happy with this HTC offering. A bit close to the iphone 5 and z10 in design but it’s a superb phone on its own! Let’s see what Samsung has in store.
    As for nexus, I’m over them now. Touchwiz/sense can do many things ‘stock’ can’t do. Updates mean little if they don’t bring the same features/experience as the competitor.

  • Key lime pie

    I need to see the multitasking on this beauty. My two week old Nexus 4 just got hit by a HTC meteor!

  • Life after BB

    Glad to see BlackBerry release the new BBXI superphone ahead of the game! Oh wait palm berry thinks it’s 2012.

    Like or Dislike: 0 0

  • BIll Murray

    The lack of an SD card and removable battery will only deter r*****s from getting this phone. If the phone comes with 32 & 64 gb of storage then a lack of sd card support is non-issue. If the battery last from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, then the lack of a removable battery is a non-issue. The only real issue for HTC is its marketing, put the thing on every carrier possible, put cardboard fukin displays in bestbuy. give every employee a htc one so they can tell the customers how great it is…common htc, figguuree it ouuutttttt!!

  • Zaafir Siddiqui

    Some people are just too stupid. Relax with all the “HTC doesn’t update their phones!” comments. The only reason why HTC “forgot” to update your phone is probably because not many consumers have the same model as you. And the HTC One is their newest (legit) flagship, so I guarantee that it will get updates, fast. HTC ftw!!!