HTC One review

Well, here we are - if you've skipped the body of this review just to see what we thought, shame on you. Go back and read it properly. Have you done that? Good. Now read on, safe in the knowledge you didn't miss that bit about how to get free adult film downloads.

The HTC One is the phone that NEEDS to relaunch the ailing Taiwanese firm, and as such it's gone all out on the design. TechRadar spent some time with designers of many different sections of the handset, and you can see the passion that flows through the device from top to bottom.

Its combination of innovation and sumptuous hardware is a testament to the brand, and shows that new things can still come to our smartphones without costing the earth. Sure, it's not a cheap handset by any means, but it's perfectly in line with what we'd expect from a flagship.

We liked

The HTC One is the best phone the firm has made, without a doubt. It's got the wow-factor that made us fall in love with the HTC Desire, and manages to bring Sense back to a level that shows off the best of Android, rather than obfuscating it. There are those that pine for stock Android Jelly Bean, but updates aside, we happen to think that Sense is better.

The camera is a great addition for on the spot shooting - if you want to take the photos and blow them up somewhere, it's not the phone for you, but if you want to be able to snap your friends in pub without it being a blurry, dark mess, the HTC One comes into its own.

BoomSound and HTC Zoe are both really nice additions to the handset - the former makes the sound quality really sparkle and gives the option of recording louder noises without needing to worry about distortion, which is a really key capability.

We like the video highlight reels and the moving pictures of the HTC Zoe, and can see a number of people really starting to use them in day to day to life. Some won't, and for them there's a very competent camera on offer.

We disliked

The battery life issue has been negated, although it's not gone away totally. But many will only use HTC Zoe and the highlight reels during the weekend, and in doing so will remove some of the big battery draining problems with the phone day to day.

Our only real gripe is with storage: many will argue that expandable memory slots are unnecessary when you've got Dropbox on board for extra space, or just being organized and deleting unwanted content will solve the problem. That's true to a degree, but it's not common behavior for today's smartphone user.

There's also the issue that HTC Zoe sucks up a lot of space with the reams of photos it needs to take, not to mention how cluttered that makes the photo folder, which means many will feel that if only they could have a memory card to pop in there and expand up the space, they'd feel a lot happier.

Bringing the phone out in a 32GB flavor from the off does help though - just be warned that you'll need to be organized with your photos on the phone, which isn't helped by a confusing gallery system.

Also, the alarm needs to be better. Come on, it's a key part of the phone HTC… put some effort in.

Verdict

As we said, this is the best HTC phone ever, without a doubt. But we'll go one better than that: it's the best phone on the market full stop. The Samsung Galaxy S4 isn't too far behind at all as it's a lot cheaper than the HTC One, but for sheer level of functionality, innovation and just overall effect it has in the hand, we can't help but recommend the HTC One to anyone looking to buy a new smartphone.

And now we can finally give it the five star rating it deserves, which is a testament to the company that needed a win so badly on the smartphone front. The battery issues are severely reduced (with a couple of caveats) and while there are some niggles in the gallery and storage areas, the overall impression of the phone is just so good that it's easy to overlook them.

So whether it's the Ultrapixel camera that extends the range of photos you can take, or the moving photos on offer, or simply the improved speakers bolted on the front (as long as you don't play them on public transport) the HTC One takes the best the smartphone market has to offer and just makes it better.

The Galaxy S4 is sleeker, the iPhone 5 is, well, Apple-ier, and the Nexus 4 is cheaper. But for the overall package of smartphone design and functionality, the HTC One stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Many thanks to our anonymous third-party retailer for sending us an early sample to test, and thanks to HTC for getting a final retail unit to us so promptly to enable this in-depth review