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HTC One review

Ultrapixels, Zoes, Blinkfeed and more: HTC is going all out

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

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, HSPA+
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyOne
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 800, LTE 1800, LTE 2600
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution4 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Screen Size11.9 cm (4.7")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)143 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), Instant Messaging, Email, MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service)
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density468 ppi
Height137.4 mm
Width68.2 mm
Depth9.3 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameOne Smartphone
Processor Speed1.70 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Product LineOne
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number99HTT009-00
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Marketing InformationWith a sleek aluminum body, a live home screen that streams all of your favorite content, a photo gallery that comes to life, and dual frontal stereo speakers, the New HTC One is ready to reshape your smartphone experience.

HTC Zoe™ Your photo gallery brought to life.
Capturing a moment takes more than one image. That's why the new HTC One includes the HTC UltraPixel Camera. Press the shutter and the HTC One automatically captures up to 20 photos and a 3-second video-a picture that's alive. So your entire photo album becomes a living, breathing gallery.

HTC BoomSound™ Sharper, richer, louder.
On the average smartphone, sharing music or a video with friends is a frustrating experience. A tiny speaker will tame even the most ferocious track. But the new HTC One's BoomSound™ changes all that. Dual frontal stereo speakers powered by built-in amplifiers deliver bigger sound with less distortion and more detail.

HTC BlinkFeed™ Your live home screen.
With HTC BlinkFeed™, simply pick the social networks, news and feeds you want to stay updated on and they'll all stream live to your home screen. The pulse of your world is in the palm of your hand.

Refined design. Rugged build. Inspired results.
Full metal body. Zero gap construction. And tapered edges that offer a slim but satisfying grip. The new HTC One is phone design that doesn't compromise.

Your interactive TV guide.
Tired of remotes taking up valuable couch space? The new HTC One is ready to help you channel surf. With Sense TV, all it takes is a few simple steps and you'll be able to select TV channels, access program guides, adjust audio and more with your HTC One. Find your favorite shows, and it will notify you when they're on. Take control of your TV experience with your phone.

Sense Voice: Call clarity-even in a crowd.
The world doesn't include a volume knob. So talking on the phone in any loud, crowded environment can be a challenge. The new HTC One solves that problem with Sense Voice. It includes dual built-in microphones that detect loud ambient noise and will then dynamically boost the in-call voice to compensate. Hurrah for clarity.

Get 25 GB of Dropbox space free for two years*
With Dropbox integrated into HTC Sense, you can automatically save all your photos and videos to Dropbox - and access and share all your pictures directly from the Gallery. Dropbox also makes it easy to edit and share files while you are on the go, so you never have to email yourself a document again. To discover all that Dropbox can do, sign-up or log-in to Dropbox on your HTC phone and receive 25 GB of Dropbox space free for two years.
Limited Warranty1 Year