HTC One (M7) review

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

HTC One review
Editor's Choice
Yeah, but is it THE One?

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HTC has finally bitten the bullet with the One and lost the HTC mapping software that bloated things so badly before. It's also dispensed with the services of Footprints too, which were cool in their own way (being able to give an account of places you've been pictorially) but were rarely used.

Instead, it's all about Google Maps here, and what a stunning experience it is. We won't go into huge detail on how the program works, as it's a delight for you to find, but there are a number of ways that the HTC One really uses its power to bring Google Maps into the light.

HTC One review

For starters, over Wi-Fi and 4G (and even decent 3G) the speed with which it can locate you and load up your surrounding area is impressive - and if you're in one of the larger cities you'll get 3D models of the buildings too.

A simple two finger swipe will change the perspective so you can see exactly what you're walking through when you're in a new city (with the ability to save maps offline too) and the HTC barely breaks sweat to bring you these mountainous images.

Then there's the sat-nav software - it's excellent, but you'll need to make sure you've got a decent data plan and a car charger handy, as it sucks both bytes and power down in a heartbeat as it brings live traffic information and route information.

HTC One review

But the bright and large screen of the HTC one makes the handset and excellent choice for dashboard mounting and ditching the TomTom.

So if you're looking at the HTC One as dedicated sat-nav, we can't recommend it highly enough - plus the car mode is one of the best out there, with large buttons, instant-on music and good voice transcription all part of the dedicated interface.


The HTC One comes with a host of extras to make it into a more fully-fledged phone, and of course you can supplement these with more from the bulging Google Play store. However, we'll take you through a few of the key ones on offer here.

Kid mode is one of the big changes from HTC, with the option to set the phone up with programs the kids will like without giving them the keys to buy stuff from the internet or send a picture of poo to your boss. The main interface is pre-loaded with a load of mind-numbing games and activities (can you tell we don't have kids?) but they all seem beautifully colourful and probably contain some educational message.

HTC One review

HTC One review

You can them add to this by choosing apps you've selected live in there as well, such as Google Maps so they can learn where Scotland is. It's not the simplest interface to learn, but then again, kids are managing to jailbreak iPads these days, so we're probably worried about nothing.

The only annoying thing is you have to enable Kid Mode, where on Windows Phone the service is accessible from the lock screen, which saves you from a child with sticky fingers nabbing your phone.

Evernote integration is also on offer from the HTC One, with the Notes function allowing you to sign into the service. You can also record voice and notes at the same time and see where the match up afterwards - this is an invaluable tool if you're big on transcription, although you'll have to hope you get pretty accurate with that onscreen keyboard.

HTC One review

Polaris office is on offer and will allow you to view and edit a whole host of document types. It's an irritating app in that when you download a PDF it won't let you read it - but then when you try to open it with Adobe Acrobat (which you have to download) you're presented with an option to open in Polaris, and it does it better than Adobe. Grrrr.

Beyond that, we're into the same territory as before, with the handy flashlight locked deep away in the menu, so make sure you turn it into an app shortcut if you live in darkness or like poking through stuff quietly.

The alarm on the phone is a bit poor, as the choice of ringtones is limited and none of them really scream 'let's wake you up softly', rather scaring you into consciousness. Compare that to the Samsung Galaxy range, which has pre-alarms and fairy mist or some odd business to wake you up with, or the LG Optimuseseses which make you type in a code to prove you're awake, and we think HTC has been a bit lazy here.

HTC One review

We know we're being a bit over the top with the criticism, but given most people now rely on their phone to wake them up in the morning, this is something that really can't be overlooked. Thankfully, again, there are loads of options on the Play Store to sort you out.

And finally, the HTC Weather widget. How we love you. How very, very much. While Sense 5 has stripped away the temperature graph of old (boooo) and replaced it with a list of temperatures for each hour, it's still light years ahead of the competition, which push you onto a mobile site to just see how cold or hot it's going to be later that day. Again, a small feature, but again, a key one for a lot of people.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.