For the past week and a half our own Brian Klug has been hard at work on his review of HTC’s new flagship smartphone, the One. These things take time and Brian’s review, at least what I’ve seen of it, is nothing short of the reference piece we’ve come to expect from him.

In the same period of time I’ve been playing around with a retail HTC One and felt compelled to share my thoughts on the device. It’s rare that I’m so moved by a device to chime in outside of the official review, but the One is a definite exception. By no means is this a full review, and I defer to Brian for the complete story on the One - something we should be getting here in the not too distant future.

I’m not a financial analyst, but HTC hasn’t been doing all that well over the past few quarters. There’s a general feeling that the aptly named One is HTC’s last chance at survival. Good product doesn’t always translate into market dominance, but it’s a necessary component when you’re an underdog. Luckily for HTC, the One is great.

Design

Over the past two years HTC has really come into its own as far as design is concerned. The difference between the HTC One X and the plethora of flagships that came before it was remarkable. Moving to the One, the difference is just as striking.

I don’t seem to mind plastic phones as much as everyone else, but the One is in an appreciably different league compared to its peers. It’s the type of device that you just want to look at and touch. Given how much you do end up looking at and touching your smartphone, HTC’s efforts here seem well placed.

The One looks and feels great. The proportions are a little awkward in my hands, but I fully concede that’s going to vary from person to person. Despite the heavy use of aluminum, I don't feel overly worried about scratching/damaging the finish.

The challenge with any smartphone is to build something that looks distinct in a sea of black rectangles on a wall in a store. With the One (and arguably the One X before it), HTC does a good job of balancing the need to be seen with the need to be subtle. Elegant is the right word here.

While I’m sure there will be comparisons to the iPhone, the fact of the matter is that the design cycle on these smartphones falls somewhere in the 12 - 24 month range. With something as sophisticated as the One, you’re looking at the longer end of that spectrum. For what it’s worth, if I had to estimate I’d say design work on the One probably started before the iPhone 4S came out.

Smartphone Spec Comparison
  Apple iPhone 5 HTC One Samsung Galaxy S 3 Samsung Galaxy S 4
SoC Apple A6 1.3GHz Snapdragon 600 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz Exynos 5 Octa (1.6/1.2GHz) or Snapdragon 600 1.9GHz
DRAM/NAND/Expansion 1GB LPDDR2, 16/32/64GB NAND 2GB LPDDR2, 32/64GB NAND 2GB LPDDR2, 16/32GB NAND, microSD 2GB LPDDR3, 16/32/64GB NAND, microSD
Display 4.0-inch 1136 x 640 LCD 4.7-inch SLCD3 1080p, 468 ppi 4.8-inch Super AMOLED 720p, 306 ppi 5-inch Super AMOLED 1080p, 441 ppi
Network 2G / 3G / 4G LTE Cat 3 2G / 3G / 4G LTE Cat 3 2G / 3G / 4G LTE Cat 3 2G / 3G / 4G LTE Cat 3 (depending on region)
Dimensions 123.8mm x 58.6mm x 7.6mm 137.4mm x 68.2mm x 4mm - 9.3mm 136.6mm x 70.6mm 8.6mm 136.6mm x 69.8mm x 7.9mm
Weight 112g 143g 133g 130g
Rear Camera 8MP 4MP w/ 2µm pixels 8MP 13MP
Front Camera 1.2MP 2.1MP 1.9MP 2MP
Battery Internal 5.45 Wh Internal 8.74 Wh Removable 7.98 Wh Removable 9.88 Wh
OS iOS 6.1.2 Android 4.1.2 Android 4.1.2 Android 4.2.2
Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n, BT 4.0, USB 2.0, GPS/GNSS 802.11ac/a/b/g/n + BT 4.0, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, IR LED, MHL, DLNA, NFC 802.11a/b/g/n, BT 4.0, USB 2.0, NFC, GPS/GNSS, MHL 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (HT80) + BT 4.0, USB 2.0 NFC, GPS/GNSS, IR LED, MHL 2.0

 

The Camera
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  • daleski75 - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    If you think that is heavy I would hate to think what you would say about the Nokia Lumia 920... I own a HTC One and it's very light and much nicer to hold than the iPhone 5. Reply
  • UltraTech79 - Saturday, March 30, 2013 - link

    As an Apple fan, Im really glad to see other manufacturer really pushing the highend. This just eans the iPhone 6 will need to be even better, and the cycle continues. Good for all of us!

    Im also very glad to see people brave enough to stop the MP wars and realize that SnR is worth far more. You can only bruteforce performance to a point.
    Reply
  • dexter1 - Tuesday, April 02, 2013 - link

    WOW....that's a remarkable device and happy that it impressed you guys very much...

    it's quite long...when can we expect full review...??
    Reply
  • RacerCub - Thursday, April 04, 2013 - link

    Anand, a couple of questions, #1. Do you think you would permanently replace your iPhone with the One? #2. Is 3D dead and #3. Do you think HTC will support the phone more than a year?

    I have owned many HTC phones over the years, and the biggest problems are no updates to fix issues or give you better version of OS and they ditch supporting it quickly. Things like HTC hub go away so you can no longer get HTC widgets or themes.
    Reply
  • iamdluhansa - Thursday, April 04, 2013 - link

    I've use 6 samsungs, 1 motorola, and 2 htcs..and, battery-wise, they are all the same to me. Don't know bout how you use your android, but they way I use androids, they are no different. btw, I use one of the htc the longest, a year. Reply
  • PubFiction - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    I may have missed it but I saw no mention of the IR emitter. This to me is probably the first innovative (if you can call it that) addition to smartphones since Samsung brought back the stylus in the note. This is one of those things we should have had for years. I am pretty disappointed in the review because it makes little to no mention about the poor choice of HTC to seal this phone up, does it even have a microsd slot? And also completely misses the IR emitter. I guess anand has so much money now he forgot about value and flexibility because he can carry aournd multiple phones in case a battery isn't big enough or he runs out of storage and im sure his TV is completely remote controlled by his phone independent of IR. Reply
  • PubFiction - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    And just for the record I currently have an HTC evo 3d, my mom has the evo 4g lte, its not that I don't like HTC phones but they are completely killing a portion of their chance to get sales because they they don't have removable batteries and microsd slots. It seems only Samsung is smart enough to corner that market in high end devices. Reply
  • SuBoX - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    And samsung are killing a big portion of their sales by releasing such an ugly device.

    Like sd card + battery but don't like design => choose samsung
    Like design but don't need sd card and battery => choose htc
    Like design and battery and sd card => could try an ugly samsung and be unhappy about design and feel OR try the HTC with external battery chargers (not much bigger then a removable battery in you pocket) and usb otg for storing your extra movies and music on a usb stick
    Reply
  • Amit kumar - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    HTC One is surely a excessive phone with its smart aspects. Really this is specific phone. I checked full specification of this phone this website as well. http://www.gadtecho.com/ Reply
  • DannyOoi - Saturday, April 06, 2013 - link

    Hey all tech fans. Really chill out. Removable battery or microSD cards do have their advantages but whether it is actually a number one priority in your decision to get whichever smart phones is a personal choice. Some prefer it some don’t, some just don’t give 2 hoots about it. From my opinion and from where I am, microsd slots are useful for mid tier phones as those phones usually come with 4gb space, hence the need for microsd. If you are looking at flagship phones which are usually equipped with 16gb upwards it becomes an accessory. Is it a must have? Especially we are moving towards cloud storage. And I have seen so many users android or apple alike have not fill up their 16gb storage. For users like this, what‘s the microsd slot for if not an additional accessory? For removable batteries, I find USB chargers selling for as low as 5USD. But batteries on the other hand cost about 30USD. From my usage pattern it is much easier to just plug your phone in whenever available is easier and cheaper than swapping batteries. For short vacations, some mentioned they could go few days without the charger with 2-3 batteries. Well I would rather bring a charger and leave it at the hotel. Or a power station which is essentially a battery pack and I could use that to charge both my phone and tablet. Rather than having a few different batteries. For long term, replacing a dead battery, I am sure many of you tech fans will want to keep your devices up to date which means before the battery reached its end of life you would have change from whatever you are using to the latest which is the trend I see among many users. And last I check, selling a used set with 2 additional batteries won‘t really make much of a difference to used price. Cheers and let's appreciate what new technology brings to us and let's argue less over trivial matters. Reply

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