Please note that to date there have been three versions of the HTC One smartphone. This article reviews the 2013 edition.
The smartphone arena has recently been dominated by releases from the likes of Samsung, Apple and Google with their Galaxy, iPhone and Nexus range of devices. Despite consistently bringing us new products, the once prominent and pioneering HTC seems to have faded into the background. Over the past few years their launches have lacked the design, technical and innovative flair that has gained them their reputation.
The latest incarnation of the HTC One was released in April 2013 with the aim to place the Taiwanese manufacturer back amongst the leading pack of manufacturers.
Please read on for the first part of our two-part review of this important new handset.
The first thing that strikes you is the high quality metal casing, something which I adore. I’d much rather have a little more weight and the quality, sturdy feel that only a metal enclosure brings. I don’t understand the like of Samsung who continue to use plastic for their high-end smart phones. In fact the last three Galaxy generations have all has plastic bodies, and not particularly high quality ones at that. The HTC One is a phone that impresses before you have even switched it on.
A press of the power button unleashes a stunning 4.7 inch 1080p touch screen, quite possibly the best seen on any smart phone yet released. It’s certainly not the biggest (the Sony Xperia Z packs a 5 inch screen) but in terms of brightness and crispness it beats them all, easily outdoing last years HTC One X. A screen this good simply makes the device a pleasure to use. Comparing this screen with that of the iPhone 5 just shows how much apple need to put the smaller form factor behind them and introduce a much larger screen. Using the iPhones’ 4 inch display after the HTC One really highlights the issue. Reading text on the Apple device really makes your eyes strain. It also puts the similar sized Samsung Galaxy S3 display to shame in terms of brightness and crispness. It really is that good.
The overall look and feel of the phone is excellent. In previous years it has not been possible to get everything from one phone, with the top manufacturers ‘sharing’ the top technology between them. Apple was the manufacture for best design, Samsung for 4G network coverage and Google for user experience. With the HTC One you get all three elements in a single smartphone. It looks great, the weight is perfect for that solid quality feel and the curvature of the casing makes it sit perfectly in your hand. Even the front mounted speakers (of which we’ll deal with later) look good, a feat that most devices struggle to achieve.
The user experience easily matches Apple’s once praised iOS operating system. In fact it beats it, making iOS (which is the same interface as the original from 2007) look more than a little dated. From home screens, to social media integration and widgets you get news and all of your information in front of you with the need to open, close and switch between apps.
The HTC user interface is called Sense and is applied on top of the basic Android operating system which is at the heart of the devices workings. The latest incarnation is fast, simple to use and is capable of handling widgets as well as the standard android system (as used on the Nexus 4). It manages to be as simple as iOS whilst retaining all of the android options and functionality. It easily outdoes Samsung’s rival touchwiz interface which seems a little over-complicated.
Thanks for reading the first park of our review. Look out for the second part where we deal with the integrated camera, speakers, discuss battery life and reveal our overall conclusions over the HTC One and how it ultimately compares to its three major smartphone rivals.