The HTC One brings the best out of HTC’s industrial design legacy. Clad in a beautiful aluminum body, it comes with a 4.7-inch bright and vivid display and an impressively loud and clear front stereo speaker setup. Lastly, HTC took a huge risk with its new UltraPixel camera, going against the market trend of more megapixels, and instead using just a 4.3-megapixel sensor allowing for very large pixels for superior low-light performance.
In a world of plastic Androids, the HTC One stands out. It’s different - a gorgeous-looking slender device with chamfered edges and a slightly curved back that lays in the hand almost organically. It’s extremely ergonomical and even though it’s a big phone, it is comfortable to hold and operate. Thickness comes at 9.3mm, or 0.37 inches, and it weighs a well balanced 5.04 oz (143 g). The HTC One has a body made out of aluminum, a front and back aluminum plates (you can choose between silver and black colors) with two tiny stripes of white plastic on the back allowing for better signal.
The front comes with two large speaker grills, the holes drilled symmetrically on the top and bottom of the device, promising an exciting sound experience. The device comes with a new button layout and instead of the standard three capacitive buttons you only get two, and an HTC logo in the middle instead of the third. What’s missing is the multitasking button, which you now access by double-tapping the home key. Long holding the same home key fires up Google Now. This new layout is a bit strange and having the back button on the left makes it a bit of a stretch to reach. You get used to it over time, but it doesn’t feel like the perfect setup.
Physically buttons are large and comfortable to press. The volume rocker is on the side and the lock key, which doubles as an InfraRed blaster, is located on top. Its top location is a bit of a stretch for the finger and we would have preferred to have it on the side, but it is a compromise made so you can use the One as a remote control for your TV. We got used to its position fairly quickly. On the bottom, there is a microUSB port that doubles as an MHL one. Finally, on the back, in the top central part, there is the large eye of the UltraPixel camera.
The device features a 4.7 inches Super LCD 3 display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. The screen is extremely detailed, sharp, and for the tech geeks - pixel density comes at the whopping 468ppi. Colors are stunning, they just out at you with deep blacks, vivid reds and blues, and a great contrast. Viewing angles are also amazing.
If we had to pick the nits, we’d mention that HTC has toned down the maximum brightness and the One’s screen is slightly dimmer than say an iPhone 5. With reflections from the panel, this might make using the handset in direct sunlight a bit hard, but not impossible.
The HTC One comes with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with the brand new Sense 5.0 skin. HTC’s skin is leaner and meaner than before, and it just flies on the quad-core Snapdragon 600 chip.
Firing it up, you are instantly taken into the new BlinkFeed. A tile-based news and social updates aggregator, BlinkFeed is set as your default home panel. We like the overall functionality - you can set up BlinkFeed to read your Twitter account, Facebook, or check out news, and it’s a well done app that looks a bit like Sony’s TimeScape, if we had to compare it to something. Not everyone will like it, though, and luckily you can easily replace it with a more traditional icon-based Android home panel.
Among the other big Sense 5.0 news is a completely reworked time and weather widget. HTC’s gorgeous weather widget from before was its signature feature, and now it has evolved to a much simpler and cleaner version of itself. Gone are the rain drops on your screen and the clouds flying at you, gone is the visual flare - instead you get quick functionality in an ascetic modern look.
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