The Internals: Snapdragon 600 On-Board

At the core of the HTC One is a Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064Pro) SoC at 1.7 GHz. This is quad core Krait 300 (as opposed to 200 in MSM8960 or APQ8064) which brings a 15 percent increase in IPC as well as higher clocks (from 1.5 to 1.7 GHz), for about 20–30 percent higher overall CPU performance. This is still built on a 28nm LP process, and is analogous to the MSM8960Pro change from Krait 200 to 300, but for APQ8064. HTC One includes 2 GB of LPDDR2 RAM on a PoP in a 2x32 configuration. For storage, there’s no microSD card slot, but instead 32 or 64 GB of internal memory with no option for lesser 16 GB configurations. For connectivity the HTC One uses the same MDM9x15 baseband we’ve seen in Fusion 3 phones and in other places, and as expected the HTC One will come in LTE-enabled flavors for the appropriate operators. There’s still no magical single SKU that will do every region, but the most important band combinations are supported. On the WiFi side the HTC One is the first device I’m aware of to include 802.11ac support as well, alongside the usual a/b/g/n, this is provided by Broadcom’s latest combo, BCM4335.

The One continues to use the pyramidal internal stacking of display, then battery, then PCB which started with earlier designs. As a result the One includes an internal 2300 mAh 3.8V (8.74 Whr) battery which should be more than adequate in conjunction with Snapdragon 600 to provide good battery life.

HTC One Specifications
Device HTC One
SoC 1.7 GHz Snapdragon 600
(APQ8064Pro - 4 x Krait 300 CPU, Adreno 320 GPU)
RAM/NAND/Expansion 2GB LPDDR2, 32/64 GB NAND
Display 4.7-inch SLCD3 1080p, 468 ppi
Network 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Qualcomm MDM9x15 UE Category 3 LTE)
Dimensions 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm max / 4mm min, 143 grams
Camera 4.0 MP (2688 × 1520) Rear Facing with 2.0 µm pixels, 1/3" CMOS size, F/2.0, 28mm (35mm effective), 2.1 MP front facing
Battery 2300 mAh (8.74 Whr)
OS Android 4.1.2 with Sense 5
Connectivity 802.11ac/a/b/g/n + BT 4.0, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, MHL, DLNA, NFC
Misc Dual front facing speakers, HDR dual microphones, 2.55V headphone amplifier

 

Abandoning the Megapixel Race and Shooting for Quality

I’ve buried it a bit, but one of the biggest headlining features of the HTC One is inclusion of a camera system that definitely goes against the prevailing industry smartphone imaging trend, in a very positive way. The trend has been smaller and smaller pixels on a smartphone CMOS for some time now, and as generations have marched on we’ve seen pixel sizes shrink from around 2 microns, to 1.65, to 1.4, to 1.1 which seems poised as the flavor of the year. More of smaller pixels lets an OEM sell a phone with more megapixels, but it’s fairly obvious that beyond 8 MP there’s not much sense in going way higher. In fact, even with the best possible diffraction limited optics operating under the constraints of a smartphone package, it’s impossible to resolve pixels that small. For so long megapixels has been the only figure of merit presented to consumers, and continually increasing that number, at the expense of other things arguably might not make sense. In a world increasingly dominated by photo sharing services which downscale images aggressively instagram (600 x 600) or pic.twitter (1024 x 2048 for the first party image sharing target) or Facebook, does 13 MP make sense?

HTC made camera a big emphasis with the previous One X, S, V, and other One series cameras with the first F/2.0 optical system which was shared across all devices. With the new HTC One has taken a huge risk and gone against the trend by keeping CMOS sensor size the same (1/3"), and moving to bigger 2.0 micron pixels, with the same F/2.0, 28mm (35 mm effective) optical system. The result is a camera that trades resolution we arguably can’t realize to begin with for dramatically better sensitivity in low light and better dynamic range. In addition, the HTC One includes optical image stabilization (OIS) with +/- 1 degree of accommodation in pitch and yaw to enable even longer exposures without hand shake, as well as for stable video. On the video side, the HTC One also includes HDR video capture at 720p30, normal dynamic range video at 720p60 or 1080p30, and this time video is encoded using the full capabilities of the SoC (high profile, 20 Mbps).

There’s a new shooting mode as well which HTC has coined Zoe mode, short for zoetrope. This simultaneously captures a few seconds of 1080p30 video while bursting still image captures at full resolution. The combination is a short video and series of photos at full size which can be shared. This then can be used with a new gallery feature called the Highlights reel which combines this media into a short, computationally edited 30 second video with other photos and videos from the same day. There are a number of different video themes to choose from, and in practice the videos that result are impressively well put together.

 

Design and Construction Sense & Final Words
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  • Tarwin - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Well, like you said, they only SEEM hijacked from the iPhone and anyone with experience with HTC phones knows that's completely exaggerated. They have been using aluminum and unibody designs (even "unibodies" that weren't truly that like with the sensation) and more than anything broke away from that last year. They have also been using curved backs for years (ones that come to mind are the sensation, butterfly, 8x, and to a lesser degree the touch pro 2). As for the camera, it would break up the design with the speakers as you mentioned and with their focus that wouldn't work all that well, that or place the camera above the speaker making the phone noticeably larger (and there are those who consider it too big or pushing the limits as is). Personally i prefer thenproper speakers to a centered camera as I tend to use the speakers a lot more than the camera for videochatting. Plus, the only way for someone to give the impression that they are trying to make jeye contact is for them to look directly at the camera means they're not really looking at the screen, take some self-portraits if you don't believe me. The integrated antennas are two strips along top and bottom but of the same material (with the iphone 5 they look different and top and bottom antennas have been used before).

    I am not saying thatit is the best phone. The front does remind me of the BB Z10 (but nicer in my imo). The camera does sound promising and the detail of the shots I've seen (on gsmarena) do seem quite nice do I do miss the larger of detail, but they are only three pics so we won't know the true quality and whether the trade off was worth it until we get moresamples. Also I would have liked for itnto use a snapdragon 800 but due to thenrelease time I knew that was impossible. I'll likely upgrade come summer or autumn so it might be this phone or something else depending on what else has been announced/released.
    Reply
  • larockus - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Who are these people that continue to complain about non-removable batteries? If I bought a spare battery for every phone I have acquired recently they'd be lying around everywhere. Are people that incredibly stupid ? Buy 1 LiOn battery pack that is easily pocketable and it charges EVERY usb cable charged device on the planet. If you seriously need that much direction in life you shouldnt even be researching android phones. Reply
  • nerd1 - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Spare battery costs $10 and weighs nothing, You can just swap and go.
    Battery pack costs $100ish, weighs a ton, and you actually need to plug in your phone for hours.

    I think non-removable battery is the worst sin of apple devices - too bad other OEMs are copying them without thinking.
    Reply
  • flyingpants - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    No, given the dismal battery life of every single phone on the market, removable batteries are 100% essential.

    Support for microSD cards are also 100% essential, for doing things like recording 10 hours of 1080p video on your vacation.
    Reply
  • Tarwin - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Well, you have to remember the two reasons of using removable batteries:
    The first is that the phone does not last all day or the time away from a charger that one spends. A portable power pack is a viable solution but definitely more expensive than the replacement battery and requires connecting a cable for a prolonged period of time while a spare battery doesn't.
    The second reason for replacement batteries is my mian concern for one, the valid lifespan of the battery as measured in recharge cycles. Normal batteries have 500 recharge cycles before they start to significantly lose their max charge held (and in my experience when they start hold less of ancharge it dimishes ever so quickly). A portable battery pack doesnt help with this, it itself is subject to the same degradation. Supposedly the new bbatteries from LG have a lifespan of 800 charges versus 500 but how do we know if a phone has it or not? I also assume that other battery makers will have similar advancements but I have not heard of them, making it even more difficult to make an informed decision.
    Reply
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    OK, so either you regularly cycle your battery more than once a day or you carry the same phone for more than 18 months. Both are foreign concepts to me. Seriously, who does that?

    I've replaced nearly every part of an iPhone for various folks over the past few years, but never had to replace a battery. It's never come up once. Which is odd, because I've seen plenty of iPod batteries crap out, but then again people tend to keep those in use far longer than most phones. I much prefer not having a battery door that becomes loose over time.
    Reply
  • Tarwin - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Both should be concepts easy enough to grab. I've had vatious friends and acquaintances who charge their phone more than once a day (it SEEMS to be more prevalent with iphones but is definitely not limitednto them.) It also depends on just how much you do with your phone. I spend anywhere between two to six hours in public transport on a given day, plus time waiting for people, meetings, friends. During that time I either read on an ebook reader, or on days which I don't feel like reading a book I listen to music and browse the internet, MAYBE play a game. So yeah, it is easy for me to kill the battery in under a day and therefore need to charge it kore than once a day. Plus other uses I give it.

    And I don't buy a new phone every year nor every six months. I buy high end phones off contract sothey are not exactly cheap. So yeah, I like them to last, I dont like being wasteful. Plus I like there to be real advancements before upgrading. Recently there are BIG advancements in phones, be it screens, SoC's, Cameras (not as much recently but they keep improving). I didn't upgrade my second smartphone for four years (the first only lasted a year but because it wasnstolen) because I didn't see the point, they were still using ARM11 based SoC's with comparable speeds, and other factors...I went through seven batteries with it (in part because they never lasted a whole day) My next smartphone lasted two years...and the antenna died, plus everything but the screen had greatly advanced. Now my current ohone is ALMOST a year and anhalf old, its battery has been in dire need of replacement for a couple of months but I haven't gotten around to it.

    I'll kost likely upgrade this year, but because I see real benefit in doing so. My point is that people who buy off contract, for whatever reason, are more likely to upgrade because of need or real tangible benefits.
    Reply
  • peevee - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    " for dramatically better sensitivity in low light "

    How you figured that? If you downsize (on the camera, computer or simply through output device like display or paper) 8 (or 12) mpix image to the same final resolution as 4 mpix sensor, each final combined pixel will have as much light as on the 4 mpix sensor of the same physical size and efficiency (and nothing indicates that the 4 mpix sensor is made on more efficient technology, in fact, low res allows it to be produced on older, cheaper tech, like 500 nm). Moreover, if you display/print 8 (or 12) mpix image vs 4 mpix image on the media able to take every pixel (for example UltraHD screens or 300 dpi paper bigger than 6in x 8in, the noise from higher-resolution sensor will appear finer-grained, which is better.

    And of course lower-res sensor loses when digitally zooming (i.e. using just central portion of the sensor where the lens is also sharper, when even 2x zoom loses 3/4 of pixels). And smartphones don't have any other zoom but digital, so it is important. Zoom 2x, and 4mpix become 1mpix, which is not even enough to fill desktop background.

    Where 4 mpix sensor wins over higher res sensors (assuming the same technology) is speed of continuous shooting, amount of memory and power spent per shot, time to downscale the photos for display resolution and display them on the screen, time to e-mail or upload to the services taking full-res photos, consumes less bandwidth - all very valid advantages of lower resolution on a smartphone, all outweighing the (dubious due to super-small sensor and lens limitations) advantages of printing in better quality bigger than 6in x 8in. But just don't say lower res magically provides higher quality, because it does not. Especially on a BSI-CMOS sensor where all per-pixel electronics is on the other side of the chip.

    The best approach is the one used in Nokia 808, with much bigger and high-res sensor, where pixels are automatically banded together when all the sensor is used (for low res advantages), but when "zoomed in", they start working individually to maintain resolution high enough.
    Reply
  • flyingpants - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    This comment is directed at the people who say (or believe) things like:
    "The phone should at least last ALL DAY"
    "My phone lasts 1.5 days with AVERAGE USE"
    Or my personal favourite:
    "The battery is great, I can talk for 2 hours, send about 15-30 texts, play about an hour of Temple Run and have 26% left by the end of the day"

    No. There is no such thing as "it lasts all day". Unless you literally have your screen on all day, your phone goes to sleep and (assuming decent signal, and no dumb apps/widgets are running) uses only about 1% every few hours. This does not count as the phone battery lasting "all day". There is no such thing as "average use". Everyone's use case is different. Your personal anecdotal usage is irrelevant. And it's unreliable anyway because you probably did not measure your usage properly.

    The proper way to measure smartphone battery life is with benchmarks. Anandtech doesn't innovate much in this area and I expect a lot more from my favourite tech website. Even ultra-nerd smartphone editor Brian Klug is guilty of the "It lasts me allll day!" blunder.

    Until smartphone battery life during ACTUAL usage at least DOUBLES (let's say 16 hours, to allow for human sleep/phone charging for the other 8 hours of the day), there will be LOTS room for improvement. I look forward to that day.

    And by 16 hours of "actual usage", I mean a 16-hour phone call, COMBINED WITH 8-10 hours of simultaneous constant light web-browsing/e-book reading/texting/data messaging, 3 hours of 3D gaming thrown in, an hour or two of 1080p HD video recording, while uploading/downloading a few gigs of data over LTE in the background, along with all the stuff (Bluetooth/NFC/GPS/LTE) enabled. That would virtually guarantee an end to battery anxiety.

    All it would take is a larger battery. The DROID RAZR MAXX has a 3300mAh battery and is about 9mm thick, the EB40 battery thickness around 3.8mm. Double it and you get a 6600mAh phone which is 12.8mm thick. (The HTC Evo was 12.7mm when it first came out) It wouldn't add much to the cost of the phone. If no manufacturer does this within the year, I will modify them myself and sell them on ebay for $900.
    Reply
  • Tarwin - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Most of your post seems logical and reasinable...until where you define 16 hours as a 16 hour phone call PLUS 8-10 hours of web/etc., PLUS 3 hours PLUS 1-2 hours.

    I understand that people tend to multi-task but the amount of simultaneous activity whilst on the phone is unreasonable and unrealistic. Personally I'd feel bad for anyone on the otther side of a phone call where the caller is doing all that. I understand you're trying to make a point, but your portrayal, despite the detail is just as unscientific as "it lasts all day" or "average use" (I am not trying to flame nor offend but just point out that we are all subject to the same vagaries and hyperbole)
    Reply

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