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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  • lmcd - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    ... Even with my unlimited grandfathered 4G from Verizon (no throttles), an SD card slot is vital.

    Go away, or convince Google and HTC to bring back microSD

    IIRC, Moto, Sammy, LG, and Sony still all have mSD.
    Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - link

    Not true - the lack of an microSD slot will prevent me from buying, what might have otherwise been a new purchase for me.

    We like trying different roms, backing-up to our microSD cards, etc.

    In addition, I don't usb-connect my phones to my laptop after rooting in Linux. I don't want extra software / apps in Windows, and having the option to dump things to our microSD card, and then and then pop it into the laptop to swap over.
    Reply
  • cfaalm - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    32 or 64GB would hardly make me miss an SD-card. It's with the 8 and 16GB models where an SD card slot would be sorely missed. Reply
  • darwinosx - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Get used to no SD cards. Google has never liked them and now doesn't support them in Jelly Bean. Reply
  • eallan - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    What on earth is HTC doing with their buttons... Reply
  • REALfreaky - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    I concur. The lack of a dedicated task switcher button (and the horrible, gingerbread-esque task switching UI) is really a deal-breaker for me. I can't believe they ruined task switching like that. Reply
  • aranyagag - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    I agree Reply
  • mwarner1 - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    I also find it surprising that no major manufacturers are offering generic Android phones. I think they see their skins as positives for the platform, but I also think that the majority of people prefer the generic Android launcher to any other.

    I must admit that I do like certain extras that manufacturers offer (e.g. the S-Pen on my Note or Samsung's eye tracking technology), but I would prefer it if they just seamlessly integrated it into the OS rather than forcing non removable skins and widgets down people's throat.
    Reply
  • erple2 - Thursday, February 21, 2013 - link

    I bought a nexus 4 and the ONE thing that I miss from my old galaxy s2 is the contact manager and phone dialers. That is the only thing that I really miss. Reply
  • dishayu - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Any word on the availability outside USA (if and when)? Reply

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