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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  • darwinosx - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    Because nobody cares about either things. Reply
  • Relaxin - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    Uh, I totally care and not having either of those features is a deal breaker. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    darwin prefers the devolution of the iphone can u say fanboy ? Reply
  • jayseeks - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    A paid Samsung shill calling someone a fanboy. Interesting, but mostly sad. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    Just the prior page, your smarmy bud got corrected by two others on the screen color.
    Now your idiot darwin apple fanboy osx clone spews pure a troller after having been exposed as an incompetent fool, "no one cares".
    An appletard needs to be exposed for what they, since losing the case on FACTS means fanboyism is ever present.

    If you'd like to make some factual corrections to me, please do. I always prefer the facts.
    I didn't name myself SpaceDriod, for instance, and that probably flew over your head.

    I appreciate the compliment though, and that also probably flew over your head.
    Reply
  • casualsuede - Sunday, March 24, 2013 - link

    He's calling you a nobody. Reply
  • speculatrix - Sunday, March 24, 2013 - link

    I bought a note 2 and quickly fitted it with a 32GB card which has 24 GB used. I also have a spare battery , because I want to be able to go away for a three+ day weekend and not carry a charger.
    I also use the pen for sketches and annotations.
    I rarely use it as a phone for voice calls, just sometimes for text.
    I sometimes make use of USB host to connect my DSLR and copy off a photo and crop scale and email it.
    Occasionally I show photos on a TV using MHL.

    This makes the note 2 ideal for me. It might or might not be right for you.

    I'd consider an HTC One if there was a 64GB version. There's been no mention of USB host yet but I'd want that. And MHL.
    Reply
  • gobaers - Sunday, March 24, 2013 - link

    There is a 64GB version. Reply
  • mohnish82 - Saturday, March 30, 2013 - link

    Either you are GOD or you don't know the meaning of NOBODY. Reply
  • s44 - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    (In case my comment isn't clear any more because of comment tree expansion, it was a direct response to Anand, who -- as an iOS user whom I assume isn't switching -- is the "you" I mean.) Reply

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