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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  • jayseeks - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    I'm an iOS user and fully intend on switching. The microSD and removable battery are non-issues for about 95% of people not in the IT profession. These are two features that in all likelihood will be phased out soon enough as technology continues its progression. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    Right mr fanboy ios osx apple ...
    So why do you pay $400 more for 16ram ? Because itard, that's why... who would like 64GB more for $50 - OHHHH just about everyone !
    ROFL - yep doesn't matter - phase out as we devolve further into Jobs worship fantasyand...

    itard: " my battery died my itardphone is shot, i guess shipping to cupertino day has come again, i can't understand why buying a battery at the million mobile phone shops and being running in 5 minutes is something people want"...

    Okay, just so you know, it's like retard on dummy syrum.
    Reply
  • jayseeks - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    Says the paid Samsung shill. Get a real job, loser. Reply
  • JeffFlanagan - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    Do you have evidence to support your assertion, or should you be disregarded as a nut?
    Paid shills usually don't come across as children like Cerese does.
    Reply
  • jayseeks - Saturday, March 23, 2013 - link

    I'm just fighting trolling with trolling. My only evidence would be the flood of pro Samsung "fans" that deflect criticisms in tech sites across the web with the same arguments/information that I highly doubt any real person would go to the trouble of thinking of or finding out. You then often see these same "fans" on these tech sites trolling posts about their competition while simultaneously using these troll tactics to plug Samsung products.

    For example on trolling the HTC One:
    "No removable battery like the S4"

    Honestly, I've been reading tech blogs for quite some time now, and never have I encountered such trolling or shameless plugging like I have with Samsung products. I highly doubt that there's been some major shift in generational psyche that's all of a sudden caused this type of behavior.

    Also, Cerese does come off as a child, but I don't think most kids really care that much about any brand, which leads me to believe he's a paid shill. Also, if you read his other comments, they contrast enough so that it's likely he's posing.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    See Ne0 who claims his brother owns a cel, store and sells SD addons and batteries like mad.

    Go ask yourself at a store, YOU FRIKKIN RETARD.

    Nothing like the facts will do for the accusers. I got news for you, the truth has laready CRUSHED YOU, and you don't even know it.
    Now that's how children are, clueless.
    Our modern PC loser crew expects sanitized BS to be swallowed whole, and that's what you're all about, since you can't get anything correct.
    Reply
  • jayseeks - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    You are pathetic and sad. Get a real job instead of shilling online for Samsung, loser. Reply
  • jayseeks - Saturday, March 23, 2013 - link

    Also, paid shills usually have their material prepared for them. Hence the recycling of arguments once their logic is defeated or rendered null.

    "Removable battery and SD storage are the most important features on a phone" - Samsung shill
    "Most people don't really care about either. On top of that, in order to even take advantage of a removable battery, you need to buy an extra one that's probably gonna run you a good $50. On top of that, you'll have to constantly swap out and recharge each one. Then, if you decide to buy a dock, that's an extra $30 bucks. Very inconvenient for most people." - non-shill guy just expressing his opinion

    "But, but, but removable battery's are the best!! What if you get lost in the desert and you run out of battery? What are you going to do then?? If I have my S4 I'll have my extra battery!"
    -Samsung shill
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    The most important is stretching, but also is not wanting it and no one cares, and especially is: PAYING HUNDREDS MORE FOR iSuck internal non upgradeable ram limit.

    Only here does BANG FOR THE BUCK become entirely lost on you poor raped stupid goofball liars.

    See you in every other thread where you scream moar ram is bettter.
    Reply
  • jayseeks - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    Congratulations, you're officially an invalid. Reply

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