The front of the device is a 4.7 inch HD display, a 2MP camera in the top right, two capacitive buttons, one for “back” and one for “home”, and an HTC logo in the center of those two buttons. Arguably, that particular logo placement was a poor choice. They removed perfect button real estate and put an unnecessary logo.
Tech Geek Tip: Capacitive buttons are considered hardware buttons but they react to a slight touch. As opposed to resistive buttons which have to be depressed. There are also on-screen buttons which are no longer considered hardware buttons simply because, as the name suggests, they are icons on the screen. Some argue on-screen buttons are a waste of screen real estate, while others feel the benefit out way that fact because the on-screen buttons can disappear when they are not needed for interaction with an application.
The HTC One is trimmed with a white plastic which wraps around all four sides and across the back near the top. The aluminum that meets the white plastic along the edge is smooth without a sharp edge which makes it easy on the palm when gripped with one hand.
- 4.7 inch screen
- LCD 1080p Full HD Display
- SnapDragon 600 quad core 1.7 GHz processor
- 2GB of RAM
- 32GB of storage capacity
- No SD Card slot for expandable storage
- 4G LTE (of course)
- 2300 mAh non-removal battery
- Out of the box on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, updated within an hour to Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat
|Updated to latest version of Android 90 days after the release of Kit Kat.|
The 4.7″ LCD 1080p Full HD display is very beautiful. After using this phone for a week and a half, there is a noticeable difference in the 720p Amoled display in my Moto X. I feel confident that after a few days of using the X again, I will no longer be able to see the difference. I’m just saying that to make myself feel better about my own phone.
The camera is a bit hard to explain. HTC did something custom and a bit unusual this time around. Instead of a typical MP (megapixel) rated camera on the back, they provided an UltraPixel Camera. The guys over at Gizmodo do a good job explaining the differences. What it boils down to is its a 4MP sensor but the pixels are larger. Whether UltraPixel is just a new marketing word or not, the proof does stand out. These shots are from the rear facing UltraPixel camera of the HTC One.
The battery inside the HTC One is a non-removable 2300 mAh (milliampere-hour) one. I used this phone during my demo period as my only device. I am a medium to heavy user where as I am checking emails, social media, browsing the internet and playing games hourly, (not all of them) every day. On average I was able to get 12 and a half hours of battery life per day. It pretty much lasted me from 8AM to around 8 or 9PM. Being that I go to bed around 10:30 or 11PM, I would have liked to have been able to squeeze just a few more hours out of that battery. Typically, I keep a charger in my car and plug the phones in while I drive, but I didn’t do that for this demonstration as to not interfere with the tests.
|5 days of normal usage averaged to get 12.5 hours of battery life per day|
I wanted to leave the best for last when describing the hardware of this phone: the speakers. HTC paired with Beats audio for this phone and a few others, this was the first of that partnership. They decided to put the speakers in the front of the device as opposed to the normal locations in the back or bottom. And I must say, Bravo HTC! These speakers are magnificent. They sound amazing. They are calling the technology BoomSound. I know, it sounds like a 3 year old describing the sound a tank makes, but it is working for them. On the front of the phone there are two speakers, one across the top and one across the bottom. The speaker grills are nicely drilled with what seems to be pin point precision in the aluminum face. Being that the speakers are in the front, the sound is pristine and genuine. Not muffled because you have to cup your hand around the speaker like those phones with a speaker on the back. You are almost immersed in the sound when paying games or watching video.
|BlinkFeed on the HTC One|
The 1080p HD screen is simply beautiful! I found it hard to quit looking at it. Everything popped more. Images, websites, apps I use on other phones. It gave it a much deeper look and feel. The BoomSound is great. Hearing the music playing through those speakers for the first time shocked me. It shocked my wife too. The call quality because of those speakers is awesome as well. The camera is nice. It takes decent shots in both regular lighting and low lighting scenarios. I don’t expect a lot from a phone’s camera, but this one met all my minimum expectations. The aluminum chassis and overall feel of the phone is very nice. Because of the curved back, it fits well in one hand and the palm cups the phone safely. The battery life was pretty good. As I said before, I could probably stretch a few more hours out of it by charging it as a drove to and from work.
The aluminum back gets noticeably warm with simple activities such as browsing the web after only a few minutes. The placement of the power button is very odd and too far out of the way. Sliding the phone down further in my hand to reach it with one hand was the only way to get to the power button. It usually became a two handed job to lock the phone so that I didn’t drop it. Also, I ended up pushing the volume down button many times with the palm of my right hand as I stretched my finger to the far top left corner of the phone. With the HTC logo between the back and home buttons on the bottom, all apps with a “settings” menu took up another 1/3 of an inch of screen with the full black bar going across the middle. That’s one benefit to onscreen buttons. The menu button, or others, can be placed just to the side of the other buttons which will not take up an extra screen.
The original question was did HTC hit a home run with the release of the HTC One. I believe that when HTC stepped up, watched that fastball fly over the plate, swung, hit it deep and just barely got it over the top of the wall. The pros listed got the extra few feet it needed so that it didn’t just hit the top of the wall or go foul. The cons aren’t horrible for daily life. Easily manageable. I believe the HTC One which was released last year at this time is still a good phone to pick up. Bigger hands or being left handed to reach the power button would be a plus. You could also download an app which just turns the screen off and locks it for you. Now that I think about it, Active Notifications from the Moto X would be a nice addition to this phone (or any phone for that matter).
As the end of this review draws near, HTC has scheduled the unveiling of their follow up to the HTC One. They are going to call it “The All New HTC One”. That’s right. The event will take place on March 25, 2014 in New York City. If you are in a budget pinch and need a good phone for a good price, The HTC One will work great for you, after the release of the newer version when they drop the price. But I also believe it would be well worth the wait to see what will be unveiled in the new device before you make that final purchase.
Do you own an HTC One? How has it held up for you over the past year? Will you be looking forward to buying the All New HTC One in a few months? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.