- Beautiful build
- Outstanding display
- Extremely powerful hardware
- A little too large
- Zoe not that impressive
- BlinkFeed, while useful, is too similar to Windows Phone and Flipboard
Quick TakeThe HTC One is both stylish and powerful, making it a top Android smartphone.
We’ve already claimed the HTC One is an early contender for the best smartphone of 2013. But that was based on the international HTC One review. Now, it’s finally rolling out to the States, complete with LTE and multiple carrier support. Does it hold up as an excellent Android smartphone?
This review is based on the Sprint version of the device, but the HTC One is similar across all the carriers. The HTC One has an aluminum unibody casing, which the experts at Brighthand found gives the device a quality feel and futuristic look, while also minimizing fingertips and smudges. The device weights 143 grams and is 9.3 mm thick, but it’s a little bit too long and a little bit too wide, making it difficult to activate the notification panel which requires a swipe from the top to the bottom of the screen.
Brighthand commented the full HD 469 pixel-per-inch screen “blew us away.” The 4.7-inch display features Gorilla Glass 2 and wide viewing angles. Almost every aspect of the display, from color to contrast to brightness exceeded expectations. The device’s power/standby button, which also operates as the IR blaster, sits on the top of the device, and while the placement isn’t horrible, the button could have been raised a bit more to make it easier to press. The device also features a headphone jack, volume rocker, micro USB charging port, SIM card slot and dual front-facing speakers. The HTC One has two capacitive navigation buttons for back and home functions.
The smartphone runs on a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, which Brighthand called “an absolute beast” having noticed no slowdown or lag while running videos, games and apps. The device also ran its hardware-intense photo software, HTC Zoe with no lag.
Users will be able to choose between 16, 32 and 64 GB of storage, with the latter only available on AT&T’s network. The HTC One ships with Android 4.1.2 and features the company’s new UI, known as Sense 5, which includes features like the ability to launch apps from the homescreen and BlinkFeed, which displays randomly sized tiles featuring various web and application content. BlinkFeed isn’t an entirely original idea, borrowing heavily from the Windows Phone UI and Flipboard, but BH called it a “welcome addition” nonetheless. In testing, there were some issues with the feed updating and the feature cannot be disabled.
The device has a 4 megapixel camera with what HTC calls “UltraPixel” technology, which works well in low-light situations, but is lacking when it comes to the sharpness of images. The Zoe photo imaging software is just fine in of itself, and while it includes many features, most of them are gimmicky and don’t have real-use application. The phone’s battery life is “more than respectable” and Brighthand got just under two days worth of life on a single charge, even with maximum brightness, BlinkFeed set to auto update and with push notifications for e-mail and apps.
In the end, the HTC One is still a strong contender for best Android handset of the year. Brighthand was impressed with its build, performance and unique software, and while some drawbacks might include the awkward size and throwaway Zoe features, the phone should attract Android users due for an upgrade, and it may even cause users of other platforms to jump ship.