Apr 23, 2013

Posted by in Featured, Mobile, Reviews | 36 Comments

Quick Review: HTC One

We finally had the chance to briefly play with the HTC One, the highly-anticipated phone from the Taiwanese phone manufacturer. I’ve been eyeing this phone since MWC 2013 mainly due to its gorgeous design and its Ultrapixel camera, and now I finally got to play with it.

Design

HTC prides itself from putting hours on the design of their new flagship phones and the HTC One is another testament of their brilliant design team. This phone screams premium with its anodized aluminum unibody with a hint of polycarbonate on the sides.

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The aluminum finish looks particularly good in the front top and bottom with the symmetrical speaker holes on them. While the bezel on the 4.7-inch screen can be narrower, the phone still looks elegant overall.

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You will also notice that they simplified the buttons down to two: Back and Home. The Search can be invoked by holding the Home button while the Recent Apps can be accessed by double-clicking the Home button, giving you a faster response than by pressing and holding it.

The edges are chamfered with a special diamond cutter and I think these will be the first casualty whenever you accidentally drop or bump the phone. Similar to the iPhone 5.

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If you’ve been using HTC phones before, you won’t be happy to know that they changed the buttons and port layouts here. The tiny power button that also is an IR blaster switched places with the audio jack on top. MicroUSB port is now at the bottom instead of the side. The volume rocker is still on the right but is now more inconspicuous than ever. Not really fond of tiny buttons that are flushed on its edges but surprisingly, I didn’t need to use my fingernails to press them.

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The microSIM slot can be ejected on the left side by pushing a pin to its pinhole. No microSD slot here which is a shame considering the HTC Butterfly has it. Good thing it comes with a 32GB internal storage when it ships here.

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The back has a smooth curve for that “feel good” grip when holding it, a necessity considering the surface can be a bit slippery.

Display and Performance

This phone has the sharpest display in the market today with a 468 ppi pixel density on a 4.7-inch 1080p LCD3 panel. That’s just numbers though as you can barely see the difference comparing it to other 1080p resolution 5-inch phones.

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The HTC One uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 which is a quad-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz along with a 2GB RAM and is LTE-capable. Performance-wise, it’s unsurprisingly fast. Navigation, taking and saving burst photos, playing videos, pinching to zoom on the web browser, everything’s performed really snappy. Oh you can also use the pinch-to-zoom gesture on e-mails and messages to increase or decrease the font quickly. Neat.

Camera

What I’m really curious about with this phone is the performance of its 4-Ultrapixel camera. It has a larger sensor that most phones, even slightly bigger than the Canon Powershot S110 and has a 28mm f/2.0 lens with optical image stabilization. This gives the HTC One a really good camera for low-light shots. It’s also one of the fastest mobile camera I’ve used.

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Here are a couple of shots taken from the dimly-lit restaurant we were on.

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Comparing it with the Nokia Lumia 920 (which fortunately one of our media friends had with him), the HTC One gave a much sharper low-light photo. The Lumia 920 takes good low-light shots too but the result is noisier than the HTC One. I also notice that with the Lumia 920, you will see a dim view on the screen but the shot is actually brighter. In the HTC One though, what you see is what you get.

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Unfortunately, it was evening that time so I couldn’t test how the colors of the HTC One will fare in broad daylight.

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To further give consumers something to be happy about with the camera on the HTC One, HTC provided a lot of nifty camera features on this phone. Something not new since we already saw them from other phones. You’ll get Sequence Shot which combines a series of actions into one photo. You can also use Object Remover to remove photo-bombers from a scene (something I find too gimmicky). There’s also Best Face, Face Enhancer and other fun-but-you-probably-won’t-use-a-lot features. All I can say is that HTC loaded this phone with a lot of things you can do with the camera apart from applying filters and scene effects.

A new camera feature here would be the HTC Zoe, from the term zoetrope, which is a device that gives the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures. Like the effect on the Harry Potter newspaper, or when you flip through the pages of a notebook with animated drawings along the edges. On the HTC One, it’s a 3-second video made of 20 sequential shots. It’s neat seeing moving photos when you show your photo gallery.

Video highlights is another feature that impressed me. Basically it creates a video from a series of photos or Zoes using pre-set filters with background music so you can share and impress your friends and families with it. It’s like doing those professional-looking photo slideshows with the Mac’s iPhoto.

Conclusion

Overall, the HTC One is one smartphone you can easily fall in love with. It offers superb performance, with vibrant and sharp display, an excellent feature-packed camera in one great-looking package. And it’s because of these things that it will be easy to forgive them for not including a microSD slot.

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HTC Philippines told us that it will retail for Php32,990 which is a bit higher than the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4. However, with the fine craftsmanship you’ll get from this phone, HTC has every right to price it that way. Target market availability would be on the 3rd week of May but they’re planning on doing a pre-selling in the upcoming weeks.

HTC One Specs:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 1.7GHz quad-core processor
Adreno 320 GPU
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
4.7-inch Super LCD 3 Full HD 1080p @ 1920×1080 pixels, 468ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 2
2GB RAM, 32 internal storage, no microSD
HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE
Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, NFC
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
4-ultrapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, ImageSense
Video recording at 1080p @ 60fps
2.1 megapixel f2.0 ultra-wide angle front camera
5.4 x 2.7 x 0.37 inches
142 g
Li-Po 2300 mAh battery
SRP: Php32,990


  1. drool-worthy indeed! hehe

  2. thejorlanb says:

    Hanep!

  3. As a pinoy geek (yeah, lol), I must say that this phone is really awesome. Better OIS, better image sensor, and better build. For me, it’s not an issue on the external storage because it’s preloaded with 32GB of storage. If I only have the money, I’ll buy this phone, because of good specs. But you didn’t test out some apps such as heavy games (something like dead trigger), and does this phone be able to upgrade to key lime pie?

    • if dead trigger runs fine on the S3 or note 2, or even tegra 3 phones, we can safely assume that it will perform just as good or better here right? Snapdragon 600 does have an improved architecture and more powerful gpu. and about upgrading to KLP, im sure it’s just a matter of when, the hardware can definitely support it.

  4. how about the battery? how long you can use it?

  5. @Shaun – I thought ur really a geek LOL its a Quick Review mate!

  6. well, good luck to them for selling it at a higher price point. It’s like HTC One X versus S3 all over again.

  7. HTC One’s design and hardware are really amazing. Before I read this review of yours, I already read some reviews about HTC One on other tech sites. Some says, that Ultrapixel is just a plain gimmick. So I don’t know. Its really hard to choose between this and S4.

  8. ^ The Ultrapixel is an average performer in broad daylight conditions and a nice performer in low light.. But comparing it other high-end phones, the difference is not really that pronounced. Added to the fact that most people expected alot from the camera’s specs and we end up with alot of reviews saying that it is a “gimmick”… I am surprised HTC will sell it here higher than the S4 considering they are chasing Samsung and if the One fails, it may signal the end for the company. HTC is not Nokia, who can survive by selling low and mid range phones in a lot of developing countries… Also the 64GB model costs $650 (around 27k) and the 32GB costs $575(around 24k) in the States… so I think 32K for the 32GB is too much… (and please I don’t want to hear arguments about loacal distro’s overhead costs , etc causing higher prices here… baket?? walang overhead costs, etc ang mga seller sa States?? )

    • Alexis San Diego says:

      Tax pa

      • bakit? walang tax sa States?.. besides.. mataas din ibang overhead costs nila compared dito.. mas mataas sahod nila sa mga tao nila, rent sa lugar, etc…

        • I totally agree with you, its very illogical na super taas ang markup ng mga yan. Wala kwenta ang mga CONSUMER PROTECTION GROUPS. In fact they could be conniving with those distributor companies to conduct PRICE FIXING CARTEL OF THE PRODUCTS. Samantalang sa singapore at dubai almost 25-30% ang pagitan. Somebody should file a case against these distributors for Anti trust violations and price fixing.

    • hindi ka naman basta basat makakabii ng unlocked phone sa us. at&t and verizon they sell unlocked htc one, unactivated pero modified sa lte bands nila. available din sa best buy and radio shock pero lahat yun us version meaning di mo magagamit sa 1800 mhz lte band ng smart and globe. it’s safer pa rin bumili satin kasi you can be sure that it’s modified on our countries gsm and lte frequencies. although i’m planning to buy a unit in australia from telsta (w/c uses 1800 mhz lte band)

  9. sweet little monster! and ofcourse, PRICEY! ;D

  10. HTC STOP COPYING NOKIA. Your HDR recording, htc used same chip patented for nokia without any permission. Hmmm. . .stop copying and compete with nokias innovation. . .

    • i think the mic manufacturer, STMicroelectronics NV, is at fault here. they thought the agreement was 6 months and not 1 year so they also made the same mic for htc.

  11. A very great phone indeed! The prize isn’t that bad, it was the same when s3 first came into the scene. It is cheaper in the US since it’s tied up with a carrier (t-mobile, at-t and etc)..
    I have been waiting for this phone for months, every website I visit nothing but positive reviews.

    They are now making low end phones for specific countries in Asia. HTC makes great phones but they lack in marketing power!

    If you want to invest on a phone and not planning to change 3 – 4 years. This would be “THE ONE”

    More power HTC!

    • the prices I quoted are prices from the HTC website in the States.. meaning openline unit po yun at walang carrier subsidy…

      http://shopamerica.htc.com/brands/HTC-mobile/homebrands/index.htm

      I agree kulang talaga sa marketing HTC…

      • Pwede ba yan mag deliver sa PINAS? HTC One unlocked? http://shopamerica.htc.com/cell-phones/productdetail.htm?prId=41589

        • Jin Ryuzaki says:

          I dunno if you guys have ever tried getting things shipped to the Philippines, but I’ve heard of horror stories so grim they would give you the worst nightmares. Haha. By this, I’m of course referring to how your item will end up being held by customs and you being forced to pay bullsh*t amount of taxes and tarriffs of the same amount as your item, if not higher.

          If I’m wrong though and you’ve tried it before, please share your story. I’m really interested coz I never tried it myself due to my fear of the stories I’ve heard.

    • “If you want to invest on a phone and not planning to change 3 – 4 years. This would be “THE ONE””

      this is provided your non-removable battery lasts that long LOL

      and unlike iPhone 5′s non-removable battery which you can still take to a repair shop and have it removed or replaced, HTC One’s internal components were made in such a way that it is practically impossible to replace the battery without damaging the rest of the internals

  12. mmmmm…. my dream phone this year. pero sayang talo sila ni s4 sa camera according sa mga camera face off reviews.

  13. Want a better camera? better buy a DSLR camera.

  14. Charles Dongon says:

    Will this be available in Globe’s postpaid plan? I’m torn between this and tbe S4. Globe already has the S4 available for their recontracting offer.

  15. i think i would go with these instead of s4

  16. robinhood says:

    ill definitely keep an eye on this, im still thinkin’ though if i would choose this over z10.. hmmm

  17. I hope either smart or globe will include the HTC One with their bundled plans.

  18. tatay kulas says:

    I have been waiting for this. It’s already in the 3rd week of May and it’s still not out. Does any of you know when will this come out in plans?

  19. Carl Suarez says:

    Sir, is it true that this phone is locked in to Globe Telecom only? Cos the HTC personnel in MoA said so and I would like to verify.

  20. 2 girls on the picture prng c apol & kat :o

  21. Brilliant design, gorgeous display, excellent battery. Just cant get enough.

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