Feb 19 AT 1:30 PM Nick Gray 74 Comments

Hands-on with the HTC One

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It’s official, the HTC One is the latest Android phone from HTC and the company has high hopes that it will give them a competitive edge over Apple and Samsung. We got to spend some quality time with the HTC One in New York City and we came away thoroughly impressed.

Specs wise, the HTC One is the most powerful Android smartphone to date. The phone is powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 600 processor and it includes 2GB or ram, but the real story of the HTC One is about the camera. The device uses a new technology called Ultrapixels which allows it to absorb 300% more light than competing devices. What this means for consumers is clearer images and nearly zero image blur.

At the event in NYC we tested out the new camera and came away impressed by what we saw. The shutter was always fast and image graininess was lower than what we expected. Consumers will be giving up on the megapixel race with the HTC One, but the improved quality of their images should be evident.

HTC Zoe is a brand new way to think about images. Rather than just snapping pictures, Zoe records three second video clips which can be easily be compiled into a 30 second video — which captures an event or activity much better than images alone. The video highlights software comes with a variety of transition animations and soundtracks. While you don’t have creative editing control, Zoe does a good job of piecing your different clips together. If you’re not fully satisfied with the results, there’s a remix option which changes the order of the clips, timing of edits, and music to give you a different result.

The unibody aluminum casing of the HTC One is simply phenomenal. At it’s thickest point, the HTC One is about the same thickness as the HTC One X, but the back of the phone tapers off towards the edges, making it feed a lot thinner than it actually is. The phone will be available in both black and silver, but we’re having a really hard time deciding which color we will be picking up.

There are a lot of new features included in the HTC One, but we didn’t get the opportunity to test them all out ourselves. We’ll hopefully be getting a demo unit from HTC in the coming weeks and we’ll be sure to talk you through all of the new improvements and innovations which HTC will be delivering to consumers with the HTC One.

What are your thoughts on the HTC One? Will it be enough for HTC to compete with Samsung and Apple?

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Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • epps720

    Except for the battery, I really think HTC hit a homerun here.

    Still can’t believe it took this long for front facing speakers and IR blaster in the phone.

    • Samsung galaxy product manager

      Looks like a decent phone but i bet my grandma, people are waiting for the superior samsung galaxy s4 instead!

    • Tangent

      I agree with you completely on the battery. As much as I like the flexibility of expandable storage, I’d be with with the built-in 32GB, let alone 64. But a non-replaceable battery? I replaced the one in my Sensation after about a year and a half because its capacity had dropped to well below half of what it had when new. Batteries should be considered a consumable and absolutely should *not* be built in like this.

      I know some people like to replace their phones on a regular basis so they always have the latest and greatest so they’d never need to replace a battery, but I’d at least like to have it be usable for the full contract term… Being able to swap batteries because of really heavy use is nice. Being able to replace a dead or dying battery after a year or so of normal use is a must.

      • heat361

        32gb and 64gb is not a deal breaker, but bo
        y must I admit this is one sexy device. I mean aluminum all around with the highest pixel density around HTC did a great job.

      • aranea

        Unfortunately, irreplaceable battery seems like becoming to be the standard, look at nexus!

        • epps720

          I agree still can’t get over the fact that they refuse to put in larger batteries. Who would really complain if this thing was a couple fractions of a mm thicker for a better battery… my guess is no one.

          • rivera618

            i can’t get over the fact they completely messed up the softkeys on the bottom of the phone! just because google doesn’t enforce it, doesn’t mean htc and others should go ahead and deviate from the configuration as per the reference nexus devices

        • Monk

          Well, Samsung keeps putting bigger batteries and also removable, plus removable storage. Used a S2 and now a Note1. On both phones I replaced batteries after 12 months and the phone is like New again. They will have my money if they keep this policy, sorry HTC… nice looking phone btw

        • Burnd

          Honestly replacing batteries is way too old-fashioned. There’s a hard-reset button on the device, which does the same thing as actual replacing the batteries. Also, if you want to carry extra batteries all day, why not buy yourself a portable charger? These devices are very slim and easily contain 1800mAH.

          • aranea

            It’s not to replace them during the day but to replace the battery in like 2 years. Not all of us can afford to buy a new phone every year.

  • cwjones4

    I think this is a great device for HTC. that said, I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone before seeing the X phone and GS4. gotta love the amazing pace at which technology is improved…my GS3 is already starting to feel a bit outdated

    • Ladbrokes

      Arsenal 1 – Munich 3
      Bayern munich supporters singing -football’s coming home- made me LOL….

  • uknowme

    I probably won’t get it but if I did it would be in black. I can’t get over the fact that they didn’t include sd support. I understand the cloud and 64g, but what about the times I don’t have good service. Also since I root my phones I’d like to know I can carry different Roms and backups. Not to mention the fact that some of these games are really starting to take up some room.

    • alexeiw123

      I was right there with you on the sd card opinion when I moved from my sgsII to a nexus, now, I wouldn’t go back. I want to see built in storage increase to 128GB and greater, however I prefer not having a removable sd card, it really simplifies the experience, you don’t have ‘internal’ and ‘external’ storage, no apps 2 sd, no widgets disappearing when you mount to a PC, it makes for a more polished experience.

      Roms and backups can still be added and moved and removed just as before.

      • uknowme

        I get what you are saying. One of the other things is with an sd card I can just pull it out if I physically break the phone. That means I can save all my backups.

      • charlie88

        Very true. Before I bought GNex I was one of them SD-worshippers too. But just get Google Drive/Dropbox/Google Play Music and a big data plan. It’s acrually a much better experience. And I think Google is already looking at a way to get more game data up in the cloud. With developers getting in on cloud services I think it’s something we’ll be seeing in the near future.

  • Paul

    Glad to see HTC getting their head back into the game. I’m all for competition, as consumers, we win. Still, what does seem to be lacking is variety and options. My wife only wants a phone with a slide out keyboard, can’t stand the on-screen keyboard, personally I don’t blame her. But try finding a high end Android phone with keyboard. Can’t. I wish HTC hadn’t even up on keyboards, and/or removable batteries. The next Apple “this is the phone to have, you get 2 colors, no other (current) options or other models, no removable battery, no microsd, enjoy”

  • MisterLee

    the camera is what im most interested in… i want to see some low light photos. It’s one of the main things I’m considering when I buy my new phone in the next month or 2

  • Nate B.

    I can’t remember the reviewers name who is talking super loud in the background, but I recognize his voice. Anyways, the guy talking about this phone in the video is talking really low.

    HTC did a bang up job here. Nice.

  • alexanderharri3

    That camera! Well in real life I hope it lives up to its hype. Sounds like a great thing. Front facing speakers are great. Sense…well a massive feed of everything sounds a bit over the top, but looks like improvements. I sure hope the big ol screen and big ol processor can last long enough with that kinda bigger ish battery.

  • http://midweststitch.com ajonrichards

    I notice that Verizon is one of the only major carriers not stocking the HTC One. I wonder what kind of compromises Verizon demanded before HTC walked away.

    • redraider133

      Maybe verizon is going to get their own version of it a little later since they currently have the dna? I know this is a much better phone but I could see verizon wanting to get as many sales from the dna as they can before launching a newer phone from htc.

  • Gerald

    All of these wonderful specs and STILL no micro-SD port!!! – That one fault will keep me from buying an HTC or any phone that doesn’t have this option. It’s not about storage capacity. It’s about freedom to manage my information the way I want to and to not continuously be coerced into cloud storage of my data. It’s bad enough there’s no removable battery. With all these Android apps requiring “Hardware Control” permissions where they have the ability to turn on your phone’s microphone and camera without notice to or confirmation by you, there’s just way too much control shifting away from me, the consumer. At least Samsung seems to get it – too bad their GUI is not up to par with HTC, or I would already own one of their phones.

    Call me an over-reactor or conspirator, but just think about the big picture first. :-)

    • ihatefanboys

      yawwwwn these comments make me sleepy, and nauseous. No, and i mean no apps have the permission to turn on your microphone and camera without your permission. If you worry that much, you should go find a cave, live off the grid, and if you really are that worried about invasion of your privacy, get off the internet, why are u even here ?

      • Dags -

        He was just saying that if you give an app permission to use the camera, it can take a picture whenever it wants without notifying you. Lookout Mobile is one that does exactly that – for security purposes – but other developers may have other motives.

        • Gerald

          Thanks for the clarification “Dags”. That’s exactly what the point was. :-)

          (I just don’t understand the point of the personal attacks these days on what’s meant to be an open forum. So much for free speech).

  • RX-78-7

    Phone looks amazing, and the benchmark is impressive… still I have one concern.
    It’s battery life, we already saw how underwhelming the DNA was, granted it was a 5″ phone with a smaller battery, but I can’t see how a 280mah boost and 0.3 smaller screen is enough to power this phone.

    Android OEM better step it up, for the first time in years I will take a serious look at apple’s phone.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      Why do you say the battery life on the DNA was underwhelming? Our testing showed that the battery in that phone lasted 13 hours and 50 minutes with a full charge with roughly three and a half hours of screen-on time.

      The only phones that outlasted it are the galaxy Note, Note II and Motorola’s MAXX phones. As you point out, the HTC One has an additional 280mah and a display that’s .3-inches smaller. The bump in battery size would give the HTC One at least 15 and a half hours of up time, and that’s before we factor in the difference in screen size.

      Once we get our hands on a review unit, we’ll be sure to run the device through rigorous battery tests and let you know how it holds up in day-to-day use.

  • RX-78-7

    Just noticed that it uses the green colour from gingerbread. … thats just gross, why not use the blue from the new android build.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      It’s actually the same exact color HTC has been using since they introduced Sense on the HTC Hero (which was running Android 1.5 at launch).

      • RX-78-7

        Exactly, why not switch it up to the new color theme of the new os.

  • Thomas Biard

    Love how sleek the phone is, along with the aluminum back! The physical layout/appearance of the phone is by far the best I’ve seen. I love the look, I love the internals.

  • Co1e

    I don’t normally go for the “white” phones, but the aluminum is looking pretty damn sexy.

  • mlynch01

    I can’t wait to play around with this phone . I am still loving my Nexus 4 especially after the 4.2.2 update but this HTC One is crazy sexy. I am tempted especially with the higher storage options over my Nexus.

  • Orion78

    I’ll pass on this phone. I’m more interested to see what the GS4, Note 3, and this X Phone will bring.

  • mustybooks

    Wow you guys got the quiet ‘demo’er’! haha

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      The venue setup wasn’t the best. Background music, cramped quarters and multiple people trying to get video demos all at once.

      • mustybooks

        heaven :)

  • mustybooks


  • chris2kari

    Bloody nice phone.
    The camera is important to me.
    I can see a lot of non fanbois (normal people) desiring this very much.
    Great to see iPhone/Nexus/Galaxy finally getting excellent competition.
    But will HTC change to support this with long term OS updates???

  • lou2cool88

    This phone looks great! Between the Nexus 4 and the HTC One, I like where the OEMs are really making their hardware aesthetics look amazing!

    That said, I wish HTC and other phone-makers would embrace the on-screen buttons instead of capacitive ones. Also, I don’t like how HTC moved the home button to the right.

    Now, if only Verizon would carry this….

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      HTC reps kept saying “Verizon if focusing on the HTC Droid DNA for now.”

      As we’ve mentioned before, Verizon will most likely be getting the HTC One a little further down the road. It’ll probably be a DROID branded device and may have tweaks like wireless charging.

  • chris2kari

    Back in the feature phone days phones had sooooo little storage that an SD card was essential.
    Now that we are walking around with 32 or even 64Gb in our pocket SD cards are really superfluous.
    People whining about SD cards with 64Gb already on board need to put the phone down for a while & get a life.

    • Monk

      Some people want options and do not like to be told what they can and can’t do, that is the good thing about android, some other OEM will supply the demand for expandable storage plus bigger and removable batteries if there is a market. Seems that Samsung is doing very well lately, the S3 is the best selling android device and has that options for a reason: cover as many people as possible with the same device… This is a nice phone, but seems that htc is after the wrong audience, their competitors is Samsung not Apple

  • Kevs87

    I like this phone, great design, great camera, great audio and features but coming from stock android experience i cant believe how ugly sense look.. its uglier every year… one bad thing is that htc has lost the embrace of devs.. thats why i am gonna end up buying the s4… i have the tmo galaxy s 2 with aokp 4.2.2 and its like a have a new phone.( its easy swaps rom in a samsung that ever be in HTC)

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      Lets make a clear distinction here. When you say devs, you’re referring to ROM developers and the hacker community (which benefits less than 1% of HTC users)

      HTC is actually pretty open with its software for application developers and works with them to integrate application features which work exclusively on HTC phones. (which benefits the other 99% of HTC users)

      • Kevs87

        Rom developers sorry… english is not my first language…Anyway i don’t like sense

  • snowbdr89

    Let’s get to the most important part of this phone an that would be unlockable boot loader!!

  • aranea

    I think with this one HTC can hold it’s ground. Of course $200 for contract seems like a good price too but I hope they don’t go crazy on the unlocked off the contract version.

  • masterpfa

    I had a play with this device today


    The units on display were touted as pre-release and I would have to agree as a few functions were not present (or I was unable to find) such as Google Now and Recent Apps.

    The build quality, feel, the screen was gorgeous, it’s a nice sized device, the homescreen with the Tiles also works very well.I think HTC has a winner here.

    Last years HTC One X didn’t really excite me much not until the One X+ was released, this however leaves those and I would imagine many current phones standing, but the true test will be with release ready handsets.

    Roll on the reviews from the Android Press for hopefully open candid reviews and less of the like from the Telegraph I heard today “at least as good as the Galaxy S3″ with headlines like that makes you wonder where some of Samsung’s advertising budget is going.

    Personally I am looking forward to all proposed Android handsets this year with offerings from Sony, HTC, Asus, Motorola, Samsung and Google, 2013 is looking like a good year

  • donger

    Such a awesome phone.

  • thel0nerang3r

    How is the speakerphone? This is the first phone that I’ve heard that has speakers on the front, it should help how you hear it. Is it louder then the One X?

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      The front-facing stereo speakers are not much louder than the HTC One X, but you can definitely tell the difference in audio quality. Having stereo speakers pointing right at you while enjoying audio is definitely a lot more satisfying to the ears.

  • da9el

    it’s beautiful. looks like a mix of blackberry z10 and iphone 5….

  • charlie88

    The worst thing about the phone? HTC and other companies still doing this should really take some ergonomics lessons: on a phone this big it’s frustratingly stupid to still put the power button on the top of the phone! And to add insult to injury, on the left hand ?! How am I supposed to reach it? You would be pressing the button and have to change your whole grip again to use the phone.

    Samsung and LG (Nexus) know how it should be: Power button on the right side, volume on the right. It’s easy to reach, doable from within your pocket and doesn’t require hand gymnastics. I’m addicted to my phone; I like to turn it on and check my lock screen (<3 DashClock!) all day long, but this makes the process unnecessarily painful.

  • Esoth

    Once again, they have nailed it with the hardware. Traditionally, HTC make great hardware, but they tend to fall over with locked bootloaders, S-On devices, buggy software and slow updates. Let’s wait and see if any of those will change with the HTC One. I really, really hope they pick up their game here – I want them to climb back up the ladder to really challenge Samsung again.

  • ChrisL

    I’ve been a big fan of HTC forever. I only deviated from HTC with the Motorola Atrix and wished I hadn’t. I am disappointed with just the 2 buttons, the non-removable battery, and no SD Card. These are things that separate Android from Apple. And some of the biggest annoyances I have with the iPhone and why I won’t get one. But as Android is starting to look more like the iPhone…

    I’m not sure what to think about this. I was super excited to get one, but these factors are going to make me wait for the XPhone and the SG4 before I decide now.

  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    Beautiful, might buy this and have my Nexus 4 as a backup.

  • Fiasko

    Looks good, but with the aggressive off contact pricing of the nexus 4 it will be a hard sell to some. Now that I am free of my contact I don’t see myself going back. Likewise, I don’t see myself dropping 700 on a phone.

  • slimx30

    great looking phone. I think this is going to take htc out of their device slump they have been in. Im happy with my nexus 4 but I wouldn’t mine sporting this phone around with that display and camera.

  • Moises Rivera

    This phone looks really good, I was thinking about upgrading to the M7, but I think that I will have to go with the One. It’s a good looking phone, and with all the specs on it, I must say that I am thoroughly impressed by what HTC has done. I wonder when it will be coming out, my upgrade is in May and if nothing else suits my liking this will definitely be my first choice.

    • swazedahustla

      Newsflash M7 = HTC One

  • asian chinkie

    trash phone

  • Ricky Bobby

    I’m excited that HTC has a phone that I’m actually thinking about buying. I’ve owned the nexus 1, galaxy nex, and galaxy s. The nexus one has one of the best cameras that I’ve ever owned despite it only being 5 megapixels

  • Paul Atreides

    Do you still lose your HTC widgets when using a 3rd party launcher? Also, why wouldn’t they give you the ability to remove that Blinkfeed crap from your homescreen? All the thunder they put behind their camera, HTC better have at least two commercials highlighting the features and the pros of the One over the competitions phones. Software wise, this phone isn’t enough to compete with the two Giants of the mobile world, but it may keep HTC from being completely stomped out this year.

  • heheheng

    front loud speaker is a screw up design. HTC forgot to compliance the SAFETY design to put the loud speaker at the back. any apps sound/notification or alarming sound suddenly ON, the very loud sound will directly shoot over your ear…do you feel safe to use this screw up phone? front loud speakers is suitable for tablet but not phone.

  • amIT29

    Way to go htc …. i dnt undrstand ultrapixel concept but seems like it will make pics less grainer espically in lowlight conditions if its as good as lumia920 in low light.then im sold…

    device looks rad..actually like a premium phone but come with a price of nonextendable battery… dual speaker for setero sound in landscape mode …wow android market heating up… first motorola x n xperia z now this n s4 in pipeline.

  • Vitti

    This is going to make it hard for me to decide this year. Do I wait for the GSIV? Do I wait to see what Nexus may come? This is a solid choice. I am intrigued.

  • 476nd

    nice try from this bankrupt company

  • Dylan Friedman

    Bought a One X in November. Looks like I should have waited the 4 months and got this. Oh well.

  • Mel

    I cannot wait for this!

  • Riley

    I can’t wait to try out an HTC One for myself when it comes to the US soon. I think the thing I’m most excited for is the 1080p display, which I’ve heard great things about. I watch my shows on my phone often, since the only time that I can keep up with them is on the way to and from work at DISH. I think that a 1080p display and the DISH Anywhere app, which lets me stream live and recorded shows wherever I go, should be great together.

  • madsalad

    Nice but I think I’ll wait to see what Samasung ends up with and what the XPhone ends up looking like. I’m looking to get a new phone around July/August so I should have a good idea of what offerings there are by then (and what pitfalls to avoid).

  • digvijaya07

    Looks Bestestest ..!! :P ;)