HTC One hardware and first impressions (gallery)

HTC One hardware and first impressions (gallery)

Summary: It's a simple fact that HTC makes superb hardware and that the HTC One is their new undisputed champion. They did most everything right with the HTC One. See my hands-on report for all the details.

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  • The HTC One sets the bar for today's high end smartphones

    HTC announced the HTC One back in mid-February, and an international eval unit arrived on Saturday. I've been using it constantly since Saturday morning and the more I discover what the HTC One can do, the more convinced I am that HTC is doing just about everything they can with the device and now they need to share the story with the world.

    As you can see in the list below, I have been cranking out galleries, videos, and experiences with different aspects of the HTC One. Due to the last-minute shipping and lift of the embargo, I have been scrambling all weekend to post on the device. It has actually motivated me to post multiple posts as I explore different aspects and give readers the chance to read the topics they are most interested in.

    Initial hands-on

    I held the HTC One at the launch event and it felt great in my hand. After getting to spend a couple of days with the device I am convinced it is the best-constructed smartphone I have ever held. I had thought the HTC Droid DNA, HTC 8X, or iPhone 5 was the best, but HTC again raised the bar for fantastic designs.

    HTC led last year with the best display on the HTC One X and they again lead with the Super LCD 3 display on the HTC One. There was a rare day of full sun in Washington on Saturday and I could not believe how amazing the screen looked outside. I saw very little effect of the direct sunlight and it was very refreshing to be using a phone that can be used inside or out without restriction.

    Specifications

    Specifications on the latest smartphones are mostly the same, but it is still important to check them out on Android phones. Here are the specs for the HTC One.

    • 4.7 inch 1080p display with 468 ppi
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, quad-core, 1.7 GHz processor
    • Android 4.1.2 with HTC Sense 5
    • 2GB RAM
    • 32/64 GB internal memory storage options
    • Dual front stereo speakers with Beats Audio
    • HDR microphone with Sense Voice
    • Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX, NFC, WiFi 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n
    • Miracast and DLNA connectivity
    • Ultrapixel camera with HTC ImageChip 2, optical image stabilization, and more
    • 2.1 megapixel front facing wide-angle camera
    • 2,300 mAh integrated Li-polymer battery
    • Dimensions of 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm and 143 grams

    As you can see, there is really nothing lacking in the HTC One. I'm sure we will hear people complain about the lack of a microSD card slot and removable battery, but with 32 or 64 GB integrated memory I don't think the external card slot is that much of a factor. It remains to be seen what battery life is like at this point.

    Hardware

    The 4.7 inch Super LCD 3 is awesome and I don't think you will find a better smartphone screen anywhere. Above the display you will find one of the stereo speakers between some sensors and the front-facing camera. There is an indicator light hidden in the third hole from the left in the speaker grille.

    Below the display you will find two capacitive buttons and the other stereo speaker. It's a bit strange only seeing two capacitive buttons below the display, one on the left for the back button and one on the right for home. Don't worry about pressing the HTC name in the center, that is not a button and won't do anything for you. The back button just takes you back, there are no double tap or tap and hold options with this button. On the other hand, there are home button options:

    • Double tap of home button: Brings up multi-tasking display showing nine active apps. You can tap and swipe up on an icon to close the application.
    • Tap and then tap and hold: Brings up Google Now.

    The volume rocker is on the right side and the microSIM card slot is on the left. The microUSB port is on the bottom right with the power button and the 3.5mm headset jack is on the top. The IR transmitter is found within the power button. The camera and flash are found on the upper back.

    The aluminum shell gives the HTC One a million dollar feel. You can see antenna pieces integrated into the shell, along with the embedded HTC logo and Beats Audio labeling. The back is slightly curved, the edges are beveled, and I can't say enough about how great it feels in your hand.

    What's next?

    I have only had a couple full days with the HTC One and as you can see above there is a LOT in the device. I have plenty more to check out and can't pass judgement yet on a few things until the final shipping firmware is released. Here are functions I still plan to test out and if there is anything else you want me to check out, please leave a comment.

    • Advanced camera editing functions
    • Battery life
    • Low-light camera performance, especially compared to the Nokia Lumia 920
    • Optical image stability while recording video, again with a focus on comparing to the Lumia 920
    • TV remote control functionality
    • Normal daily operations, such as phone calls, text messaging, email, etc.
  • Front of current smartphone lineup

    The current smartphone lineup includes the Samsung Galaxy Note II, HTC One, HTC Droid DNA, Apple iPhone 5, Nokia Lumia 920, and BlackBerry Z10.

Topics: Mobility, Android, HTC, Reviews, Smartphones

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32 comments
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  • Nice looking phone

    It is a nice looking phone. I love my DNA and its been a great phone. I wish I had known I would have waiting a little longer! But I think I still like the bigger screen Keep us up to date on how that one is compared to the DNA I love these phones more than the Iphone I had.
    spikey289
    • Check out slide 2

      which phone looks the odd ball, the iphone 5, you can barely tell it's there
      everss02
  • Never again for me and HTC

    HTC is losing sales and market due to its horrible abandoning of product after initial good reviews and fanfare. The HTC Thunderbolt was similarly praised when it came out- I fell for it and so did many others. I bet that phone alone helped millions- including me- leave the HTC brand after lack of software updates, lack of update information from HTC, lack of support from HTC and having a phone that was more like a paperweight than a phone (my HTC Thunderbolt would sometimes take 2 minutes to decide to dial the number I chose on the touchscreen).

    I've owned a Samsung SIII since November 2012- it was great out of the box and is still great (unlike the Thunderbolt which began to show dysfunction and problems after 3 months). The Jellybean update made the SIII even faster and more functional while the long delayed ICS update for the Thunderbolt did nothing to improve (it finally came out in February after a 9 month delay- I am glad I didn't wait around for it because it was worthless).

    HTC may have a winner with the One but I will never find out- they have lost a customer for life.
    DJ0114
    • Never again for me and HTC

      same for me... the HD2 is still giving me nightmares. After a few months, supports drops to dead.
      and no SD slot in this new powerfull HTC one is really unforgivable. 32/64GB is really insufficiant for such a phone.. once you start with music and video in reasonable to full Quality.
      Being such a good phone, you want some quality files on that no?!
      Erwin.Craps
      • I don't know

        In my experience HTC has been good. My wife had the HD7 when it released in 2010 and she didn't have any issues as a result we upgraded her to the HTC 8x. I had Trophy for 1 1/2 years and same thing, no problems, I moved to a Lumia 920 because I liked the design, quality, camera and Nokia exclusive apps. I think my only reason for not going HTC was I wanted something different than the wife. The HTC One looks promising though I'd only consider it if they released a version for WP8.
        Rob.sharp
    • EVO 4G & MT4Gs...

      I agree completely. And while you're at it you may as well add the EVO 4G and the MyTouch 4G Slide to those that were really played up & then deserted as if we never existed as soon as they sold all they wanted to. It's disgusting. Yeah, they make a good phone but a person also bases their decision to buy on the company & their willingness to hold up their end of the bargain in updates. The MT4GS is nothing but a Sensation with a slide out KB & the Sensation was pushed all the way to JB!!! If I hadn't paid for it they would have called it theft but SOMEHOW when a multi-million dollar company makes false claims about support in order to bolster sales it isn't FRAUD. If they want me to try another HTC after this one they'll have to GIVE the damn thing to me!
      Weekends
    • I agree DJ0114

      My HTC does the same thing. I can literally press a contact to initiate a call and it will literally take 2 to 3 MINUTES to dial. I have learned to wait but when I first started experiencing this I would dial two and three times thinking the phone was not reacting. I think I will get a Samsung next time!
      krazykaigh
  • Very, very curious, can hardly wait...

    The photos and the description I already read and saw are well. My own experience with HTC is also very good (Touch Dual, Touch Pro, Touch Pro2, Hero, HD2, Desire HD, Sensation, One X, One X+). But for now I can only wait....
    SignalF
  • pitty...

    Too bad HTC chose to bypass microSD and swappable battery, otherwise this phone would be pretty close to perfect by today's standards. HTC built the rezound with ALL the Desired specs at the time and I bought it when it was first released and STILL think its awesome...well unless the Galaxy S4 really 'wows' me, I'll definitely be buying the LG Optimus G Pro. No other phone that I know of offers so much.
    trob6969
  • Nothing missing?

    "As you can see, there is really nothing lacking in the HTC One."

    It appears to be rather blatantly missing a very important feature: the keyboard! Just because Apple managed to trick a bunch of iDiots into thinking that that's acceptable doesn't make it not an ugly, defective design.
    masonwheeler
    • Keyboard?!

      I too thought a physical keyboard was a deal maker for me but alas.. I never used it on my Evo Shift after I installed swiftkey on it.
      wasabitobiko
  • Count me out

    My wife has an HTC 4G Shift and it has not aged well and has a lot of problems. My Samsung Galaxy S1 was way more durable by comparison. That being said, competition is always good for the consumer so keep at it HTC-maybe you'll get another major hit like the original EVO in the future...
    DonRupertBitByte
  • On the contrary regarding Expandable memory and Removable battery

    ...by taking the Apple path of removing a person's choice to have these features will hurt HTC again as LG is following Samsung's path of flexibility with their Optimus G Pro.

    The reasons why many power users chose Android over Apple is because of these 2 simple requirements, and yet, HTC is trying to copy Apple's limitations. They don't even sell the 64GB in my country.

    Removing these 2 features is a devolution. Not an evolution.
    triadwarfare
    • Battery and Memory

      Yep ... count me in as part of the "I want more choices" clan. I don't mind that other people buy things with fewer options. That in itself ... is an option. Just one I don't want.
      draku.zeos
    • I would buy a HTC ONE if

      1. it had an SD slot. The SD card should not be in place of internal storage, but in addition to it so you can mount and unmount it to copy stuff on and off.

      2. it had removable battery. I have a spare in my car and another spare in my wallet. I have not used either in weeks, but when I do need them, they are the best thing in the world!
      Having a spare handy means I never have to compromise on usage when battery gets low. None of this "don't call me, txt me" like some iPhone friends often tell me when they run low on juice. I simply have no fear when the battery indicator shows less than 15% unlike an sealed battery user.

      3. didn't use aluminium casing. Maybe it's just me, but I find aluminium cases very unfriendly to hold. They are slippery and you can't prop them up on a table as they just slide and fall flat. Also, it can't be any good for radio tranceivers which is why they have put the antenna on the outside much like Apple.
      I didn't like the aluminium casing on my Zoom, my iPad, Transformer Prime, the macbook and I won't like a phone with aluminium casing. It's not a quality material, they make disposable drink cans from it! HTC got it right when they made phones with rubberised casing like the Desire.
      Be HTC again, don't follow Apple.
      warboat
  • •Android 4.1.2 with HTC Sense 5?

    In the picture, it looks more like WINDOWS Phone 8 operating system.
    lloydkuhnle
  • Not for me

    I'm waiting for a smartphone featuring a 16 core Intel i7 CPU with 128 GM RAM. 4k display would be nice as well.
    I do a lot of Photoshop and really need a bit more computing power.
    Comparing actual smartphone specs with what you got 4 years ago this sounds reasonable to me.
    EnticingHavoc
    • Of course

      Are you ready to pay $4000 for it, and have huge openings for fans and enormous batteries? Because that's what it would cost. And it would be enormous. You don't see laptops with such, and there's a reason. It's only been 5 years since the first smartphone revolution.
      lelandhendrix
  • I love my HTC Trophy...

    ...but my only complaint is the touch screen is TOO sensitive. Just barely brushing the heel of my hand against the search icon goes into Bing--very annoying. Does the One fix that? And of course, never again with Windows--too few apps!
    showbizk
  • Size

    Why are all of the top end androids such beasts? I really thought that the 4.3 form factor was the sweet spot. FWIW- I still love my Nexus One for its sleek design.
    NovaDrew