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HTC One hands-on

HTC One hands-on
Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful? Isn’t she precious!? Well, we know that’s what Stevie Wonder would say after taking a meticulous look at the just announced HTC One – the Taiwanese based company’s flagship Android smartphone for 2013. Seriously folks, we haven’t seen something like this since the original Google Nexus One, which also sported one heck of an iconic design of its own. Quite frankly, it’s not every day we come across a handset that evokes second glances mainly due to its stunning design, but yeah, this one is one of the precious few out there that's able to do just that. Skillfully, the HTC One brings back the metal like no other, which of course, translates to one masterful industrial design worth praise.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way people! The HTC One is one damn fine looking device, especially when it’s utilizing a sturdy metallic casing. Going with a metal unibody design, which HTC details specifically as a zero-gap aluminum body, our hands can’t stop falling in love with the sturdy feel. In comparison to other recent things, the only thing close to this design that we can remember, was the HTC One S from last year – though, the sheer magnitude of the HTC One blows it away. Even more impressive is the fact that HTC is able to keep this one equally skinny amongst the masses with its uniform profile of 9.3mm thin (0.36 inches), while being uber lightweight at the same time. Combining those things with its impeccable construction, the HTC One is simply one gorgeous thing that’s a head turner any way we look at it.

After allowing its hot design to subside, our eyes naturally become affixed to the display. However, for those HTC DROID DNA wielding owners out there, the HTC One’s display might not impress them much – albeit, it’s still one sharp looking beauty. In fact, it’s been blessed with a 4.7-inch 1080p Super LCD 3 display with Gorilla Glass 2, which is indeed lovely looking with its sharp visuals and stunning color, but not quite as immense, mainly due to size, to what we’ve seen already with the DROID DNA. Regardless of that, seeing that it delivers a pixel density of 468 ppi, our eyes have no issues whatsoever when it comes to distinguishing any fine details. Moreover, the lush color tones of the display, combined with its predictable great viewing angles, splashes on that practical amount of vibrancy to wow us from afar.

By now, we’re familiar with the intense hardware of the HTC One – such as its quad-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU, 2GB DDR RAM, and 4G LTE connectivity. However, if there’s one detail worth mentioning, it’s that the handset is lacking a microSD card slot, which doesn’t come as a surprise in this day and age, but still, it would’ve been helpful to see it tacked on. Nevertheless, the handset will be available in 32GB and 64GB capacities to appease those who have a hunger for storage. With its new and speedy Snapdragon chipset, the HTC One flies with its performance, as every little action is accompanied with a sense of snappiness. In our brief hands-on time, we didn’t see any form of sluggishness or choppiness.

So with that, it leads us to the new HTC Sense 5 experience, which so happens to be an overhaul. In general, we’ve always been fond of the Sense UI, especially when it’s polished from head-to-toe with its countless and snazzy looking widgets. This time around, however, HTC, has improved the experience by providing us with a cleaner, yet still seamless experience. As the name goes, this version of Sense continues to sense our experience with the new HTC BlinkFeed – an all-in-one solution that aggregates all the relevant content, mainly social networking stuff, directly on the homescreen. In the past, we saw HTC’s FriendStream widget, which accomplished the same thing, but HTC BlinkFeed takes it up a notch by updating us with news, photos, and immersive news that pertains to our needs and wants. Come to think of it, HTC BlinkFeed replaces the typical Sense homescreen we’re used to seeing with a very live tiled one instead. So yes, it does reminds us of Windows Phone a lot. Elsewhere, it’s comforting to know that HTC has refined some other aspects of the Sense experience as well as bring some new things – like HTC BoomSound, UltraPixel, and Zoe.

With the latter two, they’re associated with the new experience surrounding the camera, which of course, is none other than an average 4-megapixel UltraPixel auto-focus camera that features a wide angle f2.0 25mm lens, backside illuminated sensor, LED flash, and 1080p video recording. Taking a few snapshots, its seems adequate enough to handle low lighting, but then again, we’re only able to view the photos on the handset – not a computer to gauge its quality. On the flip side, there’s also a pleasant 88-degree wide-angle front-facing camera that can stuff all of your friends into the shot, without having to stretch your hand out. Again, it’s not something particularly new, as we’ve seen it already on other devices.

So far this year, we haven’t heard or seen too many flagships as of yet, but with the HTC One, it’s undoubtedly a dreamy thing to find in a space filled with plastic Android smartphones. Quality-wise, the handset delivers the goods with its unibody aluminum construction, which interestingly enough, is still rarely seen in many of today’s top-tiered devices. Beyond the beefy hardware, it’s absolutely wonderful to see Sense getting its long awaited overhaul. We’ve been pleased in the past, but they’re really pushing forward with the unified experience on the homescreen. Crazy to say, this is simply dubbed as the “HTC One “ – with no other letter attached to it. Needless to say, it makes us wonder, but the more we ponder about it, everything makes perfect sense. This is the one! The one that’s sure to be a big player throughout the first portion of this year.

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posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:42 8

1. loken (Posts: 462; Member since: 09 May 2012)

back sorta looks like xperia ion with all those lines

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:54 9

10. serge327 (Posts: 73; Member since: 27 Aug 2012)

yeap, the back look like Back of Xperia P, Ion, also some similar to xperia s...

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 14:11 5

43. AnTuTu (Posts: 1580; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)

No matter what you say it is the best looking mobile I have ever seen. Let's appreciate their design and technology team for this beast.

Well done HTC :)

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:43 12

2. RiseAgainst94 (Posts: 281; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)

If someone buys Android, they want to experience Android. Why make the UI similar to Windows Phone when you have an entire different operating system dedicated to live tiles? Stock Jelly Bean is the way to go. Everything else about the device is very nice.

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:51 6

7. SonyXperiaNexus (Posts: 374; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)

idont know... i like it

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:55 3

15. RiseAgainst94 (Posts: 281; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)

I'm not saying it is bad, but when someone looks for the best high end Android device they will be disappointed to end up with a UI closer to WP than Jelly bean. I love WP (I have one myself), but I prefer the latest Android and this is far from it.

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 12:16 2

40. ahhxd717 (Posts: 332; Member since: 08 Dec 2011)

From someone who has the latest Android build, it's not like stock is the ABSOLUTE BEST UI ever. Idk where that comes from. Obviously, it's pretty subjective. I preferred the social networking integration of Sense (when I had HTC handsets) and Touchwiz, as well as more customization options present in Sense. Not to mention the much more useful Sense dialer. I don't think stock Android is the default best UI, but I kinda see what you mean. As long as the skin still incorporates the features in the latest android releases, I think UI differentiation is perfectly fine. It's not like anything in 4.2 was awesome. The lockscreen is rather horrendous in my opinion.

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:53 1

9. willard12 (unregistered)

Hopefully, because it's android, the can get rid of the live tiles if they choose to customize it that way just as you could get rid of HTC's social and news widgets in previous versions of sense. The tiles look like a battery hog.

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:56 1

18. RiseAgainst94 (Posts: 281; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)

An article on CNET said that the editor asked the HTC reps if she could remove the tile interface and they said you can swipe it away but it will always remain on in the background...

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 15:13 1

47. John.V (Posts: 99; Member since: 27 May 2011)

Yup, the HTC BlinkFeed is on there from what I told. You can access the usual homescreen layout (widgets and all) by swiping to the left.

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:56 1

16. alila2 (Posts: 158; Member since: 01 Nov 2011)

actually , the BlinkFeed looks nice and kinda unique , its way more alive than windows tiles,don't think it take away from android but rather add, though it shouldn't be a fixed home screen .

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:59

19. RiseAgainst94 (Posts: 281; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)

It is nice and I actually agree that they may even have one-uped WP UI on their first go, but the tiles take up a lot of space and the latest version of Android seems a lot more intuitive.

I hope you do not have to swipe down to keep seeing articles, news, etc. It is so annoying on my WP that I end up swiping left and finding my apps on the page where they all are. It makes more sense to swipe left and right to keep seeing more tiles.

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 12:11

38. htc_prep (Posts: 303; Member since: 09 Oct 2009)

its one aggregated page. once you swipe its the standard launcher page arrangement. you can disable this FEATURE if you dont want to look at it or you can put on a custom launcher.

on my S3 i have APEX launcher for the stock look and feel.
on my evo 4g lte I have Launcher 8 in combination with the Sense launcher because its nice to be DIFFERENT.

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 20:15

52. Hunt3rj2 (Posts: 396; Member since: 11 Nov 2011)

HTC made it completely possible to switch right back. If you don't like it, it's just flipping a setting to the old style homescreen.

posted on 20 Feb 2013, 13:16

57. BitterTruth (unregistered)

If you want to experience android and windows phone at the same time then ONE is for you :)

posted on 28 Feb 2013, 11:17

63. phissith (Posts: 19; Member since: 22 Feb 2013)

Android experience or not, anything that improve the OS (notification) is a welcome in my book! Improvement is improvement, let's leave OS war out of this!

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:47 5

3. TerryCrowley (Posts: 194; Member since: 31 Jul 2011)

As much as Rise Against sucks as a band I gotta agree with RiseAgainst94. The likeliness to Windows Phone will be this devices downfall. This was supposed to be a comeback :/. R.I.P HTC.

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:49 2

4. RiseAgainst94 (Posts: 281; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)

This is a very old account, I do not listen to them anymore, but glad you agree.

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:49 1

5. zeropants (Posts: 39; Member since: 31 May 2012)

#1 - Lets take a bunch of hi-res photos of a new device, then put our huge watermark right across the middle of all of them, blocking out parts of the actual phone!
#2 - That sounds great! Everyone loves ruined photos! You sir, are a genius.
#1 - I know, I have a gift.

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:52 1

8. RiseAgainst94 (Posts: 281; Member since: 03 Mar 2012)

They're hardly visible, but I agree. Weird to take a high res pic just to put an unnecessarily massive watermark on them all.

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 11:37

34. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

I didn't even notice the watermark until I saw your comment...

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:51 1

6. Coolest4ever7 (Posts: 23; Member since: 07 Feb 2013)

I hate the UI but that could be solved by a launcher

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:54 3

11. henrickrw (Posts: 408; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

As usual great design from HTC but at the end another piece of crap.

Say what you feel about Samsung but HTC is not selling millions as Sammy.

Will stick to my note 2 and s 3 until the s 4 arrives

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:54 1

12. ViBRATOt49 (Posts: 17; Member since: 06 Aug 2009)

LMFAO @3:45 "Home Scween"

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:54 3

13. WWThinker (Posts: 55; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

This so-called the flag-ship HTC One can be ignored. No uSD slot, no dual-SIM support. Lacking of the 2nd feature can be forgiven, but missing the uSD support is simply a SIN. Passed.

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:55 2

14. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

That app drawer!!!! D: kill it with fire!!!!

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 10:56

17. _Bone_ (Posts: 2155; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)

It's really cool that it kicks off with 32gigs, if the 64gig version will be in ~$70 range, you'll forget about the lack of microSD, and for good reasons: the device is so fast that reading stuff from removable storage would bottleneck the whole thing..

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 15:15

48. John.V (Posts: 99; Member since: 27 May 2011)

Yeah, I'm sad that there's no microSD slot, but glad they included an IR blaster

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 11:02 1

20. N.Reynolds (Posts: 257; Member since: 15 Feb 2011)

Please no ugly carrier logo on the front or too large on the back!

posted on 19 Feb 2013, 11:07

21. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

Haha HTC. Sigh.

They managed to make a 4.7 inch phone taller than a 4.8 GS3 and way taller than the 5 inch Xperia ZL. Plus they somehow managed to make the capacitive buttons less ergonomic. But it gets even worse..... They put the power button on the left top edge...... Wtf. I don't know what is worse, in the middle like the DNA or on the top left on the HTC One.

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