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HTC One Review

HTC One 9.1

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One of the most touted features of the HTC One is its new “UltraPixel” camera. UltraPixel is a fancy name HTC made up for its 2-micron pixels that are larger than on most other smartphones, as the sensor is the same size as the one in rival modules, but is used for only 4.3 instead of 8 or 13 megapixels. The sensor is of course a backside-illuminated one, with a very wide f/2.0 aperture and LED flash.

As you can see, the megapixel count and the resolutions are much lower than most other 8 and 13-megapixel cameras out there. In reality, though, high resolutions are only required if you plan on using a device's camera for large prints. For most people, 4 megapixels are just enough - definitely enough for sharing on Facebook and for small prints.

When it comes to the actual pictures, we are mostly happy with the results. Images turned out fairly sharp and dynamic range was good. Letting more light in brightens up the images and on a cloudy day you can almost instantly tell the difference. Colors under direct sunlight are rich, but detail is a bit spongy in single-tone areas. In low-light, though, colors tend to get washed out a bit, but images are noise-free.

Image size:
Use our samples comparison tool to see photos from more phones

The HTC One records 1080p videos with support for continuous auto-focus and there is HDR video as well. We noticed no skipped frames and the camera was quick to focus, and stable. What's really impressive, though, is video recording in ultra low-light situations - like at a party, a club or a concert. While virtually all other smartphones only capture darkness, scenes on the HTC One are sufficiently well-lit. The quality of the sound recording is also a small revolution. HTC is using dual-membrane microphones and they capture surprising depth in the low tones and are rich up high too. In reality you get clear distortion-free sound at even the loudest occasions. You can record street artists or concerts and have actually good audio quality.

HTC One Sample Video 1:

HTC One HDR Sample Video:

HTC One Sample Video:

HTC One Indoor Sample Video:

HTC One Slow Motion Sample Video:

There is a 2-megapixel wide-aperture front facing camera that is great for video conferencing.

The camera interface is courtesy of Sense 5.0 and it delivers a stunning amount of settings and tweaks. The most notable one is the Zoe feature that takes one second of video before you press the shutter and then another three second video. You can pick any of the frames in the video as a still, so you don’t miss a moment, and the video also remains. It is a neat addition that adds life to your still photos.

Part of the camera interface - HTC One Review
Part of the camera interface - HTC One Review
Part of the camera interface - HTC One Review

Part of the camera interface

You can also use a new feature called HTC Share to stitch images, video and sound into one whole, a kind of an album that gets updated to HTC’s servers.

Internet and Connectivity:

HTC’s home-grown browser - HTC One Review
HTC’s home-grown browser - HTC One Review

HTC’s home-grown browser

The HTC One comes with both HTC’s home-grown browser and Google’s Chrome out of the box. Both are exceptionally good browsers, but the one from HTC has the advantage of supporting Adobe Flash, and is a very welcome addition. Say what you want about Flash but for many it is a necessity and we’re glad HTC caters to them. The browser also supports incognito mode, allows you to search for words on the page and easily switch between desktop and mobile versions of websites. You can also save articles to read later on, even when you are offline, and that’s plenty of functionality. Unsurprisingly, it all works buttery smooth - pinching to zoom in and out, and scrolling around is very snappy.

With 4G LTE connectivity on-board (European version is HSPA only) you have little to worry about when it comes to the HTC One’s download speeds (except for your bill at the end of the month). HTC’s flagship of course supports Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, DLNA and MHL.

HTC One Review
HTC One Review
Infrared blaster

Speaking of its connectivity options, we must also mention that the One comes with an IR blaster built into the lock key. It turns your phone into a sort of smart TV remote. To use it, you fire up the pre-installed HTC TV app where you can see program listings tailored to your cable provider. The app delivers an up-to-date list of what’s on now, what’s next and you can also use it as a remote to switch between channels, turn volume up and down, and so on.


The HTC One’s brilliant 4.7-inch screen is its biggest asset when it comes to multimedia. The device’s built-in media player chews through almost all file formats with only Divx/Xvid-encoded files not supported. For that we resorted to the MX Player on the Play Store, but there is a plethora of media player choice. With a third-party player the device easily digests 1080p files of all formats with no lag.

The deep and rich sound comes as one huge advantage.

In addition to Google’s standard suite of apps, HTC has also bundled its HTC Watch and HTC Music media services that are good apps on their own.

HTC One Review
HTC One Review
HTC One Review
HTC One Review


The two front speakers on the HTC One are not just a decoration. We’ve been dreaming about good sound on a smartphone for a long while, but knowing about the limitations of a small device like a smartphone, companies seemed to have given up.

The HTC One changes that attitude towards sound drastically. The front stereo speakers deliver an amazing sound experience, and you don’t need an expert to recognize the sound of this device among all other smartphones.

The two speakers come with a built-in amplifier and rock out at 93dB loudness, but it is not just how loud the sound is - it has a depth and a rich overall sound profile that is impressive for a smartphone as well. We suppose part of that comes from Beats Audio software magic.

You might underestimate the importance of sound on a phone, but it’s worth comparing the tinny sound from most other phones to the fuller, richer experience from the One to understand how big of a difference this is. That’s especially true for music lovers and video watcher - your ears will thank you later.

  • Options

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 12:05 74

1. Topcat488 (Posts: 1396; Member since: 29 Sep 2012)

Looks good! I really love the front speakers...

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 12:15 22

7. GTR722 (Posts: 268; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)

Desing is perfect, UI is horrible, need a new launcher asap

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 13:50 11

55. jsdechavez (Posts: 758; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

I actually like the Metro -inspired UI... I'll port this to my Xperia!! haha

posted on 15 Mar 2013, 09:45 16

103. preet27in (banned) (Posts: 173; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)

idiot have u used it?> how come ui is horrible? htc has worlds best and simple ui. no match for it nywhere. now its sense 5.0 which again is at top.

posted on 16 Mar 2013, 20:46

123. bojan (Posts: 188; Member since: 06 Oct 2012)

HTC One vs Sony Xperia Z vs LG Optimus G


posted on 17 Mar 2013, 04:25

124. rizevnarastek (Posts: 349; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)

I can see some framse being dropped on HTC One, but overall it makes a better video than Xperia Z. The LG doesn't even compare.

posted on 17 Mar 2013, 09:56 3

131. rizevnarastek (Posts: 349; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)

My predictions for the New HTC One (2014):

Low power 5" FullHD SLCD4 with user preference software keys
Sapphire screen for screen protection
Carbon-titanium infused aluminium unibody, Zero gap design
Symetric organic design, like a mix of One X and One 2013
Stereo front facing speakers with built-in amplifiers
Power button up top, centered, double as IR blaster
Hand power technology to wake the phone without using buttons
Left side of power button SIM tray
Right side of power button SD tray
Right side of phone features a volume rocker
Bottom right side a camera / user selected action button
Docking pinns of the left side of the phone
Standard coin size indentation for "kickstand" feature on the left back side
Bottom left side a headphone jack
Bottom right side USB/MHL
Floating touch interface and gloves-on usability
5MP Ultrapixel camera with dual LED / xenon flash
Advanced optical stabilisation system
2.5MP HDR, wide-angle camera front facing camera
HTC logo in between the speaker holes and on the back
Top of the line CPU/GPU Quad-core 2GHz
32GB option only (but with SDXC support)
3000mAh battery (non-removable, Li-Po)
Wi-Fi, Wi-Di, BT,GPS, GLONASS, IrDa,
Thermometer, barometer, gyroscope, ect...
Eye Sense screen timeout and auto rotation feature
Loads of other usefull software Sense features
Physical dimensions same as HTC One 2013

posted on 20 Mar 2013, 07:51 4

145. mydi.maus (unregistered)


posted on 02 May 2013, 00:25 1

171. WakaFlakaD (Posts: 526; Member since: 30 Apr 2011)

No way people should thumb this down. While it might not come anytime soon, but it is my very ideal device as well.

Camera button!!! I feel like this is always being overlooked at. Xenon flash is always welcome (How I miss my Nokia n82 from back in the days)

I don't mind paying $800 for this to be honest

posted on 19 Mar 2013, 14:18

142. JEverettnow (Posts: 228; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)

I have never been a fan of any HTC ui. I think its all personal preference when it comes to Touch Whiz Vs. Sense, but IMO Touch Whiz has always felt more complete and smooth compared to Sense.

posted on 26 Mar 2013, 19:47

158. thelukewarm (Posts: 18; Member since: 18 Dec 2012)

the design is impeccable, the front speakers are fairly powerful, but the UI is not horrible, to me it seems to be a mixture of WP and iOS

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 23:52

167. trexnkrumpets (Posts: 45; Member since: 15 Jan 2013)

with blinkfeed and the simpler ui? :) I find WP8 a mix between android and iOS. (Much more stable than android, but more customizable than iOS) I just want to be able to customize app drawers/folders than only limited filing for games,dang-nab you MICROSOFT!

posted on 28 Apr 2013, 00:13 1

169. xuan3 (Posts: 1; Member since: 28 Apr 2013)

LOL Seriously? Sense is horrible? Go use a Nokia then. Sense is so much better than other UIs, and you think it's horrible. GENIUS.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 12:17 32

9. samsunggalaxylover (Posts: 37; Member since: 23 Jan 2013)

the samsung galaxy s4 will beat it easily.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 12:23 24

11. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)

Yeah right

posted on 16 Mar 2013, 04:09 3

111. Jonathan41 (Posts: 532; Member since: 22 Mar 2012)

We finally agree on something!

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 12:30 39

21. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

If the GS IV is basically a warmed-over GS III (aka GS IIIS), HTC gets some breathing room. Sammy will ultimately sell more GS IVs, but HTC gets a solid opportunity to play against the Sony Z, LG, and other non-Sammy Android phones. I might even swap my GS III for a One if it is available on VZW. I won't be trading my Note II, however.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 13:37 22

50. Evil_SaNz (Posts: 259; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)

The sad thing is that Samsung is considered like "Apple of android"; even if another android device will be by far superior of the galaxy franchise people will still think that sammy does the best android phones. Power of ads and persuasion...think out of the box :)

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 13:52 8

56. McLTE (Posts: 922; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

lets be clear here.. while the One shapes up to be a great phone, there's nothing "FAR superior" about it.

It has some great features for sure, but I'd put them both on a fairly equal playing field. Lack of removable battery and SD card slot KILLS the phone for me though I realize some may not care.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 21:25 3

92. 007akshay (Posts: 37; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)

but the tru fact is s4 in great in features ,ui interface,battery,software,big screen......htc is grt in design camera innovation., n d speakers................ these features cant be done by apple so dont compare android mobiles to iphone......iphones r lik same s**t overpriced

posted on 08 Apr 2013, 19:44

165. HDShatter (Posts: 1021; Member since: 17 Jan 2013)

(inb4 downvotes)

Sorry HTC, the international s4 is a more powerful device than the one. The Exynos 5 is better than the snapdragon 600. Simple as that. It also has ddr3. But sense does look much better than it used to. Beats touch wiz any day but on my s4 (international) I will just root and use custom roms, which the HTC one can't do till they unlock the bootloader.

posted on 10 Apr 2013, 14:34

166. chocolaking (Posts: 495; Member since: 22 May 2012)

The S4 is COMPLETELY no match to the HTC ONE.
Stop dreaming..

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 13:27 2

46. jsdechavez (Posts: 758; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

Samsung just might one up the HTC One with an even lower megapixel count!! hahaha

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 13:32 1

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

And maybe even the same miserable low light photos! :D

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 13:40 1

51. bhagi108 (Posts: 21; Member since: 09 May 2012)

wake up dude! stop sleeping on the lap of Maya.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 13:43 2

52. therealestmc (Posts: 457; Member since: 23 Jul 2012)

Can you elaborate on that?

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 14:01

60. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2072; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)

It might beat it , but not easily .

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 12:23 21

13. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

If nothing else, HTC has moved the bar for flagship smartphones. Props to them. I hope they have success with the One. In the U.S., if the One truly does ship on VZW, they might manage to pull off a successful product. Especially if the GS IV is actually a GS IIIS.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 12:25 1

16. THE-ONE (banned) (Posts: 28; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)

Let's wait and see.

posted on 14 Mar 2013, 13:54 2

58. McLTE (Posts: 922; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

From what I've seen they haven't really raised the bar on flagship phones.. Joined the party? Absolutely!

I sincerely hope HTC has success with this phone and they can give Samsung a run in the future. Having 2 big players in the Android world would be great for us consumers!

I'm still a bit shakey on HTC having seen my wife with her few.. I absolutely love their idea of front speakers though. I HOPE HOPE HOPE that catches on!

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OS: Android 5.0 4.4.3 4.4.2 4.3 4.2.2 4.1.2
view full specs
Display4.7 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (468 ppi) S-LCD 3
Camera4 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, Quad-core, 1700 MHz, Krait 300 processor
Size5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inches
(137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm)
5.04 oz  (143 g)

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