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HTC One Review


Posted: , posted by Victor H.



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.

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

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
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.

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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
PhoneArena rating:
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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