Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quick Review: HTC One

We finally had the chance to briefly play with the HTC One, the highly-anticipated phone from the Taiwanese phone manufacturer. I’ve been eyeing this phone since MWC 2013 mainly due to its gorgeous design and its Ultrapixel camera, and now I finally got to play with it.


HTC prides itself from putting hours on the design of their new flagship phones and the HTC One is another testament of their brilliant design team. This phone screams premium with its anodized aluminum unibody with a hint of polycarbonate on the sides.
The aluminum finish looks particularly good in the front top and bottom with the symmetrical speaker holes on them. While the bezel on the 4.7-inch screen can be narrower, the phone still looks elegant overall.
You will also notice that they simplified the buttons down to two: Back and Home. The Search can be invoked by holding the Home button while the Recent Apps can be accessed by double-clicking the Home button, giving you a faster response than by pressing and holding it.
The edges are chamfered with a special diamond cutter and I think these will be the first casualty whenever you accidentally drop or bump the phone. Similar to the iPhone 5.
If you’ve been using HTC phones before, you won’t be happy to know that they changed the buttons and port layouts here. The tiny power button that also is an IR blaster switched places with the audio jack on top. MicroUSB port is now at the bottom instead of the side. The volume rocker is still on the right but is now more inconspicuous than ever. Not really fond of tiny buttons that are flushed on its edges but surprisingly, I didn’t need to use my fingernails to press them.
The microSIM slot can be ejected on the left side by pushing a pin to its pinhole. No microSD slot here which is a shame considering the HTC Butterfly has it. Good thing it comes with a 32GB internal storage when it ships here.
The back has a smooth curve for that “feel good” grip when holding it, a necessity considering the surface can be a bit slippery.

Display and Performance

This phone has the sharpest display in the market today with a 468 ppi pixel density on a 4.7-inch 1080p LCD3 panel. That’s just numbers though as you can barely see the difference comparing it to other 1080p resolution 5-inch phones.
The HTC One uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 which is a quad-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz along with a 2GB RAM and is LTE-capable. Performance-wise, it’s unsurprisingly fast. Navigation, taking and saving burst photos, playing videos, pinching to zoom on the web browser, everything’s performed really snappy. Oh you can also use the pinch-to-zoom gesture on e-mails and messages to increase or decrease the font quickly. Neat.


What I’m really curious about with this phone is the performance of its 4-Ultrapixel camera. It has a larger sensor that most phones, even slightly bigger than the Canon Powershot S110 and has a 28mm f/2.0 lens with optical image stabilization. This gives the HTC One a really good camera for low-light shots. It’s also one of the fastest mobile camera I’ve used.
Here are a couple of shots taken from the dimly-lit restaurant we were on.
IMAG0009 (2)
Comparing it with the Nokia Lumia 920 (which fortunately one of our media friends had with him), the HTC One gave a much sharper low-light photo. The Lumia 920 takes good low-light shots too but the result is noisier than the HTC One. I also notice that with the Lumia 920, you will see a dim view on the screen but the shot is actually brighter. In the HTC One though, what you see is what you get.
Unfortunately, it was evening that time so I couldn’t test how the colors of the HTC One will fare in broad daylight.
To further give consumers something to be happy about with the camera on the HTC One, HTC provided a lot of nifty camera features on this phone. Something not new since we already saw them from other phones. You’ll get Sequence Shot which combines a series of actions into one photo. You can also use Object Remover to remove photo-bombers from a scene (something I find too gimmicky). There’s also Best Face, Face Enhancer and other fun-but-you-probably-won’t-use-a-lot features. All I can say is that HTC loaded this phone with a lot of things you can do with the camera apart from applying filters and scene effects.
A new camera feature here would be the HTC Zoe, from the term zoetrope, which is a device that gives the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures. Like the effect on the Harry Potter newspaper, or when you flip through the pages of a notebook with animated drawings along the edges. On the HTC One, it’s a 3-second video made of 20 sequential shots. It’s neat seeing moving photos when you show your photo gallery.
Video highlights is another feature that impressed me. Basically it creates a video from a series of photos or Zoes using pre-set filters with background music so you can share and impress your friends and families with it. It’s like doing those professional-looking photo slideshows with the Mac’s iPhoto.


Overall, the HTC One is one smartphone you can easily fall in love with. It offers superb performance, with vibrant and sharp display, an excellent feature-packed camera in one great-looking package. And it’s because of these things that it will be easy to forgive them for not including a microSD slot.
HTC Philippines told us that it will retail for Php32,990 which is a bit higher than the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4. However, with the fine craftsmanship you’ll get from this phone, HTC has every right to price it that way. Target market availability would be on the 3rd week of May but they’re planning on doing a pre-selling in the upcoming weeks.
HTC One Specs:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 1.7GHz quad-core processor
Adreno 320 GPU
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
4.7-inch Super LCD 3 Full HD 1080p @ 1920×1080 pixels, 468ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 2
2GB RAM, 32 internal storage, no microSD
HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE
Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, NFC
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
4-ultrapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, ImageSense
Video recording at 1080p @ 60fps
2.1 megapixel f2.0 ultra-wide angle front camera
5.4 x 2.7 x 0.37 inches
142 g
Li-Po 2300 mAh battery
SRP: Php32,990

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