Review: The HTC One from Verizon Wireless
The HTC One first launched nearly one year ago and has received mostly excellent reviews from users ever since. It has went on to earn a spot among the very best of smartphones that launched in 2013 and this review probably won’t surprise anyone. We like the HTC One as well. It is an awesome device and most people who follow smartphone news will already know that.
So why are we reviewing it now, months after it launched? Well, it actually took us a while to get our hands on one of these, but that delay has kind of worked in our favor. We already knew the HTC One was a great phone when it first launched, but how does it compete with the new flagship devices of today? Is the HTC One still a good choice for your next smartphone now that we’re entering 2014? Read on to find out in our full review.
HTC One: Design & Hardware
The HTC One is the first Android smartphone that can truly give the iPhone a run for its money when it comes to design, materials and build quality. On the outside, this phone is simply stunning from every angle.
Upon removing the HTC One from its retail packaging, I spent 20 or so minutes inspecting it before even powering it on for the first time and what I saw can only be described as perfection. The HTC One features a precision machined aluminium body that is seamlessly joined with the rest of the phone. The 4.7 inch full HD display spans from edge-to-edge on the front and meets with the surrounding chassis perfectly on all sides. The corners and edges are rounded and smoothed for a great look and feel in the hand. And there are no gaps on this device any where. I mean not a single one. This is easily the very best designed and constructed Android device I’ve ever used.
Weighting in at 143g (5.4 ounces), the HTC One isn’t the lightest smartphone out there, but the extra heft it has over similarly sized devices only makes it seem high-quality and sturdy. While using the One, there was never a moment when I noticed it being heavy. The HTC One measures 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm (5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 in), which makes it just a hair thicker than the iPhone 5.
Going around the One, you’ll find the power/lock button as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack on top. A volume rocker is located on one side, while the slot for a Micro-SIM card is on the other. Lastly, a microUSB port for charging and data transfers is on the bottom edge of the device.
Up front, the HTC One is filled with all kinds of goodness. The display featured here is among the best you’ll find on a smartphone. It measures 4.7 inches, uses Super LCD3 technology and has a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels making for a very impressive pixel density of 469 pixels per inch. Colors are reproduced accurately, viewing angles are wide and the high pixel density makes everything appear crisp.
Directly above and below the stunning display are two rectangular grills for the HTC One’s front facing speakers. I had heard a lot of hype about these speakers before getting the chance to use a One for myself and surprisingly, they’ve not only met, but exceeded my expectations. The stereo sound from the HTC One is wonderful and makes me wish more manufactures would stick their speakers in the front of the device where they belong.
If you’re in the market for a new smartphone and plan to use it primarily as a media consumption device, you can safely stop reading this review and go buy an HTC One right now. HD television shows and movies truly look and sound amazing when played on this device, making for an experience that is rather enjoyable.
HTC One: Software
For software, the HTC One comes with Android 4.2.2 in a heavily modified form. HTC’s latest version of the Sense UI changes so many things about Google’s mobile operating system that whats left over is almost unrecognizable. That can either be a good or bad thing depending on what you’re looking for, but it does mean that even long-time Android users will probably need to spend some time getting used to all of the changes.
One of the more drastic and useful changes present on the HTC One involves a little something HTC calls BlinkFeed. BlinkFeed is a news aggregator that looks a bit like the Live Tiles found on Windows Phone and replaces the default home screen. With a single press of the home button, users are taken directly to BlinkFeed and its mash-up of content from several different news sources and social networks. BlinkFeed allows users to add the RSS feed from their favorite websites and will even display media shared from the HTC Zoe camera app.
All of the applications you’d expect to find on an Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean smartphone are here, including Google apps such as Chrome, Gmail, Maps, Hangouts, Keep, YouTube and Google Now. You’ll also find several pre-installed and non-removable applications from Verizon Wireless, including My Verizon, Messenger, Verizon Tones, VZ Navigator, VZ Security, Viewdini and a Verizon Wireless accessories shopping app.
HTC One: Performance, Battery Life & Call Quality
It has almost been one full year since HTC first announced the One. So it should be no surprise to anyone that it isn’t the most powerful smartphone out there at the moment, but it is close. With that said, the HTC One does offer more than enough power for any task I could think to throw at it.
Under the hood, you’ll find a 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor along with an Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB worth of RAM. That puts the HTC One ahead of the vast majority of Android devices out there and only slightly behind the newer powerhouses like the Nexus 5, LG G2 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
In real world use, the HTC One performs very well. Applications launch instantly, navigating the UI is silky smooth and browsing the web with the included Chrome browser is a pleasure. There isn’t anything about the HTC One that disappoints when it comes to performance.
Battery life on the HTC One was equally impressive. The non-removable Li-Po battery found inside of the One is rated at 2300 mAh and has no problem lasting a full day worth of moderate use per-charge. During days of very heavy usage, the battery still managed to make it past the 12 hour mark before needing topped off.
The call quality on the HTC One is simply superb. The earpiece volume can get so loud that you wont need to use the speakerphone in most environments and even at max volume, voices come through clear and with no distortion or static. The noise reduction microphone found on this particular device seems to be especially effective and in spite of the all aluminium construction, this phone has no problems finding and keeping a solid connection. In fact, it usually had more bars showing than previous Verizon Wireless smartphones I’ve reviewed. Data speeds while using the HTC One on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network were as impressive as they always are.
HTC One: Camera
HTC equipped the One with a 4 megapixel camera, but they aren’t calling it that. Instead, they prefer to call it a “4 Ultrapixel camera”, which seems more like an attempt to hide the fact that it is just a 4 megapixel shooter than anything else. But in the world of cameras, pixel count isn’t everything and the One’s lower overall megapixel count allows for larger pixels on the sensor itself. Which in theory, should make for improved performance in low-light environments.
It’s a bit confusing, but the whole Ultrapixel stuff performs alright. The HTC One’s camera is neither the best nor the worst camera we’ve used on a smartphone, but it effortlessly captures images that are suitable for sharing on social networks and comes with all the software and hardware features a person could hope for including, 1080p video recording and a very fast burst mode. Check out the sample images below –
The HTC One combines stunning design and premium build materials with a gorgeous display and plenty of power to offer one of the best all-around Android smartphones available. Even now, nearly a year after its release, the HTC One is still one of the best Android phones you can buy.
Currently, Verizon Wireless is selling the HTC One for $49.99 with a new 2 year agreement. At that price, you really can’t beat the HTC One. If you’re next smartphone will be purchased on contract and you don’t need the bragging rights that come with having the latest and greatest, the HTC One still makes an excellent option.