It's time for a PhoneDog Snapshot Review, where we take our typical two-part review and condense it down into a tiny little video that's loaded with information! Today, the HTC One.
Is this new model better than the last?
The HTC One is a dramatic overhaul from what we've seen from HTC in the past. HTC has always been about design and using premium materials, but they're taking a bold step forward with the HTC One. Powered by a 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 CPU, it offers a 4.7-inch full 1080p HD display, brand new camera that utilizes UltraPixel technology, a 2,300 mAh battery, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with HTC Sense 5. Equally important are two big software features: HTC's BlinkFeed and HTC Zoe, which allows users to record three second video snippets for playback in a 30 second video trailer.
It replaces the HTC One X series, and it's better in every way.
What changes were made?
Changes abound on the HTC One, both on the exterior and under the hood. The housing is metal and glass, the specifications are top-notch all around, and the software is much cleaner and faster. The specifications list is nothing to scoff at. The Snapdragon 600 CPU performs incredibly well, delivering off-the-charts benchmark numbers.
How's the hardware?
The hardware is absolutely gorgeous. The HTC One is the most beautiful handset announced as of yet, with a gorgeous metal and glass industrial look that's going to give iOS users pause and going to make Android fans rush out to buy. The curved back is reminiscent of the DROID DNA, and it makes it very easy to hold in the hand. I also love the fact that HTC put the speakers on the front of the phone. As a result, this thing is LOUD.
How's the software experience?
HTC's Sense 5 runs atop Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and this version of Sense is improved in every way from previous iterations. Using a new 'Roboto' font, Sense 5 makes some drastic changes based on HTC's assumptions on what people want in 2013. HTC's BlinkFeed is a Flipboard-like addition that comes out of the box, though the user can take advantage of traditional homescreens if they so choose. HTC's love for user personalization options continues over to Sense 5, with the ability to change lock screens and more.
What's great about the HTC One?
The build quality of the HTC One is drop-dead gorgeous. It feels incredible in the hand, and I've found myself trying to come with excuses to pick it up. It screams premium on all levels, from its hardware to its software. HTC Sense 5 is an improvement over previous versions of Sense, and isn't nearly as resource-heavy. HTC's BlinkFeed feature could be a big winner, and HTC Zoe represents an entirely new way of taking pictures. The image quality is fantastic, and the ability to take pictures, compose into a Zoe, and send to others is a very unique feature.
What should be changed?
While the 2,300 mAh battery is an improvement over previous HTC devices, the battery life still leaves a lot to be desired. In my time with it, I've had to charge it at least once throughout the day to keep it going during a normal work day. The unit I'm working with is an unlocked HSPA+ variant - expect the battery life to be slightly less attractive when the LTE-toting version arrives on US carriers.
I'd also like to see HTC invest in some additional software value adds, like Samsung has done with recent products. These days, innovation is done through software as much as hardware, so additions similar to Air View, S Health, and Air Gesture would be nice.
What's the real verdict?
The HTC One is the most beautiful smartphone created to date. Samsung's Galaxy S 4 will likely see higher sales thanks to a giant marketing budget and better carrier availability, but HTC has a serious contender on its hands. For the first half of 2013, it's going to be about the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4. My recommendation to HTC: get the marketing plan in place as quickly as possible, and for future software updates, continue to work hard to get some strong value adds in there.