For the past week and a half our own Brian Klug has been hard at work on his review of HTC’s new flagship smartphone, the One. These things take time and Brian’s review, at least what I’ve seen of it, is nothing short of the reference piece we’ve come to expect from him.

In the same period of time I’ve been playing around with a retail HTC One and felt compelled to share my thoughts on the device. It’s rare that I’m so moved by a device to chime in outside of the official review, but the One is a definite exception. By no means is this a full review, and I defer to Brian for the complete story on the One - something we should be getting here in the not too distant future.

I’m not a financial analyst, but HTC hasn’t been doing all that well over the past few quarters. There’s a general feeling that the aptly named One is HTC’s last chance at survival. Good product doesn’t always translate into market dominance, but it’s a necessary component when you’re an underdog. Luckily for HTC, the One is great.


Over the past two years HTC has really come into its own as far as design is concerned. The difference between the HTC One X and the plethora of flagships that came before it was remarkable. Moving to the One, the difference is just as striking.

I don’t seem to mind plastic phones as much as everyone else, but the One is in an appreciably different league compared to its peers. It’s the type of device that you just want to look at and touch. Given how much you do end up looking at and touching your smartphone, HTC’s efforts here seem well placed.

The One looks and feels great. The proportions are a little awkward in my hands, but I fully concede that’s going to vary from person to person. Despite the heavy use of aluminum, I don't feel overly worried about scratching/damaging the finish.

The challenge with any smartphone is to build something that looks distinct in a sea of black rectangles on a wall in a store. With the One (and arguably the One X before it), HTC does a good job of balancing the need to be seen with the need to be subtle. Elegant is the right word here.

While I’m sure there will be comparisons to the iPhone, the fact of the matter is that the design cycle on these smartphones falls somewhere in the 12 - 24 month range. With something as sophisticated as the One, you’re looking at the longer end of that spectrum. For what it’s worth, if I had to estimate I’d say design work on the One probably started before the iPhone 4S came out.

Smartphone Spec Comparison
  Apple iPhone 5 HTC One Samsung Galaxy S 3 Samsung Galaxy S 4
SoC Apple A6 1.3GHz Snapdragon 600 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz Exynos 5 Octa (1.6/1.2GHz) or Snapdragon 600 1.9GHz
DRAM/NAND/Expansion 1GB LPDDR2, 16/32/64GB NAND 2GB LPDDR2, 32/64GB NAND 2GB LPDDR2, 16/32GB NAND, microSD 2GB LPDDR3, 16/32/64GB NAND, microSD
Display 4.0-inch 1136 x 640 LCD 4.7-inch SLCD3 1080p, 468 ppi 4.8-inch Super AMOLED 720p, 306 ppi 5-inch Super AMOLED 1080p, 441 ppi
Network 2G / 3G / 4G LTE Cat 3 2G / 3G / 4G LTE Cat 3 2G / 3G / 4G LTE Cat 3 2G / 3G / 4G LTE Cat 3 (depending on region)
Dimensions 123.8mm x 58.6mm x 7.6mm 137.4mm x 68.2mm x 4mm - 9.3mm 136.6mm x 70.6mm 8.6mm 136.6mm x 69.8mm x 7.9mm
Weight 112g 143g 133g 130g
Rear Camera 8MP 4MP w/ 2µm pixels 8MP 13MP
Front Camera 1.2MP 2.1MP 1.9MP 2MP
Battery Internal 5.45 Wh Internal 8.74 Wh Removable 7.98 Wh Removable 9.88 Wh
OS iOS 6.1.2 Android 4.1.2 Android 4.1.2 Android 4.2.2
Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n, BT 4.0, USB 2.0, GPS/GNSS 802.11ac/a/b/g/n + BT 4.0, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, IR LED, MHL, DLNA, NFC 802.11a/b/g/n, BT 4.0, USB 2.0, NFC, GPS/GNSS, MHL 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (HT80) + BT 4.0, USB 2.0 NFC, GPS/GNSS, IR LED, MHL 2.0


The Camera
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  • phillyry - Sunday, March 24, 2013 - link

    Then why not just put a good quality battery in it. I had an iPhone 3GS and the battery never appreciably diminished over 2.5 years.
  • phillyry - Sunday, March 24, 2013 - link

    Wouldn't it be nice if they could just slide a micro SD card slot into the side of the thing (the HTC One), like they did on the Samsung Jack, without dedicating the back of the thing like they've done in the S3 & S4 by making the back come off. (Yes, the back came off in the Jack too but that was the most embarrassing thing ever about owning that phone - upon dropping it.)
  • CeriseCogburn - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    Embarrassing until the shock absorbing function of unclicking the tabs and splaying the cover and parts meant it worked once reassembled.

    Drop an iShatter and see what embarrassment really is.
  • acky2lum - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    1. You haven't meet enough ppl that uses the same phone for more than a year. The battery degrade is so bad the phone doesn't last for an eight hour WORKING day (minimal usage).

    2. I have seen ppl hold their ipad to their ears and talk on skype in starbucks. Maybe they don't mind the weight just the same as some ppl don't mind the weight of phone+power banks. But others do mind. Not to mention all the accidents happened using the phone while attached to its power banks. (My frd broke the micro usb end of her power bank... again)

    3. Phone's low boot time has often been sold as a feature, yet some ppl can't bear losing the grid for that 30 seconds or less. I just don't see the necessity of keeping your phone on all the time. Don't get me wrong, power banks have their usage, but a single person carrying multiple power banks but not a single extra battery? I dunno what to say...
  • eebrah - Saturday, March 23, 2013 - link

    It is not necessarily about a spare or extra battery, but if and when the current one dies on you. It is nice to be able to purchase a replacement quickly and easily rather than returning your phone to the "service centre" or vendors shop and having to do without *your* phone for a bit as they sort you out, probably for more than it would have cost to just buy another battery.
  • phillyry - Sunday, March 24, 2013 - link

    Again, if the phone you bought's battery died, it was either so cheap, or so old, that you had ought to buy a new one. Neither the S4 nor the One are in the cheap class - they're high-end. So, if you have a dead battery in the thing, it's probably six years old. Buy a new one before 2019!
  • DEECEE - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    Have you seen the complaints iPhones built-in battery get? There're tons of video on youtube teaching people how to carefully dissect their Apple devices to replace simple parts such as the battery, so it is purely out of greed and spite that Apple refuse to put replaceable batteries in their devices. Should HTC follow the lead, maybe, but all the suckers are already in the Apple camp.
  • jayseeks - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    It looks like your site is being victimized by the beneficiaries of Samsung's guerrilla marketing initiative, aka ghost commenters/paid shills.
  • CeriseCogburn - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    So that's what, 6 times you spewed that same thing jaysucks ?
    Got any mindshare other than crybaby lies ?
  • JeffFlanagan - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    I agree with you on the removable battery, but the lack of an SD slot is a big deal unless the phone has 128GB of storage built in. We don't always stream our media from the Internet.

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