HTC One

Finally, we've got our hands on the HTC One for official one-on-one time. This is finished hardware, and nearly complete software, so it's time to get our official HTC One review under way.

Before all that, though, it's worth reading over our HTC One preview. While things have been simplified, there's still a lot to go over. And if you've yet to visit our HTC One forums, there's a lot of good stuff going on in there as well.

A now a few quick thoughts, now that we've got the HTC One away from the show floors and into a more intimate setting. (We've turned down the lights and lit a few candles for this guy.)

  • Know that startup noise you get when turning on a phone for the first time? The HTC One just about blows you away. That's the first sign of how good these speakers are.
  • It's going to take a little used to reaching to the top left to turn the power off and on. That's user error, though. Not the phone's fault.
  • I'm pretty quickly digging the new font in Sense 5.
  • Damn, it feels good in the hand.
  • Super LCD 3 display -- should be on every smartphone.
  • This is a European version, so no AT&T LTE, but HSPA works just fine. 
  • If you're worried about BlinkFeed getting in the way of a more standard Android experience, don't be. One quick swipe and you're at the usual home screen.
  • Speaking of BlinkFeed, I quickly get the feeling that the key is going to be not overloading it with feeds. Find what's really important and stick with it.
  • Still not sold on the home button being in the bottom right, but figuring it out for Google Now and multitasking is simple enough.
  • I've yet to try to tap the HTC logo. But that's because I'm consciously reminding myself that it's not a button.
  • Wondering how long it takes me to scratch up the aluminum body. 
  • Gotta go play with that camera now.

Let's get to work.

 

Reader comments

HTC One is in the house

92 Comments

Get us some good low light photos, like at a bar or restaurant. Would be fantastic if I could get rid of the point and shoot forever.

The only point-n-shoot camera worth mentioning is RX100. Rest are all crap. They are on par with any cell phone cameras.

That is one of my main things I want to see photo quality. I'm OK with "only" 4 megapixel, as long as it is clear and not "noisy".
I think actually, HTC is going in the right direction on the camera on this phone.

I used to use a Cannon Digital Elph for a few years and loved it overall, but since I got my first EVO, I had decided the phone took better pix. Hoping this continues the trend.

Photo overload, please! It would have been nice to get a black one, to see if it really is better aluminum than Apple's (as HTC claims), and to see if it chips as easily.

damn non us sprint version review. All i want to know is if the antenna is better for LTE then the EVO 4G LTE. If the antenna works as good as gf's iphone 5 for LTE i'm sold.

That's my issue too. I just want to know that the LTE radio is stronger than the EVO 4G LTE's. I wish it would be as good as the Galaxy Note 2's.

Is there anyway of just eliminating all feeds so BlinkFeed isn't on at all? I would bet that is a big battery drain. I just don't like anything running in the back round that I just can not shut off If I choose.
How much internal memory did the HTC One come with?
This is one phone I am leaning towards. HTC One or SGS4

Thanks Phil

I can't believe that HTC will not have a ton of feeds preloaded. They are the curator of the feeds, not the user.

Well if it's anything like what they've done with the OneX/EVOLTE/Etc, you can disable any software you want (even if undeleteable) so that it's never thought about/used/or even shows up in the App drawer. If that's the case, then it should be a non-issue, I'd think.

I hope that is the case. Some of the early reporting is that Blinkfeed is part of the Sense launcher. They would be smart to let people turn it off to save data/battery life/annoyance. I bet the AC crew get to the bottom of this in their review.

It has already been discussed, Im not sure where I read it, but you can disable the blinkfeed and have traditional set up.

Finally! Lots of photos please! Very interested in seeing how good the camera is... And how it compares to others in good lighting situations as well as low light.

Dammit, I want this phone so bad. This phone is so sexy that i am switching from the iPhone 5 to the HTC One - my first android

I've got one coming from Sunrise in Switzerland, as it's a European version, do you have the box or just the device? Curious as to what'll be waiting for me when it (eventually) arrives, hoping on some beats earbuds tbh...

I was in a Sunrise store here in Solothurn Switzerland, first off da staff has not heard about HTC one but rather one x(HTC needs to really market this phone and get people talking about it in the streets!) After finally showing the staff the new HTC one on his computer he told me maybe in like 3-4weeks they would have it....so u still got about a month I suppose to have this bad a$$ phone in ur hands!!

Yeah, it's only on their website, they still seem to be promoting the Xperia Z, seems like Sunrise, Orange and Swisscom will only promote one phone at a time, theres 4 sunrise stores within 2 blocks of my home, and none of them heard of it.

Phil:

+1, Retweet, Like, etc...

Can't wait for the full review, even though it would take a miracle for me to get one of my own.

>Know that startup noise you get when turning on a phone for the first time?

i hate that obnoxious HTC startup sound. it's the sound of bloatware. one more reason to buy a Nexus.

You probably didn't know the start up sound can be turned off.

There will be a lot of Nexus and GS3's sold on ebay and Amazon in April.

Do you hear us now Gekko?!?!

Get ready for 6 weeks of nothing but HTC one articles, reviews, and praise!! Maybe we'll get lucky and see some of the staff actually kiss the ground the HTC developers walk on this year!!

Or maybe the staff will finally come to their senses (no pun intended) and just do the basic review, then put this gigantic failure out to pasture where all HTC devices belong.

Seriously, AC staff....please don't make what I said actually true, once again. It happens this time every year, and we are all really getting tired of it!

/nerd rage :)

HTC deserves praise, they are a good company.They aren't perfect but none of the manufacturers are.

Htc designs great phones. My last phone was a g2 and my current one is a nexus 4.

I agree with you there. But they refuse to up the mah on their batteries. Non- removable battery is also a negative with this HTC ONE, "ONE' meaning it'll only last you ONE hour lol. I honestly love their phone designs and build quality, just can't stand all this b.s. with their phones not lasting any more than 4-5 hours. What a waste of money for them to spend so much on a phone that just can't make it up past those hours i mentioned above. I highly praise them for making great long lasting phones but can't praise them at all when it comes to battery life.

HTC does make good phones, despite your obvious bias against them. I really loved my Nexus One and Desire HD, and every spring they release an awesome phone that helps set the performance standard through the summer. My personal experience with HTC has far exceeded my experience with Samsung phones, which I have had to exchange multiple times on multiple phones for hardware failures.

This phone is coming out with what looks to be amazing build quality, an awesome screen/processor combo and great speakers - basically everything an Android fan site lives to talk about. This phone is going to sell like crazy over multiple carriers and have a big audience, so of course they're going to have extensive coverage of it.

Don't pretend to speak for all of us when you say that you're tired of it. I enjoy product launches like this, and if you were a true fan of Android innovation, you would too.

edit: grammar.

I don't know if it happens every year, but it sure did last year. HTC needs to figure out a way to sell a lot of these before the S4 is announced or they are through.

That is a great point, I said the same thing, My question is very simple, why hasn't these great phones at least been announced to go on sale for the US Carriers and Customers? This is playing Russian roulette with HTC's future. This is a kick ass piece of hardware that needs to be advertised. Start advertising, the SGS4 has had so much more advertising dollars thrown at it and no one even knows what it looks like yet. I am a huge Samsung fan but I still want the HTC One and being crazy as hell I will probably still buy the SGS4. I really want to see HTC succeed, I still have my Nexus One, I have one for both T-Mobile and AT&T, that phone is a classic and the hardware feels so good in the hand, I still throw my sim cards in them every now and then. I would love to see HTC make a copy of the Nexus One, bump it up in size to 4.3 and killer specs. Must have the little white home button as well. That would sell like hot cakes IMO. Show us the hardware HTC.

You're totally right! Shit on the OG Android manufacturer, regardless of this sweet-ass looking phone It would be better to spend 6 weeks on wall-to-wall Samsung coverage with the GS4 since, you know, they finally made a phone last year that wasn't a flaming piece of shit. That means they must be the best ever! They're so damn great because of 2012 that we should go back in time and pretend that every device they have ever made is the best device ever. And this includes my shitty fucking Samsung dishwasher.

Jesus has an EVO.

The SGS2 was also a kick ass phone that came with all the bells and whistles. Samsung has done with no other phone manufacturer has done, they have given their customers what they ask for and also make a kick ass phone. You have to give them credit.

That's the best comment I've read in a long time. I almost had to close my office door so I could roll around on the floor laughing.

Obviously you can't be serious lightyear420.

Have another bong hit and maybe you'll come to your senses before the world passes you by.

.

"It's going to take a little used to reaching to the top left to turn the power off and on. That's user error, though. Not the phone's fault."

You are WRONG.

agreed - design flaws aren't the same as a "user error".

"The volume buttons are underneath the battery, which will take some getting used to, but that is user error, not the phone's fault"

How would you categorize poor button placement? Something the user did wrong OR something the designer should have thought of.

We are becoming accustomed to the way phones are laid out - when things change it is a distracting change to your routine. I wouldn't categorize this as user error, instead i think it was a sub optimal design decision.

Hey guys, you can just send me the phone. I'll take care of the review for ya and you can enjoy the weekend!

SOMETHING EXTREMELY IMPORTANT:

Is the lens covering the camera plastic or gorilla glass? Will it scratch? I have not ONE single scratch on my One X+ yet the lens covering the camera has some tiny scratches on it. It does not appear to affect photo quality but it does bug me out, as I take very good care of my phone.

Or was there a small plastic protector from the factory? I have slowly tried to remove it but it seems there is no plastic cover.

Please anyone try to answer this as it is important, I would not want my HTC One lens cover to get scratched like my One X+'s.

Thanks!

Yeah, just not as easily as this one. I've had 4 phones with gorilla glass, not one of them ever had a scratch.

I've never had a scratch on my phones without gorilla glass as well. It's amazing what cab be accomplished when you don't let your phone get ground around with sand and dirt.

The scratch in the lens is out of the focal plane ie out of focus so it doesn't show up in the picture you take. So it's cosmetic not functional problem.

Lets c how good that ultra pixel snapper works, my thinking is it is not that noticeable , most people don't no the change from 10 megs. To 14 megs so I'm sure it is more of a sales gimmick than practical,so stay thirsty my friends.

It looks like you need to put the glass down before posting again. You must have been REALLY thirsty.

The speaker placement is what interests me..

finally a phone we can place on its back and not have the sound levels lower..

I will wait to see what the SGS4 looks like..

But if there speaker is on the back.. the HTC ONE here I come

Love the phone's design, specs, etc etc. Something as simple as that lockscreen widget app (forget the name but my I loaded it on my GF nexus and it is very handy) makes me think twice about what else I'd be missing starting out at 4.1, and always being behind the ball.

I have a GS2 Skyrocket (darn HTC Inc. died, had to get a holdover phone...lol) which is rooted with Cm10. I have no problem rooting it...but as one of the reviews said...to get the ONE and then root it is silly since you'd lose all the proprietary software: camera features especially.

Is there any chance someone would ever be able to make those HTC specific features available as a "stand alone" pack that could be loaded "with" CM10.x running? And how much of the actual functionality could be replaced by apps I wonder...

I feel like with a GS4, while not as sexy (most likely) and not having as nice a factory software package(touchwiz vs. sense), I would be less worried about losing Touchwiz features by rooting and running AOKP or whatever...

p.s. Get the darn review written already!!!you've had the phone for at least 12 hours by now!!! ;)

sometimes the devs just modify the stock rom like a modified sense rom with all the good features but... faster and cleaner..

korm1203 - experienced opinions have more validity. Following is moorman's experienced opinion.

I myself have gotten tired of playing rom roulette and having to choose between one broken feature or another. Bluetooth audio that skips when the phone isn't on my shoulder; BT that won't turn off w/o a reboot; Google Play movies that won't play in HD; memory leaks; poor/slow GPS lock; various wakelocks; random reboots. I'm sure there is a rom somewhere I've missed, but I've tried most of them and cycled each through various kernels. Some come close, and it's clear there's some talent out there, but each has some flaw that requires researching fixes or workarounds. The search for that magical combination ultimately eats too much of my time. I think the phone should exist to help me get other things done, not be a thing to get done itself.

Submitted by moorman on March 2, 2013 - 20:02.

I'm not sure what Samsung could announce with the new Samsung Galaxy S IV that would keep me from getting this new HTC One. HTC really builds great phones and it looks like they've outdone themselves with this one. I'm just trying to figure out a strategy for getting mine the day it becomes available for Sprint.

Im excited to hear the review of this phone. It looks great and has really gotten my interest. Im not sure if i need an SD slot (i use an ipod for all of my music and i wont be watching movies/tv shows on it when i have a laptop or tv to do that with)

Would 32GB be big enough? i would like to get the 64gb version but i have heard it MIGHT not be release here in Canada... too bad, i hope i dont have to go for the S4 based on space alone.

I really want this phone to be good. Really good. I do wish, however, HTC would stop with the crappy indicator lights behind speaker grilles and fit it with a proper, multi-color LED that we could adjust. I for one would love the ability to change colors for text, email, Facebook, etc. on the phone.

Phil, when your done playing with that device, I'll be more than happy to take it off your hands! What the Android landscape has been missing are phones that are designed for premium users. We all get entranced by words like "PPI", "cores", "megapixels", "savory treats (gingerbread, donut, froyo, jellybean, etc etc)", but the reality is that what we need are flagship phones from the OEM's that show that not only is the OS important, and hardware important, but the look and feel of the device shows the careful craftsmanship that inspires users to either see their phone and have the nagging desire to upgrade or converts who see the device and say "I gotta have one of those". We don't hear Apple users talk about what version of iOS they are on. We don't hear Blackberry users talk about their OS version. It's all about the device and right now with the polish that the software brings, we need hardware that talks to the rest of the conversation. Give me a phone that will absolutely replace my video camera and DSLR. Right now, the camera's on the phones are good, but in low light, in action shots, in movie quality, image stability, etc, I'd still rather take my rugged 16MP Cybershot or 12MP Nikon even with the extra weight because I'm still not confident that I will have the right equipment with me and lose the winning shot because I brought my phone instead of a good camera. Or devices that have battery life that will make having a battery indicator useless. If the adage is that you charge once a day, quite frankly I don't care to have a battery indicator. Just use the phone--the rest should follow. Slim is good, but now we need longevity. No more alphabet soup. OEM's need to stop with their ridiculous naming conventions. If you look at car manufacturers as an example, if they release new name vehicles every year or every other year, consumers begin to get confused which car is in the economy, mid, and luxury scale. The same goes with phones. I love the Xperia phones, but the model naming conventions get me all confused. Thank goodness for HTC to step up to the plate and say, no more alphabet soup. It's the One, period. More OEM's should follow suit. Nonetheless, share the love Phil!

Of course I have never used this phone and I am a Verizon customer so perhaps never will get to use it. The build quality looks amazing. I love love love it.

My biggest concern so far is Blinkfeed. True all you HAVE to do is swipe it away, but that is the problem. I shouldn't have to do that. I should have to swipe to GET to it.

Also where do you go when you hit the home button? To the Blinkfeed Screen?
I would be much happier if this built-in app was optional and not the default. Swipe to it if I want to, otherwise ignore it.

One last thing is that I don't like a lot of congestion on my home screens. I currently have 4 icons at the bottom of my main home screen just above 4 icons in the dock. The rest of the home screen is blank so that I can see my wallpaper. I restrict the icons on the rest of my home screens so that my wallpaper can be seen. I have one screen screen to the far left that contains all widgets. The Blinkfeed home screen interferes with the minimalist look I want on my phone.

I can see the time in the status bar so no large nasty clocks please and certainly not in the app drawer. Can the clock/weather thing be removed from home/app drawer screens?

You can set it up to where the traditional android home screen is the default, and then swipe right to get to blink feed.

Not sure about removing the weather widget from the blinkfeed screen and app drawer though.

I have a gs2 and i was so excited for the announcement of the gs3 but i didn't like it design wise... the moment i saw this device i'm crazy for it... 93% sure that this will be my next phone..IMO Samsung took a step back with the Gs3... specially the glossy back and the super mega creative speaker grill. I know that this phone will be the best looking Android phone of 2013. got hope for Gs4 to break the samsung plateau in design but...

I love htc phones. Their build quality is great and I Love the sense ui, but my one problem with htc phones is their battery life. If this phone has good battery life it will be my next phone.

Damnit. I -WISH- I could stare down at one of these new Android devices and say, "Let's get to work."

Awesome, awesome job.

As far as the phone: if it can hold on to a charge, then it's worth looking into. But like some other people mentioned before me, HTC makes phones that rape batteries. Battery-raping phones. And they get it done quickly too.

As good as this device look, I'm pretty sure the SGS4's specs will blow it out of the water
I still find the HTC battery indicator and general notification bar look so 2009.
The layout of the buttons also seem very user unfriendly, why not use the stock on screen button or even make the htc button the home button? It would just make more sense (no pun intended)

Got a feeling after Thursday no one will will really want this phone, maybe only for the beats headphones to stick on eBay

It's also way overpriced if you are a proper android user then why would you choose this over the nexus 4 or even the galaxy nexus which is still a great device

Htc - I'm yet to be convinced

@mabr82

I AM SURE U HAVEN EVEN SEEN THE GS4.
how do u know that it will be better already.
and what it gs4 comes with the same price with plastic feel - will u still buy it ?

Plastic Smashtic. It will be better and everyone knows it. We all will see on thursday night. I am an HTC fan all the way, but the gs3 was one great phone and I can't wait to see what comes next!

"It's going to take a little used to reaching to the top left to turn the power off and on. That's user error, though. Not the phone's fault."

Personally feel like that is a design error.

Yes. I feel the apologist's nature of that comment as well. A couple poor design decisions being questionable won't potentially make or break the device. We can call it what it is instead of making excuses.

I really like the new HTC One but it is one missing key component, a missing micro-SD card. I have a lot of music and would like all of my music to be on my phone. I just don't understand why HTC would put out a great phone like this and then only limit it to 64 gigs of internal memory. I want to see what Sammy's G4 would have to offer later on this year. I am pretty sure they will have a 64 gigs internal and external memory and I will more than likely upgrade to the G4.

According to HTC via CNET you can't turn Blinkfeed off completely. Something has to always be streaming. You can only cut off so many streams. I wonder what this does to battery life and how much data it pulls? In the age when the major carriers have eliminated unlimited data plans this could prove to be an expensive problem.

Silly question, Is it penta-band hspa? Seems silly not to do that at this stage if it's not.

What about the "Viewing Angle"? LCD is not good at it when you compare with LED. I am not sure about LCD3 though...

I'll tell you about battery life there Vamp07 unless you want to constantly be charging your phone with that non removable battery all the time. STAY AWAY from this crap. just my opinion everyone is free to buy what they wish. All I've heard from HTC is SHITTY BATTERY LIFE. Not worth the money imho.