Network - not software or hardware - is the big difference in the Sprint HTC One, for better or worse

Finally, we're getting our first look at the U.S. versions of the HTC One, the phone that many believe (right or wrong) will either make or break the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer, which has been struggling financially for a number of quarters.

The HTC One represents a bit of a shift for HTC. As the name implies, it's one line. One brand. For all intents and purposes, we're looking at the same smartphone from Europe to Asia to the U.S., and everywhere in between. There will be a few small changes, of course -- radios and storage space and what not. And he U.S. carrier versions will have slightly different applications packages preloaded. But put, say, the Sprint HTC One beside an unlocked, European phone, and you'll not see a difference in looks, or in function. And maybe most important -- they're the same phone in name, finally giving HTC a proper platform to push its brand. That's something HTC has tried and failed at for a number of years, most notably with the 17 variants (more or less) in the originally attempt at the HTC One.

But no more.

I've had the Sprint HTC One for a week or so now, and I've had a European version for a number of weeks. There's simply no real difference in terms of hardware and functionality. For that, please see Alex Dobie's excellent comprehensive HTC One review.

We're going to do things a little differently here. What follows is not a deep dive into the Sprint HTC One. It's just not that different from what we've already reviewed. Instead, it's my thoughts on the HTC One in general and a breakdown of the specifics for Sprint's version. School's in session.

The Sprint HTC One video walkthrough

Not to beat a dead horse here, but there's not that much different, at least on the surface, between Sprint's HTC One and other versions. Storage will vary slightly. (Unless you get one of them newfangled 64-gigabyte monsters.) Sprint's got a couple of its own apps -- and some of them, like Lookout Mobile Security and Sprint TV, only download if you accept the "Sprint Default Configuration." (More on that in a bit.)

HTC One hardware and design


For you Sprint folks out there, the HTC One is a pretty big departure from last year's EVO 4G LTE (which itself was an offshoot of the HTC One X). You're going from glossy plastic to matte aluminum. There's tons over debate over which one is "better" -- and remember that there were plenty of folks who scoffed at the glossy plastic on the EVO 4G LTE versus the matte polycarbonate on the HTC One. To each his own.

The HTC One design is something special. Some of that has to do with the angles at which we've all (that includes HTC) been shooting it. But there's a reason for that. The HTC One may well be HTC's best designed and manufactured smartphone. Save for the SIM card try (yes, Sprint's version is a Global roamer and has the same external SIM card as everyone else's), the power button and the volume buttons, there are no moving parts here. No creaking. There's nothing that can break. That's done by milling out a block of aluminum and then injecting the plastic bits into it. And it's pretty damn impressive.

More: Be sure to check out our HTC One Forums!

That's not to say there aren't areas of concern. This is a tall, skinny phone, and much like tall skinny people, there's not a whole lot of extra meat to hang on to, if you know what I mean. It's slick, without any real grab points. But then again, I'm pretty well convinced the HTC One's not meant to be a one-hander anyway -- at least not if you don't have relatively large hands. For me, it's the same sense I got with the Droid DNA -- and the two are actually pretty close in gross design. It's just a little too tall and a little too thin for my liking.


Another minor annoyance is that it's so symmetrical and so smooth that there's no real obvious way to tell if you're pulling it out of your pocket right-side up, or upside down. The power button on the top is nearly flush -- to the point of being a little difficult to press quickly, and same for the volume buttons. Closest I've been able to come is to hopefully feel the micro USB port on the bottom of the phone, which means I'm pulling it out the opposite of how I'll be holding it. Again, a minor annoyance? Probably. But it's one I experience a number of times a day.

Everything else still lives up to what we've been saying for weeks now. A Super LCD3 display at 1080p may be the best you've ever seen. And having resurrected my Galaxy S3 for a little while, there's simply no comparison outdoors. HTC (and LG with its IPS display) wins that battle, hands down.

The front-facing stereo speakers are loud -- maybe too loud -- but they're also a great feature. HTC's got its usual deal where the ringer will quiet down as soon as you pick up the phone, or it'll be louder if it thinks it's in your pocket. But it really should have a quick and easy "Shut the hell up" toggle for nighttime. Just remember to lower the volume before you go to bed and you should be good. (That's still applicable even if the phone's on the other side of your crib. It's that freakin' loud.


Now, about those buttons down at the bottom.

Part of me hopes there's some technical reason HTC put the back button on the left, and the home button on the right, with the non-functioning HTC logo in the middle. But I don't think so. If the move was to ensure HTC's got its branding out front (which hasn't always been the case for U.S. carrier versions of its phones), it was a poor decision. The home button is the most used button on the phone, save for the power button. It should be in the middle of the phone, where it can be reached most easily.

But at the same time, I've been talking myself out of that argument, too. Perhaps the HTC One, being as lanky as it is, really isn't meant to be one handed. In which case would it really matter whether the home button's in the center? Or maybe it's just because it's different, and different is baaaaaaad. I've gotten used to it, but I don't have to like it.

Speeds and feeds

No matter how good a phone might be, if it's on a struggling network it'll never live up to its full potential. That's the case with the HTC One on Sprint. As we've had to say in far too many other Sprint device reviews, we've got a great phone here on a sub-standard network.

That is to say, Sprint's 3G network is downright painful. And poor connections are murder on battery life, too.

But Sprint does have a fledgling LTE network. I tested it at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, where speeds and connection weren't great. Airports can be like that. Lots of people, lots of planes, lots of signals flying through the air. The connection dropped from 4G to 3G so often, speed tests were moot.

Sprint speeds
EVDO is like going back to the Stone Age. Unofficial LTE in San Francisco was better, but not great.

Things were a little better in San Francisco, however. Never mind that SF's not even listed as having LTE data, at least as far as Sprint's coverage map and official list are concerned in early April 2013 -- but it's there, sort of. Connections again were wonky, and I never saw more than 6 Mbps (and change) downstream. Uploads were in the 1.2 Mbps range.

Again, this was in San Francisco, which isn't even listed as having Sprint LTE yet. So don't take those numbers as gospel. If you're a current Sprint customer, you likely know what your data speeds are like, for better or worse.

I don't have a whole lot to say about battery life because of all that. On Wifi, the HTC One is a champ. Twelve, 14, 15 hours? Absolutely doable. In fact, only having to charge it once a day with that sort of use makes up for the longer-than-usual charging time. Plug it in, go to sleep, forget about it. On Sprint's network, though, the phone's pinging the hell out of towers, desperately trying to to get or keep a signal where I live. So battery life was well worse than what I've been getting on the European version of the HTC One on HSPA+, which has been pretty good, given that at 2,300 mAh it's not the highest capacity we've ever seen in a smartphone.

I've had zero issues with HTC using Qualcomm's Snapdragon 600 system. The phone runs as fast as I'd expect -- and maybe even cooler than I'm used to, though the aluminum body can get damned hot in the sunlight. That should be interesting to test once we get proper car kits. The 2GB of RAM has proven to be ample, and I've had none of the multitasking issues that plagued the original HTC One X owners.

Sprint HTC One

HTC One hardware - the bottom line

My personal quibbles notwithstanding, the HTC One easily is the best-designed and put-together Android smartphone we've seen thus far. I've written before that HTC's smartphones can always always be described as "solid," and none more so than the HTC One.

Sprint's version is exactly the same (so far as we can tell) as the European model. No extra buttons or markings -- not even a Sprint logo. Just a worse network.

The HTC One software


At risk of sounding like a broken record, not a lot has changed here for Sprint, either. We've got Sense 5 running atop Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. European-specific applications have been swapped out for Sprint-specific apps, mainly Sprint TV & Movies, Sprint Worldwide (which is a simple but helpful page with info for world travelers), and the Sprint Zone apps for downloading other Sprint specific apps. Sprint's also added Lookout Mobile Security, and there's a Qualcomm Enhanced Location Services app that's new to us, too. But especially in the "Custom" view in the app drawer, you might not even notice any of the Sprint-specific apps.

There are a handful of Sprint widgets available as well. But if you're anything like the folks HTC is targeting with the HTC One -- folks who don't customize home screens, remember -- you'll never use them.

I've found Sense 5 to be pretty usable. The new, slimmer font is pretty pleasing, as is the darker motif. It's nowhere near as friendly as the older versions of Sense, but neither is it as cold and, well, robotic as Google's flavor of Android. That's not to say I don't have issues with Sense 5, though.

HTC One folders

Different isn't always better. Start with HTC's implementation of folders. Instead of a stacked view as you add apps into a folder, HTC's gone with a 2-by-2 grid. It's OK so long as you have at least four items in a folder. But anything else (OK, two or three apps is your only other option in this scenario) leaves a whole lot of blank space. That's just bad design, no matter how much data tells you "most folks" probably have at least four apps in a folder.

And I've already written a few hundred words about how the Sense 5 app drawer overly complicates matters.

I like the idea of BlinkFeed well enough, even though I don't use it on a regular basis. It's just not how I consume information. But then again I'm not normal. (What I wouldn't give for the old green CRT terminals of days gone by for parsing stories.) It's nicely implemented and easy to set up. It's also pretty easy to overwhelm with feeds, between Twitter and Facebook and news. Don't want to have Facebook as in-your-face as you might with Facebook Home? Here's a happy medium. And remember: If you don't want to use BlinkFeed, you don't have to, and it's not in the way at all.

One slight incongruity: For a phone that's supposed to be all about the "normal" user, having HTC's own custom Webkit browser alongside Google's Chrome is bound to be confusing. But then again, it gives you the option to view Flash content. (Never mind that Flash is being deprecated and this move only serves to drag out that long overdue death.)

One more annoyance: I'm not sure why this doesn't seem to bother me as much on other phones the number of different dialog boxes I've seen for sharing items on the HTC One is staggering. There's HTC's way of doing things. Or Google's. Or an individual app's. It's a ridiculous exercise in incongruity. Not necessarily HTC's fault, I suppose, but for whatever reason it's bugging the hell out of me on the HTC One. Maybe because I'm already having to reach all over the display (and up and over the speakers) in the first place.

Sprint HTC One

Here's something that you might miss the first time around with the Sprint HTC One. (I did.) After the initial setup, there's a notification asking if you want to install the "Sprint default configuration." Ummmm, sure. Why not. Hit "continue," and you get a screen that reads thusly:

Your Sprint Default Configuration is now ready to be installed. Sprint ID gives instant access to apps, ringtones, wallpapers and more, and you get it all in a single download.

You can switch between ID's by tapping the ID button shown on the home screen or in the applications menu. All of your apps are available, no matter which ID you are using.

Tap Install to complete installation and switch to the Sprint ID pack. 

That's just like we've seen in previous Sprint phones with Sprint ID. Only, none of it's to be found in the Sprint HTC One.

I'm not sure if this will be in the final, shipping ROM, or if it's just pre-release noise. It seems too purposed, yet worded oddly. We're still waiting to hear back from Sprint on that. (If it's the latter, this little section will be stricken, with a note explaining so.)

HTC One software - the bottom line

BlinkFeed is fine. I don't use it, but it's not in the way. Sense 5 is fine -- definitely digging the new font -- but it still gets in the way at times. I want my app drawer to scroll. Not scroll-stop, scroll-stop. I've been using Action Launcher on the HTC One and am plenty happy with it.

I've found that I'm not using Google Now as much as I do on, say, the Nexus 4. That's a direct result of the location of the home button. Also, HTC, I beg you. Quick settings. Suck it up and get with Google's program here.

The HTC One Ultrapixel camera, Zoes and Video Highlights


Depending on which review you've read so far -- or, worse, which sound bite -- the HTC One's camera is either the greatest thing since sliced bread, or not getting anywhere near all the hype. I haven't been able to nail myself down on one side or the other. Instead, when someone asks, I simply tell them "Not once have I thought I needed to carry another phone with a different camera alongside the HTC One."

I have pictures that are great. I have pictures that are not so great. The good ones tend to look pretty darn good, and the bad ones tend to be crap that I'll not be showing anyone anyway, same as with any other phone. A lot of that has to do with me as a photographer.

The 4-megapixel resolution -- the HTC One shoots at 2688 by 1520 -- hasn't really bothered me. Most of what I do is online anyway, and there have been a couple instances in which I've used pictures from the HTC One as hero shots here on the site. (This one was a still shot taken from video, actually.)

My biggest complaint, I think, has to do with the dynamic range. When you've got something light (or bright) next to something dark, the whites tend to be blown out. And seeing as how I'm a pretty casual shooter, I'm not going to spend time messing around in the settings to try to get the perfect shot.


I am, however, absolutely in love with Video Highlights. I travel a lot. I have cute kids. I have a beautiful wife. So a lot of what I share gets sent to close friends and family. And for that, a 30-second Video Highlight is awesome. I'd like to see more options for background music -- the included six start to get old fairly quickly, and I've been avoiding the overly Parisian "Eifel." But at the same time, I'm not sure being able to upload your own music is the right answer, either. You quickly find personality in HTC's background music. It's got a life of its own, and at the same time it's new, so you're not going to relate your pictures to something else while you're watching the highlights.

Zoes -- those 3-second video pictures (or clips, if you must) are a big part of all this. I've found that if you don't have enough Zoes in a given event, the algorithm that puts the highlights together will start repeating a still image too often.

Shooting Zoes instead of still pictures does a couple things:

  • It creates about 20 still images in the process. Take a second and look though those, and there's a chance there's a better one than in that group than if you shot just a single still picture.
  • You get better, more entertaining Video Highlights.

For as simple as highlights are -- start shooting and the HTC One starts making highlights -- they require far too much explanation. Same for Zoes. It's a confusing naming convention. Moreover, they're buried within the gallery and camera applications. The philosophy behind the HTC One home screen experience is that most people don't really customize their home screens. Why, then, is one of the more important features of the phone not presented there? Highlights are also a bit more difficult to manipulate than I'd like, and you often end up copying images to new folders on the phone. That takes time, and it takes space. Not being a coder, I don't have a better suggestion -- but I do know that I don't want the same Zoe with its video and 20 images in more than one place, if I can avoid it.

I've previously mentioned automatic upload services like Dropbox and Google+, but it's worth repeating again: Turn them off if you're taking Zoes with the HTC One. Those 20 jpeg stills and one mp4 video will muck 'em up right quick. That's especially true for Google+, which is more of a pain to comb through.

By the way, I've not been using HTC's "Zoe Share" service. It's not that it's bad, it's that I can't, on principle, share things that have a known shelf life. YouTube and Google+ and Facebook and Instagram probably aren't going anywhere anytime soon. But Zoe Share links die after 180 days. Here's an example. It's nice. But view it while you can.

For more on the HTC One camera, we recommend:

A few sample shots from the Sprint HTC One

Really, no difference (so far as I can tell) than with the other HTC One I've been using. The camera application has a slightly higher version number, but I've got no idea if anything big has changed.

Images open in full resolution in a new window:

HTC One panorama



Video is pretty darn good, too, enough so that we've done a few pieces (here's one, here's another) using the HTC One to shoot the video. And here are Alex's official review samples.

There's been a lot of talk about how well the microphones perform with a lot of background noise. So in San Francisco recently, I hopped up to a rooftop deck in SOMA and gave them a real test.

You might want to turn down your speakers.

A few other odds and ends​​

  • Not getting enough attention is HTC's setup process. It's gotten better with each iteration, and that continues with Sense 5. In fact, I backed up the Euro HTC One using HTC's backup tool (it syncs through Dropbox, so you've got your data), and reloaded my apps and most settings onto the Sprint HTC One. App data doesn't transfer, though, so you'll have to log back in.
  • Also deserving more praise is HTC's inclusion of "Kid mode." HTC bought Zoodles in late 2011, and it's a great feature to keep kids from getting into things they shouldn't be. 
  • HTC's stock keyboard is OK, but you can download better. 
  • I had nary a problem with calls on Sprint's network, but then again I didn't too many. No simultaneous voice and data on 3G, of course.
  • GPS and Bluetooth behaved just as they have on other HTC Ones. No worries there on my end.

Update: Oh, right, it's a remote control, too!

This honestly did start out as a "casual" review, less formal than I might otherwise write. Some 4,000 published words later and I realize I forgot about the infrared remote control. Yeah, there's an IR port in the power button. I've already written about watching TV with your HTC One, but it's worth another mention here. It's not going to replace your remote control, but then again it's not supposed to. It's a fun little gadget that's worth a look.

More HTC One and Sense 5 features

We've been breaking down the major features of the HTC One and Sense 5 over the past several weeks. Here's a great place to start:

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The bottom line

This review's been more of my thoughts on the HTC One in general than with Sprint and its version of the phone specifically, because there really isn't much of a difference of the phone. HTC's done well to get that deal done, with a single line of hardware and nearly identical software, at least as far as Sprint's concerned. Sprint also gets credit for that, as it's been paring down its footprint on phones in recent releases anyway. Sense 5 is plenty usable, though it still feels over-engineered a tad. BlinkFeed is a nice feature, but I don't use it.

I'd recommend the HTC One to anybody, particularly if you like to share photos and videos. As a parent, Video Highlights have been a great way to show off the kids to family and friends. The camera might not wipe the floor with competitors in every situation, but it's been a solid overall performer, and I've not once wished I had another phone with me. 

Battery life, in my daily use, has been pretty good. It's something I have to pay attention to a little more than usual while on the road, because you (obviously) can't swap out batteries, and the HTC One charges a little slower than you might be used to. For me, that's not a deal-breaker. It's just something to be aware of. (And if you're bouncing around on Sprint's network, it's something you'll be very aware of.)

The front-facing stereo speakers are excellent, especially if you're a podcast or talk radio listener. They won't replace a dedicated speaker set for music, but at the same time anyone nearby will do a double-take to see if that much sound is really coming from a phone.

Whereas I'd recommend the HTC One to anybody, I'd not recommend Sprint's network to someone who's not familiar with coverage in their area. If you're in a new, good LTE-laden location, more power to you. Purchase at will. But much of the country isn't. Sprint's still working on this, of course, with its Network Vision upgrades, but the clock's still ticking. And that's a shame, because Sprint still has some of the easiest and most economical plans available, and it's got competitive phones in its stable, including its HTC One.

For a deep-dive look at the HTC One, be sure to read Alex Dobie's review.


Reader comments

Sprint HTC One - the Android Central casual review


I've read a number of reviews of the HTC One, and Phil's has by far been the most negative. Not a good thing or a bad thing, but an observation nonetheless.

I've heard it in his comments on the podcast and notes in other posts, so I'm glad to see he's finally got it all out of his system :P

lol. What about the part where I said I'd recommend this phone to just about anybody? :)

I like the HTC One a lot. It's not perfect -- no phone is. But I definitely wouldn't say I'm "negative" toward it.

Not negative on its own per se, but I still think when compared to other reviews around the web it points out the highest number of not-necessarily-positive things (aka "most negative"!).

As far as I'm concerned more opinions and perspectives from people who know what they're talking about is a good thing. No complaints here!

Thanks Phil, but on the HTC One the Sprint one, what do you think of the camera and the screen dislpay! Is the phone takes good picture compare to the Iphone?

With 3 weeks remaining on a Sprint contract and battery drained from searching for (3G) tower, what's the moral of the story? Is the HTC One available without a 2-year contract on some other carrier? Can it be bought with a Straight Talk sim? Advice? Oh, I don't travel outside the USA.

"I had nary a problem with calls on Sprint's network, but then again I didn't too many. No simultaneous voice and data on 3G, of course."

Unfortunately there's no SVDO like there was in the EVO. Anyone considering switching carriers should spend some time with Sprint 3G and receiving calls, my experience has been terrible.

On the Evo LTE I can be on the phone and use data at the same time while on 3G OR on LTE. Why would they take a step backwards?

Been on Sprint for 12 years, NEVER had any problem receiving calls, ever, on any phone, in any area.... so I don't have any idea what you are talking about there.

Totally agree. The towers where I live had data upgrades while I was deployed. Came home and was amazed at how my data speeds almost doubled. I really like Phil's reviews, but personally I think reviews should avoid discussing carrier coverage when it is not a standard tangible metrix that a phone should be held accountable for. Kind of like doing a review on an Aston Martin and knocking it because you drove it on Michigan back-roads.

I think it's pretty accurate as Sprint's network SUCKS in MOST areas. Not all, and in some its great.

Nearly all I've been in (outside of major cities) the coverage is terribly slow, spotty, and drains the battery like it's going out of style.

Sprint's network in no way resembles a performance vehicle of any kind unless it's one that promises great performance but drives like a minivan.

Actually Sprint was the roadway and the phone was the car. Sprint works for me, but I would never consider it an autobahn :)

What Phil's talking about is with the HTC One we can't simultaneously receive data e.g. check and view email while talking on 3G (SVDO) like we can do with the HTC EVO LTE.

Another reason to not upgrade to the HTC One from the EVO LTE or switch to T-Mobile if T-Mo lights up LTE in my San Diego region ahead of Sprint because SVDO is available on T-Mo. Moreover, T-Mo is the only US carrier that you can receive and make regular (not IP like Skype or Google Voice) phone calls over your wifi connection transparently when cellular signal isn't available.

I presume simultaneously receiving email on wifi while talking on 3G will remain with Sprint. Still no SVDO on Sprint's new HTC One is a questionable step backward. I wonder why?

This might seem petty, but I have to know:

"... there's no real obvious way to tell if you're pulling it out of your pocket right-side up, or upside down."

Is this a legitimate (albeit "minor") gripe? I laughed out loud thinking it was a joke, but then it occurred to me that you might actually be serious. Do people really care (outside of how it goes in your pocket if you have headphones plugged in, which makes sense to me) if you might pull it out of your pocket and have to turn it around or flip it over?

Perhaps I'm having a particularly grumpy day, but... *really??*

Like I said, it's a small thing, and kind of a personal thing. But it's something that was noticeable to me. The HOX, I can feel right-side up in my pocket. Same for the N4. And a number of other phones.

If not knowing which way the phone's pointing when it comes out of your pocket doesn't bother you, great! You're less anal than I, apparently. :)

Ha, perhaps. It was just something I'd never heard anyone mention as an issue before... but from personal experience, with my S3, I usually always put it in my pocket the same way, which keeps me from being confused as to which way it might be facing when I pull it out. Less to do with the phone and its feel, but more of personal habit.

I realize it's a nitpick with the article, but the mention just seemed so bizarre to me. Thanks for the reply.

Completely understand. This is a different approach for me. I've used this phone nonstop for a month. But we don't need a second deep-dive review like what Alex did. So I took a more casual approach.

Hell, folks usually think I skip over negative stuff. :p

actually, my dad's the same way with his note II, he bitched about it constantly. i had to get him the flip cover so he knew which was was up anytime he picked it up in a not-brightly-lit location.

7 gig of memory already used up for the OS and preloaded apps! Doesn't that seem like a lot of memory already being used up?

I would do it as a second phone, but never as a replacement. The OEM phones aren't good enough to trump being free of OEM and Carrier update delays and overlays yet.

Phil, have you had a chance to use any of the more advanced features in the picture app such as smile correction or that thing where you make a composite shot of a some movement from a video (sorry I don't remember what HTC called that feature)?

An HTC rep showed me those photo editing features when I went to see the phone at a pop up store recently and they kind of blew my mind a little, but of course that was an ideal situation with very specifically selected pictures. I just wanted to know what the layman (non HTC representative) thinks of using these types of more "advanced" features for editing pictures right from their phone (ease of use, learning curve, success of use, ect...)

I bought an HTC Evo 4g years ago with the promise of having the 1st ever 4g phone. They've been charging me $10 a month since then for the 4G service that I have never had. When I first bought it, there was an extremely weak WiMax signal I could occasionally catch driving around by the local mall but that quickly disappeared and I have since been told on numerous occcasions that the network is under construction. Enough is enough. Eau Claire, WI gets LTE before Milwaukee, Madison, LaCrosse, Beloit, Green Bay, etc? They don't care about anything as long as they get their money. If you don't live in a major metropolitan area (and I mean MAJOR, like 1 million+) the chances of you seeing LTE any time soon are as good as the guy in the town with 25,000 people and you might never see it. But they have no problem taking $240 from you over the course of your contract that is specifically earmarked for LTE service. And if their LTE coverage is going to be anything like their 3G coverage, I'll go ahead and pass.

After 13 years as a Sprint customer, I too am getting extremely exasperated with the deterioration of Sprint's signal strength and retention. Yet I am equally frustrated with dolts who fail to recognize the $10 for premium data is for smartphones over feature phones because smartphone users consume greater amounts of data.

Nowhere does Sprint indicated the $10 charge is specifically earmarked for 4G (Wimax or LTE). This comprehension error has been repeatedly pointed out for years by fellow blogger follow ups.

Michael Perna. Prove to us you do not have severe comprehension issues.

when sprint first came out with the 4g coverage they did say that due to the evo 4g you would have to pay an extra 10.00. Later on they changed it to premium data, because people called and complained about not getting 4g. I was one of the callers that had that issue at first.

Perna is pretty clueless

1) The $10 charge is not a 4G charge. It is a smartphone charge and has been since the start.
2) Sprint's 3G coverage is about the same as Verizon.
3) LTE is in MANY areas now that are low and high population
4) WiMax is not the same as LTE and they can't be compared.

You are wrong. The $10 charge was only charged on 4G phones for almost a year. Clear wire was charging Sprint per phone, and Sprint passed it on to customers. They only started charging all smartphone users when an uproar broke out about stalled wimax rollout. Sprint's 3G is only about the same as Verizon's because Verizon has 90+% of their network 4G now. But, the 3G still remains. You are crazy to compare Sprint to Verizon.

~Former Sprint employee

time242< I had VZW, their service it`s the same of Sprint in my area,T-Mobile guys they used to make jokes on us. I did drop VZW and kept Sprint,Which I save $50. a month. Plus most my time inside working. So, I use Wi-Fi most the time.

As you`re former Sprint employee! And I`m a former truck driver for 20 years and I`m a Sprint customer for 11 years. I have question to you and the other! Do you know what makes Sprint network Superior above the other network? I bet you, you have no idea. I had AT&T, T-Mobile and VZW before Sprint, after I did try Sprint I`ll never go back to any of the other three carrier. The reason is, Sprint it has the only network let you text and use the web when you have no voice connection.
SO MR. former employee better go back and check your information again about Sprint network,it may be slower than VZW and AT&T.But offer you more.


Sprint never NEVER defined their $10.00 charge as a 4G charge.

This charge applied to all smartphones coincident with release of the original HTC EVO.

You may be indicative of carriers' transient store associates. Mr former Sprint employee. Prove me wrong.

I just had a Sprint store manager tell me yesterday the original HTC EVO could not be reprovisioned to work on Boost, Virgin, or Cricket. Never rely on these people's knowledge. For many it's just another shitty job.

Same only worse with the blue shirts at Best Buy. For most, they are not invested in nor paid enough to care to become knowledgeable.

Of course many people in these forums are aware of this fact.

You are wrong jumbo. The EVO was the first phone they charged the $10 fee for. The second was the Epic 4G. The charge was not charged to Hero or Moment users. It was only on the 4G phones for almost a year. You are right about one thing, they never defined it as a 4G charge. They denied it. But later it came out that Clearwire was charging them per phone for the wimax radio, even if the user had no wimax coverage. It was originally unofficially a 4G was only on the 2 4G phones available. I was a Sprint customer for 7 years, and an employee for 3. I know what went on.


If anyone else remembers this is exactly how it went down. I had a palm pre and I never was charged 10 dollars extra and that was a smartphone that pulled lots of data.

To those saying the now 10 dollar smart phone charge has allways been that, you are completely wrong. It was not in the documentation wording or what was explained to employees and customers like that.

tim 242, Old Hatch, and Michael Penna

Following is how Sprint has always and still defines the $10 charge: "Price includes $10/mo./line Premium Data add-on charge. No discounts apply to this portion of the plan."

You can come up with all the reasons or excuses you wish to blather on about yet the fact is Sprint has always stated: "Price includes $10/mo./line Premium Data add-on charge. No discounts apply to this portion of the plan."

As such Sprint owes you no obligation for 4G as a result of the $10 premium DATA add on charge. Albeit some infantile entitled know it alls who insist they've been getting screwed for over three years and still renew their contracts.

Sprint started the $10/mo./line premium DATA add-on charge with the release of the original HTC EVO. The Palm Pre was released nearly a year earlier.

You just proved my point. The premium data was only on 4G phones. Therefore even if you had a 4G phone that "required" this premium data and were not receiving it you still had to shell out the extra 10 dollars. There were plenty of smartphones out at the same time but for the first year only wimax capable phones were charged this extra 10 dollars. All three of them. The Pre was out 2 years before the EVO by the way.

Sprint later changed their story on this because of all the backlash.

I love how you immediately jump to insulting people's intelligence when you make an argument. It says a lot more about the substance of your argument than mine. What I will tell you is that this charge was explained to me by multiple associates at both Best Buy and the Sprint stores (but I suppose you would know better than them) as a fee to cover the costs of existing 4G (not LTE which I understand as quite different but was marketed as 4G nonetheless) and the expansion of said service. They are late to the LTE game and that's a fact. There was a weak WiMax signal in my area for a brief time and then it was inexplicably gone (I'm guessing to upgrade the tower) but my fee stayed and they even decided to start charging everyone an extra $10. No letter to explain my change in service and no promise of improvements. Furthermore, their 3G service is spotty and I travel enough to be able to say that with confidence. Idc if it's the same as Verizon bc it still sucks. That does not impress me. US Cellular has rolled out LTE across the midwest and offers competitive plans as well so why as a consumer would I tolerate this BS and sign another 2 yr contract so I can sit with my fingers crossed hoping at some point I might get some spotty LTE coverage? Thanks but no thanks. I look forward to you condescending response.

I agree that Sprint's reception has been deteriorating over the past 12 months or so in Southern California and elsewhere according to bloggers. After 13 years I may switch to T-Mobile who used to have the worst coverage in San Diego but has now vastly improved. Whoever lights up LTE first in San Diego between T-Mobile and Sprint will get my business. I'm hoping T-Mobile no contract yet according to Spotify crowd sourcing coverage maps it may be Sprint.

Yet the fact remains, despite what you and your less than knowledgeable blue shirt friends think, Sprint never stated the $10 premium data charge was for 4G. DO YOU UNDERSTAND the words coming out of my mouth?

Perhaps the $10 premium data charge was to pay the stockholder dividends or the corporate jets, whatever the rumor may be. That's what the corporate executives at Sprint who I know tell me. So what?!?

Once again, bro, I was told this by people at best buy AND SPRINT! (DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE WORDS I AM TYPING?!?!) This is what I was told on multiple occasions by multiple associates at multiple SPRINT STORE (ONCE AGAIN SPRINT STORE)locations. I know for a fact that I was told the fee was new and for 4G (WiMax) customers because of the extra benefits (that I never saw) and the fact that they still continue to give me the run around about when I can expect 4G only further irritates me. "So what?!?" is so I'd rather go with US Cellular a more moderately sized company that has the best reputation for customer service and seems a hell of a lot more focused on the consumer than Sprint. That is my opinion and right as a consumer, as is my sharing it with the readers of this page. Your constant attempts at insulting people's intelligence doesn't help your argument and kind of makes me feel bad for you. I wasn't trying to insult you but that seems to be all you know how to do. You should try not to get so worked up. Maybe a hobby would help.

Despite the theoretical misrepresentations made by rogue undisciplined ex-employees, Sprint's premium data fee has been applied to all smartphones since Feb 1, 2011  Three G only smartphones on the account prior to that date were grandfathered.  If you change the device or the plan  the fee was added on.  It is charged to the Apple 4 and 4S and those are 3G only devices.

I'm in the mall in Mankato, MN which is supposed to just have LTE turned on. I just did a SPEEDTEST on my OG EVO. I'm getting 250 to 500 ms pings, 250 to 350 kbps downloads, and 16 to 28 kbps uploads. I updated my Profile and didn't help. That's pretty pathetic. I thought that 3G speeds would go up when the Network Vision stuff was completed. It looks like 3G speeds are worse!

Sprint "officially" never stated that the fee was for 4G. People in sprint stores and BB give out wrong info all the time. But at first, only 4G capable phones had the charge as a premium data charge. My sister didn't get the Evo when she first switched to sprint and got a Blackberry because she didn't see the point in paying for a service she couldn't use. She wasn't charged the $10 fee till her husband joined her plan and she got an Epic and he took the Blackberry. The fee was still only on her phone. Then they amended the policy after a while (that coincidentally happened to be around when they were hemorrhaging customers possibly due to the crappy 3G service and sloppy WiMax roll-out but who knows) to include all smartphones. I'm hoping they do something stupid so I can get my ETF waived on my second line and switch to TMo, they have pretty good coverage in my area and these new no contract plans would work out well for me. I'd be saving about $60/mnth for unlimited everything but tethering.

You are wrong ! No, I am wrong. No it is not fair that Phil expresses the truth about Sprint's service which used to be "good" but has gone severely down hill in the past 16 months. How Phil describes the HTC One and it's good points and bad, he is absolutely correct.

Since they seemingly do not listen to or care about their long-time customers, maybe, just maybe they will see this review and actually do something. One can hope but I gave up and went prepay and could not be happier paying $46.00/month on HSPA+, even if I am limited now with net10 in terms of data.

I was a Sprint customer since 1997 and used to use the ole (Sprint is cheaper and quasi-unlimited) excuse. I am cancelling 4 phones tomorrow as Sprint does not realize that their network , like others have said, is still, still, still under construction and slower than a 56k modem.

I tried and tried to get them to help me and understand how they DID INDEED only charge the Premium Data fee for the first 6 months that WiMax was ON, to people who actually had WiMax phones. While i agree that it was a scam to pay for, like I said, the reason I am leaving Sprint is because they do not care. Prepay is the way to go now, as the big 4 all suck at some level and therefore offer no advantage to a prepay GSM phone. No reason for a contact, period. Americans need to learn that subsidized, branded phones need to go bye bye.

Quit whining. This dead horse has rotted away, and the bones have broken down and have returned to the soil.

If you don't like paying less for Sprint than AT&T and Verizon, you're free to go bitch about them. They won't charge you $10 for a smartphone... but you'll still come out behind on the price.

So is this the first Sprint LTE phone with removable SIM card? I was a bit bummed that my Sprint Galaxy Note 2 has an embedded (non-removable) SIM card. Perhaps Sprint will let go of that "feature" in other future phones?

In some parts of San Francisco I am getting 14 down, LTE is not official in San Francisco either. What a lot of folks do not realize or forget, Sprint chose to go with a ground up build, that is why it's taking longer to build out. At&t and Verizon used existing technology to build their LTE network. In the long run Sprint's LTE will be more reliable and cheaper to maintain, hence the unlimited data and cheaper prices as oppose to At&t and Verizon.

The wife & I travel all lower 48 states regularly, she consumes 20+gb on her note 2, I go through around 7gb on my BB all oon the Sprint network, been using them for around 10 years with no problems, unlimited data being my favorite no problem. I don't get all the Sprint bashing. I have friends who travel as much as we do that have VZ & ATT & about the only differences we notice are they're data caps

Im new here, dont know who you are but I do question your age. So what part of what I said am I full of that about? The 20gb my wife uses? that number is being conservative, its usually closer to 24. I did forget to mention the horrible sound quality my ATT friends have & VZ does have very slightly better national coverage. Also something I cant get my head around is why do people with 5gb caps worry about speed? maybe they want to reach that cap faster?
quick question for someone more sensible.... are replies like this one from tim242 common here?

The fact that you say Verizon only has slightly better national coverage, shows that you are clueless. If you think Sprint's network speeds are good, you live under a rock.

Or he lives where the coverage works for him. A lot of individualized factors should be considered when choosing a carrier. Popularity and cool comercials shouldn't be any of them. When it comes to 3G, CDMA network coverage seems the same nationwide regardless of carrier. Where my calls on Sprint are horrible, my friends with Verizon calls' are horrible too.

They might not be good where you are, but I daily pull down 10+ Gbps. Most times it is 15 or above. I know their 3g is still horrible in some spots as it was here only 6 months ago, but since their network changes I have not experienced any issues. Since I stay mainly around my local area for business this unlimited service works for me. I don't need their data caps at this point.

Phil, so there's no simultaneous voice and data like on the EVO LTE?

The ONE seems like the "ONE" I personally need to avoid. Upgrade from EVO LTE it definitely is not. Seems more like a lateral move if any. Some pluses, some minuses but not upgrade.

Nice review Phil, thanks! Much more of a condemnation of Sprint than any problem with the HTC One hardware which I appreciate since I'm stuck on Verizon for a while and praying they get this phone. I was actually considering switching carriers but I have zero love for ATT. This review takes Sprint out of the mix for sure.

Am very curious...does the sprint version have a sim card tray? If it does, have you tried using it with an AT&T sim card? Am saying this because phones are now shipping with multiband interoperability (like the 8X on Verizon)

My thoughts exactly, this is of interest to me along with whether AT&T lte would work. From what I read it sounds like all the hardware radios are the same in all devices.

maekbo2000...radios are not the same. Radios are different among ATT, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon.

Currently antenna differences for each carrier's radio frequencies make production of an all in one device problematic otherwise the oem's would prefer to manufacture a single device.

Yes, radios and antennas are different. But am hoping that HTC got lazy and decided to skip designing a whole new antennae system for one carrier and slightly modified it.
Plus the s600 chip supports several bands.
@Phil, please do try, aint no harm in trying

Like any LTE-enabled handset right now, there is still no way to deliver a single SKU with support for all of the bands that are required, even with active tuning, just due to what transceivers we have. As a result there are a number of different announced variants of the One.

Based on Brian Klug's extensive and thorough review (link above).

Nice review. But I have trouble believing Sprint would allow a step back on the simultaneous voice and data on 3G. Both my Evo LTE and my daughter's S3 allow simultaneous voice and data on Sprint 3G. Maybe you were just in a poor service area? Which admittedly is a lot of areas on Sprint.

grayin... Unfortunately it's not a case of service area. The EVO LTE has SVDO and the new HTC One does not. I don't know the reason but it relates to Sprint as it is my understanding SVDO is available on T-Mo's HTC One.

Sprint may have a technical issue with its various 3G bands (frequencies) radios yet not sure about the reason.

Well that is kind of a bummer since I probably won't see 4g LTE in my area for a while. Guess I am sticking with what I have. I found another site that says it might be a limitation of the chipset in the One. Oh well. Thanks Jimbo (and Phil for a good review).

Obviously everyone tends to go with a carrier that fits their budget and has decent service in the area in which you live, but is there any consensus on what is the best option for high end Android device (i.e. One, S4, the next Nexus) use and heavy domestic and occasional business travel?
I love my EVO 4G LTE (love simultaneous voice/data) and tend to have little issues all over the country using Sprint on 3G (I rarely bother with LTE since the coverage tends to go in/out at airports and in cities) and WiFi is so prevalent at home/office/hotels/airports/etc. I also like that Sprint carries great high end Androids and updates software pretty well. But the pain is switching to an old EVO Design 4G for trips to Europe since Sprint has such poor global phone selection on the high end Androids.
Switch carriers? To what? Cost isn't too big an issues since it's a business expense.
Is anything really that much better?

My EVO LTE was able to roam in London last year. Assuming this would too in some areas, but not fully GSM capable, if that's what you mean.

These questions may have been address or asked already. If so, sorry.

What will happen to the EVO branded devices? Has Sprint abandoned the EVO brand?

I am holding out for a 64GB version to come to Sprint. Will there be a 64GB HTC ONE on Sprint? Until then, I will keep my HTC EVO LTE.


After being tortured with the POS HTC Thunderbolt for nearly 2 years and its constant software issues, you couldn't get me to touch another HTC product if they packaged it with a lb. of rainbow sprinkles, fairy dust, and two unicorns. No matter how good it is now, their updates will break it and then they will tell you sorry, you can't roll back the updates. Then your left with a pos brick that isn't worth its weight in dirt that you can't even make a phone call with. You've been warned, that is all.

While the Thundercock was a turd, my EVO 4G LTE has gone through a few updates, and hasn't had much in the way of problems... Just sayin.

HTC Tuberculosis (thunderbolt TB, get it?) :-) Sucked so bad it was literally swapped out 8 times in that two year period and everyone one that I got back had the exact same problems as the one I sent in. Random reboots constantly, 3g 4g hand off issues, distorted sound, and every update they released broke it more and more. I don't know about other HTC products, and I never will, because that was the first and last phone I will ever own with their name on it.

I'm still using my original Thunderbolt that I got at launch and it's rock solid. Yes, it had some battery and reboot issues until the first couple of updates were released but it's been a great phone for me since then. That being said, I'll be very happy when my One arrives next week!

I'm not sure how, the last update released brought back all the old known issues. After I updated everything that I used to have problems with that were fixed came back. Hand Off issues started again (4G area is fine but if I went to 3G it would start rebooting) 10x's in under an hour once (both TB's were doing it too). Battery life was better but still poor with that update. Call quality was awful, people constantly saying they couldn't hear me or I sounded garbled (not a problem with new phone). Couldn't really use the phone for anything while in a car, always complaining the battery was overheated (new phone not an issue). I actually called VZW they swapped out the phone, called them again after getting new phone saying I was still having the same problems and they said, we know, everything I was listing was known problems, they actually sent me two different phones to replace the TB's. They tried to get me to resign a contract and do phone upgrade (since I was eligible) and I basically told them why in the F would I do that when I've been completely miserable with you and this crap phone you sold me for the last two years and no one seems to give a rats behind or bothered to fix it in two years, and that I wouldn't take that kind of a chance on them again. Then they sent me two Razr M's which I'm so far happy with.

My best friend's brother makes $75 every hour on working on his laptop from home. He has been without a job for 7 months but last month his paycheck with big fat bonus was over $19000 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Go to this web site where you can read more

Did you purposefully label a section "Speeds and Feeds" as an allusion to the fact that the phone was machined? If so bravo sir.

I'm not sure why you feel as though the Home button's location is an inconvenience. Having used the Galaxy S4 for some time before switching to the HTC One, I found the home button being in the middle to be a nuisance. Especially while holding the phone with one hand (god forbid, my left one at that). Having the home button on the far right, as a right-handed guy, makes it much simpler to reach. I could see it being a problem for any lefty, though, as if it were on the left side of the screen... I'd be very irritated. That is the only point I could see where it could be argued better in the middle. Otherwise, I like it where it is.

Overall, I love this phone. I sold my iPhone 5, picked up the Galaxy S4 and came to realize in less than 2 weeks that most of the 'features' advertised on TV did not work. The one's that did, either only worked properly and in one try (meaning not a freaking dozen hand motions or eye motions to get it done!) should the phone be under OPTIMAL lighting and/or on a perfectly leveled surface. And I was going to throw that phone if the Air View (to display relevant and important information without touching it) made me reach towards the device more than once again. Ugh... the only thing it truly had going for it was that beautiful OLED screen by Samsung. The plastic design felt weak in the palm of my hand coming from the iPhone 5. And that S-View case was a wack... I had to set my texts to display/sample several lines of texts to get it to show in the S-View mode, and then randomly it would just not work and I'd have to turn off the sample/display text mode and turn it back on, or open and close the screen as well as turn the screen back off and on. Oh, and the damn thing will NOT stay shut, no matter how many times I left the phone face down over night, took the case off and put a very tight rubber band around it to try and "crease" the binding so it wouldn't flap. No luck. And the texture on the front felt cheap. For $60, hideous case.

My buddy at the local VZW store (I know, I was inside the return policy anyway) let me return the Galaxy S4 and the S-View case for a full refund, and then pick up the HTC One instead. Oh, and they price matched Verizon's $50 32GB Blue version, too! They may be running that by now at VZW, but when I was there they had to price match it. So I feel as though I got a far superior phone for $200 less. I believe I will stay off the iPhone bandwagon from here on out because of this phone. iOS 7 really let me down. I look forward to many more HTC devices in the future.