• HTC announces their 2013 Flagship: HTC One


    HTC just announced their HTC One.

    Hardware-wise it has a 4.7" 1920x1080 display with a mind blowing 468 PPI pixel density. 1.7Ghz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor with 2GB of RAM, 32 or 64GB of RAM and a 2300mAh battery. It will be running Android Jellybean.

    It will be coming to TELUS, Bell, Rogers, Virgin Mobile Canada, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Cincinnati Bell and Best Buy (in the US). North American availability is 'late March'. Both black and silver will be available in North America each with either 32GB of 64GB of storage. Exact configuration is up to the carrier.

    It's wrapped in a beautiful aluminum unibody. The only fly in the ointment is the 2300mAh battery. What was HTC thinking? Unless the One is able to capture screen presses and turn them into energy 2300mAh will probably lag behind what everyone else is shipping. The trend is moving towards 3000ish mAh which for some people, means full day usage. 2300mAh will get you close but probably won't last the day.

    HTC is trying to differentiate their product but emphasized 3 aspects of the One: HTC BlinkFeed, the Camera which has HTC Ultrapixel with HTC Zoe and the built-in speaker with HTC Boom Sound.

    HTC BlinkFeed displays sources from your favourite content on the home screen. This includes sources like Associated press, Al Jazeera, Facebook, etc. You can choose from over 1400 content providers.

    HTC Ultrapixel refers to the sensor. The sensor itself can capture 300% more light. It's able to do this because it has a larger pixels. According to HTC, many 8MP cameras contain 1.4x1.4um pixels. the One's sensor has 2x2um pixels. That means each pixel on the One's sensor is 2x the size of a standard 8MP sensor. The sensor itself is 1/3" in size.

    Bigger pixels can mean less noise plus more dynamic range. A greater DR can mean better light sensitivity. Of course, bigger pixels can also mean lower resolution. The One's sensor has an effective resolution of 4 megapixels.

    Now I think that Megapixels are one of the most misleading ways to measure image quality. My observation is that the public as a whole seems to realize this too now since the number of megapixels hasn't been changing much in recent years. Still, you get some who wonder why their point and shoot takes inferior pictures to a SLR because the P&S has more megapixels.

    While 4 megapixels is probably sufficient most of the time, it will allow less flexibility if you need to crop. Since there's no zoom lens and you can't always get closer this is one of the downsides.

    Like last year's One series the One comes with a f/2.0 lens.

    When you snap a picture the One X takes 20 pictures plus a 3 second video clip.

    There's a 8 frame per second burst mode. While 8 fps is plenty, part of me is a little disappointed it's not higher since the processor only has to chew on 4mp images. When you do the math, that's 32mp of imaging data per second. Last year's One X did 8MP at 5fps; that's 40mp of data. Still, it's a very minor complaint.

    There's also optical image stabilization. This should be a huge advantage for video and also low-light photography and in my opinion is one of the best things about the camera.

    Speaking of video, there's also video HDR feature which increases the dynamic range of video from ~54db to ~84db. This means better low light video. My only complaint is that the video HDR records 1080p at an oddball 28 frames per second. This might be hard to edit initially.

    Lastly, HTC BoomSound addresses one of my biggest complaints about HTC phones with beats logos on them. When I see the beats logo I figure they'll be loud. While HTC has addressed the loudness of the headphone amp with their second crop of 2012 phones they still came with anaemic speakers that you can't hear in public. Now BoomSound means that there are dual, stereo speakers in front with a more powerful amplifier. I wasn't able to attend the event due to health problems so I'll have to try this feature out later.

    Another feature is that there is a built-in infrared port for remote control. While most smartphones are able to control recent TV's and other devices via Wi-Fi, typically they're not able to turn them on which limits their usefulness. With an infrared port you should be able to control everything just like you do with a regular remote. Neat.

    From a marketing perspective, I wonder whether too much stuff has too many names. I mean you need some marketing names that don't really mean anything - retina, touchwiz, etc but the One has HTC Zoe, HTC UltraPixel Camera, HTC BoomSound, HTC BlinkFeed, Sense Voice, HTC Sense and Beats. There might be too many names here to connect with consumers.

    Part of me also wishes HTC would ditch the One name. While I'm really glad they've moved away from giving their phones real names (Raider, Amaze, Legend, etc) Simply calling their phones 'One' makes it harder for them to describe the positioning of their phones. Is the One X better than the One V? What about the S?

    The 4 megapixel camera seems like a great idea. Megapixels mean almost nothing after all. Still, it's a risky move. There's a reason why everyone else is using more megapixels. But is it the right time now?

    All, in all, the HTC One looks like a really strong entry. In typical HTC fashion, they screwed up one feature. Last year it was the One X's 16GB of storage. This time around will it be the 2300mAh? Still, Infrared and a more usable camera are pretty enticing upgrades. I'm also glad that while HTC includes Sense, they're introducing other new features.

    Will it connect with consumers? Certainly, HTC has done a top-notch job.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: HTC announces their 2013 Flagship: HTC One started by howard View original post
    Comments 14 Comments
    1. seekr's Avatar
      seekr -
      Sounds like you're suggesting HTC scrap the entire line-up. Focus on 3 to 4 great offerings and stick it through to develop their branding problems. Other than that, I'm excited for HTC to bring some top-grade offering in design and hardware. The Sense UI looks like they really thought out some things that even make Stock Android JB seem dated by comparison. I like their mix of what I'll describe as a "MetroUI" influence, and the attention to details, makes this phone look familiar, but obviously differentiated.
    1. WorldIRC's Avatar
      WorldIRC -
      Uber excited for this!
    1. Groot's Avatar
      Groot -
      Reading the specs......

      It seems underwhelming.
      Where is the next knock them dead feature.

      They this new Social Media thing !!!!
      Did they not read how many people hated MOTOblur

      The battery is only 2300 mah, when is Battery life going into the design of next generation smartphones. This will be yet another device that will not make it through a day
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by tendenzi View Post
      Sounds like you're suggesting HTC scrap the entire line-up. Focus on 3 to 4 great offerings and stick it through to develop their branding problems. Other than that, I'm excited for HTC to bring some top-grade offering in design and hardware. The Sense UI looks like they really thought out some things that even make Stock Android JB seem dated by comparison. I like their mix of what I'll describe as a "MetroUI" influence, and the attention to details, makes this phone look familiar, but obviously differentiated.
      No, they can keep the line up (low, mid, upper mid, lower high, high). Just come up with a naming system that gives non-phone-nerds an idea of what they're buying.

      Looking at the car industry, more affordable cars usually have names; sonata, accord, camry, whatever. More expensive ones have alpha numeric names. BMW 5 series, 7 series, etc.

      One of the biggest obstacles to Android UI is that there is no standard Android UI - well I guess Nexus devices have the standard UI but no one really uses it. So it's hard to design something that will look really beautiful and fit in well with the rest of the designs look and feel. Now that Android OEMs are figuring out how to make overlays that actually add value there's no point to them to use a standard UI unless they're designing a niche device.
    1. seekr's Avatar
      seekr -
      LOL okay thanks Howard for the clarification I guess if that were the Z10, and Sense UI was BB10, my comments... would have been the opposite of my current dissatisfaction for BB.

      i also think the challenge HTC faces is that it's just another Android, of which the Galaxy brand has the consumer mind set if their marketing attacks Samsung, it'd have a better chance than battling apple
    1. tokyo_dom's Avatar
      tokyo_dom -
      I know all of the tech specs had already been leaked before the announcement, but i was hoping for HTC to surprise us with something spectacular.

      Can someone explain to me how this is so vastly superior to the One X+?
      1.7ghz quad core - same
      4.7" screen (now full HD, but will we be able to notice?)
      Slightly bigger battery
      Lower MP/higher tech camera

      I really love the look and feel of HTC handsets, much more than the blob-like plasticky Samsung devices, but i just *know* Samsung will announce another monster of a device in March that will outshine the HTC in just about every way. And for the next year or so all of the Galaxy fanboys (they are as bad as Apple fanboys recently), will keep saying "why did you get an old-tech HTC, why didnt you get the best phone on the market?"
    1. Cheapfone's Avatar
      Cheapfone -
      I'm not sure what more your looking for the series 600 snapdragon is the latest and greatest silicon they can use. Which is significantly better than the tegra 3. Being clocked at the same speed is about all they have in common so you can hardly say the same. If the camera is better who cares what the pixel count is. This is just my opinion but I don't see the S3 as being any better than the one-x or vice versa. Each one has things that are better than the other in different areas compared to the other though Samsung has always lacked with the premium build feel. When the S4 comes out it will be on the same level as the HTC ONE. They both will have great screens, cpu's, gpu's and cameras. What more can we ask for? Yes a removable battery or sd card would be nice but if that's what you use as your deciding factor as to buying a smart phone apparently the rest of the hardware etc. matters not anyhow. (Figured I put the last bit in there before I got trolled about the sd card and battery.)
    1. motivotto's Avatar
      motivotto -
      Quote Originally Posted by tokyo_dom View Post
      I really love the look and feel of HTC handsets, much more than the blob-like plasticky Samsung devices, but i just *know* Samsung will announce another monster of a device in March that will outshine the HTC in just about every way. And for the next year or so all of the Galaxy fanboys (they are as bad as Apple fanboys recently), will keep saying "why did you get an old-tech HTC, why didnt you get the best phone on the market?"

      Galaxy fanboys are the worst in terms of being hypocrites... "look at us, we're not sheep, we're all the same!" LOL.

      I don't get it, if you like HTC and I'll agree with you even that they're better built and designed then Samsung, who cares what Samsung comes out with or there fanboys spew out. It's a new device from HTC, and you know there isn't one Samsung device on the market with as much thought and design put into any of there products.
    1. NGeorge's Avatar
      NGeorge -
      Quote Originally Posted by mottivi View Post
      Galaxy fanboys are the worst in terms of being hypocrites... "look at us, we're not sheep, we're all the same!" LOL.

      I don't get it, if you like HTC and I'll agree with you even that they're better built and designed then Samsung, who cares what Samsung comes out with or there fanboys spew out. It's a new device from HTC, and you know there isn't one Samsung device on the market with as much thought and design put into any of there products.
      I've been slobbering over the Sony TL over on AT&T... great Sprint will be getting this--this looks like a great phone, although I'm not a fan of Sense.

      --Nat
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by tokyo_dom View Post
      I know all of the tech specs had already been leaked before the announcement, but i was hoping for HTC to surprise us with something spectacular.

      Can someone explain to me how this is so vastly superior to the One X+?
      1.7ghz quad core - same
      4.7" screen (now full HD, but will we be able to notice?)
      Slightly bigger battery
      Lower MP/higher tech camera

      I really love the look and feel of HTC handsets, much more than the blob-like plasticky Samsung devices, but i just *know* Samsung will announce another monster of a device in March that will outshine the HTC in just about every way. And for the next year or so all of the Galaxy fanboys (they are as bad as Apple fanboys recently), will keep saying "why did you get an old-tech HTC, why didnt you get the best phone on the market?"
      The One's 1.7ghz quad core has a different architecture compared to the One X+. I'm not sure whether you'd notice any difference in performance in day-to-day usage but in benchmarks there will probably be a big difference.

      The 4.7" screen IS 1080p but I agree, the difference probably won't be noticeable unless you have them side-by-side.

      Should be interesting to see if 4mp is enough for a camera phone. We're trading resolution for more dynamic range. Should make it a more versatile camera. What really excites me about the camera is that it has optical image stabilization - that will make video look waaaay better.

      The One does have a nice metal body. The One X+ body has a nice paint job but it doesn't feel terribly special.
    1. tokyo_dom's Avatar
      tokyo_dom -
      Dont get me wrong, this phone is still at the top of my list of phones to get (still want to hear who will release it in Japan, and if they will release it with Japan-centric features like water resistance). Was just hoping for something to go WOW! over (design wise it hits the spot!)

      As for the tegra vs qualcomm - i didnt realise it was a different model, i stand corrected.

      And i am excited to see what the camera tech can do. I have had an 8mp shooter on my phone since Feb 2011, but mostly drop it down to 5mp for speed. I Have no issues with it being 4mp if it gives great dynamic range/low light capabilities

      May not be the right place to ask this but can someone answer me this: I have at times had my phone (Sharp 005Sh android 2.3.4) freeze so hard that the only solution is a quick removal of the battery (happens often when loading maps). On a non-removable battery phone, would this be effectively 'bricked'?
    1. CGY Guy's Avatar
      CGY Guy -
      No, you should be able to press the power button for 10 seconds or so, and it will reboot.
    1. CygnetInfo's Avatar
      CygnetInfo -
      I think HTC has announcement on this smart device its good and user friendly. This is the best smart phone in market with android jellybean and better battery life.
    1. Groot's Avatar
      Groot -
      I would say my Galaxy Note 2 meets most of these specs and has better battery life.

      (No a 5.5 inch screen is not too big)