Published on 02-19-2013 11:51 AM
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.