• Is One > 4? Our HTC One review



    Three years ago, when thought of a high end Android phone, the first name that would come to most peopleís mouths would have been HTC. HTC has always had a heritage of releasing great hardware. While people were ooh-ing and aww-ing over Blackberry Boldís, HTC was releasing monsters like the HTC TyTN II. In fact, even though HTC hasnít been doing so well in the marketplace lately, theyíve never stopped releasing awesome hardware.

    Hereís their latest, the HTC One. A phone with a 1920x1080 display wrapped in a sexy metal body. HTC has bucked the trend and gone with a Ďless is moreí approach with the Oneís camera. It also has a new version of Sense and louder speakers.
    Screen:



    You get a 4.7Ē 1920x1080 Super LCD. Itís not as big as the Samsung GS4 and Sony Xperia ZLís 5Ē displays, but the difference in size while noticeable, isnít a big deal in my opinion. Ditto for the pixel density. The ZL and GS4 have a mind blowing pixel density of 440ppi while the HTC One has an even more mind blowing 468ppi. Practically speaking, thereís no difference between the 3 displays with regards to sharpness.

    The Oneís display has awesome viewing angles with minimal off-center colour shift. It can be insanely bright, it works great outdoors and itís sharper than my auntís tongue at Thanksgiving dinner..

    Whites are really clean looking. They have a slightly warm cast to them like a calibrated monitor.

    About the only weakness is that black levels arenít as deep as AMOLED so the display doesnít quite pop as much. In that sense, the GS4ís AMOLED display will probably impress people more.

    While the GS4ís display is a huge step-up from the GS3ís. It doesnít have much on the Oneís display with the exception of having much deeper blacks.

    There really isnít much else to say about the display other than without a doubt, the One has the best screen I have ever seen on a phone.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Is One > 4? Our HTC One review started by howard View original post
    Comments 43 Comments
    1. LouisR's Avatar
      LouisR -
      Great review as usual Howard. Another difference that comes to mind between the One and the GS4 is the latter also has a microSD card slot and a removable battery. (Then again if you care about those points you've probably done your homework...)
    1. tokyo_dom's Avatar
      tokyo_dom -
      Great review!

      Btw, something which i can almost make out from the comparison pic at the start, but worth mentioning i think, is the position of the screen in the phone. Not all of us have Michael Jordan hands, and I find that on most 5" phones the screens are just a little too big to reach the notification bar while holding one handed.
      And unfortunately, these days if you want a high spec phone you *have* to get 5" (4.7 in the case of the One, but it seems this doesnt make the phone smaller?).

      I can see that the S4 has a very low set screen... could you compare the position of the top of the screen when the phones are all aligned on the bottom?
    1. Fenrry's Avatar
      Fenrry -
      HTC One, great phone...if u live in a cave and want to take pixs of ur bat friends in a close up...btw, pls replace that ZL for a Z, the full flag ship not the half one, besides this is a comparison of flag ship phones so is more than fair.
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fenrry View Post
      HTC One, great phone...if u live in a cave and want to take pixs of ur bat friends in a close up...btw, pls replace that ZL for a Z, the full flag ship not the half one, besides this is a comparison of flag ship phones so is more than fair.
      While it works here the Z isn't really banded for here so you lose some flexibility LTE-wise.

      I've used the Z and to be honest, I think the ZL is better. The Z has a bigger foot print (less friendly for one-handed use) plus it lacks IR blasters.
    1. tokyo_dom's Avatar
      tokyo_dom -
      Z is a monster. I was set on it, being one of the few international phones sold here in Japan, but the second i held it in my hand i realised it was not meant for normal sized humans. If i wanted a phone that big i would have gone with a Galaxy Note!
    1. jeff1727's Avatar
      jeff1727 -
      Just got my Rogers HTC One today, coming from a Note 2. I noticed that in a lot of areas where I get LTE signal with my Note 2 (which is pretty much everywhere), my HTC One only gets 4G. When it does have LTE its only at 2 or 3 bars. is that normal?
    1. TelecomZombie's Avatar
      TelecomZombie -
      Howard >>
      no built-in storage
      Thats a Pro?

      Howard can you post some LTE reception experience/comparisons especially considering jeff is noticing some problems.
      I hope to get One One soon for being a Good Thunder Bay Bell CUSStomer.

      Thanks
    1. gavinfabl's Avatar
      gavinfabl -
      I have had the HTC One for a good few weeks. Very impressed with it, Sense and even Blinkfeed which grows on you, as you can use it with your calendar and TV app.
    1. mikethaler's Avatar
      mikethaler -
      Missing in the review were two important differences. The HTC doesn't have a removable battery - meaning by late afternoon you can be cut off from your business world. Virtually all business people I know wouldn't dare take a chance of being without a working phone. I could live w.o. removable memory, all other things being equal.
      BTW - the lifetime of a phone is a lot longer than a battery. What do people who have to replace a dead battery in 2 years do?
      HTC puts an awesome camera in their phones. Wife has a 2 y.o. HTC and uses its camera instead of her stand-alone camera on our out of country vacations and doesn't have to worry about running out of battery power (always has a couple spares) or running out of memory even if she shoots a lot of video and pictures. I don't know why HTC changed their basic philosophy in this regards. Guess her next phone would be a Samsung.
    1. Steve Punter's Avatar
      Steve Punter -
      Howard Chui was kind enough to lend me his HTC One for a couple of days so that I could review it. I will be posting a full review on my web page in the next day or two, but before then he asked me to summarize my observations of the phone here on HoFo.

      There seems to be two things that this phone does better than anything else on the market today:

      1) Low-to-medium light photographs and videos
      2) Sound from its built-in stereo speakers

      By going with a larger pixel in their sensor (which reduces the image size to 4 megapixels) HTC has managed to produce one of the most light-sensitive imaging sensors out there today. However, that alone wouldn't make this a better camera-phone. HTC has also thrown in OPTICAL STABILIZATION, which makes taking blur-free photographs a reality. I was blown away by the overall quality of the photographs I could take with this phone, even under some seriously demanding situations.

      Low-light videos were equally amazing. The HTC One is capable of taking wonderful videos in light that's too dim even for some dedicated point-and-shoot cameras.

      The only downside to this is that pictures taken outdoors in bright sunshine don't look as sharp as those taken with high-megapixel phones. This is because the HTC One looses it's exposure advantage in bright sunshine and it falls to second place due to the lesser number of pixels in the photograph. However, I believe that MOST photographs taken with smartphones are in less-than-ideal lighting, in which case the HTC One is the clear winner pretty much every time.

      As for the speakers, you have to hear them to believe them. They set a whole new standard for smartphone speakers that with any luck will be followed by the rest of the industry in the months to come. One interesting caveat here however is that for them to sound their best you MUST turn on the Beats Audio feature. It seems that the speakers alone are only half the story here. Without Beats Audio turned on the speakers still outshine everything else on the market, but when you turn the feature on they come to life in a way that's truly amazing.

      The screen is also noteworthy, though NOT because it sports 1080p resolution. There are already other phones on the market with this resolution (the S4 comes to mind), and besides 1080p on a 4.7-inch screen is largely just marketing hype anyway. There just isn't that much difference between a 1080p screen and last year's 720p screens.

      The screen of the HTC One is noteworthy because it's one of the best LCD displays out there. It demonstrates no color distortion AT ALL, no matter what angle you view it at. Even Samsung's AMOLED displays taken on a slightly blue tint as the viewing angle is increased.

      There were a few negatives aspects of the phone, though many of them are well-known HTC-isms that have been with us for quite time now, such as the annoying top-mounted power button and the lack of a dedicated menu key. I also didn't like the fact that the physical buttons were flush-mounted, which made them difficult to feel and difficult to press.

      Other issues include the lack of support for external MicroSD cards and the fact that the battery is non-removable.

      On the whole however, the HTC One is a nice high-end phone.
    1. Steve Punter's Avatar
      Steve Punter -
      Quote Originally Posted by mikethaler View Post
      Missing in the review were two important differences. The HTC doesn't have a removable battery - meaning by late afternoon you can be cut off from your business world. Virtually all business people I know wouldn't dare take a chance of being without a working phone. I could live w.o. removable memory, all other things being equal.
      BTW - the lifetime of a phone is a lot longer than a battery. What do people who have to replace a dead battery in 2 years do?
      HTC puts an awesome camera in their phones. Wife has a 2 y.o. HTC and uses its camera instead of her stand-alone camera on our out of country vacations and doesn't have to worry about running out of battery power (always has a couple spares) or running out of memory even if she shoots a lot of video and pictures. I don't know why HTC changed their basic philosophy in this regards. Guess her next phone would be a Samsung.
      I dislike non-removable batteries on principle, but there's really no excuse to be without battery power. You can buy any number of EXTERNAL batteries with capacities from 2000 mAh or well over 8000 mAh. I own a small 2000 mAh battery and a larger 5200 mAh battery. The small one is tiny and easy to carry around, along with a retractable Micro USB cable. It's not much more of a pain than to carry a SPARE BATTERY, which is what you are implying is the ONLY solution to ensuring your phone doesn't run out of power in the middle of the day.
    1. eysikal's Avatar
      eysikal -
      Design of the One is very industrial. I like that look a lot. Also like the built-in speaker that performs well - don't like "tinny" sound. Not sure about the heat thing. That can be annoying.
    1. MrObvious's Avatar
      MrObvious -
      Also battery life on phones nowadays has gotten a lot better.
    1. VictoriaPa1's Avatar
      VictoriaPa1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by MrObvious View Post
      Also battery life on phones nowadays has gotten a lot better.
      I agree. That's one of the best things that Technology brings to us.
    1. Steve Punter's Avatar
      Steve Punter -
      My full review of the HTC One is online at:

      http://www.arcx.com/sites/HTC%20One.htm

      Many tasks to Howard Chui for lending me the phone to review.

      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S2 LTE running CM10
    1. jeff1727's Avatar
      jeff1727 -
      I just tested my Rogers Note 2 beside my Rogers HTC One. My Note 2 was getting -97dBm and my HTC One was getting -106dBm. This was with both phones down on the table. when I picked up my HTC One it went to -111dBm. Seems like the Samsung is getting better signal than the HTC. I've read a few people saying that the signal gets weak because the antenna is in the white plastic strips and it gets blocked by your hand when you pick it up so i guess what they're saying is legit. Now I know why Samsung keeps making their phones with the thin plastic and staying away from the aluminum bodies.
    1. InternPete's Avatar
      InternPete -
      That is a nice looking phone. I like the brightness of the screen, and speakers.
    1. BB88's Avatar
      BB88 -
      Price of the One is good. Rogers is now selling One for $100 (with commitment of course), and if you had an old smartphone laying around, trade it in and that's at least $200 cheaper than a GS4.
    1. LouCap's Avatar
      LouCap -
      I've had my One for almost a week now, and I can safely say that it is the best phone I have EVER owned, bar none. It's also the best built, and most solid ferling phone I've ever come across. I highly recommend it.
    1. ijcy's Avatar
      ijcy -
      Quote Originally Posted by LouCap View Post
      I've had my One for almost a week now, and I can safely say that it is the best phone I have EVER owned, bar none. It's also the best built, and most solid ferling phone I've ever come across. I highly recommend it.
      I must agree, the best phone i have ever had and i had a few .
      I chose it over the S4 due to the amazing looks and great speakers, not to mention solid "expensive" phone feel.