For the past week and a half our own Brian Klug has been hard at work on his review of HTC’s new flagship smartphone, the One. These things take time and Brian’s review, at least what I’ve seen of it, is nothing short of the reference piece we’ve come to expect from him.

In the same period of time I’ve been playing around with a retail HTC One and felt compelled to share my thoughts on the device. It’s rare that I’m so moved by a device to chime in outside of the official review, but the One is a definite exception. By no means is this a full review, and I defer to Brian for the complete story on the One - something we should be getting here in the not too distant future.

I’m not a financial analyst, but HTC hasn’t been doing all that well over the past few quarters. There’s a general feeling that the aptly named One is HTC’s last chance at survival. Good product doesn’t always translate into market dominance, but it’s a necessary component when you’re an underdog. Luckily for HTC, the One is great.


Over the past two years HTC has really come into its own as far as design is concerned. The difference between the HTC One X and the plethora of flagships that came before it was remarkable. Moving to the One, the difference is just as striking.

I don’t seem to mind plastic phones as much as everyone else, but the One is in an appreciably different league compared to its peers. It’s the type of device that you just want to look at and touch. Given how much you do end up looking at and touching your smartphone, HTC’s efforts here seem well placed.

The One looks and feels great. The proportions are a little awkward in my hands, but I fully concede that’s going to vary from person to person. Despite the heavy use of aluminum, I don't feel overly worried about scratching/damaging the finish.

The challenge with any smartphone is to build something that looks distinct in a sea of black rectangles on a wall in a store. With the One (and arguably the One X before it), HTC does a good job of balancing the need to be seen with the need to be subtle. Elegant is the right word here.

While I’m sure there will be comparisons to the iPhone, the fact of the matter is that the design cycle on these smartphones falls somewhere in the 12 - 24 month range. With something as sophisticated as the One, you’re looking at the longer end of that spectrum. For what it’s worth, if I had to estimate I’d say design work on the One probably started before the iPhone 4S came out.

Smartphone Spec Comparison
  Apple iPhone 5 HTC One Samsung Galaxy S 3 Samsung Galaxy S 4
SoC Apple A6 1.3GHz Snapdragon 600 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz Exynos 5 Octa (1.6/1.2GHz) or Snapdragon 600 1.9GHz
DRAM/NAND/Expansion 1GB LPDDR2, 16/32/64GB NAND 2GB LPDDR2, 32/64GB NAND 2GB LPDDR2, 16/32GB NAND, microSD 2GB LPDDR3, 16/32/64GB NAND, microSD
Display 4.0-inch 1136 x 640 LCD 4.7-inch SLCD3 1080p, 468 ppi 4.8-inch Super AMOLED 720p, 306 ppi 5-inch Super AMOLED 1080p, 441 ppi
Network 2G / 3G / 4G LTE Cat 3 2G / 3G / 4G LTE Cat 3 2G / 3G / 4G LTE Cat 3 2G / 3G / 4G LTE Cat 3 (depending on region)
Dimensions 123.8mm x 58.6mm x 7.6mm 137.4mm x 68.2mm x 4mm - 9.3mm 136.6mm x 70.6mm 8.6mm 136.6mm x 69.8mm x 7.9mm
Weight 112g 143g 133g 130g
Rear Camera 8MP 4MP w/ 2µm pixels 8MP 13MP
Front Camera 1.2MP 2.1MP 1.9MP 2MP
Battery Internal 5.45 Wh Internal 8.74 Wh Removable 7.98 Wh Removable 9.88 Wh
OS iOS 6.1.2 Android 4.1.2 Android 4.1.2 Android 4.2.2
Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n, BT 4.0, USB 2.0, GPS/GNSS 802.11ac/a/b/g/n + BT 4.0, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, IR LED, MHL, DLNA, NFC 802.11a/b/g/n, BT 4.0, USB 2.0, NFC, GPS/GNSS, MHL 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (HT80) + BT 4.0, USB 2.0 NFC, GPS/GNSS, IR LED, MHL 2.0


The Camera
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  • DEECEE - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    AMD based GPU? I hope it's not one of those desktop version GPU's, that will run on the battery for like 1 minute?
  • superflex - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    The only issue I see with the One is the lack of a menu button. I can certainly live without a replaceable battery and SD slot. Never had the need in 2.5 years on an EVO 4g to use a replacement or expanded battery, but I'm not a voice whore like some people.
  • odiHnaD - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link


    Thank you for the mini review, looks like a great device.

    Kinda sad to see the trolling/bickering in the comment though, this site used to be a safe haven for intelligent and insightful comments...
  • phillyry - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

  • Biln3 - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    Im sure not many people do swap batteries, my concern is after about a year the battery will start to get weak and hold less and less a charge. since this is your average sized battery not a s big as razr maxx, alot of people will have to charge this phone everyday, some people twice to 3 times a day. batteries only last a certain amount of charges before they start to get weak. so what do we do when the battery starts to only last 60-70% as it did when it was brand new?
    but i will probably get this phone just because of the loud built in speakers. the new features the galaxy s4 has are just gimicky novelty items to me, nothing really useful.
  • Belard - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    Is it just me? Or does this phone look like what the iPhone5 should have been?
  • hp79 - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    I thought this is supposed to be iPhone6. Maybe it has something to with HTC and Apple's settlement pact. The separated antenna from the body looks just like the ones in iPhone4.
    Who cares... As long as it has good build quality and it can open the camera app very fast, then quickly be able to review and delete, I'm fine with it. My Note (N7000) with stock JellyBean is really slow at this basic task.

    I wish if they do a video review, they also test how quickly and smoothly these tasks can be done. I want to see no stutter at all. I even saw Nokia 920 stuttering with loading the menus in picture review mode.
  • phillyry - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    Looks pimp to me.

    It's the iPhone's better looking Android twin.

    Prolly better feeling too with the curved edges. iPhone 5's are too sharp and its thinness coupled with its flatness make it unpleasant to hold without a case.
  • phillyry - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    But I'd take the iPhone's 112g weight over the One's 143g though.

    The iPhone 5 feels like a feather compared to the 140g iPhone 4S, which feels like a brick.

    So, one can only conclude that the weight'll be a drawback.
  • daleski75 - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    If you think that is heavy I would hate to think what you would say about the Nokia Lumia 920... I own a HTC One and it's very light and much nicer to hold than the iPhone 5.

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