I want to start off this review saying that I have been an HTC owner since 2007, starting with my HTC Mogul on Verizon (XV6800). Back then, HTC ran their phones on Microsoft’s functional but horribly designed Windows Mobile platform. Now, HTC is running their phones on Google’s Android and their own skin named ‘Sense’ (formerly referred to as Sense UI) running atop the Android OS. I’ve personally experienced the evolution of HTC’s Sense user interface from the very beginning and seen them make improvements and mistakes. HTC’s latest iteration of Sense is called Sense 5 and features a social media feed that they like to call “Blinkfeed”. Some find Blinkfeed obtuse and others like it. The same could be said about their hardware design decisions with their devices, they are continually evolving.
My personal device history with HTC starts with the HTC Titan, back when they were referred to as Pocket PCs when they ran on Windows Mobile. After that, I went to the HTC Touch Pro (aka XV6850) as I was still on Verizon, which already had Sense UI even though it was on Windows Mobile 6.1. After that phone, I switched to T-Mobile and got myself an HTC G2 (Desire Z), which ran on Stock Android 2.2 Froyo that was upgraded to 2.3 and did not have the Sense experience at all. I then upgraded to the HTC One X, I had the Global Version that had a Tegra 3 (US version had a Snapdragon S4 MSM8960) which featured Android 4.0 and Sense 4.0, and eventually it was upgraded to 4.1.1 . However, the phone was not originally compatible with T-Mobile’s 3G bands at the time until they refarmed spectrum for LTE. Last but not least, I had the HTC Droid DNA (Butterfly) ,which featured Sense 4+ and shipped with Android 4.1.1.
Now, looking at the hardware table (above) from those devices, we can see that HTC has had a pretty strong partnership with Qualcomm over the years, at one point, being one of the biggest if not the biggest customer Qualcomm had. The HTC Mogul had a 400MHz Qualcomm MSM7500, 64MB of RAM, and 256MB of ROM and sported a 1500 mAh battery, a 2MP camera, as well as Bluetooth 2.0, WiFi, and IR with a monstrous resolution of 240x320 on a 2.8” display which had an awful habit of getting hot spots from too much use. After 5 replacements, this was followed by the HTC Touch Pro, which featured a 528 MHz MSM7201A processor with 288 MB of RAM and 512 MB of ROM. Unfortunately the battery actually got a downgrade to 1340 mAh while the camera got upgraded to 3.2 MP and the phone gained a front-facing camera as well. This was all in addition to having an incredibly detailed 2.8” high resolution 480x640 display. Next was the Desire Z, with a zippy 800 MHz Qualcomm MSM7230 chip that had an Adreno 205 GPU and featured 512MB of RAM and 1.5GB of NAND Flash storage. The battery once again got another downgrade, to 1300 MHz (what the hell HTC?) and the screen got upgraded to a 3.7” SuperLCD running at the even greater resolution of 800x 480. The camera once again got another upgrade to 5 MP but lost the front-facing camera for some bizarre reason. This was followed by last year’s HTC One X, which featured Nvidia’s 5 core Tegra 3 chip running at 1.5GHz with an Nvidia ULP GeForce 520MHz GPU and 1GB of RAM accompanied by 16GB of NAND Flash storage. They also upped the battery capacity and added an 1,800 mAh battery which powered a 1280x720 (720P) 4.7” display, it also included an 8 MP rear camera and 1.3 MP front-facing camera. This phone also brought about a lot of new wireless technologies which weren’t really marketed well by HTC, such as NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, and dual-band WiFi.
Since HTC had to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S3, they were easily out-marketed and outspent in almost every single way. Nevertheless, the One X was a great phone for its time. The last phone released prior to the HTC One was the HTC Butterfly, which I still currently have. This phone takes HTC back to Qualcomm with a 1.5GHz quad core processor in the APQ8064, which features an Adreno 320 GPU coupled with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal NAND Flash storage. HTC one-upped themselves once again by implementing a 2020 mAh battery, mostly due to the fact that this device had a separate chip to enable LTE, which likely sucked more power. This device came with an absolutely stunning 5” display that ran at 1920x1080 (1080P) and was the second phone in the world, and the first from a global phone manufacturer, to launch a 1080P display on a phone. It also featured an 8 MP camera which was paired with a 2.1 MP front-facing camera which enabled 720P video chat. Much like the One X, it also had many of the same wireless technologies, but HTC added the ability to wirelessly charge the phone as well. This was the last phone HTC introduced leading up to today’s phone, the HTC One.
Specs Compared to the Droid DNA/Butterfly
The HTC One is not wildly different from the Droid DNA (HTC Butterfly) when it comes to the internal components. They both have 1080P displays, albeit not the same display, and they both have almost identical Qualcomm quad core SoCs with LTE. The primary difference is that the HTC Butterfly has an APQ8064 and an MDM9215 while the HTC One has a Snapdragon 600, which essentially integrates those two into one chip with some speed improvements and power savings. For simplicity’s sake, the Snapdragon 600 is also known as the APQ8064T, which already tells you that they two are basically identical. Moving on, the HTC One has 2GB of RAM just like the HTC Butterfly, but comes standard with 32GB of NAND Flash, unlike the HTC Butterfly (and basically every other smartphone out there) that comes standard with 16GB. Moving along, we see that the HTC One actually ups the battery capacity to 2,300 mAh, an increase of more than 10% over the HTC Butterfly, even though the Snapdragon 600 integrates the LTE modem into the chip, potentially allowing for more power savings. The HTC One also sports a 4.7” 1080P SuperLCD 3 display, which is the same type as the HTC Butterfly, except the HTC Butterfly is a 5” display, meaning that the HTC One has an even higher pixel density (468 ppi) than the already ridiculous 441 ppi on the Droid DNA. Finally, the HTC One has a new type of camera sensor which HTC dubs the 'Ultrapixel' sensor, which means that each of the pixels on HTC’s camera sensor is 4 nanometers square, while their competitors’ are mostly 2 nanometers square, or half the surface area and half the light sensitivity. What this means is that HTC’s camera ends up being 4MP instead of 8MP+ and looks like it would be worse on paper.
(Left to right, HTC One, Droid DNA, HTC One X)
HTC has paired this sensor with a front-facing 2.1 MP camera sensor, which enables 1080P video, an upgrade from the 720P from the Droid DNA. The HTC One also adds support for 802.11ac WiFi, which means that it has the ability to transfer lots of data over the network incredibly quickly if you have the right router (which most people don’t). As a result of the fully aluminum unibody design, HTC had to drop wireless charging from the HTC One. You win some, you lose some. That long list pretty much sums up the difference between HTC’s two latest devices in terms of internal components and hardware features.
HTC One Design and Build Quality
It appears as though HTC has spent quite a bit of time thinking about the HTC One’s design. In fact, one could argue that years have been spent. The HTC One is probably the best designed phone that HTC has ever made in terms of both form and function. The One’s unibody is made up of a combination of milled and polished aluminum and tough industrial plastic which helps bring the phone together.
HTC actually gives a detailed explanation of how they put so much effort into building the aluminum unibody of the HTC One in a very well made marketing video. It simply breaks down the amount of engineering and manufacturing that went into designing such a unique phone.
HTC has utilized their many years of building phones and constantly improving them and changing them in order to arrive at the HTC One. As we compared all of the previous HTC flagship phones, we also want to talk about the evolution of the company's design principles and how they've made gradual improvements with each device to eventually arrive at the One.
The first phone we'll talk about is HTC's first real attempt at challenging Apple, the HTC One X. This phone was designed from the ground up to be competitive with both Apple and Samsung and in terms of specs and design, and it really did hit the mark. However, HTC failed to market the unique software and hardware features that they offered, namely in their camera, physical design, and styling. There were still some issues with the One X that prevented it from competing with the iPhone 4S and Galaxy S3, like the device's microUSB port placement and the sunken-in front-facing camera that would collect dust and eventually become useless, as it was impossible to clean. Later on, some users (myself included) noticed that the camera would take a beating and get scratched and dented due to it protruding outside of the body of the phone.
HTC quickly followed up the One X with the One X+. This left some consumers who purchased a One X unsure of their purchase. This phone was visually almost identical to the One X. The main difference between the One X and One X+ was the higher clocked Tegra 3 SoC and doubled storage capacity. It also had updated software that fixed some software bugs that the One X had, and in traditional phone manufacturer fashion, that update took quite a while to hit the One X (I had an international HTC unlocked version).
(Top to bottom, HTC One X, HTC Droid DNA, HTC One)
While the HTC One X+ addressed some concerns and probably released what the HTC One X should have been, it was clear that HTC was learning. They showed this again with the following phone they released, the HTC Butterfly, also known as the Droid DNA in the United States. This phone fixed the location of the USB port by placing it directly in the bottom of the device making using the device while it charged or synced significantly easier. HTC also introduced a new shape to their phones, which they borrowed from the HTC 8X. This gave the back of the phone a nice, comfortable curvature which made the device feel more comfortable in the hand and simultaneously enabled HTC to fit more inside of the device.
(Left to right, HTC One, Droid DNA, HTC One X)
They also fixed the front-facing camera issue by not only implementing a larger wide-angle camera (similar to the 8X), but also by integrating it behind the front piece of the phone, making it flush with the glass on the front of the device. This resolved the dust collection issue and made the front-facing camera of the HTC Butterfly a great front-facing camera. They also integrated the whole rear camera into the body of the device and left a nice little protective metal ring around the lens to prevent it from getting scratched. Once again, HTC made lots of improvements, but they still made a few mistakes. The first mistake was with the power button: they put it at the top of the phone, which by itself wasn't the problem. The problem was that the button was almost entirely flush with the top of the phone which made it difficult to find and press quickly. Even now, I find myself searching for the power button when locking and unlocking the device.
(Left to right, HTC One X, Droid DNA, HTC One)
(Top to bottom, HTC One X, HTC Droid DNA, HTC One)
Now, looking at the HTC One, we see that HTC finally fixed all of the mistakes made with their previous phones and illustrated an interesting evolution of their design. Essentially, the HTC One is an aluminum version of the HTC One X and HTC Butterfly without all of the mistakes. If you compare all of the hardware decisions made on those devices and simply pick the best ones, you get the One. You can even see how HTC moved the power button from the right-hand side of the top, to the middle, to the left-hand side. You can also see how HTC moved the front-facing camera from the right, to the left, and then back to the right again. Looking at the movement of the USB port you can see how it moved from the left side of the phone, to the dead center bottom, to the bottom right, off center.
The features that are unique to the One are things like the aluminum unibody, a departure from HTC's traditional polycarbonate designs. HTC also opted to move the speaker away from the back of the phone and to instead install two speakers on the front of the phone to give it stereo audio and theoretically better overall sound. They also gave the HTC One a unique camera sensor that was combined with HTC's image sensor chip which is designed to result in impressively sharp and quick photos.
I've been using the HTC One for a little over two months now since I got it directly from HTC. Mine is the 64GB unlocked developer edition. This device comes standard with 64GB while all over versions come standard with 32GB, though the AT&T version can be purchased as a 64GB as well. No other carrier has the 64GB version, unfortunately. This is disappointing because HTC's One already has a leg up on the iPhone and Galaxy S4 since both come standard with 16GB. The 64GB version of the One, if made available on all carriers would enable people to get double the capacity out of an HTC One for $200 less than the price that they'd pay for a 32GB iPhone.
Performance, User Experience and Conclusion are found on the next page...
SoC and Performance
The HTC One features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 mobile SoC. This SoC is a combination of Qualcomm’s APQ8064 applications processor and their MDM9215 modem. This is the same SoC that can be found in the Samsung Galaxy S4 (US version), and LG’s Optimus G Pro.
The Snapdragon 600 chip has four Krait 300 cores as well as numerous DSPs that complement it for various applications. It also has an Adreno 320 GPU, which is the same GPU as the APQ8064 located in the Optimus G, Nexus 4 and many other numerous phones like the Droid DNA. The SoC also has native USB 2.0 support along with Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi support, even though the HTC One has a Broadcom BCM4335 handling the 802.11ac. It is capable of 1080P capture and playback, which are both crucial to enabling the HTC One’s 1080P video recording and playback via the 1080P display and dual 1080P cameras.
Looking at performance alone, we’ve decided to opt for some benchmarks which give you an idea of how much faster the HTC One is when compared to the Droid DNA and One X.
AnTuTu is a heavily CPU-bound benchmark, but nonetheless a popular one. Here we can see that the HTC One bests the Droid DNA and other APQ8064 based devices, and more importantly, gives a more than 50% boost over the performance of the HTC One X.
The Basemark GUI benchmark tests the GPU’s ability to render graphical user interfaces in a fast and smooth manner. Even though smoothness is not technically measured, it is theoretically tested by evaluating frames per second. In this benchmark, the One stays at the head of the pack when it comes to On-screen, besting the One X by once again and almost by 200% in the off-screen 720P test scoring 202 FPS vs. The One X at 77 FPS.
This benchmark is a fairly complex in-browser benchmark designed to help the user evaluate how good their browser is and how it compares against others. It will also tell you which features are missing from your browser and give you an overall performance/ experience score. In this test, we like to test both the stock browser supplied with the device as well as Chrome since stock browsers tend to vary most. Despite the fact that we recommend Chrome for Android as a default browser given that it is usually faster than the default implementation, this time proved to be an exception.
While I can’t particularly speak to all of the details, the stock browser on the HTC One scores consistently faster than the Chrome browser. Chrome is scoring about 2,000 points every time it is tested, while the HTC Sense browser is giving scores of 2,500 and beyond, an improvement of over 20%.
3DMark is in our opinion, one of the best 3D benchmarks out there, primarily because of its cross-platform friendliness and the fact that they’ve been doing unbiased 3D benchmarks for as long as I can remember.
In 3DMark, we saw more of the same in terms of GPU performance with the HTC One being three times faster (10,336) than the HTC One (3406) and just a bit faster than the Droid DNA at (9794). Considering that the APQ8064 in the DNA and Optimus G is an Adreno 320 and the GPU in the One is also an Adreno 320, it doesn’t seem far-fetched that they would score so closely.
In this section, we’ll talk about the software on the device, ranging from the OS to the custom UI and native applications.
HTC Sense UI – I have seen HTC’s Sense UI evolve over time in ways that have both been steps forward and steps backward. With the One, they introduced a new addition to Sense, Blinkfeed. Blinkfeed is supposed to be a social feed of all of your Facebook, Twitter and Flickr activity with the added benefit of having your calendar integrated into it as well. This is a clear bow to social media becoming a more integral part of people’s lives, however, Blinkfeed is also the default page on the home screen and cannot be deleted. Without things like Gmail, Instagram, and the ability to remove the feed altogether, it feels like more of a roadblock than an assistant. Blinkfeed cannot be removed, which to me is a big problem because currently Blinkfeed’s lack of functionality means that I have to change my default home page to another page. That would be fine, except HTC’s latest iteration of Sense does away with the infinite swipe feature of previous versions where the UI would simply go to the first page again once it reached the last page of the home screen. Instead, with this current iteration, I have to swipe all the way back to the previous pages going leftward (Blinkfeed is on the first left page of the home screen, Below).
I do like how HTC has integrated the world clock, alarm clock, stopwatch, and timer all into one easy to use application. I think it would be more appropriately named Time rather than Clock. HTC did a similar thing with their Phone and contacts inside of Sense by making the Phone dialer the default page when you open the phone application. You can then swipe left and get into call history or swipe right and get into your favorites contacts, followed by regular contacts, followed by groups.
There are a few other applications like weather, tasks, voice recorder, and notes that all function fairly well and provide relatively good utility for their intended uses. However, they do not necessarily do anything ground breaking in terms of software.
Photography and Video
The camera of the HTC One is a huge focal point that HTC has decided to accentuate when it comes to this device. They have spent so much time and money on this feature that it has its own explanatory website on HTC’s site to explain all of the intricacies of the Ultrapixel camera and how it is better than standard smartphone cameras. We’ll just give you our impressions and results for both the camera interface, experience, and our actual photos.
With the One, you get a 5 megapixel main camera and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera, both of which do 1080P video. The camera interface on the One is not drastically different from previous versions with the exception of the Zoe Camera which allows you to capture short videos that playback in the gallery or to create your own short video compilations using them. We want to give kudos to HTC for thinking ahead and implementing this before applications like Vine and Instagram (on Android). However, with applications like Vine and Instagram effectively enabling users to do the same thing, this feature becomes less relevant and mainly stays within the phone’s own applications. The ability to share this to HTC’s website and then share a link is no doubt very nice, but it lacks the social connectivity that Instagram, Facebook and Vine have. The Zoe Camera needs to be directly integrated into these applications to remain relevant. Otherwise, I will continue to not use it at all (other than the first few days that I had the phone).
One of the nice features of the camera is that it has a panorama feature which works fairly well. I managed to stitch together a nice panorama of a couple cities in Croatia that came out fine and did not have many issues with varied exposures or artifacts where the photos had been stitched together.
I also took a few HDR photos, even though I personally hate HDR as a photographer. It does illuminate some places that might be a bit darker or too light in some photos. I found the HDR feature to be pretty quick and does not require one to hold the camera up for 2-3 seconds while it captures those photos. The camera is able to get the three exposures quickly enough to enable for almost instantaneous HDR once the three photos are stitched together in-camera.
(Left, spot metering off, Right, spot metering on)
In this picture, I had a hard time getting the camera to ignore the incredibly bright stage lights which blew out all of the people on stage. As you can see from the photo, you can actually make people out as opposed to having them completely blown-out. Do note, that some in-camera zoom was implemented to enable these two photos, but no editing was done at all. I also took a similar comparison photo while in Taiwan (below).
(Left, spot metering off, Right, spot metering on)
One great feature of this camera that I like the most, is the spot metering. Generally speaking, most smartphone photography suffers from either overexposure or underexposure. This is the primary reason why we see so many photo applications out there to help users improve the visibility of their photos. People generally throw away photos that are out of focus, but over/underexposed photos usually get a chance at retouching. As such, you see lots of people using apps like Instagram or Aviary to fix these problems. With the HTC One, if you know how to use spot metering (simply touching the spot on the screen you wish to spot meter), you can effectively decide what gets over or under exposed. Along with photos that were perfect the first time because of spot metering, I've successfully fixed many photos that initially came out poorly on the first shot. Spot metering also usually means that the camera focuses on that spot as well, which means that your photos should theoretically come out sharper than a field meter.
One of my biggest complaints while using the HTC One has been the fact that the phone tends to focus/spot meter on the area around the shutter button when I am trying to take a photo. I have had this happen to me enough times for me not to think that it is me being fat fingered. There have been at least 5 to 10 instances (out of 1000) where I try to press the shutter button to take a picture and instead it focuses on whatever is directly above the shutter button in the photo I am trying to take. I don’t know how HTC can remedy this effectively, but it is a notable annoyance.
Below is the camera's software, I labeled the different parts of the camera to give you an idea of the placement of all of the buttons. Generally speaking, when this issue occurs, it happens between the zoom bar, the image preview and the shutter button. Yes, the shutter button is the biggest by any measure, but I do have fat thumbs.
Moving on to the front-facing camera, we can tell that the sensor being used is nowhere near as good as the Ultrapixel sensor. In low-light the front-facing camera is absolutely noisy and horrendous, but it still does catch some low-light photos well enough to be salvageable in some editing. In good lighting, such as daylight, this front-facing camera is fantastically sharp and incredibly good. Because they continued to make the lens of the front-facing camera flush with the front of the phone, there is no dust buildup and the camera can remain nice and sharp with a nice rub of some cloth to clear off any dirt or dust.
Here are some sample photos that I’ve taken with the HTC One:
In addition to photos, there is no doubt that this camera takes great videos. We took this camera with us to the San Diego Safari Park to test the camera’s video capability at 1080P as well as testing to see how well the microphone picks up audio since it is supposed to be an impeccably designed microphone.
My personal opinion is that I am pretty happy with the HTC One's camera, however it does seem a bit grainy in more neutral light situations and darker lighting environments. Anything that seems to be a pretty neutral tone seems to bring on some sort of noise, which can be a bit annoying. However, in brighter environments there is generally zero noise/grain.
Network Speeds on LTE, Wi-Fi and Network Portability
With the HTC One, we initially did not have a chance to test some of the speeds of the LTE capability of this device because LTE had not launched yet on T-Mobile. However, thanks to the roll-out in multiple cities over the course of the past few months, we’ve had extensive experience in testing the LTE speeds. San Diego has been especially good for the HTC One as the market is not nearly as saturated as places like San Jose or Los Angeles.
Since I got this phone, I have also travelled to Taiwan and Croatia. Being in the tech industry, this means that you need to be able to buy any SIM and be able to pop it into your phone and immediately get data. In Taiwan, this was no issue and I was able to get the phone up and running within minutes using their HSPA+ network. Similarly, a prepaid card in Croatia yielded quick results in terms of both deployment and speeds. Both devices got me about 12 Mbps down and 4 to 6 Mbps up as an average speed. Croatia’s T-Mobile guarantees speeds of 75 Mbps down; however, those are for month to month customers, not prepaid. We may go and see whether or not these speeds are possible on the One relatively soon.
In addition to the mobile network speeds, we also tested our Wi-Fi speeds on the 802.11ac Western Digital MyNet AC1300. Since this router enables speeds greater than the speed of our internet, which is 55 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up, we expect to see speeds somewhere around there. In my testing with the Speedtest.net app, we were actually able to get faster speeds over 802.11ac with lower latency (about 2ft away) than I did over gigabit wired on my PC.
Note: All of the above speeds are on T-Mobile LTE around San Diego except for the first one, which is Wi-Fi. One result, which is slower than the rest is LA T-Mobile LTE, which explains the slower speeds.
Calling and Messaging
When it comes to calling and texting, these two activities are finding themselves to become less and less relevant activities that are performed on a phone. Even so, HTC does a great job here as we’ve spoken about the way that the phone is built and how easy it is to navigate to the important things that you would normally look at while staring at your phone’s dialer. Personally, the call quality is impeccable from both ends and I can clearly hear people and they can clearly hear me. Because of the quality of the speaker on this phone, I rarely ever find myself needing to use speakerphone but when I do, it’s the loudest speakerphone I’ve ever used on a phone. The loudness of the HTC Boomsound dual speakers is unbeatable when being used as a loudspeaker.
Messaging is fairly simple and straightforward with a trace keyboard integrated into the device’s keyboard. Personally, it is not that bad, but I find the predictive nature of the keyboard to be a bit inaccurate. It does not necessarily guess the worlds that I pick precisely unless my fingers swipe over the right keys in a jagged, sharper manner. With Swype, I could easily and very quickly acquire my words without worrying about how accurately my finger came near the letter. As expected, you can attach a multitude of media to a text message ranging from audio, video, pictures, calendar entries and contacts, making the messaging app a simple one stop shop for MMS and SMS.
Listening to Media
Normally, I would not set aside a separate part of the review for something as simple as listening to media, but the HTC One’s front-facing speakers sound so good and are so loud that they needed attention. HTC really deserves major kudos for finally doing something that nobody has done since the PPC days, which is a front-facing stereo speaker setup.
When you combine the HTC One with the HTC Doubledip Flip case, you basically have a portable mini sound system that you can easily enjoy sound from in any room. Admittedly this is not as loud as a wireless speaker, but it blurs the line between a smartphone speaker and an external one. While it is true that the HTC’s Boomsound does not have much bass, it still has more bass than almost every other loudspeaker on a phone.
Since HTC includes what appears to be a non-branded pair of Beats headphones, you can enjoy the bass-heavy Beats audio or turn it off and enjoy fairly good quality sound through headphones of your choice. I was actually able to plug in a pair of gaming headphones that generally require a good amount of power to be used and the HTC One handled them well.
Battery Life and Charging
The HTC One was initially met with some (unwarranted) hesitance since it 'only' comes with an already sizeable 2300 mAh battery, which is comparable to almost every flagship phone out there. Under normal usage scenarios, this phone will get about 8-10 hours of usage. This primarily depends on how many applications that you have that are constantly polling over the network. Being connected to Wi-Fi will also positively affect your battery life, but for the most part, one can expect a full working day out of the phone without having to top-up for a charge.
Above is heavy usage on Wi-Fi
Using the phone mostly over Wi-Fi, you can expect to get about 12 hours of usage a day depending on how often you check the phone. After all, the largest consumer of battery life nowadays is the display, so the more often you check your phone’s screen, the worse it will perform in terms of battery life. This is one of the reasons why smartwatches are so attractive. A smartwatch’s screen will theoretically be OLED and be designed to consume as little power as possible while still allowing you to ‘peer’ into your phone. The phone’s Bluetooth connectivity does not seem to affect battery life much, nor does having Wi-Fi constantly on, but for the sake of maximum power I shut them off when they are not needed.
In terms of charging, I don’t think I ever really had to charge the device from a completely dead state; however, it appears that from my experience most full charges took between 2 and 3 hours, with 3 hours being a nearly empty battery. This phone does have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600, which features Quickcharge 1.0, however, this feature is not enabled. Perhaps, we will see the next HTC phone with Snapdragon 800 and Quickcharge 2.0 implemented to reduce such lengthy charge times.
Value and Accessories
When it comes to the HTC One, the accessories supplied with each model may vary, however, it seems standard practice for HTC to include a stereo headset and wall charger with the device. Neither of these two are necessarily the real reason why the HTC One is actually a value.
When you take into account on-contract prices (AT&T) you can see that the HTC One sells for $199 (32GB) and $299 (64GB), that is already a savings of $100 on contract when compared to the iPhone which sells for $199 starting with the 16GB variant. Similarly, when compared to the Galaxy S4, you can see that the Galaxy S4 gives you half the capacity of the HTC One at $199 on contract and charges $50 more than HTC for the same capacity (32GB). In addition to that, Samsung does not offer a 64GB model, which means that the 64GB One essentially has no competitors in terms of value. When you take into account that the S4 and One have the same display resolution and SoC, while the HTC One has a full aluminum unibody, the choice between the two becomes quite clear.
The phone I purchased is the HTC One Developer Edition, this device only comes in a 64GB silver variant and can only be purchased directly from HTC. What is special about this device is that it is completely unlocked, which means it is SIM unlocked and has an unlocked bootloader. This is a great device for developers to use for testing and for people that don’t want to buy a carrier branded device or just like flashing with ROMs. What makes this phone such a great value is that HTC is selling it for $649, this is compared to Apple, who is selling their 64GB iPhone 5 for $849, a premium of $200 for nothing but flashy advertising and thin air.
In addition to all of that, HTC has sweetened the offer further by giving anyone who buys an HTC One between June 15th and July 15th a $25 Google Play giftcard (code). That means that if you are able to get the HTC One for any kind of a deal below $199 (we’ve seen numerous deals) the HTC One is probably the best value for any high-end smartphone out right now.
The HTC One is the result of many years of HTC searching to make the perfect smartphone. We’ve shown how HTC has learned from their mistakes and taken many steps forward to improve upon their devices’ design. By releasing new phones and experimenting with new concepts, HTC has without a doubt elevated the level of competition within the smartphone arena. Without HTC’s One, we would simply have a battle between the plastic/cheap feeling Samsung Galaxy and the fairly solid, but boring iPhone.
Looking at all of the impressive features of this phone and how it compares to its predecessors, you can see how HTC has improved against themselves and their competition. Taking the device itself into account, HTC already has a winner, but with all of the added value that HTC gives you with the device’s build quality and storage capacity, there is no doubt that HTC has a winner.
When you take into consideration all of the aspects of this device, you can see why the HTC One is without a doubt the best phone that HTC has ever made. Not just that, it is likely the best Android phone ever made, but it is not without its own flaws. No phone is perfect, but HTC does a good job of trying.
Based on all of our testing, experience and analysis, I can safely say that the HTC One deserves our Editor’s Choice Award.