Hands-on: HTC One
We had a little hands-on time with the HTC's upcoming top-tier smartphone ahead of its launch in Australia and New Zealand.
Harley Ogier | Monday, February 25 2013 | 1 Comment
Product type: Smartphone
RRP incl GST: TBA
- Seamless aluminium unibody design
- 4.7-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel screen
- Quad-core, 1.7GHz CPU
- 2GB RAM, 32/64GB storage
- Runs Android 4.2 ‘Jelly Bean’
- Will be available through Telecom and Vodafone
Attractive, solid design and some novel features make this one we’re looking forward to.
At the Asia-Pacific launch for the HTC One in Sydney, we had a little hands-on time with the company’s latest top-tier smartphone.
The phone specifications are in line with expectations prior to the event and include a 1.7GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 4.7-inch full-HD (1920 x 1080-pixel) display, and either 32 or 64GB of storage. It also supports the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, which offers transfer rates up to 500Mbit/sec compared to the 150Mbit/sec maximum for 802.11n.
The One’s design has been compared to the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S III, and there's a clear resemblance to both of those devices. However, the One’s seamless aluminium unibody gives it a slickness that we haven’t seen in other devices, save for perhaps Nokia’s polycarbonate Lumia range. The One is much thinner than any Lumia though, at 4.9mm thick.
The only interruptions in the One’s unibody case are for its microSIM slot, micro-USB port and 3.5mm headphone socket. An HTC representative stated that to over 80% of the phone’s components had to be custom-made to fit into the slim design. The case is CNC milled in a 100-step process that takes two-and-a-half hours: longer than it takes to manufacture some entire smartphones. It also means that the battery is not user-replaceable, which is hardly unique to the HTC One.
The phone feels great in the hand, cool and smooth but not so much as to be easily droppable. The traditional positioning of the micro-USB port on the bottom edge and headphone socket on the top edge is appreciated – is the setup we’ve found most useful, and the one used by generic Android-phone docks.
HTC has touted the One’s 468 pixels-per-inch display, which blows away the latest iPhone’s 326ppi ‘Retina’ resolution. The One’s screen looks phenomenally sharp, and at the launch event it was bright and clear both outdoors, and indoors under a wide variety of artificial lighting conditions. Perhaps it would look sharper than an iPhone side-by-side – text and images certainly appeared a lot crisper than my smartphone’s 244ppi screen. However, there’s a limit to just how sharp things can look (namely, your eyesight). We’ll be interested to compare the two phones once we get our hands on a review unit in New Zealand.
The One's camera has cut resolution to 4 megapixels while increasing physical pixel size on the image sensor. HTC has been calling this ‘UltraPixel’ technology – specifically, pixels are 2 micrometers in size, which is much larger - in some cases double - those found on other smartphone cameras. HTC says that larger pixels improve low-light image capture, and its intended to improve night-time and indoor photography to a level “equivalent to some compact cameras”.
HTC showed a series of comparison shots between the One, Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III, taken in the same environments under the same low lighting. In each case the HTC One’s results were significantly brighter, exhibited less noise and more detail. This is something we’re keen to test independently once we get our hands on a review device.
We managed to snap a few test shots at the event in dim lighting conditions that would give any smartphone a run for its money. Image quality looked very good, bright and with low noise. However, the devices on display were not connected to the internet, so we were unable to show you any images we took using the HTC One.
The ‘BlinkFeed’ personalised homescreen, provided by HTC’s Sense 5 user-interface overlay for Android, was an interesting experience – its a hybrid of something like Microsoft’s live tiles with the sorts of customised browser homepages that used to be provided by sites like Google's iGoogle and Yahoo. Given that BlinkFeed is meant to be a personal datafeed based on the user’s interests and preferences, it’s hard to assess how good it is based on the default feeds that we saw on the display phones. It’s an intriguing concept, giving you everything from weather, news and sports results to your own schedule in a single place, without needing to configure a multitude of widgets.
The interface runs very smoothly (we’d be appalled if it didn’t, given the computing power at work), and looks slick – thankfully, it's also easy to drop back into the familiar Android apps menu. Sense avoids crowding Android 4.2 with unnecessary elements – it’s not as ‘pure’ an Android experience as using one of Google’s Nexus phones, for instance, but it doesn’t feel like an entirely new user experience with a big learning curve.
Though New Zealand availability through Telecom and Vodafone has been confirmed by HTC, a local on-sale date and retail pricing were not available at the time of writing.
We expect to get our hands on a review unit within the next two weeks – given what we’ve seen so far, we can’t wait to put the HTC One to the test.
Harley Ogier attended the HTC One launch event in Sydney as a guest of HTC.
Been needing to replace my old Samsung after I misplaced my S2
Posted by Anonymous at 21:52:22 on March 30, 2013
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