HTC One Review: Perhaps The Best Droid of 2013...

Reviews Basil Kronfli 12:07, 27 May 2014

We review the HTC One, a stunner to look at, but can the insides match?

Typical Price: 
Class leading design, Class leading screen, Class leading power, Innovative interface.
Camera low on detail, Phone can get hot, HDR Video is poor, Buttons don't protrude enough.
The HTC One sets a new benchmark for quality and innovation across the board, Apple, Samsung, Sony, take heed.

Chesney Hawks, The Backstreet Boys, HTC. Over the years, all three have vied to be The One, mincing no words and making no bones about their ambition. Now, clearer than ever, HTC has gone all out with its latest flagship, no One ‘X’, ‘S’ or ‘V’, this is simply, the one; The HTC One.

Complete with design finesse second to none, a screen sharper than the market has ever seen and a processor with more punch than a high school prom, on paper there’s nowhere the HTC One falters.

But HTC handsets have been tech-spec champs before, with the reality falling short. The question is, therefore, can the HTC One, finally redeem a well deserving HTC across the board?

HTC One review: Design

You know what’s really difficult? Making a design classic, without employing classical design.

Take the Sony Xperia Z: a design classic. Why? Because it’s a simple rectangle. A Buttonless fascia, relatively detail-less overall; it’s clean, simple and elegant – in principle, qualities you wouldn’t fault.

Significantly harder is risk taking. Curved body, rounded corners, nano-drilled speaker holes, accents, details and nuances. All these can go very, very wrong.

But the HTC One is very, very right.

From the second we handled the phone, it charmed us. First off, the matte, plastic banding encasing the sides provided ample grip. Angled upwards, the edges proved easy to hold, with a satisfying sliver of the rich, cold metal back making contact with our thumb and forefinger.

The HTC One’s curved back and rounded corners ease into the hand forgivingly, more so than the Xperia Z. Solid and stark, the aluminium of HTC's One does take some getting used to if coming from a plastic phone, but it’s undeniably a premium in-hand experience.

The fascia has been compared to a BlackBerry Z10 in terms of design, but to hold the two phones couldn’t be more different. The intricate nano-drilled speaker holes above and below the screen add subtle texturing. The screen is larger at 4.7-inches and the bevelled edges give the design depth.

The plastic banding around the phone houses all the HTC One’s physical buttons and ports, with a microSIM tray to the left, a microUSB port below, a volume rocker to the right and a power button infrared port combination and 3.5mm headphone jack up top.

The phone’s backing, aside from being curvaceous and refined is also functional, with a plastic band in the lower part containing the NFC point, and the top half containing the ultrapixel camera and flash.

Clearly, we’re enamoured, but that isn’t to say it’s all perfect. The buttons simply don’t protrude enough, especially the power button. HTC touts its engineering process as being ‘Zero Gap’, meaning the plastic and metal has literally, zero gap. Ours had almost zero gap, but not quite.

However, the metallic rear attracts marks, smudges and scuffs, making it look permanently dirty after a couple of weeks' use. It's also ultra-slippy and unless you have a grip of steel, you'll find it falling out of your hand all too easily.

We'd have liked a removable battery too and although this may have ruined the seamless look of the HTC One, the inability to perform a battery pull is an issue we have experienced a few times in the last three weeks using it.  

Finally, with the phone available in both black and white, the white proved more durable and less prone to scuffing, and in our opinion, infinitely sexier.

That’s it for criticisms though. The rest, is just wow.

HTC has now announced the HTC One will be made available in ‘Vivid Blue’, with the new colour variant going on sale at an unspecified point in ‘Q4 2013’.

In addition, the company has revealed a new accessory specifically designed to complement the HTC One’s BoomSound stereo speakers with the HTC BoomBass. The HTC BoomBass is a compact Bluetooth subwoofer and dedicated amplifier, designed to add more bass to your music and multimedia audio.

HTC says, ‘The subwoofer enables HTC BoomSound’s speakers to produce enhanced quality of lower range frequencies so, no matter what music you’re playing or video you’re watching, you are guaranteed immense and exceptional sound that can travel with you.’

The BoomBass will be available direct from HTC’s Accessory Store in ‘mid October’ this year.


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