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Excellent in so many ways: HTC’s One reviewed

By Leigh D. Stark | 3:20 pm 11/04/2013

With the 2013 smartphone wars heating up, HTC is revitalising its “One” brand of phones, releasing a device that does away with the model variants, the monikers, and combines every feature you could possibly ever want in a 2013 phone. Is it HTC’s best and brightest phone yet?

Features

For a product series that told the world it would be easy to work out, HTC hasn’t exactly kept its promise. In the original “One” line-up, there were four handsets, each called the “One,” but with a different variation moniker on the end, as well as separate design and specs associated.

HTC’s slightly confusing naming scheme notwithstanding, the 2013 “One” does away with the model variant name and packs in a whole host of features that are sure to get your attention.

Let’s start with the screen, which actually continues what was put in motion with the first HTC One handsets to be released in 2012.

Just like the One X and One XL, the new One features a 4.7 inch display, only this time with a Full HD 1920×1080 resolution, not the HD 1280×720 we saw last year. With a resolution that large in a screen this small, you can expect to find 468 pixels per inch (ppi).

Moving on, there’s the processor, which is a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, clocked at 1.7GHz and running with four cores (quad core), alongside 2GB RAM and 32GB built-in storage.

Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” is the operating system HTC has gone with, eschewing the very latest version of Android (4.2), but featuring HTC’s latest iteration of its overlay, Sense 5.

Pretty much every connection under the sun has been catered for, with 4G LTE used on the mobile broadband front, Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX support, DLNA, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS, Near-Field Communication, Miracast, and even infrared, which is hiding in the power button.

The camera is a little different from other smartphones, with HTC opting to include a four megapixel module on the back that incorporates a slightly bigger sensor, which HTC calls an “Ultrapixel” sensor. Some extra technology is also included to make your photos more animated, as well as offer the ability to change faces, smiles, remove unwanted objects, and merge multiple shots, in a feature HTC calls “Zoe.” Meanwhile, the front facing camera is a 2.1 megapixel model with a wider lens than most.

HTC’s choice of battery is a 2300mAh module, which is not user replaceable, and the phone takes a microSIM which is installed on a tray that can be ejected using one of those pinhole SIM ejector tools.

Like most smartphones, there are very few physical buttons on this device, with only the power button (which is also the infrared port) and a ridged metal volume rocker on the right side.

Two soft buttons sit on the front, acting as “back” and “home,” and there are only two connectors on the body, with a 3.5mm headset jack up top and a microUSB at the very bottom.

Design and performance

HTC’s One has to stand up against some pretty serious competitors this year, and with some already impressive devices out of the gate – and a few arriving shortly – this phone has to be more than just another brick with decent specs.

Eyes on, and the HTC One is certainly more than yet another plastic phone, going ahead with a design that has to be seen – and felt – to be believed.

We’re talking a body made of one piece of aluminium, similar to what HTC did when it launched the Legend several years ago.

Pick it up and you’ll feel a phone that just oozes quality, with combination of glass and metal adorning the front, soft beveled corners, and a slope out the back that fits neatly in the palm of your hands.

Without a doubt, this is one of the comfiest mobile phones we’ve ever felt, and the inclusion of aluminium as a base material makes it a pure delight to hold, as does the seamless design.

In fact, it’s a hardware design deserving of a manufacturer like Apple, except this isn’t Apple, this is HTC.

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Price (RRP)

$Outright from $768; Available on plans from Telstra, Optus, Virgin, Vodafone;

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

One of the finest examples of mobile phone design you'll see; Jam packed with features; Sturdy build; Very, very fast; Works as a TV remote; Loud speakers; Battery life capable of pulling more than a day;

Product Cons

While the camera quality is decent, the megapixels probably aren't as high as competing devices; Power button up top can be a little trying to get used to; Fixed storage size; Home button really should be in the middle, not to the right; BlinkFeed needs to let you add your own sources, not just the ones HTC suggests;

Ratings

Overall

Features

Value for money

Performance

Ease of Use

Design

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