HTC One review: first look

Described by some as a make-or-break model for the Taiwanese company, the HTC One arrives on a wave of good previews and, for those wary of Samsung's growing dominance of the sector, some genuine good will. No-one wants an Apple-like situation with one firm cornering the Android sector, and so while HTC have tripped up in recent years - especially by fragementing and confusing its own user base with too many models - there's a groundswell of interest in their latest phone, especially as they seem to have ironed out many of the issues previous models have displayed.

The One is the company's new flagship model. There are no junior versions (like the One S was to the One X) and few compromises. It's as if HTC have realised they need to bring out one killer phone, re-establish itself in the marketplace while laying down a marker for the next few years.

Design

Everyone we've shown the One to has coo-ed. It's a nice phone. It feels solid in the hand and has a bit of heft. This is no bad thing. When you're spending this kind of money, it's comforting to feel like it's not going to fly away in a gust of wind. The caveat is, as always, when you're spending this kind of money you'll be putting it in a case and you lose some of that look. Still, if you do need to undress it sometimes, you'll know it still looks lovely underneath ...

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HTC have moved the micro-USB socket back to the bottom of the phone (we like). The power button and volume rocker are pretty flush to body. Not everyone will like this but we didn't have any issues. As has been the case for some time with HTC handsets, there's no replaceable battery or memory card slot. The sim card dock pops out with the help of the included sim card popper-outer thing. A pair of (loud) stereo speakers sit at the top and bottom (or left and right in landscape mode, duh) of the screen.

HTC One
It comes with a 4.7" 1080p LCD screen (which is probably beyond usable with our diddy thumbs) and is par for the course these days sizewise. It certainly makes the iPhone look terribly dated physically. The screen generates 468 pixels per inch and delivers bright, crisp images. If you spend your mornings and evenings in commuter hell, the HTC One's video capabilities will ease your pain somewhat.

Hardware and Battery

Hey, if you're like us the only important numbers are the ones scribbled on the back of a beer mat by a scrumptious lady or gentleman. If you've been hit by the ugly stick, here are some numbers: 2GB RAM, 32GB or 64GB storage (depending on your carrier and where you live). The new Snapdragon 600, a quad-core chip clocks in at 1.7GHz. The battery is 2300mAh. Something bigger might have been nice, but presumably adds physical bulk.

HTC have bucked the race for megapixels by only including a 4MP camera. Screwy, right? More MPs is always better. That was the case - until now. Instead of simply throwing in more pixels, they've used bigger 'ultrapixels', which supposedly means they capture more light. Low-light performance is being especially trumpeted.

How does this translate for ordinary folk? The phone is fast. Nothing we've thrown at it has caused any stuttering or slowdown. Again, if you live a normal life and speak to people, do your job, all the basics, the battery should get you through the day.

We'll look at the camera and how other features perform in our next article but, for the moment, we'll go back to where we came in: the HTC is a nice mobile phone.

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