HTC has proven time and again that it is willing to take a risk. Whether it pays off or not is a different matter altogether. With its latest flagship, the HTC One, which was announced yesterday, the company is banking on enhanced camera capabilities – HTC is calling it an Ultrapixel camera – an improved sound experience and a revamp of its Sense UI. It also brings a full HD display on a screen smaller than 5 inches, a first for a smartphone.
Does it make a winner though? We will have to wait for hands-on time to figure that out. However, going by the specs sheet, the HTC One is a sumptuous handset that will surely attract some attention over the likes of the Xperia Z and the company’s other 1080p-display-laden offering, the Butterfly. Let’s take a deeper look at the specs of the HTC One
OS – Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with Sense 5
It’s great news that Jelly Bean powers the HTC One. Project Butter should go a long way when it comes to delivering a lag-free UI experience. Of course, HTC has injected a bit of Sense into the stock Jelly Bean experience. Sense 5 or the New Sense, as HTC called it last night at the unveiling, is all about the BlinkFeed. This is the new homescreen on HTC’s phones. The company has tied up with 1400 content providers to bring you updates related to sports, current affairs, business, technology, social networking and lifestyle to your BlinkFeed. The BlinkFeed is essentially a vertical scrolling widget, but it is also the page you will see by default when hitting the home key. The feeds are customisable and overall there is a Flipboard-like feel to it. Indeed, this can be called HTC’s re-imagining of Live Tiles from Windows Phone 8. However, users who want a more conventional Android experience can set a more regular homescreen as default. Here, HTC has gone for a more minimal look, closer to the stock experience.
One thing that HTC fans won’t find in the out-of-the-box setup is the trademark Sense flip clock. That’s included as a widget however, with a flatter, more simple-looking clock-weather indicator being the default option.
Cellular Network – LTE-ready
Of course, the HTC One is ready to support LTE networks around the world. But if your region has no 4G infrastructure, it will play nicely with 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 bands for HSPA. The phone supports download speeds up to 100Mbps and 50Mbps for uploads. The SIM slot in the HTC One accepts only Micro-SIMs.
The black version of the HTC One
Display – 4.7-inch full HD SuperLCD3
The display is one of the highlights of the HTC One. As mentioned above, this is the first phone with a screen less than 5 inches diagonally to have a 1080p resolution. Naturally, text, images and videos look immensely crisp. With a pixel density of 468ppi, you are unlikely to see jagged edges of text or any kind of pixelation, unless you see the world through an electron microscope. The screen itself uses the Super LCD 3 technology, which in the past has ensured vibrant, yet natural-looking hues. Of course, HTC has ensured you don’t cover that awesome display with scratches. There’s Gorilla Glass 2 protection for the 4.7-inch wonder.
Form factor and weight – Slim, but slightly odd
Fitting a full HD display on a compact screen has its downsides, but HTC has managed a sublime job at reducing the weight of the handset. The 143 g heft means it’s a lighter smartphone to hold than the Xperia Z, or even the truly bulky LG Optimus G Pro, which weighs in at 160 g. HTC has also managed to fit all the gadgetry in a slim 9.3 mm body, which is a good deal better than the LG handset, but still nowhere near the 7.9 mm-thin frame of the Xperia Z. One area that HTC has sort of mangled is the height of the device. At 137.4 mm, it’s only slightly shorter than the Xperia Z, but considerably taller than the Xperia ZL, which is positively pygmy-esque at 131.6 mm. That and the fact that the power or lock/unlock button is situated on the top of the device could mean a lot of stretching of fingers.
Another sore point for fans could be the inclusion of only two capacitive buttons below the display. The buttons – back and home – flank a big HTC logo, which is not a button and does pretty much nothing but say you bought an HTC phone. The recent apps screen can be reached by double-tapping the button, while a long-press shows you Google Now. Despite not actually using the device, this setup sounds cumbersome to say the least. A feature like the recent apps screen should be easily reached and a double tap seems like extra work.
Wi-Fi – Everything you expected, and more
In this department, HTC has packed in everything you could have hoped for. The One supports Wi-Fi 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n bands. Multimedia content can be sent to your TV or HTPC thanks to the DLNA support and Wi-Fi Direct can be used to share files with other phones on the same WLAN connection. It also has Android’s standard Wi-Fi hotspot capability to share the phone’s Internet connection with other devices.
SoC - Qualcomm APQ8064T Snapdragon 600 with Adreno 320 GPU
HTC has thrown in the brand-spanking new Snapdragon 600 chipset into the One. That’s the same CPU that was used in the LG Optimus G Pro, but we have not yet seen the raw benchmark scores or the real-world performance of this chipset. Of course, if you have any doubts, please hold them back. The Snapdragon 600 features a quad-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz, which is an upgrade over the insanely fast Snapdragon S4 Pro seen on the Nexus 4 and the Xperia Z. Expect the HTC One to blaze through everyday tasks and even not-so-everyday tasks. If only there were enough apps in the market to take advantage of all this processing power. The powerful SoC will be complemented by 2GB RAM and an Adreno 320 GPU. Both of which should only add to the raw power of the HTC One.
Internal storage – 32 or 64GB
The internal storage in the HTC One is capped off at either 32GB or 64GB. There is no microSD card slot, so your choice will be final. This could be a sore point for many fans, who normally bemoan the lack of a microSD slot, something that Sony and Samsung have regularly included in their most recent handsets. The HTC One also comes with free 25GB of Dropbox storage.
The HTC One has a 4.7-inch full HD display
Primary camera – HTC Ultrapixel camera
HTC wanted to emphasise "less is more" with the brand new Ultrapixel camera. It essentially is a 4-megapixel sensor with enlarged pixels that capture more light and enhance details of a photograph. In the HTC One’s camera, you will find a BSI sensor with each pixel measuring 2.0 microns, larger than those in the iPhone 5, Galaxy S III and Lumia 920, all of which have1.4 micron pixels and considerably larger than the Xperia Z, which has 1.1 micron pixels in its sensor. The company has shied away from the use of megapixels because it claims that the industry has been misleading consumers by launching phones with more megapixels, but not improving the final image quality. The Ultrapixel camera comes with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), Smart Flash (Five levels of flash automatically set by distance to subject), HDR mode in video recording, continuous shooting and VideoPic, slow motion video recording with variable speed playback. It can shoot 1080p video. Other features include retouching of images after the fact including removing objects, smile detection and sequence shot.
One camera-related feature that HTC is really pushing is HTC Zoe. When in Zoe mode, the camera captures 5 photos before you press the shutter and another 15 after you do. It also shoots a 3-second HD video clip besides giving you the 20 pictures. This gives you short clips with audio, which are called Zoes. These short videos will then be stitched together to create a more immersive and visually impressive clip. A Zoe can be posted to HTC’s site, where it will remain for 180 days. The HTC One will even combine Zoes with animated images, transition effects and music, like an automatic movie editor.
Front-facing camera – 2.1-megapixels with HDR
The 88 wide angle lens on the front-facing camera of the HTC One, means better video calls when there is more than one subject. The camera can shoot 1080p video, which is fast becoming a standard for front-facing cameras. Self-shots will turn out nice with the integrated HDR capability. However, we are not sure anyone would have missed this feature.
It features an Ultrapixel camera
Sensors – Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Nothing new here, but the phone’s capabilities would have been highly affected if they were missing. There is an infrared blaster built into the power key to use the phone as a remote control. HTC has bundled in an app as well to help users take advantage of this feature.
GPS – Comes with A-GPS and GLONASS
HTC has integrated GLONASS support as well as Assisted GPS. Lack of GLONASS would have been a glaring omission and will certainly improve location lock times on the HTC One.
The HTC One has an NFC chip and should play nicely with speakers that have this technology. But the NFC chip might not be present on some international variants of the phone.
Battery – Li-Po 2300 mAh battery
Given the specs of the phone, the battery should have been of a higher capacity, but it is still better than the HTC Butterfly, which only lasted just 6 hours and 40 minutes in our video drain test. If you are a power email user or are constantly browsing on the phone, then the 2300 mAh Lithium polymer battery won’t last the entire day. Of course, we are yet to see how HTC have gone about the power optimisation in the phone, so it could be that the current capacity is more than enough, especially as the Snapdragon CPU is said to be power-efficient. We would have ideally liked to see a 3000 mAh battery and also a removable back cover. But it’s been a long time since we saw an HTC flagship with the latter feature.
The bottom line
There’s no doubt that HTC has managed to impress us with the specs sheet of the HTC One. It is one beast of a phone with the latest CPU, screen technology and a brand new camera experience. It’s also said to bring a better sound experience than its competitors thanks to the two stereo speakers on the front face. On paper, it sounds delectable. However, things could change by the time we get a chance to review the phone. The Galaxy S4 will be hot on the HTC One’s trail and is expected to be a monster of a phone. Having said that, currently the HTC One is the best-specced handset in the market.
A couple of things could have been better. The overall design is very reminiscent of the BlackBerry Z10 and the two-button setup seems short-sighted and does present a learning curve for new users. There isn’t a whole lot missing from the spec sheets and indeed the One improves on a lot of specifications of the yet-to-be-launched Xperia Z. It already makes the Sony handset look outdated. Given a choice between the two, which one would you pick?
Published Date: Feb 20, 2013 05:21 pm | Updated Date: Feb 20, 2013 05:21 pm