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Editor's Choice

HTC One review

Ultrapixels, Zoes, Blinkfeed and more: HTC is going all out

Our Verdict

The Galaxy S4 is sleeker, the iPhone is, well, Apple-ier, and the Nexus 5 is cheaper. But for the overall package of smartphone design and functionality, the HTC One stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Product features

  • Rear Camera Resolution : 4 Megapixel
  • Screen Resolution : 1920 x 1080
  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Great design
  • Sleek Sense
  • Innovative camera

Against

  • No memory card slot
  • Zoes fill up storage
  • Alarm too simple

Android 4.4 is on its way to the HTC One in the UK - albeit a little later than expected after some issues caused it to be rolled back by HTC. We're awaiting the software and will update the review as soon as we can!

After months on sale, the HTC One is still our top pick of the smartphones available at the moment - and with all new software, it's now even better.

While it may not have been borne out in sales, the One is definitely the phone that the likes of Samsung and Apple have been aspiring to.

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It's got a full HD screen crammed into 4.7-inches, which brings a 468ppi – well above what's needed for the eye to discern, and it does definitely bring sumptuous sharpness throughout the use of the phone.

On top of that there's a good CPU and RAM combo, a more-than-enough 32GB of storage and top-end Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G / 4G connections, all topped off by a completely re-imagined version of HTC Sense. What's not to like?

It's at the sharp end of the smartphone price scale, although can be had for around £34 per month on a two year deal in the UK, which isn't too bad at all compared to the competition. On a SIM free deal, it's still not too bad: £480 for the phone without having to monkey about with a network.

Given the One is now nearly a year on sale, the price is a little high for our tastes - there are better specified, if not designed, phones on the market, and be warned that its successor is likely to drop in the next few months.

The design of the HTC One is something that you simply have to experience in the hand though. Where those that pick up the Samsung Galaxy S4 will go ' Oh, it's a bit plastic, isn't it? But ooh, it's quite light' and those who encounter the iPhone 5S will, to a person, say 'Ooh, it's very light isn't it? You don't expect it to be that light!' those that try the HTC One will simply intone: 'Oh, that's really nice. Really, really nice.'

HTC One review

And do you know why? Simple: the HTC One is one of the best-designed phones on the planet. Not content with inventing a new machining process to allow the body to be all aluminium, the Taiwanese firm has extended the screen to the edges of the chassis further than ever before, meaning you're getting a 4.7-inch Full HD display without the additional heft you'd probably expect.

It's even thinner than its predecessor, the HTC One X (we know, that naming strategy leaves a lot to be desired) and as such slides nicely in the pocket.

It's not light either, weighing more than most of the competition, but rather than feeling overweight, combined with the metallic chassis is oozes a premium build. Samsung is probably hoping not a lot of people hold this phone side-by-side with the Galaxy S4 as otherwise the buying choice is going to be a lot more of a worry for the Koreans.

HTC One review

On top of that, there's a whole host of little design wins that delight when you first try the HTC One. For instance, the machined holes that allow sound toe emanate from the dual front-facing speakers (can you say BOOMSOUND?) looks amazing, and the lines on the back of the phone give a nice textured movement to things, helping to break up the constant greyness of the aluminium.

You could argue that straight on it looks far too much like either an iPhone 5, with its chamfered edges, or a BlackBerry Z10 front on, and you'd have a good point as this phone doesn't reinvent the rectangle-with-rounded-edges formula that we're so used to, but in the hand the curved back brings a whole new dimension to things.

HTC One review

There's a zero-gap construction at work here as well, which means that you won't find any gaping distance, holes or light leakages to make you feel like you've not spent your hard-earned cash on something wonderful.

HTC One review

The volume control on the right-hand side of the phone is in the same dazzling metal, and contrasts nicely with the rubber/plastic that makes up the sides. Our sample actually showed a fair amount of wiggle in this area, and slightly detracted from the overall premium feel. However, later models have deleted this problem, so chances are you won't notice it either.

The power button resides on the top, and doubles as the infra-red blaster - however, this is one of the poorer points as it doesn't have a whole lot of travel.

HTC One review

Similarly, the placement of this button, even on a phone that's been shrunk down while accommodating a larger screen, is still a bit inconvenient. We had to shuffle the phone around in the palm to turn it on and off on many occasions, and a lot of the time we couldn't use our thumb to hit the whole of the screen without jiggling the phone up and down.

That's another problem with the design: it's pretty slippery thanks to the metallic chassis. We thankfully only ever suffered two serious drops when we were about a foot off the carpet (basically scrabbling for it to turn off the alarm in the morning) and a more alarming one stepping out of a cab, but there have been a few near misses when trying to manoeuvre around the screen.

If only that power button was on the side (as it is on the HTC One Max), or a physical home button unlocked the phone, this whole issue would be negated for a large part.

HTC One review

But as we mentioned, HTC has wandered away from the physical buttons - where once it put a trackpad in the Nexus One, now it's stripped the capacitive buttons down from three to two, with the multi-tasking option going the way of the dodo. You can still get the same functionality by double tapping the home button, but it's not the same.

Overall though, you can guess we're impressed with the construction and design of the HTC One. We're not even looking at final hardware here - although we appear to have got lucky with our sample, as there are few design flaws in sight - so the chances of metallic chipping ('because that's just what it does....' OK, Apple) are slight to say the least - providing you don't fling it on tarmac. Seriously, we tried that... don't do it.

HTC One review

We thought we'd scuffed it so many times during our test, but each time it was simply a slight amount of dirt or dust that wiped right off. Tick from TechRadar on the design front, HTC.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotNo
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, HSPA+
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyOne
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 800, LTE 1800, LTE 2600
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution4 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Screen Size11.9 cm (4.7")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)143 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), Instant Messaging, Email, MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service)
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density468 ppi
Height137.4 mm
Width68.2 mm
Depth9.3 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameOne Smartphone
Processor Speed1.70 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Product LineOne
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number99HTT009-00
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Marketing InformationWith a sleek aluminum body, a live home screen that streams all of your favorite content, a photo gallery that comes to life, and dual frontal stereo speakers, the New HTC One is ready to reshape your smartphone experience.

HTC Zoe™ Your photo gallery brought to life.
Capturing a moment takes more than one image. That's why the new HTC One includes the HTC UltraPixel Camera. Press the shutter and the HTC One automatically captures up to 20 photos and a 3-second video-a picture that's alive. So your entire photo album becomes a living, breathing gallery.

HTC BoomSound™ Sharper, richer, louder.
On the average smartphone, sharing music or a video with friends is a frustrating experience. A tiny speaker will tame even the most ferocious track. But the new HTC One's BoomSound™ changes all that. Dual frontal stereo speakers powered by built-in amplifiers deliver bigger sound with less distortion and more detail.

HTC BlinkFeed™ Your live home screen.
With HTC BlinkFeed™, simply pick the social networks, news and feeds you want to stay updated on and they'll all stream live to your home screen. The pulse of your world is in the palm of your hand.

Refined design. Rugged build. Inspired results.
Full metal body. Zero gap construction. And tapered edges that offer a slim but satisfying grip. The new HTC One is phone design that doesn't compromise.

Your interactive TV guide.
Tired of remotes taking up valuable couch space? The new HTC One is ready to help you channel surf. With Sense TV, all it takes is a few simple steps and you'll be able to select TV channels, access program guides, adjust audio and more with your HTC One. Find your favorite shows, and it will notify you when they're on. Take control of your TV experience with your phone.

Sense Voice: Call clarity-even in a crowd.
The world doesn't include a volume knob. So talking on the phone in any loud, crowded environment can be a challenge. The new HTC One solves that problem with Sense Voice. It includes dual built-in microphones that detect loud ambient noise and will then dynamically boost the in-call voice to compensate. Hurrah for clarity.

Get 25 GB of Dropbox space free for two years*
With Dropbox integrated into HTC Sense, you can automatically save all your photos and videos to Dropbox - and access and share all your pictures directly from the Gallery. Dropbox also makes it easy to edit and share files while you are on the go, so you never have to email yourself a document again. To discover all that Dropbox can do, sign-up or log-in to Dropbox on your HTC phone and receive 25 GB of Dropbox space free for two years.
Limited Warranty1 Year