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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

The battery life on the HTC One X was one of the big areas that saw it fail to nab the top spot in TechRadar's phone of 2012, so all eyes are on the battery capacity of the HTC One. With a massive upgrade to a 2300mAh battery, a more efficient processor onboard and general increased stability from Android 4.1.2, has HTC managed to erase its demons?

HTC One review

Where it was once a mixed bag, and it completely depends on what you intend to use the HTC One for. For instance, we took the phone off charge when it was fully juiced just before bed, and left it running all night.

Eight hours later it had dropped only 1%, and yet emails and Facebook updates had come through, despite the data connection going into a deep sleep when the phone is in such a state. At this point, we were impressed.

And while we were previously upset at the short-term power drain of the HTC One, things are improved now. Where once a session of game-playing, music listening and internet browsing over an hour would have destroyed the battery, it now managed to do all that with around 10% loss.

There are slight caveats to this: when watching a movie you'll need to fire the brightness of the phone right up, thanks to the screen being a little dark, and this is a real battery sapper still.

Similarly, using the camera and creating Zoe highlight reels is the other way to really impact battery life. If you do hours of camera business with the phone make sure you've got a power pack with you, as there's no removable battery to change over and make things easier.

We re-tested the phone using TechRadar's (non) patented battery test - although this is only one way of looking at how much battery a task will eat. Then again, with the screen being the biggest draw on power, it's a good way to look at things.

Placing all phones on flight mode, we ran a Full HD Nyan Gareth video for 90 minutes. We also brightness corrected the displays, so that each was comfortable as a viewing experience, rather than whacking them all up to full brightness.

HTC One review

The thing is that the HTC One is using older hardware now. A Full HD video managed to sap 33% of the battery, compared to the LG G2, using the newer processor, which managed to do it with less than 20% drain.

In real life usage, we found the HTC One to be acceptable. We played video and took photos on the Xperia Z, One and Galaxy S4, then playing music and browsing the internet intermittently.

Even with Stamina Mode turned on Sony's smartphone warrior (which is supposed to save battery life when the phone is not in use by switching off mobile data and stopping apps syncing) it still only lasted until 7PM.

The HTC One managed to get to nearly 9PM, but the Samsung Galaxy S4 kept right on chugging until nearly midnight, when it still had around 10% of its juice left.

On top of this, we put the HTC One through a lower-power tests, to mimic how some users, who don't get all movie-like and power-hungry all the time, might experience and there it was phenomenal.

With admittedly low amounts of screen time (less than 7% of the overall use for the period) we still managed to get close to 40 hours out of a single charge - and that was only to 98%. Turn on power saving all the time and you'll easily get two days or more out of the HTC One.

So if you're not one to constantly use your phone, then perhaps this is the handset for you. Just, as we said, be ready with a charger or battery block when you know you're going to be hammering it.

With the One, it's about how it copes doing the things it's designed for - so making videos, Zoe photos, watching HD movies and sharing them should be high on that list, and that's where the battery life is at its most vulnerable, but to an acceptable level.

In our like for like tests, the HTC One is now more than satisfactory when it comes to battery life, but remember you can't replace the battery to boost performance - so best get a portable battery charger pronto if you know you're going to be home late after a marathon movie session.

We're used to a better quality of CPU nowadays, so the HTC One really misses the efficiency of the Snapdragon 800 chip - it's OK, but the One can struggle to last the day with heavy use. It's worth noting that the power saving mode is better than before, so when things get stretched out it lasts a little longer.

And with the Android 4.2 update, you can now put the battery percentage in the notifications bar. Nice.

Connectivity

The HTC One comes with a huge range of connectivity on offer, with all the usual suspects present and correct. GPS is paired with GLONASS (the Russian system) to bring stunningly accurate mapping, and the Wi-Fi is all the way up to 802.11n, with dual channel bonding on offer too.

Bluetooth is offered at the low-power 4.0 standard, with apt-X codecs onboard for improved music clarity over Bluetooth (and it really does improve the quality of music streaming compared to a non-apt-X set) and NFC obviously makes an appearance to enable Android Beaming of your photos and videos.

HTC One review

HTC's MediaLink is available on the HTC One, so if you've got the little box, a simple three finger swipe on any app will connect you up to your TV, which in turn will see your One screen mirrored so you can play movies and games and whatnot on the go. It's not a great experience doing this, especially on the gaming front, as the response between finger and screen is pretty slow, and the picture fairly jumpy at times.

HTC One review

You've also got MHL available, so if you think the idea of streaming wirelessly is too advanced for you, then you can buy an MHL lead and do the same thing with a lovely connection.

HTC has included DLNA within the phone, so if there are any nearby media servers sharing content you can connect up to those and download content directly to your phone - look for the option in the menu settings in the Gallery to get an idea about what's on offer there.

And finally: HTC Sync is on offer, and has been combined with HTC Setup on the PC. The latter is more interesting, as it means you can set you sound profiles, wallpaper and ringtones from the web, when logged into your HTC account, and from there it will be beamed directly to your phone with the minimum of fuss.

On top of that you've got the fact you can drag and drop the content directly into the heart of the HTC One - if you don't want to fiddle about with the drivers you can just look through the folder system and dump your pictures, music and video in there without needing to worry about installing a million bits and pieces.

So overall, the HTC One is a very well-connected beast; no, it couldn't have you killed - we don't mean it in that way. But not matter what you fling at it, the One can interact with it in some way, and thanks to the uber-powerful innards, there's little that it can't do well, either.

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
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), Instant Messaging, Email, MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service)
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log, Call Waiting, Call Holding, Call Timer, Caller ID, Conference Call
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