TODO alt text

HTC One review

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

HTC has been hard at work redesigning Sense once more, and the HTC One is the first phone to bear the fruits of that labour. Sense 5 (as it's colloquially, if not officially, called) is another step forward in the Android overlay story, but we think this is the biggest yet from HTC.

It's also been upgraded to Sense 5.5 with the launch of Android 4.3 on the One, which brings a huge set of new functionality once more.

We're talking a whole new button layout, a new grid for the menu icons, geometric patterns replacing the over-complicated widgets of old; in short, it's simple, stark and we really like it.

HTC One review

There's no doubt that it's still a little heavy on the old processor - a quick trip to the battery usage settings will confirm that - but what HTC has done is bring the notion of Android 4.3 to a wider audience by, well, making it less Android-y.

The option to add widgets and such has been brushed to the side to some degree, with BlinkFeed taking centre stage (and you can read our bigger rundown of BlinkFeed on its own, separate, section).

Instead of the home button taking you to your collection of homescreens, BlinkFeed will pop up, in all its Windows Phone-like glory by default.

With the Android 4.3 update you can finally change the home screen to the one you want - perfect for when you don't want to look at the dizzying list of live tiles, but it can cause you to forget Blinkfeed is there at times.

However if you are using Blinkfeed as the default home action it only takes a swipe to the right to access the homescreens as you know them from Android of old, although you get a miserly five home screens to customise.

And customising them isn't easy - you either have to long press on the home screen and choose the apps that way, or drag them from the menu via the shortcut icon at the top. More convoluted than on other Android phones, that's for sure.

But enough of that - how does the interface work under the finger? In short, blazingly well, as you'd expect from a phone rocking a quad-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor. Add to that 2GB of RAM and you've got more than enough grunt. It's bettered by a good few devices on the market now, (the LG G2 wipes the floor with it) but it still does enough to zip by.

From opening and closing apps to browsing multiple tabs on the internet, there's nothing that can slow down the HTC One, and you'll really appreciate that in day to day life.

HTC One review

You can also choose from a number of lockscreen types, be it productivity for emails, calendar entries or messages - and a swipe upwards while holding said missive will launch it directly too.

It's a little sad that we've lost the HTC ring that we grew to love so quickly, but the geometric simplicity of Sense 5 is enough to calm the urges to run back to a Sensation.

You can select a range of pictures to wander past your eyes, have some tunes on offer or simply have no lockscreen at all if you're convinced nobody is in there trying to get at all your precious smartphone data stored on the HTC One - and we're fans of the latter, as lockscreens are annoying if you have no need for them.

Once you're in and past BlinkFeed you can select whether to stick with the frankly under-selling 3x4 grid of apps ('People now want simplicity in an Android phone' say HTC rather unconvincingly.) If you want to have the right amount of apps, edit that instantly to show 20 on the screen at once, and you can order them in a number of ways too.

Widgets aren't locked away in the menu like on many other Android phones either, as all it takes is a long-press on any home screen and you're greeted with all the widgets on offer - which is admittedly rather few.

HTC One review

The dock at the bottom of the phone pervades through the homescreen and menu options, which means you can always launch the camera or internet browser from anywhere on the main screens - you can customise this with a long press, so if you only want the entire range of Angry Birds games at your fingertips, you can make that happen.

It's not obvious how this works if you want to change it - you'll have to be in the apps menu to do so. While you're there, you can also hide apps too, which is neat if you're stuck with a phone rammed with bloatware.

Compared to something like the Samsung Galaxy S4 the HTC One is a little under-powered when it comes to the interface, but where Samsung is all about the functionality HTC is about style and minimalism.

HTC one review

However, with the 4.2 update you can pull down with two fingers and get access to said settings, as per the update from Google. It does take a few goes to remember that this is the way to get to settings, but it's a nice touch.

And with Android 4.3, you get even more choice, such as the Do Not Disturb icon that lets you decide when you want people to contact you.

The alarm clock is now more powerful too - sadly not with better ringtones, but in that if the phone is turned off the alarm will still trigger but then turn right back off when you slam your fist onto it to make the morning go away.

You can also now add widgets to the lock screen thanks to the Android 4.3 update - it's not something you'll use often as the scroll to the right to find them isn't intuitive, but if you need a quick calculator or similar it's useful. We wish flashlight was an option here.

HTC One review

The interface on the HTC One is simple - really simple. It doesn't have a huge amount of peeking to see messages (BlackBerry, take note) nor does it do much more than telling you the time or the weather.

But it does all this in a way that makes you feel like you're never missing anything and getting a stylish experience to boot that isn't like anything else on the market.

The closest we can equate it to is the LG Prada 3.0 phone's interface - and given that was designed by a fashion house, we'll call that pretty high praise indeed, if we don't say so ourselves.

Thanks to Droider.eu for spotting some of the extra changes in the HTC One Android 4.3 update

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