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Monday, April 8, 2013

HTC One review


HTC returns with a sleek aluminum design, re-imagined software and a bold new camera experience

We’re all out of poetic ways to describe HTC’s current situation. A frustrating 2012 saw some of the year’s best mobile hardware being met with declining sales and market presence for the Taiwanese manufacturer. Once the leader of the Android pack,  HTC is increasingly seen as an also-ran.

That, in part, was down to the confused marketing strategy around last year’s HTC One series. The One X and One S were soon joined by Ones V, VX, XL, XT, XC, SU, SV, SC, and X+, further diluting the value of an already watery brand.
In 2013, however, there is only one One. The new HTC One is, as the name suggests, the singular focus of HTC’s high-end efforts. The company’s best build quality, software, screen and optics are to be brought to bear in a “kitchen sink” product that aims to leave no holds barred.
It’s also a device that seeks to achieve differentiation at every point on the spec sheet. As other smartphones are increasingly faceless, monolithic black slabs, HTC sandwiches its screen between two bassy front-facing speakers. BoomSound. As competitors crank out 13-megapixel shooters, HTC bucks the trend with a much lower megapixel count, but larger pixels and improved optics. UltraPixels. Add to that a new way to shoot and share images and video. Zoe Share. Plus, a new home screen experience that brings the world to you. BlinkFeed.
And let’s not forget how rare it is to come across a decent aluminum smartphone these days.
If HTC is to recover, it’ll be through a combination of intelligent marketing and great products. We can’t review the former, but you can bet we’re going to get stuck into the latter. In fact, we’ll do it right after the break, in our definitive review of the new HTC One.
The Good
Stunning design, and some of the best build quality we’ve seen in an Android smartphone. Near-perfect screen with excellent colors and viewing angles. Incredibly speedy performance, completely lag-free interface and an attractive, streamlined Sense UI. Excellent audio quality from the front speakers (and bundled earbuds). The “UltraPixel” camera performs really well in low light ...
The Bad
… but the the overall camera experience doesn't quite live up to HTC’s hype. Certain features like “Video Highlights” could be better implemented. The wonky button setup takes some getting used to. BlinkFeed is useful but underdeveloped.
Conclusion
The HTC One is an exquisite piece of design and engineering. From the hardware to the software, HTC’s new handset incorporates some of the very best design work in the industry. If there’s something to be disappointed about, it might be the much-vaunted “UltraPixel” camera. Which is not to say it’s bad per se -- in fact, it’s pretty good. But it’s a long way off being the silver bullet to cure all your mobile photography woes, and though its low-light performance is fantastic, it still lags behind the competition in some other areas.
In spite of this, is it HTC’s best phone yet? Without question. And on balance, is it the best Android phone you can buy? For the moment, absolutely.

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