HTC One: The Great White Hype Is Here

Carved out of a solid block of aluminium, HTC's great white hype is the oft-leaked One aka M7. It's what the company is touting as its new flagship device today in New York. And in typical HTC style, the One has one or two new software features to help differentiate itself from the rest.

It has what you'd expect from a brand new smartphone: 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 proc, 32GB to 64GB of onboard storage, 2GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, LTE and a 2300mAh battery. The screen is a whopping 4.7 inches with a 468ppi 1080p display. But all of that is a snooze when you find out that it's running Android 4.1.2 wrapped in a newer version of HTC's Sense. Luckily, the One has some more interesting features in the bag.

Like the Nexus One before it, the One is shaved out of a solid block of aluminum, and I'm told it takes roughly 200 minutes to carve out each unibody casing. It looks quite hefty, like Lumia 920, but is surprisingly light and cold to the touch. It weighs 143 grams and the tapered backside made it easier to handle too. Unlike some of HTC's previous phones, the One feels like a premium device.

The most interesting thing about the One is its 4-megapixel camera. Yeah, you read that correctly. Well, according to HTC's marketing folks, it isn't megapixels but UltraPixels with each allowing 300 per cent more light. HTC's demos show its larger pixels performing really, really impressively in low light, but we'll reserve judgement until we put it through its paces.

In theory, HTC is right — megapixels don't really matter. A dedicated ImageChip 2 helps boost the prowess of the f2.0 lens, which claims to simulate a normal 28mm lens. I had a few minutes with the device last week, and picture quality seemed to be pretty good. But who can really tell when you're looking at images on the device itself. We don't have all the details about how the tech works, but it does seem pretty reminiscent of Sigma's "46-megapixel" sensor, which is really three 15.4-megapixel sensors laid on top of each other — one each for red, green and blue.

Another notable camera feature is Smart Flash, which automatically picks from five different flash settings depending on the distance from the subject. And if HDR is your thing, the One does that too, including video.

The most visible new feature is a redesigned home page for your phone that HTC calls BlinkFeed. Rather than a customised home screen that you'd normally find on an Android device, you have a stream of blips and bites from the web in addition to your local weather and the time. You can opt into a variety of content feeds, including Twitter, sports news from ESPN, world news, tech news and the like. You might like it, you might not.

On top of the UltraPixels is another new feature called HTC Zoe and Zoe Share. With Zoe turned on in camera settings, you can shoot a three-second video clip (Mpeg) and extract just about any frame you want for that picture-perfect Kodak moment. You can also upload and share the clip through Zoe Share, which generates a shareable link that directs folks to an HTML5 page. I can't tell if it's a Vine-like play or what, but it's there if you're into that sort of thing.

Zoe Highlight is another new feature that compiles and edits together images, Zoe images and videos based on a number of factors, like location, time, date and some image recognition that Zoe does in the background. It does it automatically, since HTC kinda smartly realised that you're not going to do that on your own. What you get is a reel overlaid with some music and a filter effect that HTC hopes you'll share with your friends and family. There are something like six different themes that you can choose from. It's pretty cheesy but I'm sure some folks will like it.

On the audio end, BoomSound is a new enhancer that makes the speakers louder and clearer than previous models, according to HTC. It can also display lyrics while you're playing songs, in real time, for impromptu karaoke that you'll use maybe like once or twice when you first get your phone (but it's still pretty cool). Dual-mic HDR recording built-in allows mics to record relevant audio on the fly. It captures a broader spectrum of sound and evaluates and differentiates the signals.

And for the TV buffs, there's HTC Sense TV, which effectively turns the One into a remote for your TV and set-top box. Tucked inside the power button is a tiny IR sensor, which I thought was pretty clever from a design standpoint. Anyway, you can connect to one of 10 different TV/set-top box combinations and browse local listings thanks to Peel.

Look for the One to be out late March in 185 different countries. We'll have more details on Australian availability and pricing soon.


Comments

    sooooo, their killer feature is a ripped off version of the 920's. plus it runs old android. plus HTC seems to be telling you that you need the extra 6000mah battery to last the day. next time HTC, next time.

      The extra 6000mah battery? Did I miss something here?

      old android??? it runs jellybean...granted it's version 4.1.2 but the android phones coming out in the next couple of months will have 4.1.2 out of the box (upgradeable to 4.2.2). The Nexus phones/tablets get updated first then the thrid parties.

      The HTC looks nice, I'm suprised that it's not running a Tegra chipset (like in the One X)..but the only thing that HTC needs to improve is the speed of software updates. Both HTC and Sony have been notoriously slow when it comes to software updates

        no phones have been released with a tegra 4 chipset yet. and would you really want them to use tegra 3?

        The Tegra chipset such as in my htc one x isn't compatible with LTE radios. Nvidia were working on this. The HTC One is LTE compatible and was aimed to be as such Htc had to use a different chipset, being that htc has had prior relations with qualcomm is actually comes as no surprise that they used a proven supplier and chip

    Solid device by HTC. Can't say the design is that appealing or different compared with the wave of Android phones. But typical spec bump, good camera which should challenge the 920's, super sharp screen and dual speakers should please the geeks and upgraders. Hope it sells well for HTC, but something tells me people might be waiting for the Galaxy S IV rumoured to be unveiled next month

      it's like 2012 again.. people waited for the S III when the One X came out..

        at least this time around there is a little bit more of competition

          Only if the build quality is good and there isn't any quality control issues like the One X had.
          Will definitely think about trading my One X in if the reviews in a month or two are still solid. Just things light like leakage, dust behind the screen and eventual wifi issues are what I'll be judging it on.

    After switching from my old HTC Desire HD to a Samsung Note 2 I actually prefer the cheaper plastic feel of the Note because it grips on my fingers, the Desire HD was so damn slippery!

    great design, other than the gimmicky camera and dual speakers.. it definately beats z10 but the galaxy s4 is the one to wait for.. Multiwindow is the best!!!!

    So specwise, how is it better than the s3? Given that the s4 is about to be released, I somehow doubt this has what it takes...

      Engadget tested Qualcomm's development tablet which runs the same cpu, gpu and ram as the HTC one. They tested it directly against the samsung S3.

      They found that the qualcomm annihilated the samsung S3 in every benchmark test. And as it stands, there has been no mobile chipset released that is any faster.

    I have HTC desire HD. I am not complaining about build quality or features; I am complaining about poor battery life, poor software updates track record, poor GPS reception, and poor speaker quality.

      mate had the same phone.. his bluetooth died

        He should clean his teeth more often and make regular visits to a dentist.

        In all seriousness, I think this phone looks and sounds amazing. It beats the crap out of the S3 design wise, and no doubt the s4 too. Samsung make ugly phones. Show me one example that isnt ugly.

    I've always loved HTC phones even though i generally sell them after a month or 2 (bar the desire HD, had that for a almost 6 months)

    If battery life is good i'll definitely be trying this one out.

    So if a gigantic meteorite hits this planet, WHO gives a shit, we will all be matter to be dispersed into the universe and maybe a better planet will evolve without ethnic & religious bigotry, that is the big one !!!!!!!

    What's not to like about this phone, quality build, cutting edge hardware, great open source software at a fair price.
    My beef is that it doesn't come in the 8x blue or brushed metalic green.
    The Sony xperia Z & ZL, exceptional superphones in there own right.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the Samsung S4 will use the same Qualcomm 600 quad core processor, but the materials and build quality......?

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