HTC One Australian Hands-On: One To Watch

HTC has made some great Android handsets over the years, but what has it done for you lately? The last truly great Android-powered HTC to grace Australian shores was the One X last year, and doesn't HTC know it. It said as much at the Sydney launch of the newest flagship, the HTC One, and by-God is it the best-looking HTC ever.

At a Sydney launch event peppered by bands and booze, the HTC One made its glorious Australian debut. HTC had one of its execs up to talk about the new additions and the major focuses for the device, which are camera, content, entertainment and sound. Most of those are achieved from a redesigned HTC Sense UI, a fancy new camera and some interesting speakers.

The general rule is that Android skins are awful, and ought to be avoided at all costs. If you don't believe me, ask yourself why Nexus devices so popular? Don't you dare think it's just because of the price either.

When I heard that HTC had redesigned its Sense UI to make it more user-friendly then, I was getting my best groan ready. When I went hands-on with the One, however, the groan gave way to a smile, because it's the best Sense has ever looked.

HTC has done away with the icon-based shortcut-fest that was Sense 4 and implemented a feed-like system that lets you see all the content you want in a beautiful, almost Flipbord-esque fashion. Customise the feeds you want to see — including news, social and sport — and Sense scrapes the content and presents it on an infinitely scrolling home screen.

The news feeds are all localised, too, so you're not at the mercy of the region you're living in. Want South American news in the UK or American news in Australia? Sense 5 gives it to you. It's worth noting too that Gizmodo Australia, Lifehacker Australia and Kotaku Australia are all official partners, so you can turn your home screen into the best source of news there is.

The camera is only four-megapixels, but it's powered by ultrapixel technology which means that the pixels on the sensor are bigger, thus allowing for more detail from a smaller sensor. We discussed last week that the first photos are actually fairly impressive, but the maximum resolution of the sensor will make cropping photos difficult.

Update: we have taken the photos from the low-light test down after the EXIF data revealed that the flash had been fired in one of the images, therefore rendering the test irrelevant. Sorry for any confusion.

Window Test: Samsung Galaxy S III (left) vs. HTC One (right)

Images: Chris Jager/Lifehacker

As far as the design goes, it looks fabulous — but the curved back is a bit annoying — and as far as the screen goes, it's crisper than ever.

All in all, HTC looks to be doing something pretty special with the One.

We'll bring you our full review of the HTC One shortly.



    Look at the size of that thing. Sigh. It looks like a Galaxy Note.

    I guess there really isn't any options for people who want a packetable high end smart phone any more, well unless you're willing to get an iPhone I guess.

      If I remember correctly Samsung has a mini galaxy phone.

        yeah but its watered down to the point that its basically an S1 in a fancy new shell.

        It's not a high end phone though, basically the kind of smart phone you'd get a few years ago, back when they were that size anyway......

      The screen is 4.7", so it's no bigger than last year's crop of 720p phones (and it's easily the smallest of this year's crop of 5"+ 1080p phones).

        They're too big as well (I know, I've got one).

          I agree with you Cam, it's redicoulusly big. Even my N4 is quiet annoying when putting it in my pocket (and I don't even wear tight jeans)

          I think if they release same physical size as Galaxy SII but the whole thing is a screen, it's damn nice to have. I like my iPhone 4s size, but... so crap watching stuff or browsing the web on it compare to N4, but N4 physical size quiet annoying too.

          Me too (I have one as well). I think it's exactly the right size, personally - fits easily in my jeans pocket, and the touch keyboard doesn't take up way too much of the screen. Wouldn't want anything more than 5" though, or less than 4.3".

          I do have large hands, but my wife has one the same size, and she also thinks it's just right. As do pretty much all the half-dozen or so of my friends who also have 4.7"-4.8" phones. In fact, pretty much the only ones who don't like having large-screen phones are those with iPhones. I guess we all tend to just buy the size we like, strangely enough. Yourself excepted :-)

            just know that if apple came out with a 4.5" iphone, all the iphone users would buy it and love it and hate anything that is smaller or bigger than it.

    Why would you not talk about the battery life? This is one of the most absolute crucial features of wireless devices.

      We’ll bring you our full review of the HTC One shortly.

    low light test is insane. Almost as if you used a flash

      According to the exif data, they did.

        Shhh they don't want you to know that and probably didn't know it existed.

        You're right - it does show the flash was set to auto, and it fired.

        Well that pretty much blows Lifehacker/Chris Jager's credibility out the window...

          Hey folks,
          Apologies for the issues with the camera test. We've since taken a look at the image and it's clear the flash did fire. I didn't take the photo myself but that's still no excuse for me missing it. This one slipped through.

          The photos have been taken down. In the meantime, we'll get our hands on an HTC One review unit -- like we were going to anyway -- and do a full camera test between the One, the Lumia 920, the Galaxy S III and the iPhone 5.

          Thanks for pointing this one out to us folks. Won't happen again.


    Blinkfeed would be the first thing I removed. What a useless POS. And those taskbar icons are putrid. I'm only getting the One if I can install a fully working CM10.x on it.

    Still not sure why they decided to move the Home button from the centre and replace it with a seemingly useless logo. I mean, Samsung are bad enough maintaining their damn physical button but it at least has its uses. Also, HTC seem adamant on keeping the power button the top but at least it seems easier to press by protruding out, though reaching it with smaller hands like mine will be a different matter.

    Chances are though like I've said in previous posts, all eyes on Samsung and their S IV. For me, it's either that if they finally use a more sturdy feeling material (yes their plastics are strong and whatnot, but it's still plastic >>) or Xperia Z, which I'm tempted to just pre-order and be done with it.

    Last edited 25/02/13 11:42 pm

    Have to have something like a clowns pocket to fit that in ;)


    Last edited 26/02/13 2:28 am

    Looks like an amazing phone, for those complaining about the size be patient htc will bring a smaller verion out soon. there are already leaks HTC M4....

    the one X was an awesome phone...cant wait to see what this thing does!

    Sadly I think its not actually big enough for me though...after using the note 2 for 4 months now I cant go back to anything smaller than 5"

    Looks stunning. Apple and Samsung should be worried.

    Its the most beautiful phone i have ever seen. All the eviews are fantastic. The fact that it has a sleek metal casing not that cheap plastic of samsung . Just can not wait for it to come out. I so will be dumping my SG111 into the bin for this ONE.

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