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.