HTC One Hands-On: This Is How You're Supposed To Build A Phone

It's funny. For as much as Android phones have been known as ground zero for the spec wars for years now, they might finally be at a breaking point. Big screens, fast processors, 1080p everything -- what matters now is thoughtfulness and execution. At a glance, HTC's One is on the money.

The aluminium body is damn beautiful. It's got a curve to its back piece, but its edges have more of a hard line to them than the One X+ and One X. It's more monochromatic too, with just a small beats logo on the bottom back. It's lovely, light (considering there was a gigantic DON'T STEAL THIS lock on the back of the phone we touched) and altogether pleasant.

The screen is gorgeous, but you knew it would be since the HTC One X's screen was basically the best phone screen available. The blacks on the new One, however, show a little light leakage around the edges of the screen. I'm not sure you'll notice them without specifically looking for them, but that's an imperfection not present on some other top-tier displays.

The new HTC Sense, BlinkFeed, is a nice design. Up close, it's actually a little less Windows Phone-y that it seems at first glanc. It's more like an RSS feed with just content on the tiles. You sort of wish the other features of Windows Phone, like messaging, email and weather widgets, were present, but it's still a slick interface. The question is do people want their news and information in their face when they open their phone? Or would they rather have that off to the side so that functions are front and centre?

One thing to note is that there are only two haptic buttons on the phone -- the home button, which is on the right side, and the back button. A non-centred home button will take some getting used to for some folks, but it's not all that awkward and might be a benefit since it's more accessible from the side. Of course, it will also be a pain in the butt to reach from the other side. Multitasking is accessed by double-tapping the home button.

The new Sense is also fluid, with the app drawer accessed from a software button in the centre of the screen. Icons can be arranged either by alphabetical order, most recently used or a custom arrangement. The traditional home screen for Android is accessed by a swipe to the right, and you can longpress to add widgets directly from there (they're not in the app drawer). It's all very smooth (built on Android 4.1 -- staying current with Android has always been a huge problem for HTC), and looks nice, but its general aesthetic and especially its icon design still look a little sloppy compared to default Android.

The camera was pretty fast from what we saw. It blurred when taking a photo of a man doing a flip off a pillar in a dark room (don't ask), but you could make out that it was a human being, and that's at the upward end of what you're going to be asking your camera to do. The image also not grainy at all, which was pretty impressive given the lighting circumstances.

Pictures: Nick Stango



    I hate to sound like a typical consumer, but looking at that first glance makes me see HTC becoming the next top tier phone maker that rivals up there with Samsung and Apple. It looks so smooth, clean and sharp. Though the design itself is a clear ripoff of the iPhone 5, but none the less is super sexy. I could say the same thing about car makers as well, humans like to mimic each other.

      Though the design itself is a clear ripoff of the iPhone 5


        If you turn the iPhone 5 around, it's got the two strips at the top and bottom. Kinda looks like the front of the HTC. Also the black aluminium looks a bit similar I guess.

        I have the iPhone 5, but I definitely think this is the best looking Android around, and even on looks alone I'd get it if I didn't have my current phone

        I guess I can see the similarity. It's black, it's thin and in the white model you can see the sensors in it as clearly as in the iPhone, not so much the black designs being similar. Has a 3.5mm jack, Tracks in the rear of the phone. But as an apple iPhone 5 user, I gotta say this phone has merit for all of the differences it has as well. That and it's specs are better than iPhone 5, build quality a let down. Nice looking bit of kit though. I'd have to second the BlackBerry Z10 comment below.

      Well, by saying that this is a rip off, of the iPhone 5, you certainly did make yourself sound like a typical consumer.

      In any case, when Nokia show their new phones later this month, it is going to rock your world.

      Looks more like the BlackBerry Z10 than the iphone... but then the Z10 looks a lot like the iphone.... :) I think I will stick with the Sony Xperia Z

    Yeahhhhhhh that looks PURTY. If the spec's are roughly equivalent to the SGS4 when it is announced (most importantly, the battery life), then I'd almost certainly pick one of these up.

    Is there an option to have the customisable screen your home instead of the RSS feed screen? I have to have my Doom Live wallpaper.

    Also, that screen back light leakage stands out like the sun!! I hope it gets fixed before release.

    Last edited 20/02/13 9:31 am

      Yeah that's just their new launcher. You can get plenty of custom ones on the play store that are excellent.

      as an owner of the One XL I'm sure you can get around the HTC home screens by installing an alternate launcher (if HTC don't give the option to not use the RSS homescreen).

    can I get it with WP8.....

      Yes, when Nokia release their new phones this month.

    Looks awful actually. But I guess people just get excited about new products.

    It's another HTC. Having had 2 of them, I can say that they have always sucked at build quality. Sounds like it's still a problem.

    The reviewer says "this is how you're supposed to build a phone", then comments on the screen light bleed, blurry action shots in the camera, old version of Android and sloppy icon design compared with stock for starters. If that's how you're supposed to build a phone, I'll stick with a Sammy, thanks!

    Yeah right now ball is in Samsung's court, though I suspect unless they go away from their tried and true plastics I'll be grabbing an xperia z next month.

    EDIT: and just to provide at least one line of reasoning: while the One looks like a gorgeous phone in its own right, the hard corners of the Xperia Z makes it more captivating for me personally. Then there's the problem of HTC bizarrely putting home on the right, and placing a useless logo in the middle...

    Last edited 20/02/13 1:55 pm

    So am I the only person who thinks this phone looks horrendously ugly?

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