After weeks of rumours including multiple leaks that turned out to be correct, HTC has today unveiled its latest flagship smartphone for 2013, the HTC One. It features new camera technology the company calls 'UltraPixel' and comes with a revamped, tile-based home screen dubbed 'BlinkFeed'.
The HTC One has a full metal body with what the company calls a "zero gap" construction, meaning there's no visible gaps or slits in the case design. While the front is completely flat, the back of the device is curved and the edges taper inwards in order to try and provide better ergonomics. The handset is 9.3mm thin and weighs 143g.
One of the most distinctive design features of the HTC One is the inclusion of dual-stereo speakers that sit above and below the display. The speakers and audio system, which the company has trademarked the rather tacky 'BoomSound' name, promise louder and clearer sound and include integrated amplifiers. HTC says the speakers will push out up to 93 decibels of sound, which is significantly more than most other smartphones. Another nifty feature is a built-in IR sensor, which allows the HTC One to act as a universal remote controls for devices around your home.
The HTC One has a 4.7in, super LCD 3 display with a full HD resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. The display is optically bonded to the screen in order to minimise the space between layers. The screen has a pixel density of 468ppi, making it the highest on the market. Oddly, HTC has only included two capacitive shortcut buttons below the screen, a back button on the left and a home button on the right. Double tapping the home button will open the multitasking menu and a longer press will open the Google Now assistant.
The HTC One has all the specifications you'd expect from a top-end smartphone in 2013. It's powered by a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, has either 32GB or 64GB of internal memory and comes with 2GB of RAM. Unfortunately, hardened Android users will be disappointed to learn about the lack of microSD card slot, which means you can't expand the memory.
The real story isn't about specifications, however. HTC is clearly betting on two new features in a bid to win over consumers. The first is the phone's camera, a 4-megapixel sensor dubbed the 'UltraPixel' camera. The custom image sensor uses enlarged pixels that the company says can absorb up to three times more light than those inside "most leading 13-megapixel phone cameras."
HTC promises that the use of UltraPixels make for an improvement in low-light performance and there's also optical image stabilization (OIS) and an f2.0 aperture, the largest available on a smartphone camera. In addition, the 2.1-megapixel front facing camera uses an ultra-wide angle lens, the same seen on the HTC Windows Phone 8X.
The UltraPixel sensor allows HTC to introduce a new media called "Zoe". It enables users to capture up to 20 photos and a three second video simultaneously. The feature looks similar to Twitter's Vine videos or the Cinemagraphs used on the Nokia Lumia 920 but you can only share the files through YouTube and Facebook, or on HTC's servers for a limit of 180 days.
The second distinctive feature of the One is a redesigned home screen called 'BlinkFeed', which is part of the latest version of HTC's Sense UI. It looks like a cross between Windows Phone 8 and the Flipboard media aggregation app and pulls in content from a variety of pre-selected sources including your social media accounts.
The HTC One will initially ship with the 4.1.2 Jelly Bean version of Android but there's been no word of when an update to the latest 4.2 version will be available. The phone comes with a large 2300mAh battery, features NFC connectivity and will be 4G compatible in Australia on the 1800MHz network band.
There's no word yet on an official Australian release date or pricing, but the HTC One is expected to be available Down Under sometime in March.
A promotional video of the HTC One can be viewed below.