HTC One Android phone
The HTC One is one of the best designed phones we've ever used but it has a few annoying flaws
- Excellent hardware design
- Fast and smooth performance
- Outstanding screen
- Below average battery life
- Camera not spectacular
- Odd button layout
The HTC One is one of the best designed phones we've ever used. It has an outstanding display and offers fast and smooth performance. However, its battery life is below average, its new camera technology isn't a revolution and the tile-based 'BlinkFeed' home screen won't suit all users.
Price$ 768.00 (AUD)
The HTC One is one of the best designed phones we've ever used, has an outstanding display and its battery life is slightly improved over previous models. However, the One's new camera technology isn't a revolution and the tile-based 'BlinkFeed' home screen won't suit all users.
Stunning hardware, gorgeous display
The fit and finish is among the best we've seen on any smartphone.
HTC has generally always built excellent quality hardware and the One is no exception. Although it's a large phone, the One feels relatively comfortable to hold and the fit and finish is among the best we've seen on any smartphone. We were particularly impressed with the bevelled edges, which appear to use a similar machining technique to Apple's iPhone 5, along with the "zero gap" construction. The back of the handset curves in towards the edges and the smooth finish doesn't easily scratch or mark.
There are a few annoyances, however. The top-mounted power/lock screen button, which doubles as an Infrared port, is positioned too far to the left. This makes it very awkward to press when using the phone single-handedly. The volume rocker on the right side sits flush with the edge of the phone, so tactility isn't the best. Finally, the Beats Audio logo on the back wore off after just a week of use and the white plastic around the edge of the phone shows up dirt after just a few days.
The design of the HTC One means there's no room for a microSD card slot, so users can't expand the 32GB of internal memory. The built-in battery isn't removable either, which may annoy hardened Android users. HTC's capacitive button layout is also an issue, even if it's a minor one. The new layout sees a back key on the left and a home key on the right below the display.
There's no multitasking button on the HTC One, so this menu is accessible by double tapping on the home button. A long press on the home button launches Google Now. The layout becomes second nature after a few days but does require a learning curve if you're coming from another Android phone.
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. Called 'BoomSound', HTC says the speakers will pump out up to 93 decibels of sound. In other words, they're loud. Despite the fact they're still phone speakers, they are certainly effective and are the best smartphone speakers we've tested. They even better most tablets on the market. We also love the neatly hidden notification LED, which sits towards the left of the top speaker.
We can't stress just how impressive the HTC One's display is.
All in all, the HTC One feels like an exceptionally built smartphone but it does have a few annoying issues. It screams premium and almost every person we showed it to commented favourably on its look and feel.
We can't stress just how impressive the HTC One's 4.7in display is. It offers bright, vibrant colours, exceptional viewing angles and deep blacks. The full HD screen has a pixel density of 468ppi, making it one of the highest on the market. Text is super crisp and clear and there's no way to distinguish individual pixels on the screen unless you get a magnifying glass out. Our only complaint is that sunlight legibility isn't the best.
New Sense makes more sense than ever
We've long been critical of HTC's bloated software overlays but its latest attempt is a step in the right direction. The One runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean but is skinned with "New Sense". Unlike many previous HTC phones, the software doesn't slow down or hinder performance of the One. We also liked most of the new fonts, graphics and animations, save for a few ugly app icons that have been changed for no apparent reason.
HTC's new Sense is a step in the right direction.
Sense could still use some improvement when it comes to ease of use, particularly for those who haven't used an Android device before. Certain apps, including people and phone, offer more than one way of changing settings and accessing certain functions, whether it's tapping, long pressing, swiping or using the options menu. The main elements of the interface, including the app drawer, home screen and lock screen, are significantly improved from earlier versions, though the default keyboard is poor.
The biggest change to Sense is BlinkFeed, which is the new tile-based home screen on the One. 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 list of content Australian content isn't extensive though we expect it to grow over time.
We did not like using BlinkFeed as our main home screen.
BlinkFeed is a handy way to catch up on news if you've got a few spare minutes but we did not like using it as our main home screen. We much prefer the "static grids of icons" that HTC dislikes, purely because the idea of seeing social networking status updates and feeds every time you unlock your phone isn't appealing to us. Other users may feel differently, so this is very much a personal preference. In what may prove to be an annoyance, BlinkFeed can't be completely removed from the HTC One. It must be one of your home screens, but at least doesn't have to be the primary one.
The HTC One is a very fast and slick smartphone. We didn't encounter or experience any lag when performing basic tasks and the phone has no trouble playing even the most graphically intense games, such as EA's impressive Real Racing title.
One of the best features of the One is the built in TV app, which combined with the Infrared port at the top can act as a universal remote control. We tested the app with a Panasonic plasma TV and a Foxtel IQ set top box and the setup process for both remotes was less than a minute. It's a handy feature and one we quickly came to appreciate.
UltraPixel camera, battery life
Photos captured with the One suffer from plenty of image noise.
The HTC One has a 4-megapixel camera dubbed 'UltraPixel'. 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." The use of UltraPixels combined with an f2.0 aperture do make for very good low-light performance compared to most other smartphone cameras. There's also built-in optical image stabilisation to keep things steady.
While low light performance is impressive, photos captured with the One do suffer from plenty of image noise. You won't notice this if you're using your photos to upload to Facebook and Instagram but when you want to zoom or crop images the quality isn't as crisp as we'd like. Thankfully, full HD video recording is of a very good quality and the front-facing 2.1-megapixel front facing camera uses an ultra-wide angle lens, the same seen on the HTC Windows Phone 8X.
The UltraPixel sensor has allowed HTC to introduce a new media called "Zoe" which captures one second of video before you take the photo and three seconds after. The feature is similar to Twitter's Vine videos or the Cinemagraphs used on the Nokia Lumia 920 (think of it as a three second GIF) but it allows you to select still shots from the video. It's useful for capturing an action shot which you may normally miss and the editing options are plentiful. Annoyingly, you can only share these Zoe files through HTC Share, which stores them on HTC's servers for a limit of 180 days.
One nice feature is the updated gallery app, which automatically creates highlight reels of videos, still images and Zoe clips you've captured each day. You can choose from some rather cheesy pre-loaded background music and can save the clips as regular MP4 files for sharing.
The HTC One has below average battery life.
The HTC One has below average battery life. During our tests the 2300mAh battery lasted around 14 hours on average before needing a recharge. While this is better than most previous HTC Android phones, it's still a below average result.
Users with less demanding usage patterns may be able to squeeze a full day out of the battery before needing a recharge but heavy users will likely need to top up the One before the day is out.
• HTC's BlinkFeed can't be removed from your home screen
• HTC One coming to all Australian carriers
• HTC One preview
• HTC One leaks again, this time in black?
• HTC launching its "newest and most anticipated device" next week
• Is this HTC's new flagship Android phone?
Join the newsletter!
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Apple iPhone X
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
cloudandco Smart Cane
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Toys for Boys
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Google Daydream View VR Headset
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Bose SoundLink Micro
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Xbox One X
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 TCL X2 review: QLED escapes the premium market
- 2 Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- 3 Acer Spin 5 review: Value for money but conditions apply
- 4 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 5 Sony LF-S50G review: Google Assistant and then some
Latest News Articles
- Nokia 1 Release Date, Price & Specification Rumours
- Android 9.0 Release Date Rumours: When is Android P coming out?
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- Sony Xperia XA2 to be Available in Australia
- CES 2018: Alcatel Embrace 18:9 Aspect Ratio In 2018
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- JBL Link 10 review
- Amazon Alexa and Echo set for Febuary launch
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTSenior Rail Project Manager, Fleet TransformationOther
- CCChange ManagerNSW
- CCLead Pega Systems ArchitectACT
- FTSenior Java DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior AEM ConsultantACT
- TPInside Sales Process Improvement AnalystNSW
- FTLead Business AnalystOther
- TPProcurement ManagerACT
- FTBusiness Analyst - TableauOther
- FTEmail Production SpecialistOther
- FTProject Manager - NSW Health exp essentialOther
- FTMainframe DevelopersOther
- FTPHP Developer (Codeigniter / Cake)NSW
- FTSenior Java DeveloperWA
- CCNetwork Engineer (Juniper)VIC
- CCIT Service Desk Specialist - BrisbaneVIC
- TPChange AnalystVIC
- FTDevOps Engineer, Continuous Delivery, Cloud AutomationOther
- FTSiebel Project Manager - Immediate StartACT
- CCCall Centre Operator /AdministratorNSW
- TPProject ManagerNSW
- FTNetwork EngineerOther
- TPSystems ArchitectNSW
- CCIT Service Desk Specialist - BrisbaneNSW
- FTBusiness Analyst (Engineer) Mining SystemsOther