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[MWC 2013] HTC One Hands-on and Initial Review: A Bold Step Forward for HTC

HTC One!
HTC One!

HTC One: Bringing Sexy Back!

Around a week ago HTC announced their newest flagship device, the HTC One. We were impressed with how they were trying to break out of the Android race by offering a fresh take on user experience with BlinkFeed, which is supposed to simplify the Android UI. Other than the software they also went all out in trying to build a stunningly gorgeous device. We were able to get some hands-on time with the HTC One here at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and we’d like to share our initial findings to everyone!

Before anything else though let’s do a refresher of the specs.

HTC One Spec Sheet

  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 600, quad-core, 1.7GHz
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • 32GB or 64GB Internal Storage, no microSD Expansion
  • 4.7-inch Full HD Display, 1080p, 468 PPI
  • HTC UltraPixel Camera – BSI, dedicated HTC ImageChip, F2.0 and 28mm lens with OIS
  • 2.1-megapixel front facing-camera with 880 wide angle lens and HDR
  • 1080 Full HD Video recording for both front and back cameras
  • HDR Video, Continuous shooting and VideoPic, Slow motion video recording
  • HTC Zoe™ with HTC Zoe™ Highlights and HTC Zoe™ Share
  • HTC BoomSound
  • Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi a/ac/b/g/n, NFC, DLNA, infrared, GPS, LTE, 3G
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with HTC Sense 5
  • 2300mAh Battery

It will wow you the moment you hold it in your hand

Gorgeous piece of tech!
Gorgeous piece of tech!

The HTC One is simply gorgeous. Initially you might think it looks like an iPhone 5 or the BlackBerry Z10 but upon closer inspection it truly does have its own design signature. For starts it has an almost all-aluminum body that puts it on a completely different level when compared to other Android flagships who keep using cheaper materials for their chasis. Other than the non-aluminum band at the sides (to prevent signal loss) and the 4.7-inch screen, everything else is made from metal. It does not look or feel like it’s a generic handset. It deserves the “flagship” title.

While in might look like a solid block of metal, the back and sides are actually curved, which is reminiscent of the HTC 8X. This ergonomic design makes it much easier to hold and carry around. The curves also makes it look and feel much more thinner than it actually is. The HTC One measures around 9mm thick, a bit standard compared to the usual flagship measurements.

Beautiful from any angle you look at it hehe
Beautiful from any angle you look at it hehe

For the screen we don’t get an edge-to-edge screen but thankfully the border isn’t that thick. Super LCD 3 display delivers sharp colors, deep blacks (thanks to well calibrated contrast ratios), and detailed images. Regardless if it’s a video, photograph, or text, the HTC One will render it very well.

Display quality: 2 thumbs up!
Display quality: 2 thumbs up!

Over-all with the hardware and the design we’re pretty much floored. Now let’s get to another feature that HTC worked hard on — the HTC Sense BlinkFeed.

HTC Sense 5 and BlinkFeed

HTC’s newest Sense user interface is a breakaway from the usual Android implementation. When we turned on the HTC One we didn’t find the usual big flipping clock and the weather widget (lol). Instead of the usual app grid and home screens what we got was some sort of news feed that you just scroll up and down. This is called BlinkFeed. What’s BlinkFeed? Dumbed down it’s basically a content feed from multiple sources that you pick. You can choose from the various sources available as well as your social networking accounts.

IMG_3782

For purists the good news is that if you don’t link BlinkFeed you can actually turn it off or just swipe it away to return to your usual Android home screen. Yes, complete with your flipping clock and weather widget, hehe. While I’m not 100% sure that people will actually have this on all the time, HTC still deserves applause for daring to be different.

HTC Boomsound: Built-in Amps and Lyrics

This one is pretty cool
This one is pretty cool

Several HTC One units on display at the exhibition floor were mounted on a wall with headphones near them. We tried them out to test the built-in amps as well as the lyrics generator of the HTC One and they worked pretty well. We can’t comment too much on the sound quality since we barely finished a song but we can definitely say that the song visualization with lyrics feature was epic! Makes you want to sing along, hehe. Perfect for Filipinos.

There’s still a lot more to discover: Zoe, Ultrapixel Camera, Benchmark Tests, etc.

That’s it for this hands-on and unfortunately we barely scratched the surface of the HTC One. There are still several key features that we weren’t able to test including Zoe and the Ultrapixel camera. As soon as this becomes available in the Philippines though we’ll make sure to get our hands on one so we can do a full and comprehensive review.

As far as initial impressions go we’re very impressed with the HTC One. Hopefully this device will be enough to turn the tide for HTC and they can be a more profitable company for 2013.

HTC One: Swabe!
HTC One: Swabe!

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Unbox.ph. During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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