There have been several reports in the past about HTC’s dismal run in the industry. This is something we’ve gotten accustomed to of late as the company hasn’t quite been making the most out of its devices. A couple of years ago, the manufacturer tried its hand with tablets (HTC Flyer and Jetstream) and failed at that too. So mostly, it’s the smartphone segment where the company needs to shine and it has made numerous inroads in the technology sector to have a shot at that. However, for reasons unknown to us, the company continued its dismal run from 2011 going into 2012. In 2013 however, it’s going to be a whole different ball game. The manufacturers are now on par with each other when it comes to technology and companies like Sony are finally looking like a threat to many out there with smartphones like the Xperia Z and ZL surfacing out of darkness. BlackBerry recently announced the Z10 smartphone, which inevitably sparked an intense debate about the platform’s capabilities and future. And now, just a few weeks after the BlackBerry Z10 announcement, we had the HTC One being announced a couple of days ago. The smartphone was in the rumor mill since late December and we must say, the launch didn’t surprise us in the least as most of its specs were out in the open long before the official announcement. But with the launch of HTC’s new flagship device, there is certainly going to be talk about its future in this highly competitive mobile industry. This, at a time when we already have a tough-to-beat flagship in the form of the Sony Xperia Z. So will the smartphone actually succeed in the market when it arrives in mid-March?
Factors to Consider
Before we jump to whether the smartphone will be a success or not, we will have to take into account a few of the factors which are usually associated with the success or the failure of a smartphone. Because not all smartphones are failures from the start, and it’s usually the first few weeks of the launch which proves to be crucial for the smartphone’s run in the market. As we saw, the launch received pretty lukewarm response as it was nothing spectacular. Most of this was due to the fact that we knew almost everything about the hardware inside the smartphone, and even the design was leaked a few weeks ago. Sure, there was the ultrapixel camera, the gorgeous Full HD display and the new iteration of Sense UI which are all great features, but somehow we didn’t see the spark there. Regardless, it’s the usability that matters at the end of the day and let’s see what HTC has done to make it desirable for potential buyers.
HTC’s tried and tested unibody casings have been something we’ve loved since the HTC One X and the One is no different. The front looks a little too similar to the BlackBerry Z10, but the similarity ends there. The back is rather plain, but enough thought has gone into that too. It’s a unibody casing which means there’s no removable battery or memory expansion by the users. The speaker and microphone grilles on the front look like works of art and there’s enough attention to detail about the arrangement of these grilles. We like the idea of the front speaker as it will avoid noise blockage which is usually associated with standard back facing smartphone speakers. HTC claims that the design will make for comfortable handling of the device, which is yet to be confirmed. Overall, the HTC One is a looker when it comes to design.
The Super LCD 3 panel on the HTC One is clearly one of the best displays out there, at least in terms of pixel density. At 469ppi, the HTC One is currently the best mobile display in the world to our notice. Super LCD panels have superior sunlight visibility and this is an area where they trump all display panels in the market. As we saw with the HTC One X, it was the display which won us all over after the flawless design. So you cannot go wrong with the One when it comes to display. If there is one area where it falls behind from the competition, it would have to be in terms of size. So I guess the Sony Xperia Z still tops the market in that segment, which is until we see what Samsung has to offer.
The HTC One features the Snapdragon 600 series chips (APQ 8064T) clocked at 1.7 GHz. This isn’t the same as the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, as this one is probably the first of its kind Snapdragon 600 series chip. There’s absolutely nothing to complain in this department either as it’s probably the most advanced mobile SoC out there, and we’ll certainly see plenty of other OEMs follow suit in the coming days as the MWC event begins. The Adreno 320 GPU on board will do its job without skipping a beat. So users will have no trouble running GPU heavy stuff on the HTC One.
The “Ultrapixel” Camera
The camera onboard the HTC One is the first of its kind in the industry. According to HTC, this imaging sensor will provide for better low light images and overall improvement in color reproduction. This is something which is yet to be tested, so we won’t get into that yet. But initial impressions of the camera have been really good and we can expect to see better snaps overall compared to most of the competition. It has a bigger f/2.0 lens which makes it stand tall against most of the competition. But the aperture size is not the only prerequisite for a kickass camera. Also, we advise you to not get fooled by the term “ultrapixels” because it appears to be a made up term. But HTC rightly claims that it’s not the sensor size that matters, but the pixel count. This 4MP sensor is ideal for low light situations, which is something most mobile cameras fail miserably at. Whether the sensor on the HTC One is any good at all is something for the reviewers to see in the coming days. But there’s no doubt about the fact that it will set a new standard in the industry. Just to point out, the aperture size of the lens on the HTC One is the same as the Nokia Lumia 920.
Other Tech Inside
HTC has improved the standard Beats Audio integration on the One smartphone, by adding dual speakers on the front with a dedicated amplifier. This apparently produces terrific sound minus the distortion, which should be plenty for a room filled with people. Also, HTC has a lot of software tweaks which can be used with the earphones on (even better if they’re Beats Audio branded), so audiophiles will feel at home with the smartphone. There are literally tons of other new software features onboard the new Sense UI 5, which we’ve come to grow fond of. And there’s heavy focus on social networking too this time as you would expect from a smartphone. All that said and done, it’s the display which does most of the magic in my opinion, so these features will count as bonuses. The smartphone is going to be sold in 32 and 64GB variants in Silver and Black variants. Although there was a Red variant listed for a short while, it was soon taken down for unknown reasons.
The HTC One is a beautifully crafted smartphone, which has taken a lot of time to design and prepare from the ground up. The features inside, especially the 4.7-inch Super LCD 3 panel, strike the perfect balance necessary in a smartphone. The massive storage options along with the ultrapixel camera, complement the device very well. We however, recommend users to wait until the Galaxy S IV is launched, so as to assess the two smartphones correctly and then make an informed decision. This is something which most of the potential buyers are willing to do, as you wouldn’t want to invest on something this precious and regret in a couple of months. For the smartphone that it is now, the HTC One is a more than capable smartphone and we expect more information to emerge in the coming days, mostly regarding its flaws and usability.
If you like/dislike the new HTC One, make sure you let us know by dropping a comment below. We would love to hear your thoughts.