LONDON, UK–HTC’s latest One smartphone isn’t quite what you would expect from a 2013 superphone. For a start, instead of an 8- or 13-megapixel camera, the HTC One only comes with a 4-megapixel camera–even less than what the iPhone 3G had when it debuted. HTC calls it the UltraPixel camera.
Strangely, though, the 4-megapixel camera is actually an advantage for a serious photography enthusiast. Instead of just focusing on a higher megapixel count in your camera, HTC has gone for larger pixels on the CMOS sensor (about 4 square microns) instead of the 1.96 square micron pixels on the One X’s 8-megapixel sensor). There’s also optical image stabilization built-in, which should help with video taking.
The larger pixel size on the sensor lets more light in, helping to reduce noise, and should help the handset take better low-light images. Pictures will also be smaller in size, taking up less data when uploading your images to social networks.
Design-wise, the metal chassis is a nice return to the days of the HTC Sensation and the metal unibody builds of HTC’s previous smartphones. We quite like the look of both the black and silver models and the handset feels nice in our hands. It also frames the 4.7-inch full-HD display nicely.
Speaking of which, we’re quite appreciative of how HTC has managed to not increase the screen size to 5 inches (like the Butterfly). A 4.7-inch handset definitely fits in our hands better, and you get more pixels-per-inch due to the smaller display area (about 469 ppi versus a 5-inch full-HD display of 440 ppi).
The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 1.7GHz quad-core processor should also help to keep things zipping along together with the smartphone’s 2GB of RAM. It also has 32GB of onboard storage (though less after you factor in the space the Android OS takes up). The handset will run Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) right from the get go with a new Sense UI layer that’s familiar enough–so you won’t be confused if you’re upgrading from another HTC handset.
While the HTC One will come with LTE, it only packs a 2,300mAh battery. Given our experience with other handsets with similar battery sizes (the Sony Xperia Z comes to mind), you’re likely not to get more than a day’s use with the handset. Perhaps things will be different, but we’re highly doubtful.
HTC has also changed the button layout–reducing the total number of keys to just two–Home and Back–with the app switcher accessible by tapping the Home button twice. It looks awkward, though we do admit the app switcher key could have been better put to use in the One X and One X+ smartphones. Sony’s tweak by adding “small apps” to its Xperia Z app switcher is likely the more practical approach. In our opinion, HTC should have simply just made the keys all software instead.
No doubt, HTC’s 4-megapixel approach is likely to confuse consumers–especially those that rely on big numbers to buy products–but if the company’s image quality delivers a superior result, it could attract new customers who want to take better pictures on their handsets.
With a global availability date of March and what we understand to be a mid-March release for Asia, HTC also needs to step up its marketing campaign to boost sales before Samsung debuts its next flagship device. If rumors are true about a March 14 Samsung event, then HTC will need all the help it can get if it wants to continue surviving in the smartphone market. Last year wasn’t really a good year for the company, and it really needs a killer product–which the HTC One is–to get back in the game.
Category: HTC Sensation