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HTC One review: Beautiful to look at, powerful to play

Ankit Tuteja | http://ibnlive.in.com/byline/Ankit-Tuteja.html

Updated: May 7, 2013, 12:14 PM IST
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HTC One review: Beautiful to look at, powerful to play
Priced at Rs 42,900, the phone seems slightly overpriced, but if you are ready to spend Rs 43K then it is indeed a good choice.

New Delhi: The bigger players, such as Samsung and Apple may bask in the limelight, but in one aspect HTC takes the pie - design. And HTC once again delivered on its strength with the HTC One.

At IBNLive, we unveil our review units before an audience of colleagues, so that we can get some immediate reactions that help us in understanding how the users are likely to react to the product (also we like to show off a bit). At the HTC One unboxing there were quite a few 'wows' audible.

The HTC one does not weigh much. The phone has a pair of speakers at the front and the large-sized, neat speaker grills - one each at top and bottom - make the phone look more graceful. However, the metal back is plain and matte, with a rear camera lens located at the centre. The non-removable rear panel is, by the way, a fingerprint magnet. I, in fact, developed a habit of rubbing the HTC's back on my jeans every now and then.

Its curved back and tapered edges make it easy to grip. The phone fits comfortably in the hand and quite like the Apple iPhone 5 can be easily operated with a single hand. Though the phone does not weigh much, but it is a little heavier than its rival, the Samsung Galaxy S4.

With the launch of the HTC One, HTC has introduced one new feature - Blinkfeed - that brings your content to the homescreen. It lets you customise highlights and allows you to bring content from Facebook, Twitter, Calendar to your homescreen. Even though I was quite excited to experience Blinkfeed when it was announced, but my experience didn't excite me much. I don't like clutter on my home screen. But some might think otherwise. Blinkfeed also lets you post to Facebook and Twitter right from your homescreen without having to open the apps.

The homescreen allows you to add up to 5 panels and you can set any panel as your homescreen. So if you don't like Blinkfeed much, make some other panel your homescreen.

The phone has a 4.7-inch 1080p display with a pixel density of 468 ppi. The touchscreen is highly responsive, and the display produces brilliant colours and detailed content. Viewing angles are solid and the display is viewable under bright light, and the screen is scratch-resistant.

The phone comes with Beats Audio and and the dual front stereo speakers produce clear and loud sound. While watching any video or audio, you don't need to plug in earphones as the speakers are of great quality. The phone gives you an option to disable Beats Audio. Once you disable Beats Audio the difference that the technology makes to the sound becomes very evident. My suggestion is to keep Beats Audio on while listening to music. In terms of speakers and sound quality, HTC One easily outstrips the Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S4 also includes quality speakers, but head-to-head, the HTC One emerges as the clear winner.

The phone runs Android 4.1.2 OS with HTC Sense (version 5.0). Like most other phones, the HTC One also allows us to manage apps - alphabetically or by most recent - but one option that I like the most is the grid size feature. The grid size lets you choose between 3x4 and 4x5 icons. The 3x4 option is neater and makes it easier to locate apps. One feature that the HTC One lacks is the toggle notification widget. However, you can download an app. Otherwise the user interface is refined, fresh and intuitive. The phone allows you to choose for what all notifications you would like the LED light to be flashed without the need of an additional app.

The HTC One comes with 32GB of storage on board. While the phone has an enormous storage space and should suffice a normal user, but for a heavy user it may prove to be inadequate. And that is where Samsung Galaxy S4 outflanks HTC's top-of-the-line product. Though the Galaxy S4 comes with 16GB of internal storage, but it supports a microSD card up to 64GB, thereby allowing you to expand the memory.

The camera on the phone is what is the USP of the device. Moving away from megapixels, HTC introduces a new imaging technology with the 4.1 UltraPixel camera in the HTC One. The company describes the UltraPixel sensor to have larger pixels, and each pixel is claimed to capture 300 per cent more light than the most leading 13 megapixel cameras. This is because the larger each pixel on the image sensor is, the more light it receives, and therefore the image data becomes better.

The camera quality is impressive; not only rear, but the 2.1 megapixel front camera also captures top-drawer pictures. Even in low-light conditions, the camera, with flash on, can capture good snaps. The camera has a handful of built-in filters with different effects. It supports 1080p full HD video recording and playback. Also, there are a lot of options to customise images.

Packed with a 2300 mAh battery, the phone has a fairly decent battery life. Once fully charged, it has enough juice to last for a day. But on heavy usage, the battery may last for 16-17 hours.

The phone has a powerful beast under the hood - a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor clocked at 1.7GHz along with 2GB RAM. I could easily multitask, and used scores of apps at a time without experiencing any lag. Though the phone did not linger even once, but I experienced overheating issues twice - first time, while using the camera continuously for around half an hour and secondly, when conducting the AnTuTu benchmarking test.

While the HTC One has 4 cores, the Galaxy S4 comes with an 8-core processor. I have used both devices, but practically, I did not feel much difference in their performances. We conducted the performance test using the AnTuTu benchmarking app and the HTC One scored 19371, while the Galaxy S4 racked up 24894. The app's ranking chart shows the HTC One right below the Galaxy S4, but above the Google Nexus 4. (See screenshots below). But, I think that specifications and performance on benchmarking tests should not be the only determining factors while making a buying decision.

Priced at Rs 42,900, the phone seems slightly overpriced, but if you are ready to spend Rs 43K then it is indeed a good choice. The smartphone makes it to our recommendation list.

+ Novel design
+ Impressive speakers
+ Quality cameras (both front and rear)
+ Great performance
+ Decent battery life

- Overheating issue
- Non-expandable memory
- Slightly overpriced

Rating: 4/5

First Published: May 7, 2013, 12:14 PM IST
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