So HTC has announced the HTC One at its New York City event, and as excited as you are you’re probably wondering how it stacks up to some of the flagship phones from other OEMs. The HTC One is positioned at the very top of the Taiwanese manufacturer’s totem pole for 2013, but is it worthy to be compared to the likes of Apple’s iPhone 5, LG’s Nexus 4 and Blackberry’s Z10?
HTC One and Sense 5.0
The star of today’s particular show — the HTC One — looks to be HTC’s best device yet. It may not be the biggest and it may not be the thinnest, but it does pack a very considerable punch. The bit of specs we do care about stand out like one of the most beautiful-looking sore thumb we’ve seen yet.
When you combine the likes of a 4.7 inch 1080p HD display with a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM, HTC’s custom UltraPixel 1080p HD video camera and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera (see samples here) you’re sure to come up with a tasty pot of sauce. Going further, having at least 32GB of internal storage, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, a 2,300mAh battery and more won’t hurt its case at all.
With the HTC One, HTC has employed a new construction process called “zero gap.” It uses an all-metal body that is tightly nit and makes for a very sleek and thin device. There’s also BoomSound with Beats, HTC’s front-facing stereo speaker solution that should deliver some of the best smartphone audio we’ve seen to date. Get Chris Chavez’s take on the HTC One in our hands-on.
The New Sense
The hardware seems par for the course when it comes to the highest of high-end Android smartphones, but software is a tad more important — after all, it’s the one thing OEMs must get right when looking to differentiate their products from that of their competitors. HTC’ decided to employ Android 4.1 out of the starting gate, though we imagine some upgrades to more recent versions of Android are in store at some point down the line.
Sitting on top of that is the absolute latest version of HTC Sense, which is version 5.0 to be exact. As we’ve come to expect from major version jumps, HTC has tweaked its stylistic approach to Android with what appears to be a much smoother experience that is easier on the eyes. It seems like we say that every time HTC decides to go in a new direction with its user interface, but considering how far HTC has had to come from the train-wreck that was HTC Sense 3, it’s no surprise there’s still this much room for improvement.
Changes have been made to make the lock-screen more clean and visually appealing, while being just as useful as any with its quick launch features. New icons are littered through the UI for nearly every app there is, from the browser to phone and messaging. The icons feel less “bubbly” and more like elegant-looking stickers that are easy on the eyes. Many base applications, such as the launcher, dialer and contacts app have been upgraded to tone down on the gradients and focus on clean curves and a more pointed color scheme.
HTC has fully embraced the idea of swiping that Google introduced with Jelly Bean, and most of the user interface has been designed to wrap around Google’s style guideline in a much broader sense. Chris Chavez even says HTC’s skin might have become the most friendly when it comes to sticking with Google’s vision. Simply put, HTC Sense looks better, and from what our own Chris Chavez tells us from his hands-on time with the device it definitely feels a lot better, too. See how HTC Sense 5 compares to the previous version in our comparison post.
One of the biggest features is HTC BlinkFeed, a new home-screen pane that is accessible via a swipe to the far left. BlinkFeed will aggregate content from over 1,400 sources, including your social networks and tons of news sources on the internet, with its ultimate goal being to deliver the news, media and updates you care about the most in a very beautiful way.
Don’t forget HTC Zoe, a new camera experience that will take your images and video and jumble them up into a nice dynamic presentation. Zoe will use the phone’s “UltraPixel” camera to automatically piece your media together with professional transitions and effects, and will theme it with a certain style and music that you prefer.
There’s also HTC Sense TV, a new feature that will allow you to use your phone as an interactive TV guide and remote control. Because an infrared transmitter is built into the power button, you can control most modern televisions as you would any remote, and the software will utilize information from the cloud to make it easy to see what’s on and ready for your viewing pleasure.
Of course, HTC doesn’t live in this world alone. It currently has the world’s ear for top Android smartphone, but it has competition in other areas of the smartphone world. Apple is always threatening with its iPhone line, Nokia’s marriage to Microsoft has created a viable alternative for those who still have love for Windows in their hearts, and RIM — or Blackberry, as they’ll do business as from now on — is looking to roar back in a major way. Let’s take a look at just a few of the options HTC is up against.
This is Apple’s bread and butter, of course. It was the first iPhone that broke out of the 3.5-inch mold, but its 4-inch display wasn’t a huge departure from the norm. Apple has never been a company to dwell on insane specs, but instead does its bidding with exceptional build quality, a very tight and no-frills operating system, and supreme optimization.
Of course, iOS6 didn’t make it to the forefront without a bit of controversy. Apple ditched Google maps for its own mapping solution, and the change had users running back to iOS5 quicker than they could fully enjoy the rest of the upgrade. Google eventually came out with a standalone maps app for those folks, though, so no harm no foul.
Our sister site iSource has all you need for the latest iOS and Apple news, so be sure to save a nice, warm spot in your bookmarks folder for it if you have any interest in the Cupertino tech giant’s wares.
Nokia Lumia 920
While Nokia’s Lumia 920 hasn’t exactly sold like a bucket of hotcakes, it’s done pretty well up against other competition in the Windows-adorned range. It certainly is a looker of a phone, with its 4.5 inch 1280×768 IPS display, a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, an 8.7 megapixel HD camera and more. Nokia’s pristine reputation for good build quality shines through this phone like no other (though some of the color options might be a bit of an eye-sore for some of you).
Of course, running on all of that circuitry goodness is Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8. Microsoft’s software is like a mixed compromise between iOS and Android, in that you get an unskinned, untouched helping of what Microsoft wants you to have, but at the same time it’s open to any OEM willing to craft a device to the Redmond company’s specification. It makes for a very nice mix of fluidity, functionality and choice for the end-user. Be sure to read all about Windows Phone over at WinSource.com.
And then there’s Blackberry’s pride and joy for 2013 — the Blackberry Z10. This device is quite ordinary on the hardware front, sporting a 4.2-inch LCD display, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 16GB of internal storage, an 8 megapixel camera, and more. Blackberry 10 is the real star of the show here, though, as Blackberry has redesigned it from the ground up. Things like the Blackberry Hub, some unique enterprise security features, Blackberry Messenger, the new SwiftKey-powered keyboard and more all play an important role in trying to restore the Blackberry name to a high throne it once enjoyed. Read more about Blackberry 10 in an earlier post here.
Are you buying the HTC One?
So there it is — the HTC One has been laid out on the table for all to see. The only question now is whether or not HTC has impressed you. Will you be headed to your nearest carrier (see the list of availability here) for this one, or will you wait for something more? Be sure to let us know with a vote in the poll below, and discuss your decision further with some healthy commentary in the comments section!