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HTC One Review

The HTC One is one of the biggest devices of the year and there’s no question HTC has a lot riding on its release. As an underdog in the smartphone race, HTC is going the extra mile with the One, introducing a handful of new innovative hardware features and software. I’ve been very vocal about my feelings towards the HTC One ever since it was announced, seeing it as sort of a rebirth for the manufacturer. After playing with the device for the past week now, I’m finally ready to give our review. Strap on your seat belts because here’s everything you ever wanted to know about the HTC One.

Quick Jump: Design/Build | Hardware | Camera | Battery Life | Software | Conclusion

HTC One Design

You don’t need 20/20 vision to see that the HTC One is one of the sexiest Android devices to date. This is just another feather in the hat of HTC who has, since the Nexus One, been raising the bar of smartphone design for years now. The HTC One is thin. Only 9.3mm at its thickest point. While that wont win it any “world’s thinnest” awards (Galaxy S4 is actually 7.9mm thin), because of the way the HTC One tapers along the edges, the phone feels as if it’s 5mm thin. At 5.04oz, it’s also exceptionally light.

Metal vs plastic debate aside, before you even lay hands on the One, you can see the device screams premium build quality. The diamond cut edges, white accents, luxurious aluminum finish — I kid you not, I’ve been stopped in public by people wanting to know more about my phone. This is some seriously sexy tech.

The HTC One comes in 2 color variants — silver/white or black/grey — the former being the more elusive and, in my opinion, a bit more lustworthy. No matter which color you choose, both feature an aluminum finish and while I can’t speak for the black version, the texture of the silver feels near identical to the back of an iPad or Macbook.

Because of the finish, fingerprints and grime have a hard time clinging to the device. The problem with this being the phone can easily slide out of your hand and/or lap if you’re not extra careful. You’ll want to make sure you find a good case for this thing if you plan to take it outside (although I guarantee it will survive a 2-inch drop). In fact, the aluminum speaker grills along the top and bottom can act as a buffer in case of a drop, making screen cracks a lot less likely than with other all-glass devices. The white parts of the device are prone to the dreaded jean-stain, so be on the lookout should you buy a new pair of denim.

While aluminum is, without question, stronger than glass as far as breakage, it also comes with pitfalls all of its own. Aluminum can scratch and where I’ve been able to take a knife to the back of my Nexus 4 without so much as a nick, the aluminum on the One definitely wouldn’t hold up as nice.

That’s not to say it’s not strong in its own right. I spent a full day with the device and my keys in the same pocket and the aluminum still looked as clean as the day FedEx dropped it off. I still worry that if I somehow manage to scratch up the back, it’s going to be incredibly noticeable given the texture and sheen (look at the bottom of anyone’s MacBook to see what I’m talking about).

Also, while 2-inch drops into a cupholder may not crack aluminum, small falls onto something more solid (marble, tile, pavement, Macbook Pro) will leave much more noticeable dings, dents, and scrapes. Lastly, laying the device on a granite counter top, or glass table will make this horrible scraping sound, something that happens when aluminum is laid atop a hard surface.

Still, I’d have to say that the strength of this phone feels unmatched compared to any other Android device to date. There is absolutely no flex along the back of the device, something that’s a rarity in Android devices. This is without a doubt, one of the most solid Android devices I’ve ever held. HTC attributes the One’s build quality to its “zero gap” design, giving it a seamless, unibody-like feel.

In all fairness, the HTC One is more like an Oreo cookie made of plastic and metal. You have a back plate, matte plastic filling, along with the front display and aluminum speaker grills. In my examination of the device, I did find some flaws in the build quality. Let’s explore those next.

HTC One Build Quality

My issue with the One’s build quality had nothing to do with the phone’s rigidness or premium materials and everything to do with quality control and imperfections. Ideally, the One should be gapless — I mean, it’s certainly touted as such. Unfortunately, there are a few noticeable gaps where the top and bottom speaker plates are slightly raised from the middle “plastic filling.” The gap is small, but big enough that I could actually reach my finger nail in between. Not good. This is far more noticeable given the back plate is completely flushed with the plastic and is, true to HTC’s word, 100% gapless.

Click the image for enlarged view

To make matters worst, the entire front of the device — speaker grills and glass — is slightly offset from the the middle, making it look as if the front is slipping off ever so slightly towards the bottom. Because of this, there is a sharp edge from the bottom speaker hanging off that feels almost like a razors edge. This also means there is a tiny plastic ledge left exposed along the top, making that tiny gap we talked about earlier even more apparent. But that’s not all…

I also found that when you drag your finger from the top speaker down over to the glass, the left side of the glass is ever so slightly raised from the metal. The top right and bottom of the glass are completely flushed with the metal, cluing us into how things were supposed to be. I could probably fix both these issues with a rubber mallet and some super glue, but I wonder if got rushed for its launch, and a few imperfect units slipped passed by the quality control assembly line. Keep in mind, that every single One I’ve come in contact with has had these exact same issues, I did notice a friend’s One fixed a few of these issues (razor edged bottom, and raised glass on the corner) while others remained.

Another slight issue I had with the One’s build quality is with the volume rocker and power button. The top of the volume rocker is embedded into the plastic filling, while the bottom volume sticks out ever so slightly. When feeling around, it’s easy to locate the bottom, but impossible to feel with your finger where the top ends and the plastic begins. Same goes with the power button. I guarantee you’ll be fingering around the top of the device for a few seconds before you find the power button. Happens to me all the time. Not only that, both the volume and power button need to be pressed extra hard given they’re almost inside the plastic. Small complaint, but one I felt like mentioning.

Finally, let’s talk about those dang capacitive buttons and no, I don’t have a problem with their placement. Sure, it’s weird getting used to the 2-button layout at first, but like anything else, you will get used to ‘em and it will become second nature. My issue with the capacitive buttons is that in previous HTC devices, the entire bottom area was capacitive. With the One, things are much different. Now, there is only a very small target area underneath the icons that will register touch. This means more than a few times — just like the volume and power button — you’ll miss the capacitive button a few times before you actually land a direct hit. You can see why this is a teensy bit frustrating, although I’ll admit, very nitpicky.

As it stands, these were the only problems holding back an otherwise flawlessly manufactured Android smartphone.

HTC One Hardware

The HTC One comes with the usual assortment of standard ports. On the device you’ll find a micro USB/MHL port, 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as NFC (near field communications), Bluetooth 4.0, and even infrared, giving the One universal remote functionality. Also worth pointing out: the One supports USB on-the-go straight out of the box, no root necessary (something I found severely lacking from the Nexus 4).

HTC One Processor & Benchmarks

When it comes to performance, the One is equipped with a nicely clocked 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064T) quad-core processor and Adreno 320 GPU. Honestly, I didn’t think the processor would be much of an improvement over the HTC DROID DNA’s Snapdragon S4 Pro, but there was a noticeable difference in speed between the 2. Yes, much of that could have something to do with software, but in terms of benchmarks, let’s see how the HTC One stacked up.

As you can see just from these benchmarks, the HTC One is fast. Really fast. Of course, we all know benchmarks can’t really tell us what the speed an end user will experience when navigating around the UX and opening apps. As someone who has owned all the greats ( Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Nexus 4, and HTC Droid DNA) I can assure you that the HTC One is not only able to keep up, but can beat the best of them. Now, this hasn’t always been the case with HTC. When comparing the HTC Droid DNA with the Nexus 4 — 2 devices with the same amount of RAM, running the same exact processor — the Nexus 4 felt much more snappy. I want to assure you that is not the case with the HTC One. The HTC One with its Snapdragon 600 processor and 2GB of RAM is hands-down, the fastest, most responsive smartphone I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. It’s been an absolute joy to use, and the new standard I’ll measure other smartphones by.

HTC One Storage

Those looking to stash all their media and digital boxes-o-pr0n, the HTC One comes in 2 storage options: 32GB and 64GB versions. In the real world, after the loading of the OS, users will find around 25GB and 57GB that are usable for the installation of apps and media. While there will always be those that demand an SD card slot from their Android devices, I find the argument (for me anyway) slowly dying. This is due to all the cloud storage options users now have at our disposal.

The only real real I’d need space is for the caching of my music from Rdio or taking a handful of pictures and video from the camera. I mean, we’re no longer talking about 8GB and 16GB devices anymore (cough, Nexus 4, cough). With 32GB and 64GB storage options, I feel like Android users can finally begin to let go of the argument for expandable storage. Sure, I wouldn’t mind having the option, but I’m not going to completely dismiss a device based solely on that. Not anymore.

HTC One Display

I’ve mentioned it plenty of times before but I am a total display whore. At one point I didn’t think anything would pull me away from Samsung’s AMOLED. Then one day I got a good look at the SLCD2 on the HTC One X and I was sold. With the One, HTC really only had to outdo themselves and that’s exactly what they did.

The One comes with a 4.7-inch 1920×1080 full HD SLCD3 display, giving it a eye-bleeding 469ppi. If you’re looking for the brightest, clearest, most crisp high-def screen on the market, look no further. Every viewing angle is flawless, images appear as if they’re floating on the glass. It’s that good. For those wondering about strength, the HTC One’s display is made out of fortified Gorilla Glass 2 — unfortunately, not the 3rd generation Gorilla Glass coming with the GS4. That being said, I spent a full day with the One in my pocket, accompanied by some loose change and keys. At the end of the day, the display emerged unscathed.

HTC One Camera

There was no way we were going to review up the One and not talk about the camera. Since the beginning, HTC has touted the One as having one of the best smartphone cameras in the world, thanks to its 4MP — er, “UltraPixel” camera capable of capturing 300% more light than your average sensor. This sensor is capable of shooting 2688×1520 resolution images and is accompanied by a smaller 2.1MP wide-angle front facing camera for selfies and video chat.

The camera software is a definite bump in terms of features and design from the Sense 4 version. The usual filters and flash settings are present, along with the digital zoom (seriously, don’t ever use this) and other options. The part that I found frustrating was the swiping from the bezel to switch between rear and front facing cameras. I think a button would have sufficed. In the camera settings users can adjust everything from wide or normal angle crop, exposure, contrast, saturation, sharpness, and ISO. Face detection, auto smile capture and HDR mode were also added, though in my tests, HDR did very little to help image quality (more than often just messing things up). I did find the sweeping panorama function a nice addition, however.

Alright, let’s talk image quality. The 4MP UltraPixel sensor on the HTC One takes pictures like… well, like a smartphone. That’s probably because it is a smartphone. Brightly lit, daytime shots look fantastic. Of course, just about every smartphone camera in the world excels in this category. I did find slightly more details (flowers that were wilted looked alive in other cameras, while the One picked up the subtlety in colors).

Where the UltraPixel sensor really shines is in low light. Quite simply, there are dimly lit scenes you just wouldn’t be able to capture with any other Android smartphone. This makes the HTC One’s camera a much more versatile, jack-of-all-trades. It does great in daylight, amazing in low light. Yes, images in low light will be a tad grainy, but they’re still bright and visible. For those posting pics to Facebook or Instagram, the HTC One camera will be their new best friend. Of course, there’s still room for improvement and I’d like to see HTC further focus on the camera software, fine tuning it to make it a bit more consistent (white balance trips out on me from time to time).

From left to right: HTC One, Galaxy Note 2, HTC Droid DNA (click for larger image)

New for the One and Sense 5 is an all new feature HTC is calling “Zoe.” A Zoe is a short, 3-second video. No pausing, no stopping. The difference between a Zoe and a regular video is that while you’re recording video, Zoe is also taking 20 full resolution images in the back ground. This allows users to go back and view a Zoe, picking out specific moments in the video with a full resolution image. I know, it sounds weird, but it’s probably the most unique — and difficult — part about HTC’s camera software (and we haven’t even gotten to the Gallery yet). What’s really weird is Zoe starts recording 1 second before you ever press the shutter button. I think it goes without saying that, with all Zoe’s got going on, it can eat up a lot of battery. Zoe’s are most certainly fun, just make sure to use them sparingly.

Video quality is where the HTC Droid DNA really shined. I simply can’t remember another smartphone taking such amazing video and high quality, stereo audio. My only complaint is lack of 24fps shooting option, something that I think should introduce for the One to help it stand out from the rest. This would give videos a nice, cinematic feel to them and I’d probably end up using the device to shoot trade shows and events.

“BoomSound” Front Facing Speakers

With all the great hardware on the HTC One I think “BoomSound” is my undisputed favorite. I think this might have something to do with the initial wow factor. Something I’ve been screaming for smartphone manufacturers to incorporate forever now, the HTC One is now the first Android phone to give people what simply makes sense for a media consumption device: stereo front facing speakers. And we’re not just talking about crappy quality audio.

The crystal clear audio that flows from the device is pure magic. What’s more — I already know I’m going to get sh*t for this — Beats actually does improve things drastically. Yes, I said it. When Beats is turned off, the stereo speakers sound small and tinny. Pretty much like your standard smartphone speaker. When you enable Beats, you hear much fuller sound with mids and lows, normally inaudible  in your average smartphone speaker. And it’s not just music.

If you play games on your smartphone you’ll be completely blown away by how much immersive games can be when you hear them in beautiful stereo sound. The stereo speakers really pull you in. Also, speaker phone calls, watching YouTube videos, and Google Maps navigation are all greatly enhanced, making other smartphones look like they’re still in the stone age. Even the FM radio tuner application supports the speakers (the included headphones are still required to act as an antenna). I really can’t say enough about BoomSound. For me, it really is one of the biggest perks in owning an HTC One.

HTC One Battery Life

Back in the HTC EVO days, it’s true, HTC was known as having some of the quickest dying Androids in the biz. With the HTC One, it’s time we let the past go. HTC sure did. The problem when measuring battery life is it will never be the same for any 2 people. That being said, the One comes with a nice sized 2,300mAh battery and depending on usage, apps installed on the phone, reception, etc., you could get anywhere between 10 – 16 hours. Yes, there was a day when I barely scraped by with 7 hours before hitting yellow, but that’s when I had my display at full brightness, taking pics and video, streaming, downloading apps, playing games — essentially going hog wild and throwing caution to the wind.

When I was a little more mindful of my battery, turning on auto-brightness and staying away from streaming YouTube videos and 3D intensive gaming, I easily squeezed out 16 hours+. This kinda goes back to the processor. When you use it, it goes hard in the paint. When you don’t, it could standby an almost full 24 hour day. In any case, if you’re really worried about your device lasting 12+ hours there are options like portable battery charger (HTC’s official Double Charge pack pictured above). I’ve found these to be my best friend when I’m out and about, regardless of the Android device.

To help further prolong battery life, HTC also included a handy Power Saver mode that appears in both the Settings and as an ongoing notification, ready to be flipped on in a moment’s notice. Should you find that you’re going to be away from a power outlet for a longer than usual period of time, power saver mode is a great way to squeeze out even more juice from the battery. It works by slowing down the CPU, reducing display brightness, turning off vibration, and disconnecting your data connection when the phone is asleep. All very handy and could definitely help if you’re stuck in the middle of the desert somewhere.

One thing I noticed from my own usage was the amount of battery HTC Sense sucked up. It wasn’t too bad, but even at 14%, that’s about 100 extra minutes (almost 2 hours) I could have spent perusing Instagram for #thighgaps. Let’s hope HTC can do something to help minimize this impact in a future update (honestly, what’s Sense even doing?).

HTC One Software: Sense 5

The HTC One ships with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and the all new and overhauled Sense 5 (software version 1.26.502.6 at time of writing). Because it’s not the absolute latest version of Android, it’s already at a slight disadvantage when pitted against upcoming devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4. For some, the features missing in 4.1.2 are miniscule. For others, they’ll still see the .1 increase as something they’re missing out on (even if they can’t name a specific feature). Then again, none of this permanent. HTC is already planning to update the One to 4.2.2 in the near future, carriers willing. This is actually another reason why I opted for the Developer Edition of the device to circumvent carriers altogether.

When it comes to Sense 5, some are already asking, “Is it really that much difference or improvement from Sense 4?” To that I say, “Hells yes.” It’s only been a year since Sense 4 came onto the scene promising a “lighter” UI (and in some ways it was, but only in ease of use). Like all Sense’s before it, Sense 4 was still faced with the UI’s ever present lag issue. Sense has always been pretty, but like my ex-girlfiend, it also carried with it a boat load of baggage.

If you’ve been a self-proclaimed Sense hater, let me stop you right there. This is not the old Sense you’ve come to know. For Sense 5, HTC has gone back to the drawing board, revamping not only the entire UX, but optimizing it for speed, stability, and user friendliness. With Sense 5, HTC has managed to create a custom user interface that’s sleek, immediately identifiable, and little piece of Android they can call their own. I’ve never had a problem with manufacturer UI’s. I get why manufacturers do it, there’s just some I hate less than others and with Sense 5… I actually kinda like it. Let’s not forget with all the apps in the Google Play Store at our disposal, it’s easy to customize your phone to your liking, changing the SMS app, homescreen, lockscreen, and whatever else tickles your fancy.

Lockscreen

In past versions of Sense, the lockscreen used to be customizable with whatever shortcut to apps you liked. Somewhere along the way, HTC tied the lockscreen shortcuts to the homescreen dock. I can’t tell you how much I hate this and in Sense 5 — absolutely nothings changed. HTC did manage to spiff up the UI a bit, making it a lot more minimal, while still allowing for the customization of different lockscreens in the Personalize settings. Without touching the lockscreen, there really aren’t any visual cues on what to do but swiping up anywhere on the lockscreen will unlock the phone, doing the same with the icons will launch the respective app. Pretty self explanatory.

Homescreen

The launcher is probably the biggest change in Sense since ever. Never has Sense behaved in such an un-Androidly way. While some of it isn’t all that bad (I will admit, I’m a creature of habit), others left me scratching my head. First off, let’s get this whole BlinkFeed thing out of the way. Swiping to the left will pull it HTC’s all new RSS feed service dubbed BlinkFeed. It not only shows you news (this can only be customized with a predetermined list of websites), it shows you the goings on of your friends from Facebook and Twitter. I don’t hate BlinkFeed. The fact that it’s always a few swipes away is nice given I like to stay up-to-date on my current events.

For those that hate it, you’ll just have to ignore it. This isn’t hard to do and nobody is really forcing you to use it. In fact, it doesn’t even eat up battery when set to manual refresh. The part I find funny is everyone seems to have such a strong opinion on BlinkFeed when, chances are, they’ll simply run out and install Nova Launcher right off the bat. This isn’t the iPhone — you have that option.

For those that stick around with the stock Sense 5 launcher, it can be a bit daunting. The weirdest part without a doubt is the dock and app drawer. Traditionally in Android, the dock is the same as anywhere else on the homescreen. The only difference is that it follows you no matter which screen you’re swiping to. Makes sense. In Sense 5, the dock is treated as an extension of the app drawer. This means you can drag app icons out of the drawer and onto the dock, but they’ll disappear from your app drawer. Try to stay with me. When dragging an app out of the dock, and onto the homescreen, it’ll create a duplicate (just as if you dragged it out of the app drawer). It’s kinda overly confusing and in some weird way it makes HTC sense, just not Android sense.

Your app drawer can be customized in a variety of different ways (this part I love). If you like, you can enable folders in the app drawer, moving icons around in whatever order you like. Or, you can go the traditional route and simply keep everything visible and in alphabetical order. No matter what you do, that dang weather widget will be there. HTC really likes that weather widget. But never mind that.

Placing icons on your homescreen from the app drawer involves the arduous task of dragging the icon to a small area that appears at the top of the app drawer labeled “shortcut.” From there you can drag and drop the icon anywhere on the homescreen. I can’t even begin to describe how frustrating this is. I understand the extra step is included for when the user is in custom app drawer mode, but it shouldn’t be there when the app drawer is set to alphabetical. That’s all I have to say.

Notification pull down/shade/area is the same as it’s ever been and for me, that’s the problem. In this day and age, I can’t for the life of me figure out why HTC is avoiding quick toggles. This is especially baffling given, at one point, they embraced them (see Sense on the HTC EVO Shift). They’re found in every single manufacturer UI on the planet and even finally made their way to stock Android. I can only hope HTC gets on the ball whenever they update the One to Android 4.2.2. In fact, I’m begging them. The other issue is that Jelly Bean notifications aren’t expanded by default, instead they have to be 2-finger swiped to expand. Not sure why this is the case, but it definitely bothers me.

There’s a lot of new Sense apps to replace the stock Android Jelly Bean versions, things like Clock, Calendar, and Calculator. Pretty standard with manufacturer UI’s and no different in Sense 5. There are those that have a little more to offer, so let’s cover those next.

Gallery

On one hand, the Gallery app in Sense 5 is pure genius. On the other hand — it’s a complete and total disaster. Upon opening, it feels like a living, breathing scrapbook filled with memories and precious moments. Thumbnails will randomly play (if they’re video or Zoe’s) and the top of every event there’s a tile that can transform your pictures and videos into a nice little video montage. All the user has to do is click play.

The main issue I have with the Gallery app is in its user friendliness or ease of use. I consider myself a pretty techie person, navigating around even the most complicated of UI’s and even I couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on with the gallery app. When you first open it up, you’ll see a nice tile interface with specific categories: My photos, Friends, Camera shots, and recent pictures from random friends on Facebook. Scrolling down will show you photos your friends recently posted to Facebook. Clicking on My Photos will take your albums, the normal way of browsing galleries on your smartphone. Clicking on Camera shots, will open the last photos you’ve taken in filmstrip view. Confusing? A bit. But that’s not even the half of it.

Now when viewing albums, you can do so in the traditional Android way via “Album” view, or by Events. If you switch to Events view, all the photos on your phone will be sorted by date and album folder. Click an event, and you’ll be able to view the pictures and images from that date or event. At the top, there’s a big tile marked with a play button that will transform all your photos and videos from that event into a video montage dubbed Zoe Share. It’s kinda like a slideshow, only a lot more flashy and in MP4 format. It’s actually pretty sweet how it’s all done automagically, and with little-to-no effort.

Zoe Shares can be saved as a video onto your phone in a album named “Highlights” or uploaded to HTC’s Zoe Share site where it will sit for 180 days, allowing you to send the link to friends and family via email, SMS, or via social networks. You can customize the music before uploading or publishing, but that’s about it.

The real problem with Zoe Shares is that they’re a pain to customize when you only want to include specific pictures and videos while excluding others. Zoe Share will often include pictures and/or video that you never selected from an event and trust me, I pulled my hair out trying to get it all just right. What makes it even more of a pain is the simple fact that Zoes aren’t marked in anyway. Unlike videos, which have a little play button in the middle, Zoes are marked the same way as an image: with nothing. Essentially they’re both, pictures and video. I get it. But a Zoe icon would make customizing a Zoe Share a million times easier. Get to it, HTC.

Of course when you do get it right, Zoe Shares can be truly touching, share-worthy material for your friends and family. In fact, I can say that I will be using it frequently whenever I want to share birthday parties, beach outings, church activities, etc. with friends and family.

Keyboard

The keyboard in the HTC One deserves a special mention simply because of how damn good it is. Typing is accurate and fast. I’d even go as far as saying it’s one of the fastest keyboards I’ve ever used (and I’ve tried ‘em all). Auto correct is near flawless (no next word prediction however), and for those that prefer to swipe their text, there’s the option to use HTC’s “Trace keyboard” as well. The gesture typing even works better than other 3rd party solutions like Flow Through Space, and although it wont knock Swipe off its pedestal, it’s plenty accurate for everyday use.

TV App

To take advantage of the all new infrared blaster found on the One, HTC has teamed up with the boys at Peel and together, they’ve managed to put together a TVGuide-like television app with universal remote capabilities. The app allows users to set up specific rooms and store every remote from your stereo, to your television, and even your.. VCR? Setup is super easy. Simply choose your manufacturer, point the One at the device you’re emulating and boom. You’re on your way. The best part is you no longer have to search for the remote under your couch. It’s always with you, stored inside your One along with schedules and showtimes from your favorite shows.

Intents

Sense 4 vs Sense 5

Yes, folks. Android’s stock intents are finally back. This is huge for HTC as previous flagships like the HTC One X and HTC One S were severely hindered after and Apple lawsuit forced HTC to change the way Android handled links in their devices. Pre-lawsuit, you’d click a link inside an SMS or another app and you’d be presented with a popup of options (for instance, which browser you’d like to open up the link with when multiple browsers were installed). The HTC One X and One S handled this with an option in Sense that allowed you to choose only one specific app to handle intents ahead of time — and that was it.. It was frustrating and quite frankly, pretty lame. Now, the stock intents are back and are just another way Sense 5 has changed things up for the better since the previous version.

Menu Bar

The dreaded menu bar is back in the HTC One and just as horrible as ever. When you open some apps with the HTC One, if the developer never got around to updating their application to follow Google’s app guidelines, you’ll notice a hideous 3-dot black bar along the bottom of the app. All developers should, by now, updated their apps so this no longer appears.

The problem is a lot them haven’t. Because HTC is (somewhat) following Android’s new 3 button interface — back, home, and multitasking albeit, in a 2-button form — the menu bar will occasionally rear its ugly head inside a few apps. HTC dealt with this problem a long time ago by allowing users in Sense 4 (HTC One X, HTC One S) to map their capacitive buttons according to their taste. Unfortunately, this awesome feature died with those devices (never even made it to the HTC Droid DNA) once again summoning that retched menu bar.

Bloatware

Since this is a carrier device, the mandatory pack of AT&T “bloatware” has made it’s way to the device. HTC was nice enough to place all of them inside their own little folder, out of the way of other apps. If you’d like, the handful of apps can even be disabled in Settings > Apps, at which point they’ll disappear from your app drawer, never to be seen again. And because they’re disabled, you also wont have to worry about them opening at random times, sucking up precious RAM. Of course, if you feel any of the apps are helpful, just carry on.

Verdict

Positives

  • Best display on the market — hands down
  • BoomSound stereo front facing speakers
  • 4MP UltraPixel camera takes superior low-light pictures
  • Great battery life
  • Premium aluminum build quality
  • Sense 5 UX is revamped and kicky fast

Negatives

  • Inconsistent build quality in our review model
  • Sense 5 homescreen, gallery, and Zoe Share are not user friendly
  • Inconsistent camera software (HDR specifically)
  • 2-button layout and lack of remapping option (menu bar)

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5

HTC really hit it out of the ballpark with the HTC One. I’m sure the Samsung and Nexus fanboys will chime in and really, no matter your feelings on the HTC One, you’ll still reap the benefits from its game changing hardware. To put it simply, the HTC One has raised the bar in terms of smartphone hardware and in order to 1-up it, every major smartphone release from here on out will only be better because of it. I can’t imagine it will be too much longer before we start seeing more devices with front facing speakers, better quality displays, and rock solid build quality. As you read in my review, the HTC One isn’t perfect by any means, but for the time being, it is the undisputed king of Android and without equal. I recommend everyone check it out.

Continue reading on the HTC One forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.




  • http://stevealbright.com Steve Albright

    The “BoomSound” really blew your hair! Okay, I’m really reading the article now.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Damn you, Steve.

      • nycplayboy78

        Chris you STOOPID :p

        • nycplayboy78

          I know but its Chris you understand right?

          • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

            I do.

    • androidscales

      Being a present owner of evo 3d I know why HTC is having problem selling any phone. I had the EVO 4g it was a great phone even with (ICS) custom rom with no HTC update it worked well all it had was ginger bread. Next I bought the evo 3d it is a buggy phone , htc sense is horrendous it lags like hell and phone has issues with antenna you name any issue HTC EVO 3d has it. I have put custom roms on it now with 4.2.2 its a bit bearable but dude this is worst phone . I have pre ordered my S4 I will never own HTC after this terrible experience. If you think N4 is bad then you have never owned a HTC evo 3d its a terrible phone and was hyped like this HTC one.

      • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

        I owned the EVO 3D. I enjoyed it for the few months I actually had it. I’ll admit, I moved onto Samsung shortly after that, but only because I wanted to try something new (Exynos processor was intriguing).

        If I have a bad experience with a phone, I don’t dimiss a manufacturer over it – just the phone. I judge each phone individually based on hardware, not really on the past of the manufacturer. Android is still very new and just starting to mature. OEM’s are only now learning what to do, and what not to do.

        If a phone looks good — like the HTC One — I’m gonna buy it and be happy with it. I think you’d be happy with it too (it’s nothing like the EVO 3D).

      • yankeesrule587

        you should have got a HTC ONE S or X, I will probably get the ONE, but it will be tough to let my ONE S go…HTC has never let me down, ive never had issues with Sense. The EVO was NEVER hyped like this phone.

      • Christy84

        I just upgraded to the HTC One from the EVO 3D. I was pretty happy with my EVO 3D at first and had no antenna issues, then when I moved a few towns over to a place that had almost no Sprint coverage, I had all kinds of issues with my antennas ‘waking up’ after that even when I was at a place that has signal. I just blame it on my local Sprint network more than the phone itself but maybe I’m wrong to do that. Even when i was somewhere with signal, my 3G icon (we never got any type of Sprint 4G here) would pretty much flash on my screen while I was trying to load something because it kept going in and out for no reason. I just switched to AT&T when I got my HTC One and have not had any type of antenna issue with the phone so far. AT&T and Verizon are both great where I’m at so I wouldn’t expect an issue with either one. Unlimited data (w/ Sprint) is kinda useless when you hardly have a signal — I pretty much had to do everything on WiFi. Also, everything seems blazing fast on my phone right now. I click an app and it’s open before I’m even done clicking. Move around from screen to screen, it’s instant. I don’t know if it’s the hardware, or Jelly Bean vs ICS/GB, or the version of sense, or a combination of any of that, but Sense is not slowing down this phone at all so far. Maybe that’ll change in the future, but for now it’s running great. I had a bad experience with an LG phone in the past so it has be skeptical of ever getting one again, so I understand your fear of getting another HTC phone after having a bad experience with your EVO 3D, but after going from the EVO 3D to the HTC One, it doesn’t feel like there are any similarities between the phones at all besides having an HTC logo on them.

      • gonk24

        You must have gotten a bad device. I’ve owned my 3d since June of 2011 and it’s been fantastic. That being said I rooted pretty quick and was onto custom roms and kernels. Had ICS going well before Sprint released the update and Jelly Bean for a long time now too. I’m currently running the Wild For The Night CM 10.1 Rom and my 3d is the best it’s ever been. Fast as hell, great battery life, no hiccups whatsoever. I live in a 3G only area (Des Moines, IA) with little hope of seeing meaningful 4G anytime soon.

  • Treyhunnid

    we get it. u hated ur nexus 4. smh

    • Rob Jackson

      It’s the only Nexus I haven’t personally bought, so I can’t comment on the Nexus 4 itself, but I think there are a lot of people who passed on the Nexus 4 who are eager to see the next Nexus Phone iteration. I’ll likely dispose of my newly purchased Droid RAZR MAXX HD (GNex fell in toilet) simply due to the glory of Nexus, but we’ll see. Considering the HTC One or S4 to bridge that gap.

      That being said, I think Chris’ personally negative experience with the Nexus 4 probably casts a larger shadow of doubt on the device than it deserves. But hey- we’re all entitled to our own opinions!

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      I liked my Nexus 4. I also liked my Note 2, Galaxy S3, and Droid DNA. They’re all my children, but some I like more than others. HTC One just happens to be my current fave.

      • KOLIO

        For overall value,the N4 scores some points.Tried one out quite a few times,but,if purchased on a Monday,I’d been MEH by Friday.Had the S3 for 7 months & IMHO,a better phone than the N4.
        Glad I waited for the ONE.

      • KOLIO

        The makings for interesting dinner conversation:

        CHRIS: Mom,Dad,you love all of us,right?

        PARENTS: Of course,what kind of question is that?

        CHRIS: Well,would you say I was a DROID DNA,a NEXUS4,or,something in-between?

        PARENTS: WTH on Earth are you talking about,CHRIS?…………………………. ;-)

      • koolkat2

        I have a favorite child too son I understand…… my wife, not so much…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=517313097 Cody Lyver

    The gap on the top and bottom of the One isn’t 100% closed because the speaker covers are actually separate and come off (they’re just glued on).
    Personally I’m impressed with the camera, and the phone overall. Best phone I’ve ever owned.

    • KOLIO

      I wonder if the gap is intentional as part of the design for sound quality,etc…..

      Just a thought,as one would think if it were a defect in the contour radius w/the speaker grill,surely this would have been caught in a Q.A. sample audit during production.

      Then again,it could be an outright flaw in design/manufacturing.

      If mine ends up having this gap(s),I’ll be posing this same question to HTC soon after registering my phone for warranty service,etc….

      • irishrally

        This issue has been known for some time and acknowledged by HTC officials.

        • PiCASSiMO

          So does that mean future units will have it addressed?

        • irishrally

          There are a few threads on XDA discussing this issue and one them gets in to some detail about the gluing process of the upper and lower aluminum pieces on the front of the phone that are not part of the unibody. I don’t remember the original source but here is one link: http://www.hardwarezone.com/tech-news-htc-one-suffering-build-issues-gap-seen-between-cover-and-main-body
          The gap issue definitely exists in many of the One’s, whether HTC officials owned up to this without a doubt, hard to say for sure.

  • nick olaguez

    It goes hard in the paint. Hell yeah.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yahya.m.ghanem Yahya Ghanem

    If I was a girl I would want to be Mrs. Chavez.. No homo. Although, I guess you can’t really say “no homo” after saying something like that… Well whatever. Lol

    • selonmoi

      How about just don’t say “no homo” at all?
      It always strikes me as homophobic and really insecure.

      • selonmoi

        Well, since you asked, I’ll explain: “Homo” is an intentionally derogatory way of describing someone’s sexual orientation. And the declaration “no homo” is premised on the idea that homosexuality is bad, or wrong, or somehow inferior, causing the speaker to want to be absolutely clear that it doesn’t apply to him.

        • Alan DeMunck

          Hate to say this but if I say “Asians are really good at math… No racist” that means I am saying something that is fairly racist and I know it, but I want to make sure everyone knows I am not getting off work early to go to a lynching. Same with no homo. If I say “I love watching sex in the city… no homo”, I am just making sure I cover my tracks. Not trying to insult anyone, I just don’t want to set the wrong impression.

          It isn’t that being “homo” is inferior or anything. If that is how you want to take it then by all means please continue to overthink the situation. People say it to be absolutely clear that it doesn’t apply to them, correct. But your perception of that act is just wrong.

  • irishrally

    “It’s time to let the past go”. Good idea. Nice review aside from your continued crying about you cracking the back of your Nexus 4.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      #neverforget

      • irishrally

        Yeah man, your choice how you want to represent yourself.

        • KosmoCrisis

          We each live our own lives, and the HTC One wants to live in yours. LOL. That’s a great commercial right there.

  • DavidVarghese

    Good review.. I think you nailed everything that the phone offered.

    • KosmoCrisis

      He worked pretty hard on this review. Lots of detail that hopefully helps people decide if this is the best phone.

      • Del373

        This phone is one of the reasons I’m kinda hoping that Verizon will try to take my unlimited data away from me, it would give me an excuse to jump ship to T-Mo or Sprint.

        • DavidVarghese

          I’d wait until after Verizon’s “big announcement” before jumping ship

        • KOLIO

          Phones come & go,stick w/the carrier that serves your area best.

    • M0nk

      I really liked the review and videos. Did anyone tested a third party launcher on this like Nova? I can’t stand Sense home, the “non sense” vertical app drawer with a huge clock always displaying and widget selection :)

  • Billy_B

    If only HTC would make a Nexus again…

    • bmg314

      ↑↑↑ THIS ↑↑↑

    • erik dempsey

      YES, YES, YES, YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Billy_B

      What did my comment have to do with HTC’s health as a company? I just want an HTC Nexus.

      • Phil

        Want dont get im afraid

    • http://twitter.com/mahmoud824 Mahmoud Shaaban

      As I recall samsung released the Nexus S AND the Galaxy Nexus And the Nexus 10. Did that destroy Samsung, slow their success, or not have their brand in them? HTC needs to sell devices to make money and if they expand to Google Play that will only help them?

  • Philly Jim

    Awesome review , seriously Kudos , your frustration in your video would definitely be mine just to many quirks ,I played with the phone at an at&t store and had a hard time with the power and volume controls also and as I’m sure would bet easier over time its just one of many things that are a deal breaker for me ,its a shame was really hoping this would bring me back to HTC as my first three phones where HTC , hero, evo, evo 3d , but I guess my HTC experiences will die with those devices ,its not just the power buttons and volume , but the device as a whole , I’ll be happy with my rooted s3 which can mimick sense 5 if I want it too hell Hyperdrive ROM allows you to mimick many phones ,anyway thanks for the review ,now that the hype is over , I’m over the HTC one and look g forward to the Motorola x phone , the lg pro , or the note 3,………TGIF

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      It’s definitely not perfect. No device is. You kinda just hope the good outweighs the bad and love it despite it’s small imperfections. Like women :p

      • bluevoodo

        Whats with the GF references there Chris?

  • Spoken Word™

    Build quality aside, HTC has always had good quality, the One is just another HTC phone and will be relegated to also ran status within weeks. I’ve had the pleasure of using 1 for the past 3 weeks and the software decisions that HTC made are baffling and totally detract from the experience. Boom Sound is nice but I don’t know many people that spend significant amounts of time playing video/audio in noisy environments/or for groups of people. And don’t even get me started on their ultra pixels because they don’t deliver where needed. The pics I’ve taken in normal indoor/outdoor lighting don’t impress. Low light pics are fine, but once again, how many people spend significant amounts of time shooting pics/video in the dark?

  • simpleas

    Appreciate the review Chris, you forgot to say GS4 straight owns this tho haha. Touching the screen is so… last year ^_^

  • harold

    It’s his phone till the next one comes out.

    • BulletTooth_Tony

      …in 2 weeks

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000441218947 D.j. Hawkins

    great review as usual Chris. Now how do you feel about letting me borrow your phone for just a little bit lol. We cant be too far from each other I live in Rancho too
    r

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Oh, snap. Actually, I’m mailing out this review unit tomorrow. One of our other writers is going to do some comparison posts with the Galaxy S4.

      • KOLIO

        Dang CHRIS.One phone review nets you 2 stalkers.Not bad for a days’ work……..

  • jzxcv1122

    Waiting for HTC One+ for these smaller changes :D

  • Guest

    Who lives in Rancho Cucamonga? I know I do :)

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Ummmm… O_o

  • simpleas

    So can we expect HTC Two HTC Three in the coming years? Or will it be called HTC One Two! lol

  • hohopig

    :P at least this is one reviewer who is actually more aware of the actual material property and pitfall of aluminium …. although it seems the myth of aluminium as a “premium” material still persist …. such is the fallacy of human perception.

    And seems to be a balanced review overall, with the obvious inconsistency in the camera and balanced against the good point about the new UI and good quality of low light shot.

    But what puzzle me is the mix report of its battery life, as some other reviews says that the battery life is comparatively bad … while you said that it is good, so which is which? :P

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Battery life is never the same for any 2 people. My girlfriend has the One and she is barely squeezing 6 hours out of it. (That’s because she’s a Facebook and Instagram whore and has ‘em both refreshing every 5 minutes).

  • Pkmmte

    Great article, Chris!
    You should like work at an Android tech blog or something. Oh wait…

  • hohopig

    Also how about other pitfall? Did HTC build in an achilles heel (other than its persistent one – the lack of removable battery and SD card) this time? I have been burned once with HTC and was so glad when I switch and read that the HTC ONE X come with multi-tasking problem (or the death of multi-tasking so the speak).

    It seems that HTC ALWAYS shoot itself in the feet by building in some inherent and prominent fault in their phone design and it ALWAYS detract from the experience .. taking away half the enjoyment that could have been have.

    So this time, did HTC avoid its own curse?

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      I think…. it did. O_o

  • BulletTooth_Tony

    those photos are incredibly overexposed… and the colors are too warm and oversaturated. Both the Note 2 and DNA shots look better.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      That stuff can be adjusted in the settings (saturation and exposure) so it’s fixable.

      In the low light, the others are almost pitch black where the One is super bright. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        Was the shooting mode set to Low Light/Night on the Note?

        This is the difference it makes–

        Before: http://imgur.com/0tC3LyM.jpg

        After: http://imgur.com/QCoFOQJ.jpg

        • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

          I wanted to make sure all these camera apps were set to their normal settings. The HTC One also has a “night mode” but I didn’t use it in my samples. I might do a “night mode” shoot out, with comparison shots as well. Will keep you posted.

          • BulletTooth_Tony

            Gotcha – I guess it’s just a counter-point to the suggestion to go -2 exposure to correct the overexposure outdoors.

            Thank you for taking the time to respond.

  • rick slick

    Man you go on and on about the build quality.. I have an iPhone 5, nothing beats that in build quality…but which phone do I use most? My Galaxy Note 2… by far the most useful phone every. HTC One is nothing but a gimmick imho. I use SD card a lot, and removable battery is bonus. Nice try HTC…too bad it’s still fatally flawed.

    • ReDDster

      How is it a gimmick exactly…? Can’t the same be said with TwouchWiz UI?

    • xanok

      Most people don’t give a damn about SD card slot if there’s enough internal storage (which there is, 32gb or 64gb) and I have yet to meet anyone that has a second battery for their phone. Hardly fatally flawed for 99.9% of the population. For you, these things might be a dealbreaker, but most people couldn’t care less.
      This phone is hardly gimmicky. I’ve read a few reviews on it, and every one raves about it’s high sound quality, picture taking(after software update), and how it’s easily the fastest phone they’ve used..Anandtech.com said it was the best smartphone they’ve ever used, and really, they’re the only ones that really matter (engadget, cnet among others are a joke).
      HTC can’t afford to put out “gimmicks.” The only thing they do is phones. Most reviewers and customers felt the One S and One X were better than the S 3 last year. The marketing is what makes the Samsung phones sell better. If you think otherwise, you’re a fool.
      So I guess to sum things up, you’re talking out of your ass.

      Here’s the Anandtech review if you’re up for reading more than a two or three paragraphs that will show you that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      http://www.anandtech.com/show/6747/htc-one-review

      • rick slick

        No, you’re a fool, talking out of your ass. I have owned HTC phones in the past and were fans of the Evo lines, but these phones are basically iPhone clones (which I already own) but not nearly as good as the iPhone. It’s basically the worst of the iPhone build with the worst of Android OS, how is it better than the Samsung phones exactly? You’re definitely a fool for thinking HTC is better.

        • xanok

          Please, I own an Evo3D and it sucks balls pretty much top to bottom. It just happened to be the best Android phone for Sprint at the time(Galaxy S2 wasn’t out for Sprint yet). Offensive amounts of Sense, horrible battery life, and on top of it, stuff got UNDERNEATH the screen. If anything this phone put me off of HTC phones.
          You’re calling it a gimmick without actually using the phone. Everyone that has used it has loved it and a lot of the reviews were using it with the pre-release camera software, which has since been updated. I highly encourage you to use the phone before making such ridiculous statements.

        • malcmilli

          worse build? I think you need to take a drop test in order to prove that. My Evo 4g and Evo LTE took a ton of uncased drops and took them like a champ

    • M0nk

      About the SD, I understand that this is a US site but Chris had forgotten the other 6.5 billion people that do not live in US and some lucky UE countries. Most cool cloud services are not available outside US, even Google services like music, video, magazines, etc. No hulu, spotify, rdio or even pandora… Our only option is local storage because 3g is also spotty and costly. Other problem is that most carriers will not sell the 64GB version and if you already have a class-10 64GB msd card you can’t use it. I saw that there is a Chinese One version with SD slot, maybe import is the option for us… Third world problems

    • malcmilli

      fatally flawed is a bit of an overstatement. people throw the world gimmick around too loosely. “Features A and B are gimmicks because i personally don’t use them” I could call SD cards and removable batteries gimmicks that i’ll never use.

    • dizel123

      I love how you say you have an iPhone 5 and then put the HTC One down for not having a removable battery or SD card slot…fail much?

      • rick slick

        Aren’t you quite the idiot? The iPhone 5 was a work phone given to me, the Note 2 I bought with my own hard earned money. Why would I line the pockets of a manufacturer who takes away choice from the consumer?

        • dizel123

          you’re the moron who’s on here bragging about having an iPhone. If you’re stupid enough to advertise for them don’t be upset when people call you on it.

  • phinn

    Messed with this at BB today, wasn’t that impressed. Nice screen, didn’t like the HTC logo at the bottom that doesn’t do anything. They shoulda just stuck to the standard 3 buttons. It just made me want to have stock Android 4.2.2.

    • Caleb Loop

      you can map that htc logo to do something with a custom kernel. Its actually a capacitive key that has nothing mapped to it.

    • nick olaguez

      If his comment doesn’t bother you then why reply?

  • Bob G

    Terrible review. Would not read again.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Terrible comment. Would not read again.

      • Del373

        Haters gonna hate. :/

        We all still love you Chris.

        • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

          <3

    • OptimusL

      You can read?? O-o

  • http://www.facebook.com/KevinTaddeo Kevin Taddeo

    I don’t understand how you are continually saying this is the best X, Y, Z any android phone has ever had, and yet you give it a 4.5 out of 5.

  • http://twitter.com/Patfactorx David Pat

    My buddy has this phone and I gotta say that it blows anything Samsung out of the water. Go see it in person and the build quality really is going to amaze you.

  • PhaseBurn

    Very in-depth and well-written review, Chris… I’m not a HTC hater by any means (though I loathe SenseUI), and I’d seriously consider this phone over my Nexus 4 if it 1) worked on T-Mobile using HSPA+, and 2) Ran Cyanogenmod.

    The speakers and the screen are the key selling points for me. Couldn’t care less about the camera (I rarely use it)…

    Battery life is never a concern with me – I kill my Nexus 4 in about 3 hours, and it’d be similar for the One, I’m sure. I’m just too hard on batteries.

    The looks/defects you pointed out don’t matter at all, either, as I’d get a case for it. I hate the feel of brushed metal on my skin, and the fact it scratches too easily is another reason. This way I wouldn’t have to look at that ugly Beats Audio red abomination on the otherwise subtle back.

    • http://www.facebook.com/steven.madrid.5 Steven Madrid

      It works on Tmobile. Tmobile is taking Pre orders….

      • PhaseBurn

        The dev edition does? I will only buy phones unlocked, directly from the manufacturer, and never again from a carrier.

        • http://www.facebook.com/steven.madrid.5 Steven Madrid

          I learned something. Check out these links. The first is to the developer edition and shows the specs for the HTC One. The second is to TMobile HSPA band information. If you live in a refarmed area then the One will work as it supports the 1900/2100 bands. HSPA 42+ requires either 1700/2100 support or 1900/2100 support. The One will apparently not support Tmobile 4g in a non refarmed area.

          http://shopamerica.htc.com/cell-phones/productdetail.htm?prId=41599#

          https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-4988?noredirect=true

          • PhaseBurn

            Yea, I didn’t think the dev edition worked on T-Mo HSPA+ unless it was in a refarmed area (which, I’m not in). I knew that, though, from my initial look into it when the specs were released. It’s designed for AT&T’s network. I thought you were alluding to a dev One that was designed for T-Mo’s network that I was unaware of… So yea, sticking with my Nexus 4 :-)

  • toomuchgame441

    I don’t like that stupid menu bar taking up the screen space… Fail HTC!

  • ryan rochford

    “this can only be customized with a predetermined list of websites”.

    Chris Chavez i think this is wrong, go to settings -> accounts and sync -> RSS

  • http://www.facebook.com/stu.pidasso.37 Stu Pidasso

    killer review, thanks. you use dna as your personal phone right? i
    assume you’ll be upgrading to this if it comes to verizon? i’m verizon
    also. i’ve always been an htc advocate. started with DInc, now with
    rezound. it was getting old, so i rooted and rom’d and it feels like an
    s4-processor device now. if this doesn’t come to verizon in some form, i’m definitely going GS4.

  • Doug W

    Damnit. After owning both a Flyer which never got the updates it needed and the Thunderbolt which needed a humongous battery brick to last a full day I had sworn off HTC for good.

    This looks mighty sweet though ……..

    Damnit

  • Ryan

    Please stop referencing the “2 inch drop”. Other than that, pretty decent review. It’s too bad that I don’t like sense, or the way the phone looks aesthetically.

  • Ryan

    More specifically, pretty decent review with the exception of the conclusion where you predict the future of Android handsets. Seriously, build quality and screen fidelity improve every year, and not because of the HTC One. Front facing speakers though? Child please.

  • Christy84

    Unfortunately since my phone is the only camera I have, I can’t snap a picture of it, but I picked up a 32gb HTC One after work today and mine doesn’t have gaps along the top and bottom where yours does. Mine looks completely sealed. You see the line there, but it is closed very tightly. Maybe it’s just a few here and there that have the gaps?

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Yeah, I just got my Developer Edition today and I’ll address this in another post, as well as update this one.

      • zifnab

        So your HTC One has a flaw and you’re not ready to declare it the worst phone ever made, and no one should buy it?

      • http://twitter.com/xMikey21 Michael Smith

        wait what you received your phone today mine is still delayed you’re so lucky

  • Guest

    What game is that in the Boomsound section?

  • http://twitter.com/BeastMD Anthony S

    What game is that in the Boomsound section??

  • BigCiX

    Chris, your review is tempting me to go grab a One. I might actually go into an at&t store to check it out.

    • KOLIO

      THIS JUST IN:

      AT&T has announced since BigCix is getting the ONE,updates to the OS will remain @ ANDROID 4.1.2…………………………………………. ;-)

  • infg3570

    Great review Chris… Please let us know if you think this phone is coming to Verizon. It’s the one I’ve been waiting for!!! ☺

  • Cory Skelton

    Dayum that is a thorough review. If you review the GS4 like this I’ll definitely read it. :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/yahya.m.ghanem Yahya Ghanem

    21:00… For those of you who don’t know, It is so you can create folders in your app drawer… I love the idea! :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/yahya.m.ghanem Yahya Ghanem

    22:45 DAMN STRAIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ScottColbert

    Great job Chris, you’ve come a long way!

  • http://www.facebook.com/robertosee Robert See

    Chris, you’re from Rancho Cucamonga??? We’re neighbors then

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Do you like to…. party? O_o

  • mlj11

    A HUGE THANK YOU for making a distinction between build design / materials vs build quality. Hopefully this educates a few fanboys so less people will keep saying stupid things like “Sammy phones are plastic, that’s why I never buy them cos their their build quality < HTC's metal!!1!"

    • http://twitter.com/TheBlackMaou Chaz Edwards

      Nothing wrong with plastic the problem lies with samsung on how they use a shiny plastic finish or hyperglaze makes it look cheap. Samsung could easily use something less shiny or even kevlar. I have galaxy s3 while the blue one is alright the white one looks much worst with hyperglaze.

      • mlj11

        I don’t disagree with your opinion that Samsung’s phones can look less than premium. But a phone looking cheap doesn’t necessitate that its build quality is bad.

  • Deveal2014

    Great review ! Excellent phone

  • HTC fan

    U say d phone is an developer version and smewhre in between u did mention the At&T bloatwares in d phone… its gt mt confused a bit :(

  • http://twitter.com/matuka125 Matti

    Good Review and its true pretty much. Cant wait to get this device in mid may

  • Daniel

    I’m extremely on the fence about this. The HTC One looks fantastic but the flaw for me is the camera. I rather have more megapixels and 4MP “Ultrapixel” isn’t that great.
    I’m waiting for more info on the X Phone and I can upgrade any time I want. I still have the original Galaxy S Vibrant and I’m extremely anxious to upgrade. I just haven’t found the ‘right’ phone.

  • xdapao3

    “going hog wild and throwing caution to the wind” or, in other words, simply USING your frigging smartphone…
    And that’s why I have been saying that only NON-powerusers are going to like and buy these integrated-battery POS.

    Plus it has a substantially smaller display than its main competitor (Galaxy S4) and is made of metal (which I HATE the feel of).

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      When I USED my phone, — calls, SMS, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram — I got pretty good battery life. When I wanted to do some 3D intensive gaming, shoot video, and take a ton of pictures, it suffered. Of course, that’s why I keep a portable charger with me. I just play games while I’m at my girl’s house, chilling on the couch. As easy as popping in a spare battery.

      • xdapao3

        Sure, just as easy… I mean what’s the difference between having a fully charged MOBILE phone after a 30 seconds battery swap and keeping one’s “mobile” phone tethered to an external battery or a wall socket, right..?

      • rick slick

        Keep a portable charger with you? LOL

  • http://profiles.google.com/mjheijster Jeroen Heijster

    Stop it with the freaking myth that people don’t need physical storage because of cloud services. People still have data caps. I hit my 1 GB cap WITHOUT cloud services.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      I agree. That’s why I cache all my music to my internal storage. 64GB should provide for more than enough room for all that, don’t you think?

    • HotInEER

      Seems like you need to change carriers or your plan. 32GB is more than enough.

    • yankeesrule587

      yea you need to dish out some more money, a 1GB cap ? what are u paying ? $20 a month ? 1 GB is ridiculously small

  • taye93

    great review chris

  • andrew__des_moines

    Beautiful phone, but some negatives that would push me to the GSIV (if I didn’t already have a Note II):
    - Small screen-to-frontal area ratio.
    - Small non-removable battery.
    - Low MP camera limits cropping while maintaining quality.
    - Once you go AMOLED, you never go back…

    That being said, I hope they get big sales out of the device, return to financial health, and push Samsung to up their design game. The design could win over some Apple converts, and the new Sense could save some non-techies from making a big Windows phone mistake.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=517313097 Cody Lyver

      I disagree. The battery is better than previous phones I’ve owned (Nexus 4, GS3) and I absaolutely HATE AMOLED when you compare it to an SLCD3 on the One.

  • http://twitter.com/rschall333 Richie Schall

    I gave HTC a chance with the Sensation, after 2 episodes of volume and power buttons falling off I bit the bullet and paid the deductible and was able to replace the HTC Sensation with the Galaxy SII. I won’t gamble two years on the One… my Galaxy S4 is on pre-order. The HTC One does look awesome and hopefully it does stand up for those locked into a 2-year agreement.

  • roebling

    You said it was a Developer Edition yet it had carrier bloatware on it? Aren’t Developer Editions unlocked?

    • http://www.facebook.com/steven.madrid.5 Steven Madrid

      He ordered the developer edition for himself. He reviewed the AT&T version.

  • androidscales

    great phone BTW but I still think nexus 4 beats this hands down. remember kids don’t text and drive..always have a case for the phone

  • TechGuy22

    cant wait for mine, get it install stock on it. screw sense.

  • fraspas

    Put stock Android on the phone and it will be a perfect phone.

  • MrJigolo

    Great review, Chris.

  • mike

    I will never go back to HTC galaxy s 4 is going to be much better talking on the phone sucked with my old one no one could hear what I am saying just not as tight as Samsung as far as the look who Cates you have a lame plastic cover on your phone anyway right after you buy it.

  • Napster87

    “#thighgaps” I lost it at work because of this. It’s always nice to be reminded that no matter how different we are as people, we as men will always have certain things in common.

  • rushmore

    The op can keep to himself about storage. With data caps the cloud is mainly practical with Wi-Fi and drains battery more than local.

    Do not base your own perspective as everyone’s standard. Choice over being chosen for.

  • Jayshmay

    Hey guys, check out this app, it’s actual live tv right on your smartphone!!!

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mdc.ustv

  • barondebxl

    Boom sound!

  • http://twitter.com/Redeemer777 Sanjay Saini

    Ah thank god no build issues with mine from Rogers Canada, looks like a bad batch out there in the wild

  • AdrianP513

    I didn’t care for the One until reading this review. Now I wanna go try it out. Thanks Chris. Great review.

  • Alu Zeros

    I bought one today, and got an iPad mini for free through AT&T, I wasn’t going to buy another nexus 4, google play and lg screwed me on a warranty replacement over a fine print technicality because I bought the phone over eBay and even though it was purchased through the google store the warranty isn’t under my email. I can’t get a hold of the person to transfer it over. Lg says its google’s responsibility. So stuck with a brick. I’m still ticked off at the horrible customer service from google. I had a similar issue with an iPhone and apple replaced it, without a huge hassle. I can’t wait till the next nexus but make sure if you buy one online that person does a warranty transfer if it was purchased from the play store. I’m still pretty ticked off at the fact as a small time android and ios developer that and a person that has bought several nexus devices including tablets that the google play store would totally screw a person over a technicality even though the phone is still under warranty. I guess that’s what happens when they make products that are sold at the price they are.

  • Sean

    If you have data caps, you’re not doing it right. There’s no excuse.

  • HotInEER

    The HTC One is hands down the best phone I have ever owned. It makes my S3 seem 10 years behind. I have not been able to put it down for the 2 days I have owned it. Words can not even begin to describe how amazing the screen is, no flaw what so ever, and the Boom Sound with Beats Audio is fantastic.

    I also don’t understand the hate for BlinkFeed. I actually like it, my only knock on it is the lack of choices for sources, this is their first attempt, so it will only get better, but, if they could make it like Pulse and/or Flipboard, they will have a winner. For those that don’t like it, you can choose another launcher, or keep it from updating. I have mine set to update only over wifi, and to only update over 3g if I initiate it myself.

    This phone flies and HTC Sense is a million times better than prior versions, and I have always liked it much more than Touchwiz. If you are on the fence about this phone, or waiting to compare to the S4, trust me when I say you need to buy this phone now.

    • Michael

      Yeah, this device is awesome. For the first time I’m finding myself enjoying watching and listening to music videos and movie trailers from youtube. The screen is phenominal, and the sound is surprisingly good. I’ve been eligible for an upgrade for nearly a year, but I’m glad I held out for the One!

      • HotInEER

        I agree.

      • Daniel

        I’m still on the original Galaxy S Vibrant since it’s release and have been ready to upgrade for a year as well. I’m just looking for that “One” replacement worthy.
        I am strongly holding on for some X Phone info but seems like it’s delayed. And I’ve read that there will be an upgraded HTC One released in summer. I really really like the HTC One and was so close to pull the trigger but I’ll have to wait for Google I/O.

  • Smitty

    Beats Audio lol

  • zifnab

    Biggest device of the year is a bold statement. We’ll see how sales go, I have a feeling someone will be resigning and HTC’s budget will shrink even more.

  • http://twitter.com/fightcrazy Vinny

    Chris, I have seen many other reviews with the same issue with build quality. That same plastic strip around the center is rough and has gaps in certain areas. Take it back and exchange it or they won’t fix the problem. Great review.

  • Mina Haroun

    HTC makes great Android Devices…if i didnt have to use it as a phone …this is the best thing ever… minus the fact that they took away more of our buttons (camera button, and menu/app switch) as a phone, they fucked up the dialer and people have issues hearing me… the dialer from htc one s/x and evo lte was perfect…. i dial say 526 for james and it gave me a list of contacts starting with recently used … now i dial 526 and it just gives me one result and i have to take an extra step to see all the results and coming from evo LTE …i really miss the kickstand… speakers in the front would be 10x better with kickstand to keep phone up … so for work where i have to answer allot of calls and manage 2 incoming calls at once i prefer the Samsung III/IV for web browsing and android things i prefer the HTC … HTC browser is still the best browser i’ve ever used ..and with the power of the HTC one it is perfect… i can navigate almost any website in full desktop mode with no issues.(example IGN.com)

  • FaisDogg

    Chris, you a baller man…beautiful house, which city do you live in …now it makes me wonder how much tech editors make…lol I had to spend years and years in college to get my doctorate and have a decent career…

  • Luisito Mercado

    Superb review, especially the part of “Screw Apple”! Lmfao, but in all seriousness, I actually found out some things I didn’t know about when I tried out the One today at an at&t store. Thanks for the detailed review!

  • GOODASGREEN

    Sorry but this aint better than the note2 or s3…

    • http://twitter.com/Expertzero Anthony Tran

      wait what? your joking right? “yes im joking”

  • Cuco

    It is perfect to use HTC One with this to add extenal storage!!!
    http://goo.gl/lfEXI

  • http://profiles.google.com/johnnhogan John Hogan

    Nice review. I’m seriously looking at one of these now. The last decent phone speakers I had were on a Nokia n95 lol. Re: the beats audio – cummon, that’s the oldest trick in the book! Make the speakers default to crappy and have a magic button.

  • ineversl33p

    I love the phone. I had the same build quality issues on the one I received wed from pre-order. The first batch I had at my store had the gapping problems too. I think they left some bad ones in to get as many out as possible for the launch. But on sat we received another shipment and they were all looking perfect so I exchanged it for a new one. I recommend anyone who is having the build problems to wait to Monday or so once stores run out of their first batches and exchange it.

  • Robert Whittaker

    Can you confirm which of the HTC apps and widgets still work if you replace sense with a custom launcher?

    • Jason Grover

      In any previous iteration of a HTC phone, that was not the case. Most home replacers only work with stock Android apps (Google calendar, etc), this was due to the sense framework being required in the homescreen itself for those widgets to work. This is the same behavior on a Galaxy Note 2 I tried it on, TouchWiz widgets did not work on Nova. Of course I haven’t tested it, but this is just my .02.

  • Cal Tauanuu

    Hi Chris, Do you know if there is a real difference between the Tmobile version and the unlocked version? Im about two clicks away from purchasing the tmo One.