DailyTech – Google Teases at Android 4.4 “KitKat”, Device Giveaway

Google says too few people knew how Key Lime Pie tasted to name it thatfp__Android_KitKat_Thumb

After being stuck on “Jelly Bean” (Android 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3) for over a year, people were starting to wonder when the next major name change might land for the world’s most used mobile operating system.

I. Android 4.4 is Android “KitKat”

Well the wait is over, with Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android chief Sundar Pichai posting a picture on Twitter that confirms that the next version of Android will be dubbed “KitKat” and will have the version number Android 4.4.
KitKats are popular chocolate bars with a crunchy biscuit inside stick shaped pieces. The confection is made by Swiss candy and beverage company Nestle SA (VTX:NESN). The announcement took many by surprise as the rumor was that Google was going to adopt the more brand agnostic dessert “Key Lime Pie“.  Google was also rumored to bump the version number to 5.0.

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II. No Key Lime Pie For You

John Lagerling — Google’s director of Android global partnerships — told BBC News in an interview today that the branding was indeed a corporate tieup, but that Google was not paid to use the name.  He says that the decision was meant to be “fun and unexpected”, remarking, “This is not a money-changing-hands kind of deal.”
Source: DailyTech.

Google Chromekey may be a $35 HDMI stick PC | Android | Geek.com

Google may be working on an inexpensive HDMI stick PC of its very own called the Chromekey. It’s going to be quite a bit different than Dell’s Project Ophelia or the innumerable Android sticks you may have read about.

There’s some debate about what kind of software the Chromekey will ship with. If the name is accurate, you’d expect Google to go withChrome OS. Then again, Google has an OS that’s built specifically the kinds of displays that feature HDMI ports — Google TV. Android’s a pretty good fit on those screens, too.

But Chrome OS might make the most sense if Google’s intent here is to capture a chunk of the desktop computing market. An inexpensive Chrome OS stick that offers decent performance could be an excellent fit for schools and shared computers (like those in hotels and libraries). It’d even fit the bill for homes where web surfing is pretty much the only computing that’s going on.

Droid Life has received other information, however. Their source says that the Chromekey will act as a sort of wireless receiver and will work in conjunction with Google’s apps on existing (and future) devices. You may, for example, be able to queue up a YouTube playlist on your phone and beam it to the Chromekey for big screen viewing.

Read more @ Geek.com.

Engadget: Outlook.com app update for Android brings that fresh, clean Windows Phone 8 look

screenshot2013-04-16-11-26-36

Tired of that not-so-fresh-looking Outlook.com app on your Android device from all the way back in December 2012? Despair no longer, as Microsoft updated its Outlook Android app today, pushing new features and that distinctive, minimalist Windows Phone 8 aesthetic to its flagship mail program. And not just any new features, but hallmarks like “conversation threading, filters for unread and flagged mail, as well as the ability to mark messages as junk.” The update is already available in the Google Play store, and works with Android OS versions 2.1 to 2.3.3 and 4.0 to 4.1.

Source: Engadget

Facebook Home Now Available At Play Store For Select Devices : The Droid Guy

If you are a big fan of Facebook then you’ll be pleased to know that the social networking giant has finally released the Facebook Home app over at Google Play. Don’t be surprised if your device isn’t seeing it yet as it’s being released gradually so some devices will have access to the app while some won’t.

So far the app is only available for use in the U.S. and only on selected devices. The device list is as follows

HTC First
HTC One (officially supported, but not yet available)
HTC One X
HTC One X+
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Samsung Galaxy S3
Samsung Galaxy S4 (officially supported, but not yet available)
Installing the app can easily be done by downloading it on your device and opening it.

For those whose devices aren’t on the compatibility list then you’ll have to wait a little bit longer for the app to become available.

A way to use Facebook Home on the Nexus 4 and possibly any other non-compatible device was discovered by Krzysztof Bryk. This method requires that you manually install the three .apk files required to run Facebook home and do a little editing on the build.prop file. If you are up to the challenge then you might want out check out the procedure.

Facebook Home is the new interface from the social network that allows you to easily access your Facebook account on your Android device. You’ll just need to glance on your phone to view updates from your friends, there’s the new chat heads feature and it comes with bigger and bolder notifications.

Some of the features of this new app include

Cover Feed: As soon as you turn on your phone, you see posts from your News Feed, so you always know what your friends are up to
Chat Heads and Messenger: Install Messenger to send and receive texts and Facebook messages from the same spot.
Notifications: Notifications from Facebook appear right on your home screen and stick around until you need them. Open a notification with a tap or clear them away to see your cover feed.
App Launcher: Launch your favorite apps and post to Facebook from the same spot

Read more @ The Droid Guy.

Timeline designer Nicholas Felton leaves Facebook as Home for Android launches | The Verge

Two years after joining Facebook, designer Nicholas Felton is leaving the company. In aFacebook post yesterday, Felton said he was “extremely proud of the projects I worked on” and called his time at Facebook a high point in his career, but that he would be “moving on” and returning to New York. Felton is best known for working on the Facebook Timeline, a major overhaul that gave profile pages a new look and a new way of organizing information. He leaves just as Facebook introduces another new tool: Home, an Android launcher that makes Facebook posts and messaging central to a phone’s user interface.

Felton’s plans for the moment are unknown, but he has a long pre-Facebook history. His widely read Personal Annual Reports, a chart from which is shown above, collect details captured by relentless lifelogging, creating a revealing portrait of himself. Those reports would later be credited as an influence on Timeline. He’s also seen his brand of life-tracking and analytics become more popular; last year, he described his desire to put his data in context now that “half my friends are wearing FitBits.”

Source: The Verge.

HTC First with Facebook Home review

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With a billion users, it’d be an understatement to say Facebook has done a good job conquering the desktop world. Mobile, however, is the social network’s next frontier: although it has a significant presence on every major smartphone and tablet platform, the company has a reputation for bringing its key features to the PC environment long before they arrive on mobile — if at all.

But the April 4th reveal of Facebook Home, a solidly built Android launcher, reflects a change in attitude for Mark Zuckerberg and Co. Instead of simply maintaining a smartphone presence, Facebook is ready to go to battle and is putting mobile on the top of its list of priorities. It’s even adding a proper piece of hardware to its arsenal in the form of the HTC First, a 4.3-inch device on AT&T with LTE, reasonable mid-range specs and a gorgeous display. Is it worth $99 with a two-year commitment to purchase a handset dedicated to the social cause? Should you just wait until Home is available as a free download in the Google Play Store? Or is it best to ignore it altogether? Continue reading to find out.

Read the full Review @ engadget.com.

AnandTech | The HTC One Review

It is nearly impossible to begin to review the HTC One without some context, and I’ll begin our review of the HTC One (formerly the device known as codename M7) much the same way I did my impressions piece simply by stating that HTC is in an interesting position as a result of last year’s product cycle. If there’s one thing Anand has really driven home for me in my time writing for AnandTech, it’s that in the fast-paced mobile industry, a silicon vendor or OEM really only has to miss one product cycle in a very bad way to get into a very difficult position. The reality of things is that for HTC with this last product cycle there were products with solid industrial design and specs for the most part, but not the right wins with mobile operators in the United States, and not the right marketing message abroad. It’s easy to armchair the previous product cycle now that we have a year of perspective, but that’s the reality of things. HTC now needs a winner more than ever.


HTC One X, HTC Butterfly, HTC One

For 2013 HTC is starting out a bit differently. Rather than announce the entire lineup of phones, it’s beginning with the interestingly-named HTC One. It’s just the HTC One — no S or X or V or any other monikers at all. It’s clear that the HTC One is the unadulterated representation of HTC’s vision for what the flagship of its smartphone lineup should be. HTC is different from other OEMs in that it only makes smartphones, and as a result the flagship clearly defines the rest of the product portfolio below it. With the One it looks as though HTC is making that kind of statement by literally letting it define the entire One brand.

Enough about the position and the strategy for HTC, these are mostly things that are interesting to enthusiasts and industry, but not really relevant to consumers or the review of a singular product. Let’s talk about the HTC One.

Hardware

For whatever reason I always start with industrial design and aesthetics, probably because it’s the most obvious superficial thing that hits you when picking up almost anything for the first time. With a smartphone that’s even more important, since there’s so much that revolves around the in-hand feel. I pick up my phone too many times a day to count for better or worse, thus the material quality and in-hand feel really do make a big difference.

The HTC One’s fit and finish are phenomenal. There, I said it. You almost don’t even need to read the rest of this section. In my books, fit and finish goes, in descending order of quality, metal, glass, and finally plastic. Or instead of plastic, polymer, or polycarbonate, or whatever overly-specific word we use to avoid saying plastic.

I’ve talked with a lot of people about HTC’s lineup last year, and even though the One X was a well constructed plastic phone, the One S really stuck out in my mind for being a level above and beyond in terms of construction and industrial design. I asked Vivek Gowri (our resident Mechanical Engineering slash industrial design connoisseur slash mobile reviewer extraordinaire) if I was crazy, and he agreed that the One S was one of, if not the, best industrial designs of 2012.

So when I heard about M7 being on the horizon as the next flagship, I couldn’t help but worry that there would no longer be a primarily-metal contender at the high end from HTC. The HTC One is that contender, and brings unibody metal construction to an entirely new level. It is the realization of HTC’s dream for an all-metal phone.

HTC begins construction of the One from a solid piece of aluminum. Two hundred minutes of CNC cuts later, a finished One chassis emerges. Plastic gets injected into the chassis between cuts during machining for the antenna bands and side of the case, which also gets machined. The result is HTC’s “zero-gap” construction which – as the name implies – really has no gaps between aluminum and polymer at all for those unibody parts. There’s no matching parts together from different cuts to achieve an optimal fit, everything in the main chassis is cut as one solid unit. It’s the kind of manufacturing story that previously only the likes of Apple could lay claim to, and the HTC One is really the first Android device which reaches the level of construction quality previously owned almost entirely by the iPhone.

Read the ful review @ AnandTech | The HTC One Review.

AnandTech | 3DMark for Android: Performance Preview

3DMark for Android: Performance Preview

As I mentioned in our coverage of GL/DXBenchmark 2.7, with the arrival of Windows RT/8 we’d finally see our first truly cross-platform benchmarks. Kishonti was first out of the gate, although Futuremark was first to announce its cross platform benchmark simply called 3DMark.

Currently available for x86 Windows 8 machines, Futuremark has Android, iOS and Windows RT versions of 3DMark nearing release. Today the embargo lifts on the Android version of 3DMark, with iOS and Windows RT to follow shortly.

Similar to the situation with GL/DXBenchmark, 3DMark not only spans OSes but APIs as well. The Windows RT/8 versions use DirectX, while the Android and iOS versions use OpenGL ES 2.0. Of the three major tests in the new 3DMark, only Ice Storm is truly cross platform. Ice Storm uses OpenGL ES 2.0 on Android/iOS and Direct3D feature level 9_1 on Windows RT/8.

The Android UI is very functional and retains a very 3DMark feel. There’s an integrated results brower, history of results and some light device information as well:

There are two options for running Ice Storm: the default and extreme presets.

3DMark – Ice Storm Settings
Default Extreme
Rendering Resolution 1280×720 1920×1080
Texture Resolution Normal High
Post-processing Quality Normal High

Both benchmarks are rendered to an offscreen buffer at 720p/1080p and then scale up to the native resolution of the device being tested. This is a very similar approach we’ve seen by game developers to avoid rendering at native resolution on some of the ultra high resolution tablets. The beauty of 3DMark’s approach here is the fact that all results are comparable, regardless of a device’s native resolution. The downside is we don’t get a good idea of how some of the ultra high resolution tablets would behave with these workloads running at their native (> 1080p) resolutions.

Ice Storm is divided into two graphics tests and a physics test. The first graphics test is geometry heavy while the second test is more pixel shader intensive. The physics test, as you might guess, is CPU bound and multithreaded.

Before we get to the results, I should note that a number of devices wouldn’t complete the tests. The Intel based Motorola RAZR i wouldn’t run, the AT&T HTC One X (MSM8960) crashed before the final score was calculated so both of those devices were excluded. Thankfully we got the Galaxy S 3 to complete, giving us a good representative from the MSM8960/Adreno 225 camp. Thermal throttling is a concern when running 3DMark. You have to pay close attention to the thermal conditions of the device you’re testing. This is becoming something we’re having to pay an increasing amount of attention to in our reviews these days.

Graphics Test 1

Ice Storm Graphics test 1 stresses the hardware’s ability to process lots of vertices while keeping the pixel load relatively light. Hardware on this level may have dedicated capacity for separate vertex and pixel processing. Stressing both capacities individually reveals the hardware’s limitations in both aspects.

In an average frame, 530,000 vertices are processed leading to 180,000 triangles rasterized either to the shadow map or to the screen. At the same time, 4.7 million pixels are processed per frame.

Pixel load is kept low by excluding expensive post processing steps, and by not rendering particle effects.

Although the first graphics test is heavy on geometry, it features roughly 1/4 the number of vertices from GL/DXBenchmark 2.7’s T-Rex HD test. In terms of vertex/triangle count, even Egypt HD is more stressful than 3DMark’s first graphics test. That’s not necessarily a bad thing however, as most Android titles are no where near as stressful as what T-Rex and Egypt HD simulate.

3DMark - Graphics Test 1

Among Android smartphones, Qualcomm rules the roost here. The Adreno 320 based Nexus 4 and HTC One both do very well, approaching 60 fps in the first graphics test. The Mali 400MP4, used in the Galaxy Note 2 and without a lot of vertex processing power, brings up the rear – being outperformed by even NVIDIA’s Tegra 3. ARM’s Mali-T604 isn’t enough to pull ahead in this test either; the Nexus 10 remains squarely behind the top two Adreno 320 based devices.

Graphics Test 2

Graphics test 2 stresses the hardware’s ability to process lots of pixels. It tests the ability to read textures, do per pixel computations and write to render targets.

On average, 12.6 million pixels are processed per frame. The additional pixel processing compared to Graphics test 1 comes from including particles and post processing effects such as bloom, streaks and motion blur.

In each frame, an average 75,000 vertices are processed. This number is considerably lower than in Graphics test 1 because shadows are not drawn and the processed geometry has a lower number of polygons.

3DMark - Graphics Test 2

As you’d expect, shifting to a more pixel shader heavy workload shows the Galaxy Note 2 doing a lot better – effectively tying the Tegra 3 based HTC One X+ and outperforming the Nexus 7. The Mali-T604 continues to, at best, tie for third place here. Qualcomm’s Adreno 320 just seems to deliver better performance in 3DMark for Android.

3DMark - Graphics

The overall score pretty much follows the trends we saw earlier. Qualcomm’s Adreno 320 leads things (Nexus 4/HTC One), followed by ARM’s Mali-T604 (Nexus 10), Adreno 225 (SGS3), Adreno 305 (One SV), Tegra 3 (One X+/Nexus 7) and finally Mali 400MP4 (Note 2). The only real surprise here is just how much better Adreno 320 does compared to Mali-T604.

Physics Test

The purpose of the Physics test is to benchmark the hardware’s ability to do gameplay physics simulations on CPU. The GPU load is kept as low as possible to ensure that only the CPU’s capabilities are stressed.

The test has four simulated worlds. Each world has two soft bodies and two rigid bodies colliding with each other. One thread per available logical CPU core is used to run simulations. All physics are computed on the CPU with soft body vertex data updated to the GPU each frame. The background is drawn as a static image for the least possible GPU load.

The Physics test uses the Bullet Open Source Physics Library.

3DMark - Physics

3DMark - Physics Test

The physics results give us an indication of just how heavily threaded this benchmark is. The quad-core devices are able to outperform the dual-core Cortex A15 based Nexus 10, despite the latter having far better single threaded performance. The Droid DNA/Optimus G vs. Nexus 4 results continue to be a bit odd, perhaps due to the newer drivers included in the Nexus 4’s use of Android 4.2 vs. 4.1.2 for the other APQ8064 platforms.

Read the full article here: AnandTech | 3DMark for Android: Performance Preview.

Android-Powered PC Lets Parents Monitor Kids’ Activities

http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/dCkgMtyIOLU/

When it comes to digitally-inclined children, a parent’s biggest concern is safety. Kids’ constant connection makes it difficult to keep track of how much time they’re spending online or what content they’re coming across — but one Kickstarter project is giving parents back the control.

MiiPC, a compact personal computing device, connects with most computer monitors or TV screens and lets parents track use from a mobile app. The device runs on Android‘s OS and each family member can utilize a separate desktop account. Check out the video, above, for more.

If your child is playing Angry Birds instead of researching a book report, you can keep them on course by specifying which apps and websites they can access. You can even log them out remotely or prevent future logins. Parents can also review a history of users’ online use, and each account is personalized and can be controlled in real-time.

SEE ALSO: 6 Essential Apps for Connected Families

The idea is to provide a simple and effective way for families to take back control of online experiences, MiiPC’s creators explain on the site. The PC reached its $50,000 funding goal in less than 24 hours and had raised nearly $100,000 at time of writing.

MiiPC is available for $99 with estimated shipping in August.

What do you think of MiiPC? Are there any devices or tools you use to monitor your kids online? Let us know in the comments.

Images courtesy of miiPC

HTC One review (2013)


One. In literal terms, it’s a number. To HTC, however, it’s a branding strategy — the foundation upon which the entire company is now based. Just take one look at the One lineup and you’ll easily understand this is the manufacturer’s pride and joy. There’s a very good reason for that: in a crowded smartphone market, HTC is the underdog to titans like Samsung and Apple. The company needs to stand out if it even wants the chance to prove itself to consumers.
Last year’s One X marked a solid start, and while it didn’t pick up the momentum CEO Peter Chou would’ve liked, the follow-up model — simply called the One — takes HTC’s design and imaging chops to the next level, bringing a new UltraPixel camera sensor, among other top-shelf specs. But will it catch the eye of potential smartphone buyers, in light of another key product announcement? We’d say it’s got more than a fighting chance.

HTC One review (2013)

See all photos

HARDWARE

In order to most fully appreciate the One’s hardware, you first need to understand the process that goes on behind the scenes. Rather than opt for the sort of polycarbonate shell used on the One X and One X+, HTC crafted the One out of a single block of anodized aluminum, sprinkled with polycarbonate accents throughout. It’s incredibly intricate: each unit goes through at least 200 minutes of CNC machine cuts, and the aluminum is etched into channels filled with polycarbonate — a technique called zero-gap injection molding. Add chamfered, polished edges that connect the sides of the phone to the glass (Gorilla Glass 2, to be specific), and you have a handset with one of the best industrial designs we’ve ever seen. The amount of detail here is staggering, and it reflects just how crucial this device is to HTC’s future.
Much like the Windows Phone 8X and Droid DNA (globally known as the Butterfly), the One has a pyramid-like internal setup: larger components like the display and battery sit up front, with the parts getting progressively smaller as you move toward the back of the phone. This gives the rear cover a sleek curve that makes it utterly comfortable to hold. Though the One is even slimmer at 9.3mm (0.37 inch) than the 10mm (0.4 inch) 8X, it’s easier to grasp because the edges are contoured the way they are. At 5.04 ounces (143g), it feels a little weightier, but less than you might have guessed; it’s actually relatively light given the materials used.
DNP HTC One review insert obvious Matrix pun here for minimal originality
Ultimately, we’re smitten with the One’s design for all sorts of reasons: it’s sexy, it feels secure in the hand and the combination of unibody aluminum and polycarbonate ensures the phone won’t shatter into a million pieces if it were to hit the ground (although it may get dinged or scratched up a bit, depending on the angle).

We’re smitten with the One’s gorgeous industrial design and premium build.

While industrial design, ergonomics and build quality are a good start, there’s much more to this skinny slab of aluminum. The front of the device is home to some of the biggest changes, headlined by a 4.7-inch S-LCD3 panel with 1080p resolution and two capacitive soft keys just below it — a departure from the standard three-button setup. A tiny HTC logo sits where the home button once did, smack-dab in between the two soft keys. In fact, it’s almost a little deceiving: it looks as if the logo should double as a button (we’d prefer it), but unfortunately there’s nothing more than meets the eye. Aluminum strips line the top and bottom of the phone’s face, with a set of BoomSound speaker grilles designed to offer stereo sound when you’re watching movies or listening to music. (The grille setup isn’t unlike what you’d find flanking the keyboard of some laptops.) An LED notification light resides under the top grille, toward the left. A 2.1MP wide-angle, front-facing camera is located in the top-right corner, while a pair of sensors sits over on the top left.
The front is by far the busiest part of the phone, while the edges and back have a more minimal design that helps keep the phone looking refined. The polycarbonate-laced sides angle inward until they meet the Gorilla Glass on the front, with only a chamfer to connect them. The left side is uninterrupted, save for a micro-SIM tray and miniscule ejection port. A micro-USB / MHL port and mic are on the bottom, and the right is taken up by a single volume rocker that uses the same ridge-like exterior as the Droid DNA.
DNP HTC One review insert obvious Matrix pun here for minimal originality
The top end is where things get a little more interesting. The 3.5mm headphone jack is nothing new, but the power button has a dual personality: it doubles as an infrared (IR) blaster capable of transmitting and receiving, allowing you to use the handset as a TV remote. Because that power button is housed on the left, the act of locking and unlocking the One could be a bit more awkward for folks who tend to hold their phones in their left hands.
Now we turn to the back, which itself is a study in symmetry and simplicity. Two strips of polycarbonate line the top and bottom, lining up neatly with the top and bottom of the 4.7-inch display on the other side. Squint hard enough and you may see a noise-cancelling mic in the top strip. The camera lens sits in the middle of the back, just barely below the top strip; it’s encircled by a thin layer of polycarbonate and is slightly recessed to prevent the glass from getting scratched. You’ll see an LED flash to the left of the camera; there’s also the obligatory HTC logo set in the absolute center of the device, and Beats Audio branding has a spot just a smidgen above the bottom strip. An NFC transmitter is built into the back around the camera module. Unfortunately, though, one thing you won’t find back here is wireless charging. Sorry, folks.
DNP HTC One review insert obvious Matrix pun here for minimal originality
Finally, as you’ve likely already surmised by now, the 2,300mAh battery inside the One isn’t removable or even accessible. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has used an HTC unibody flagship. There’s also no place to stick a microSD card, so the 32 or 64GB of internal storage will have to suffice.
There’s plenty more going on underneath the shell: the One is powered by a 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064T), an Adreno 320 and 2GB DDR2 RAM. While there are two basic versions of the device — the UL and LTE-less U — there will be six different SKUs that feature six different sets of LTE and HSPA+ bands. All of the units are quad-band GSM/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900MHz), but it gets more complicated as the speed goes up: our review unit, which was made for European frequencies, sports 900/1900/2100MHz UMTS/HSPA+ (3G) and 800/1800/2600MHz LTE. The “U” offers the same three frequencies and adds 850MHz for good measure, while Asia’s variant uses 850/900/1900/2100MHz 3G and 1800/2600MHz LTE. Confused yet? Let’s throw the US models into the mix. AT&T will offer 850/1900/2100MHz 3G and 700/850/AWS/1900MHz LTE. T-Mobile’s has 850/AWS/1900/2100MHz 3G and 700/AWS LTE. Finally, Sprint’s version uses 700/AWS 3G, 800/1900MHz CDMA and 1900MHz LTE. If that last paragraph of specs didn’t wear you out, maybe the full data sheet below will. We hope not, because we have a lot more to discuss.

HTC One
Dimensions 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm (5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inch)
Weight 5.04 oz. (143g)
Screen size 4.7 inches
Screen resolution 1,920 x 1,080 (468 ppi)
Screen type S-LCD3
Battery 2,300mAh Li-Polymer (non-removable)
Internal storage 32/64GB
External storage None
Rear camera 4MP, BSI, f/2.0, 1/3” sensor size, 2µm pixel size, OIS
Front-facing cam 2.1MP
Video capture 1080p, 30 fps (front and back)
NFC Yes
Radios Depends on market — see hardware section
Bluetooth v4.0 with aptX
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064T)
CPU 1.7GHz quad-core
GPU Adreno 320
RAM 2GB
Entertainment MHL, DLNA, IR sensor
WiFi Dual-band, 802.11a/ac/b/g/n, WiFi Direct
Wireless Charging No
Operating system Android 4.1.2 (upgradeable to 4.2), Sense 5 UI

DISPLAY

DNP HTC One review insert obvious Matrix pun here for minimal originality
We praised the One X’s 720p S-LCD2 display when it first showed up on the scene last spring, and there was even more to love a few months later when the Droid DNA came out with a 1080p S-LCD3 panel. Having built up this much momentum, we weren’t expecting anything less than the absolute best from the One. And on paper, certainly, it doesn’t disappoint: the One features the same number of pixels as the DNA, except they’re crammed into a 4.7-inch screen (4.65 inches, to get technical). For the pixel density fanatics out there, this means the One offers an incredible 468 ppi. The setup sounds great on paper, but how does it translate into real life?
To be honest, the display is the area in which we feel the most nitpicky, because the 1080p panels we’ve seen on other flagships so far feature simply jaw-dropping quality. And to pick up on minute differences between these incredible displays, you’d have to really start splitting hairs. In particular, 1080p displays don’t offer nearly as noticeable a difference over 720p as we saw with 720p over qHD. Given how far we’ve come in terms of resolution and pixel density, the only way for screens to stand out above the crowd is to offer the best color, viewing angles, brightness and readability in daylight.

The One’s display is the most stunning we’ve seen thus far, but it’s only slightly better than the Droid DNA’s.

The One’s display does very well in all four areas. It’s slightly brighter than the DNA’s and significantly better than the One X+’s S-LCD2; the darks are sufficient, though still not as rich as what you’d find on an AMOLED; the other colors are incredibly close to fully natural; viewing angles are just as good as the One X+ and DNA, because it’s difficult to get any better; and we could see the display without a problem in the direct sunlight. Movies look amazing on the One, and if we want to get exceedingly picky, the text on the One is slightly more crisp than on the DNA — but this is something that’s only noticeable when you view the two side by side. Tiny details aside, the One’s display is the most gorgeous we’ve seen thus far.

CAMERA

DNP HTC One review 2013
In the days leading up to the One announcement, HTC promised a whole new imaging and sound experience on its new flagship — and it certainly wasn’t exaggerating. With the exception of Nokia with its PureView line, all of the company’s competitors are busy increasing the megapixel count on their latest and greatest cameras. HTC, however, boldly chose to go the opposite direction: itdecreased the resolution to 4MP. As you would expect, there’s a lot more to the story than a simple drop in pixel count — in fact, HTC coined the term UltraPixels to describe its new imaging innovation.
The idea behind the UltraPixels is to take a physically large sensor and combine it with big pixels that are capable of gathering more light than standard-sized ones. Whereas the typical smartphone camera features 1.1µm pixels, the One proudly boasts a one-third-inch BSI sensor with 2µm pixels capable of absorbing 330 percent more photons. But that alone isn’t enough to excel at low-light photography, so HTC also uses a 28mm f/2.0 AF lens and optical image stabilization (OIS) — and just in case you still can’t capture enough light, an LED flash is thrown in for good measure.

HTC One sample shots

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HTC’s also developed a next-gen image signal processor (ISP), aptly named ImageChip 2. Despite a lower megapixel count, the new chip is capable of continuous autofocus in less than 200ms, reduced noise, real-time lens compensation and 1080p HDR video recording. It also offers a buffered-capture cycle with pre- and post-shutter recording, not unlike what you get with BlackBerry’s Time Shift, Scalado’s Rewind, Samsung’s Best Face and Nokia’s Smart Shoot. In other words, don’t worry about the resolution on the camera — instead, let the images do the talking.
The front-facing camera hasn’t been neglected either. The 2.1MP module comes with an f/2.0 wide-angle (88-degree) lens and is capable of capturing up to 1080p video, much like its compadre on the back of the One. Even though it can’t do the same fancy scene modes (for video or stills) as the rear camera, you can at least grab HDR shots and tweak white balance if necessary. In a nutshell, all of the usual customizable settings are there: white balance, ISO up to 1600, exposure control, HDR, face detection, a specific macro mode, panorama, three crop styles, plenty of filters and a post-shot photo editor. There’s a clever UI trick that lets you switch between rear and front cameras by dragging your finger down from either side of the phone. The only thing that’s sorely missing is the ability to touch and hold the on-screen shutter button to lock exposure and focus, even when the One’s burst-shooting mode is disabled.
DNP HTC One review 2013
When it comes to performance, there are so many places we could start, so we’ll begin by discussing the megapixel myth. It’s so easy to just naturally assume that a camera with lower resolution is worse than one capable of capturing a larger number of pixels, but that isn’t always the case. Indeed, cameras with higher resolutions allow for better cropping and digital zooming. When shots are viewed at their regular size, however, there isn’t any visible degradation of detail. Colors are impressively natural, and white balance is excellent as well. The only issue we found with stills was that the camera tended to overexpose subjects in direct sunlight.
DNP HTC One review 2013
The One camera truly outshines almost everything else in low-light situations. It usually produces better shots at night than the Nokia Lumia 920, and comes in second only to the current imaging king, the Nokia 808 PureView. We were amazed by how much errant light it picked up; the One could snag perfectly usable shots on pitch-black streets, and the OIS worked like a charm. The only time noise actually became a problem was in extremely dark scenarios, but otherwise we were quite impressed by how clear most of the images came out.

We were blown away by how much light the One camera was able to grab at night.

In short, even though it’s not perfect and we’d love to be able to get more detail from zoomed-in shots, the One’s UltraPixels methodology appears to be completely sound. We’re confident enough in its quality, in fact, to declare the One as our new go-to camera.
On the video side, there’s plenty to keep you occupied as well. Since the ImageChip 2 is capable of recording 1080p video at about 30 fps and 720p at 60 fps (this includes HDR functionality as well), you can take these options out for a spin at any time, in addition to HTC’s signature slow-motion mode. We’ve compiled samples from each mode above for you to check out. In our time with the One, daytime videos were not only crisp and smooth visually, the One’s noise-cancellation mics did a great job filtering out wind and other unwanted background noise, while picking up our own voices very well at the same time. HDR videos are pretty good, but we noticed the occasional weird artifact on some frames, while brightness mysteriously jumps at times. Videos taken at night were quite clean, though the frame rate appears to suffer, dropping down from 30 fps to around 20, and there are fairly minor issues with white balance as well.
As if the UltraPixel camera isn’t enough indication that imaging plays a huge part in HTC’s strategy to gain market share, it’s also introduced a unique feature called Zoe. When looking at one, it’s hard not to envision an old-fashioned zoetrope spinning around and around to create a short movie. The feature is capable of capturing four to five full-res stills per second while recording a few seconds of 1080p video. In the end, what you get is a short video segment and a burst of roughly 20 images — think of the moving pictures in Harry Potter, and you’ll get the idea. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like this would be of any practical use, but we started to appreciate it as soon as we saw animated images pop up in our photo gallery. Once we saw the highlight reels and Zoe Share, however, we were completely sold. We’ll discuss these features in the next section.

SENSE 5


One. In literal terms, it’s a number. To HTC, however, it’s a branding strategy — the foundation upon which the entire company is now based. Just take one look at the One lineup and you’ll easily understand this is the manufacturer’s pride and joy. There’s a very good reason for that: in a crowded smartphone market, HTC is the underdog to titans like Samsung and Apple. The company needs to stand out if it even wants the chance to prove itself to consumers.
Last year’s One X marked a solid start, and while it didn’t pick up the momentum CEO Peter Chou would’ve liked, the follow-up model — simply called the One — takes HTC’s design and imaging chops to the next level, bringing a new UltraPixel camera sensor, among other top-shelf specs. But will it catch the eye of potential smartphone buyers, in light of another key product announcement? We’d say it’s got more than a fighting chance.

HTC One review (2013)

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HARDWARE

In order to most fully appreciate the One’s hardware, you first need to understand the process that goes on behind the scenes. Rather than opt for the sort of polycarbonate shell used on the One X and One X+, HTC crafted the One out of a single block of anodized aluminum, sprinkled with polycarbonate accents throughout. It’s incredibly intricate: each unit goes through at least 200 minutes of CNC machine cuts, and the aluminum is etched into channels filled with polycarbonate — a technique called zero-gap injection molding. Add chamfered, polished edges that connect the sides of the phone to the glass (Gorilla Glass 2, to be specific), and you have a handset with one of the best industrial designs we’ve ever seen. The amount of detail here is staggering, and it reflects just how crucial this device is to HTC’s future.
Much like the Windows Phone 8X and Droid DNA (globally known as the Butterfly), the One has a pyramid-like internal setup: larger components like the display and battery sit up front, with the parts getting progressively smaller as you move toward the back of the phone. This gives the rear cover a sleek curve that makes it utterly comfortable to hold. Though the One is even slimmer at 9.3mm (0.37 inch) than the 10mm (0.4 inch) 8X, it’s easier to grasp because the edges are contoured the way they are. At 5.04 ounces (143g), it feels a little weightier, but less than you might have guessed; it’s actually relatively light given the materials used.
DNP HTC One review insert obvious Matrix pun here for minimal originality
Ultimately, we’re smitten with the One’s design for all sorts of reasons: it’s sexy, it feels secure in the hand and the combination of unibody aluminum and polycarbonate ensures the phone won’t shatter into a million pieces if it were to hit the ground (although it may get dinged or scratched up a bit, depending on the angle).

We’re smitten with the One’s gorgeous industrial design and premium build.

While industrial design, ergonomics and build quality are a good start, there’s much more to this skinny slab of aluminum. The front of the device is home to some of the biggest changes, headlined by a 4.7-inch S-LCD3 panel with 1080p resolution and two capacitive soft keys just below it — a departure from the standard three-button setup. A tiny HTC logo sits where the home button once did, smack-dab in between the two soft keys. In fact, it’s almost a little deceiving: it looks as if the logo should double as a button (we’d prefer it), but unfortunately there’s nothing more than meets the eye. Aluminum strips line the top and bottom of the phone’s face, with a set of BoomSound speaker grilles designed to offer stereo sound when you’re watching movies or listening to music. (The grille setup isn’t unlike what you’d find flanking the keyboard of some laptops.) An LED notification light resides under the top grille, toward the left. A 2.1MP wide-angle, front-facing camera is located in the top-right corner, while a pair of sensors sits over on the top left.
The front is by far the busiest part of the phone, while the edges and back have a more minimal design that helps keep the phone looking refined. The polycarbonate-laced sides angle inward until they meet the Gorilla Glass on the front, with only a chamfer to connect them. The left side is uninterrupted, save for a micro-SIM tray and miniscule ejection port. A micro-USB / MHL port and mic are on the bottom, and the right is taken up by a single volume rocker that uses the same ridge-like exterior as the Droid DNA.
DNP HTC One review insert obvious Matrix pun here for minimal originality
The top end is where things get a little more interesting. The 3.5mm headphone jack is nothing new, but the power button has a dual personality: it doubles as an infrared (IR) blaster capable of transmitting and receiving, allowing you to use the handset as a TV remote. Because that power button is housed on the left, the act of locking and unlocking the One could be a bit more awkward for folks who tend to hold their phones in their left hands.
Now we turn to the back, which itself is a study in symmetry and simplicity. Two strips of polycarbonate line the top and bottom, lining up neatly with the top and bottom of the 4.7-inch display on the other side. Squint hard enough and you may see a noise-cancelling mic in the top strip. The camera lens sits in the middle of the back, just barely below the top strip; it’s encircled by a thin layer of polycarbonate and is slightly recessed to prevent the glass from getting scratched. You’ll see an LED flash to the left of the camera; there’s also the obligatory HTC logo set in the absolute center of the device, and Beats Audio branding has a spot just a smidgen above the bottom strip. An NFC transmitter is built into the back around the camera module. Unfortunately, though, one thing you won’t find back here is wireless charging. Sorry, folks.
DNP HTC One review insert obvious Matrix pun here for minimal originality
Finally, as you’ve likely already surmised by now, the 2,300mAh battery inside the One isn’t removable or even accessible. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has used an HTC unibody flagship. There’s also no place to stick a microSD card, so the 32 or 64GB of internal storage will have to suffice.
There’s plenty more going on underneath the shell: the One is powered by a 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064T), an Adreno 320 and 2GB DDR2 RAM. While there are two basic versions of the device — the UL and LTE-less U — there will be six different SKUs that feature six different sets of LTE and HSPA+ bands. All of the units are quad-band GSM/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900MHz), but it gets more complicated as the speed goes up: our review unit, which was made for European frequencies, sports 900/1900/2100MHz UMTS/HSPA+ (3G) and 800/1800/2600MHz LTE. The “U” offers the same three frequencies and adds 850MHz for good measure, while Asia’s variant uses 850/900/1900/2100MHz 3G and 1800/2600MHz LTE. Confused yet? Let’s throw the US models into the mix. AT&T will offer 850/1900/2100MHz 3G and 700/850/AWS/1900MHz LTE. T-Mobile’s has 850/AWS/1900/2100MHz 3G and 700/AWS LTE. Finally, Sprint’s version uses 700/AWS 3G, 800/1900MHz CDMA and 1900MHz LTE. If that last paragraph of specs didn’t wear you out, maybe the full data sheet below will. We hope not, because we have a lot more to discuss.

HTC One
Dimensions 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm (5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inch)
Weight 5.04 oz. (143g)
Screen size 4.7 inches
Screen resolution 1,920 x 1,080 (468 ppi)
Screen type S-LCD3
Battery 2,300mAh Li-Polymer (non-removable)
Internal storage 32/64GB
External storage None
Rear camera 4MP, BSI, f/2.0, 1/3” sensor size, 2µm pixel size, OIS
Front-facing cam 2.1MP
Video capture 1080p, 30 fps (front and back)
NFC Yes
Radios Depends on market — see hardware section
Bluetooth v4.0 with aptX
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064T)
CPU 1.7GHz quad-core
GPU Adreno 320
RAM 2GB
Entertainment MHL, DLNA, IR sensor
WiFi Dual-band, 802.11a/ac/b/g/n, WiFi Direct
Wireless Charging No
Operating system Android 4.1.2 (upgradeable to 4.2), Sense 5 UI

DISPLAY

DNP HTC One review insert obvious Matrix pun here for minimal originality
We praised the One X’s 720p S-LCD2 display when it first showed up on the scene last spring, and there was even more to love a few months later when the Droid DNA came out with a 1080p S-LCD3 panel. Having built up this much momentum, we weren’t expecting anything less than the absolute best from the One. And on paper, certainly, it doesn’t disappoint: the One features the same number of pixels as the DNA, except they’re crammed into a 4.7-inch screen (4.65 inches, to get technical). For the pixel density fanatics out there, this means the One offers an incredible 468 ppi. The setup sounds great on paper, but how does it translate into real life?
To be honest, the display is the area in which we feel the most nitpicky, because the 1080p panels we’ve seen on other flagships so far feature simply jaw-dropping quality. And to pick up on minute differences between these incredible displays, you’d have to really start splitting hairs. In particular, 1080p displays don’t offer nearly as noticeable a difference over 720p as we saw with 720p over qHD. Given how far we’ve come in terms of resolution and pixel density, the only way for screens to stand out above the crowd is to offer the best color, viewing angles, brightness and readability in daylight.

The One’s display is the most stunning we’ve seen thus far, but it’s only slightly better than the Droid DNA’s.

The One’s display does very well in all four areas. It’s slightly brighter than the DNA’s and significantly better than the One X+’s S-LCD2; the darks are sufficient, though still not as rich as what you’d find on an AMOLED; the other colors are incredibly close to fully natural; viewing angles are just as good as the One X+ and DNA, because it’s difficult to get any better; and we could see the display without a problem in the direct sunlight. Movies look amazing on the One, and if we want to get exceedingly picky, the text on the One is slightly more crisp than on the DNA — but this is something that’s only noticeable when you view the two side by side. Tiny details aside, the One’s display is the most gorgeous we’ve seen thus far.

CAMERA

DNP HTC One review 2013
In the days leading up to the One announcement, HTC promised a whole new imaging and sound experience on its new flagship — and it certainly wasn’t exaggerating. With the exception of Nokia with its PureView line, all of the company’s competitors are busy increasing the megapixel count on their latest and greatest cameras. HTC, however, boldly chose to go the opposite direction: itdecreased the resolution to 4MP. As you would expect, there’s a lot more to the story than a simple drop in pixel count — in fact, HTC coined the term UltraPixels to describe its new imaging innovation.
The idea behind the UltraPixels is to take a physically large sensor and combine it with big pixels that are capable of gathering more light than standard-sized ones. Whereas the typical smartphone camera features 1.1µm pixels, the One proudly boasts a one-third-inch BSI sensor with 2µm pixels capable of absorbing 330 percent more photons. But that alone isn’t enough to excel at low-light photography, so HTC also uses a 28mm f/2.0 AF lens and optical image stabilization (OIS) — and just in case you still can’t capture enough light, an LED flash is thrown in for good measure.

HTC One sample shots

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HTC’s also developed a next-gen image signal processor (ISP), aptly named ImageChip 2. Despite a lower megapixel count, the new chip is capable of continuous autofocus in less than 200ms, reduced noise, real-time lens compensation and 1080p HDR video recording. It also offers a buffered-capture cycle with pre- and post-shutter recording, not unlike what you get with BlackBerry’s Time Shift, Scalado’s Rewind, Samsung’s Best Face and Nokia’s Smart Shoot. In other words, don’t worry about the resolution on the camera — instead, let the images do the talking.
The front-facing camera hasn’t been neglected either. The 2.1MP module comes with an f/2.0 wide-angle (88-degree) lens and is capable of capturing up to 1080p video, much like its compadre on the back of the One. Even though it can’t do the same fancy scene modes (for video or stills) as the rear camera, you can at least grab HDR shots and tweak white balance if necessary. In a nutshell, all of the usual customizable settings are there: white balance, ISO up to 1600, exposure control, HDR, face detection, a specific macro mode, panorama, three crop styles, plenty of filters and a post-shot photo editor. There’s a clever UI trick that lets you switch between rear and front cameras by dragging your finger down from either side of the phone. The only thing that’s sorely missing is the ability to touch and hold the on-screen shutter button to lock exposure and focus, even when the One’s burst-shooting mode is disabled.
DNP HTC One review 2013
When it comes to performance, there are so many places we could start, so we’ll begin by discussing the megapixel myth. It’s so easy to just naturally assume that a camera with lower resolution is worse than one capable of capturing a larger number of pixels, but that isn’t always the case. Indeed, cameras with higher resolutions allow for better cropping and digital zooming. When shots are viewed at their regular size, however, there isn’t any visible degradation of detail. Colors are impressively natural, and white balance is excellent as well. The only issue we found with stills was that the camera tended to overexpose subjects in direct sunlight.
DNP HTC One review 2013
The One camera truly outshines almost everything else in low-light situations. It usually produces better shots at night than the Nokia Lumia 920, and comes in second only to the current imaging king, the Nokia 808 PureView. We were amazed by how much errant light it picked up; the One could snag perfectly usable shots on pitch-black streets, and the OIS worked like a charm. The only time noise actually became a problem was in extremely dark scenarios, but otherwise we were quite impressed by how clear most of the images came out.

We were blown away by how much light the One camera was able to grab at night.

In short, even though it’s not perfect and we’d love to be able to get more detail from zoomed-in shots, the One’s UltraPixels methodology appears to be completely sound. We’re confident enough in its quality, in fact, to declare the One as our new go-to camera.
On the video side, there’s plenty to keep you occupied as well. Since the ImageChip 2 is capable of recording 1080p video at about 30 fps and 720p at 60 fps (this includes HDR functionality as well), you can take these options out for a spin at any time, in addition to HTC’s signature slow-motion mode. We’ve compiled samples from each mode above for you to check out. In our time with the One, daytime videos were not only crisp and smooth visually, the One’s noise-cancellation mics did a great job filtering out wind and other unwanted background noise, while picking up our own voices very well at the same time. HDR videos are pretty good, but we noticed the occasional weird artifact on some frames, while brightness mysteriously jumps at times. Videos taken at night were quite clean, though the frame rate appears to suffer, dropping down from 30 fps to around 20, and there are fairly minor issues with white balance as well.
As if the UltraPixel camera isn’t enough indication that imaging plays a huge part in HTC’s strategy to gain market share, it’s also introduced a unique feature called Zoe. When looking at one, it’s hard not to envision an old-fashioned zoetrope spinning around and around to create a short movie. The feature is capable of capturing four to five full-res stills per second while recording a few seconds of 1080p video. In the end, what you get is a short video segment and a burst of roughly 20 images — think of the moving pictures in Harry Potter, and you’ll get the idea. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like this would be of any practical use, but we started to appreciate it as soon as we saw animated images pop up in our photo gallery. Once we saw the highlight reels and Zoe Share, however, we were completely sold. We’ll discuss these features in the next section.

SENSE 5

DNP HTC One review 2013
At its core, the One is an Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) device. HTC, however, would much rather have the focus be on the custom skin job it’s put on top of Google’s mobile OS. Known as Sense 5, the next generation of the user interface is very much an evolution from previous iterations — we’d dare say that it’s a completely different experience, much like Sense 4 was from version 3. The fourth iteration was a noticeable improvement, as HTC had finally merged many of its ideas with Google’s general design guidelines. Now, with Sense 5, the UI has changed on nearly everything once again, from the home page to core HTC apps; it’s better than Sense 4 in some ways, but in other ways it’s a step back.
For basic navigation, Sense 5 devices use two soft keys. This is a huge departure from Sense 4 devices, which use a three-button setup consisting of back, home and recent apps (with the latter being customizable to work as the menu button if desired). The One, on the other hand, offers only back and home keys. A long-press on home activates Google Now, while double-tapping the same button brings up a new recent apps menu that is much improved over the card-style version on Sense 4 that reminded us too much of Windows Phone and webOS. Cards are still present this time around, but they’re much smaller and you can view up to nine in total. It’s still possible to flick each one up to remove them, but since we often like to have more than nine apps open at the same time, this limit is too restrictive for our tastes.
Because Sense 5 eschews a menu key, it means many third-party apps have to throw in the virtual menu key at the bottom of the screen. This feels like a step backward to us, especially after the One X was updated to allow menu functionality on the recent apps soft key.
The most striking change in the UI is BlinkFeed, which takes over as the default home page. Thanks to its many tiles of various shapes and sizes, the tool is reminiscent of Flipboard, Motorola’s Blur UI and even Windows Phone. (Dare we say it even brings back memories of the Microsoft Kin?) The idea behind the service is to bring in content from your favorite publications and social networks — Engadget, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Flickr are just a few examples — and put it all together for easy browsing. In fact, the word “casual” should be the main focus here: outside the usual notification bar, BlinkFeed won’t feature your emails or any other critical updates. If something of interest pops up in your feed, just tap on any tile to read the associated post or status update. There’s also a modernized clock and weather widget at the very top, but it only shows up on the main screen — it disappears as soon as you start scrolling down into the depths of your feed.

HTC Sense 5 screenshots

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Fortunately, you still have full control over BlinkFeed through a hidden pull-down bar nestled in between the tiles and clock widget, which is accessed by dragging your finger down on the starting page (you can also use this gesture to manually update your feeds, although you can set it to auto-refresh on mobile data and WiFi or WiFi-only). A tab on the left lets you pick and choose which feeds you want to look at; for instance, you can opt to view only updates from Engadget or go for the whole kit and kaboodle of topics that interest you. If you want to change which feeds are highlighted, just head to the settings, found in the BlinkFeed menu. Additionally, you’ll also find options to post to Facebook or Twitter directly from this bar.
An SDK will eventually be offered so that devs can publish their apps to BlinkFeed as a means of making the service more useful. This is something we look forward to; the entire concept just feels like it’s too drastic a shift from stock Android. Fortunately, in case you’re not a fan of BlinkFeed being the default screen every time you unlock your phone — and let’s face it, it’s a huge departure from anything we’ve seen on Sense or Android in general, so it’s not going to please everybody — you can choose a different home page. There doesn’t appear to be any way to completely disable it, however, so you’re stuck with it taking up one of your five main panels. This leads to our major frustration: while the idea behind BlinkFeed isn’t terrible (and we imagine serial social networkers and news junkies may find it quite handy), it makes Sense feel a little too cluttered with unnecessary bloat and users should be given the option to disable it if they don’t get any benefit out of it.

BlinkFeed performs well, but it adds to the feeling of unnecessary bloat and can’t be disabled

We should note that BlinkFeed’s tiled layout isn’t restricted to that main panel; it’s actually a recurring theme in the gallery as well. The app uses tiles to let you choose between your own photo galleries, your friends’ Facebook albums and other online services like Dropbox and Flickr. When you go into your own photo albums, you may see a few images moving on their own — those Harry Potter-like movies hanging out in your once-stagnant album are Zoe shots. Each picture (Zoe or otherwise) can be starred as a “highlight” so you can show your friends and family the best images from last month’s Disneyland vacation instead of, you know, all of them. You can also upload those precious memories to Zoe Share, a service that generates a URL displaying up to 10 photos which you can share with whomever you want — whether they’re Zoe or plain, old stills. Each website is active for 180 days, in case loved ones or stalkers want to visit over and over. (We’ve generated a sample URL for you to take a peekhere.)
Admittedly, Zoe Share is a much slicker feature than we first gave it credit for, but there’s another clever way to share these five-second clips: the One can take your collection of Zoes and stills from that day and create a professional-style highlight reel complete with images, clips, special effects and music. There aren’t a lot of song choices available yet, and you can’t use your own music, but the stock tones offered are at least diverse. Each individual song comes with its own theme — one comes with an old-timey filter, for instance — and the pictures are synced almost perfectly with the music. These 30-second movies can be uploaded to Zoe Share on a unique URL for 30 days, or it can be uploaded to other services such as YouTube. We had a hard time believing that the resulting movies weren’t done by a human, but this is just one creative way to take advantage of the Snapdragon 600 chipset.
DNP HTC One review 2013
The main home panels on Sense 5 really aren’t that different from what we saw on the previous version. The iconic Sense clock and weather widget is missing by default, but don’t panic, fans — it’s still offered as a widget, so long-press the main screen and you’ll get the standard Sense setup that lets you pick out which widgets, shortcuts and apps you want. You may also notice that the font is different from Senses past, but it’s actually Roboto, the stock font on Android 4.0+ (albeit, Sense uses a different weighted version). The notification bar uses the same setup as before, but it also takes advantage of the new font and a slightly modernized style.
Besides BlinkFeed and the gallery, the other area that received a major revamp is the app menu. The grids, which offer a more Holo-style look than the ones found on Sense 4, are aligned vertically instead of horizontally and come in two different sizes: 3 x 4 and 4 x 5. By default, the grid shows up as 3 x 4, and just as we saw on BlinkFeed, the Holo-style clock and weather widget take up the top row of icons on the very first screen (for either size). App placement is different here than on the stock app tray: you customize your docking tray from here instead of the main screen, you can create or manipulate folders and another pull-down bar with tabs and settings sits between the app icons and clock. This tab allows you to change the grid organization to show alphabetical order or recent apps (folders are non-existent in these modes).
The One makes good use of the included IR blaster with Sense TV, a Peel-powered feature that blends a program guide and universal remote into one app. Stateside, Hulu Plus is integrated and all major cable services are supported; in the UK, Virgin Media, Sky, Freesat and Freeview will be included in the offerings. We’d love to see Netflix supported as well, but HTC hasn’t announced any plans on that end yet, so we’ll become more virtuous by exercising heaps of patience. (It’s a win-win, really.)
DNP HTC One review 2013
As for the remote itself, it still works pretty well but not as flawlessly as the Optimus G Pro’s iteration. It comes with a library of IR codes to support nearly any TV brand, cable service and home theater setup you can think of. The software guides you step by step as you attempt to get your phone properly set up with all of your equipment, even going as far as to tell you to align the One with your universal remote if it’s unsuccessful at getting everything programmed correctly. Once you’re ready to actually use the remote, your mileage may vary depending on your TV brand and cable provider. We weren’t able to turn off the Dish DVR despite easily being able to control the menu, and a Hitachi TV recognized the input menu button on the remote but refused to let us select any of the options in the menu. Aside from this little hiccup, everything worked as advertised. As another nice touch, you can access basic controls and recent channels in the notification tray, use the remote on the lock screen and even tell the app to remind you of upcoming TV shows in BlinkFeed.
Sense 5 also brings with it an updated HTC Sync Manager. This feature is primarily aimed at new users hoping to move their information from iPhones or other Android devices. If you’re coming over from an Apple, you can use Sync Manager to go into iTunes and grab your contacts, calendar appointments, photos, videos and music (DRM-free, natch). If you’re coming from an older Sense device (3.6 or higher), you’ll be able to transfer all of the above as well as texts, bookmarks and preferred settings. You can achieve similar results on other Android phones (2.3 and up) by installing an HTC app from the Play Store, whereas any other devices can still transfer contacts the old-fashioned way — via Bluetooth. Sense 5 also makes it possible to store encrypted backups on your Dropbox account (or Sina, if you’re in China), which is then tied to your Facebook creds. Using this method, you can back up all of your settings, apps, widgets, BlinkFeed, TV, home screen layout and account information. Finally, HTC’s partnered up with Zoodles to add Kid Mode. The app serves as a password- or gesture-protected launcher that your children won’t be able to exit. Once enabled, you have the ability to restrict which apps your children use, while also offering a place to make drawings and read storybooks. Speaking of storybooks, the service lets you record stories via the front-facing cam, so your kids can watch you read The Three Little Pigs to them, even if you’re out of town. There’s also a video mail feature that allows you and your young ‘uns to exchange messages back and forth to each other.
Since your offspring are likely all sorts of ages, each individual child can have their own specific mode in which their favorite apps and preferences (along with your own parental customizations) pop up. As a parent, I found the service to be incredibly handy — it’s no secret that kids have just as intense a love for electronic gadgets as we do, so it’s important to keep them (not to mention our personal data) safe as they play with our phones.

PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY LIFE

DNP HTC One review insert obvious Matrix pun here for minimal originality
Outside of that stunning design, the star of the show is the One’s Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064T) chipset, which pairs a 1.7GHz quad-core CPU with an Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB RAM. This particular piece of silicon is the next logical step up from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro (APQ8064). The CPU features Krait 300 — a bump from the S4 Pro’s Krait 200, which results in a 15 percent improvement in instructions per clock (IPC) and a “speed-enhanced” Adreno 320 GPU. The 600 is also built using a 28nm process, just like the S4 Pro, and offers support for LPDDR3 — even though the One uses LPDDR2 specifically — and 802.11ac support on the WiFi side (in addition to the standard suite of a/b/g/n). This is the same chipset used in the LG Optimus G Pro and ASUS PadFone Infinity, and doubtless countless more over the next few months. It won’t stay king of the Snapdragon hill for long, since Qualcomm expects the 800 to be available in mid-2013.
Still, the fact is that, as of this writing, the Snapdragon 600 is the strongest processor on the market, and the benchmarks — as you’ll see in the chart below — indicate a solid improvement over the S4 Pro chip. We’ve compared the One with its predecessor, the One X+, as well as the S4 Pro-powered Droid DNA and Snapdragon 600-powered Optimus G Pro, so take a look at how the One holds up.

HTC One HTC One X+ HTC Droid DNA LG Optimus G Pro
Quadrant 2.0 12,495 7,457 8,028 12,435
Vellamo 2.0 2,429 1,897 1,752 2,254
AnTuTu 3.1 25,140 15,832 14,474 19,300
SunSpider 0.9.1 (ms) 991 1,107 1,150 904
GLBenchmark Egypt 2.5 HD Offscreen (fps) 34 12 31 27
CF-Bench 25,267 14,558 18,386 20,019
SunSpider: lower scores are better

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise to see the One edge out HTC’s older flagships, but it also handily beat the G Pro in all but one benchmark (SunSpider). Since the silicon itself is essentially the same, this likely indicates that Sense 5 is more optimized than LG’s Optimus UI. In any case, the differences aren’t visible to the naked eye. When they’re both that good, tiny discrepancies in performance just aren’t as noticeable: but for what matters most, the One definitely does the job, and does it well. It runs buttery smooth and the screen is quite responsive. We strained our eyes looking for any sort of lag with no success and the graphics in games likeShadowgun, Asphalt 7, Real Racing 3 and Riptide are as quick and detailed as we’ve come to expect with high-performance phones, if not just a little bit more so. (This reviewer’s personal performance when playing games, however, is a completely different story.)

We got almost nine hours of battery life with constant use.

The One’s 2,300mAh battery is a solid improvement in size over previous flagships — the One X used a 1,800mAh cell, while the One X+’s was beefed up to 2,100 — so we were hoping to see a measurable boost in how long its battery held up. Now for the moment of truth: in our rundown endurance test, in which we play an HD video on endless loop, the One made it through six and a half hours before all of its juice was sucked dry — an average result. As a disclaimer, our initial real-world usage tests were conducted on AT&T’s 1900MHz network, which admittedly doesn’t offer consistent HSPA+ speeds in our area; with this in mind, we got almost nine hours of constant use, which consisted of emailing, social media, taking pictures, making a few calls and an assortment of other random activities.
Update: Our UK team just received a unit with full LTE coverage and has had the opportunity to take it for a spin. Noble gentleman Mat Smith shares his experiences, which are quite similar to ours: “On the UK’s EE LTE network, we were picking up download speeds around 10 Mbps, while uploads were often even higher, circling around 22 Mbps during our tests in central London. Further afield, however, it was closer to those 10 Mbps down speeds. During a standard day’s use on LTE (including a heavy-use three-hour stint in a hospital waiting room), our European review model powered down just after eight hours’ use — not far off our HSPA rundown, possibly thanks to Qualcomm’s integrated radios in its new 600 series.”
DNP HTC One review insert obvious Matrix pun here for minimal originality
As flashy as the One is, it’s an actual phone first and foremost — and even this aspect of the device is specced out to the max. HTC has thrown in a pair of HDR microphones designed to cancel unnecessary background noise and handle a wide range of sound levels without saturating. Call quality was solid, but what really stood out to us was what we didn’t hear. At one point in a recent conversation, we told the person on the other line to excuse the UPS truck passing by right behind us; our friend couldn’t even tell that anything was in the background, let alone a noisy truck.
Remember those stereo speakers taking up all that room on the front of the One? They’re the best set of external speakers we’ve heard on a phone so far, and as afraid as we are to admit this, Beats Audio may have something to do with it. HTC’s BoomSound technology makes it so you don’t have to use earbuds or an on-ear headset to take advantage of the various codecs Beats has to offer. If you don’t want to annoy others — and why would you? — the phone uses the same 2.55v headphone amp used in the Droid DNA, giving you similar bass levels even when you’re not listening through the speaker. In any case, if you do decide to go the no-headphone route, the result is a much fuller audio experience. Not only that, we cranked the volume as loud as it could go and we couldn’t hear any distortion whatsoever.

WRAP-UP

DNP HTC One review insert obvious Matrix pun here for minimal originality

Regardless of how well Samsung’s soon-to-be-announced flagship does on the market, we’ll continue to have a soft spot for the One. Last year, we were very impressed by the One X, but that wasn’t enough. HTC pushed itself and made its sequel even more polished than the original. We love the phone’s industrial design and the camera, while the Snapdragon 600 chipset and 1080p display aren’t bad either. We’re not sold on every aspect of Sense 5, such as BlinkFeed and the One’s two-button layout, but overall the user experience is much improved. As far as we’re concerned, HTC has a hit on its hands.
Update: Here’s a ZIP file containing most of our un-retouched full-size HTC One photos along with matching shots taken with other handsets.
Myriam Joire and Mat Smith contributed to this review.
Read the full review @ engadget).
DNP HTC One review 2013
At its core, the One is an Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) device. HTC, however, would much rather have the focus be on the custom skin job it’s put on top of Google’s mobile OS. Known as Sense 5, the next generation of the user interface is very much an evolution from previous iterations — we’d dare say that it’s a completely different experience, much like Sense 4 was from version 3. The fourth iteration was a noticeable improvement, as HTC had finally merged many of its ideas with Google’s general design guidelines. Now, with Sense 5, the UI has changed on nearly everything once again, from the home page to core HTC apps; it’s better than Sense 4 in some ways, but in other ways it’s a step back.
For basic navigation, Sense 5 devices use two soft keys. This is a huge departure from Sense 4 devices, which use a three-button setup consisting of back, home and recent apps (with the latter being customizable to work as the menu button if desired). The One, on the other hand, offers only back and home keys. A long-press on home activates Google Now, while double-tapping the same button brings up a new recent apps menu that is much improved over the card-style version on Sense 4 that reminded us too much of Windows Phone and webOS. Cards are still present this time around, but they’re much smaller and you can view up to nine in total. It’s still possible to flick each one up to remove them, but since we often like to have more than nine apps open at the same time, this limit is too restrictive for our tastes.
Because Sense 5 eschews a menu key, it means many third-party apps have to throw in the virtual menu key at the bottom of the screen. This feels like a step backward to us, especially after the One X was updated to allow menu functionality on the recent apps soft key.
The most striking change in the UI is BlinkFeed, which takes over as the default home page. Thanks to its many tiles of various shapes and sizes, the tool is reminiscent of Flipboard, Motorola’s Blur UI and even Windows Phone. (Dare we say it even brings back memories of the Microsoft Kin?) The idea behind the service is to bring in content from your favorite publications and social networks — Engadget, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Flickr are just a few examples — and put it all together for easy browsing. In fact, the word “casual” should be the main focus here: outside the usual notification bar, BlinkFeed won’t feature your emails or any other critical updates. If something of interest pops up in your feed, just tap on any tile to read the associated post or status update. There’s also a modernized clock and weather widget at the very top, but it only shows up on the main screen — it disappears as soon as you start scrolling down into the depths of your feed.

HTC Sense 5 screenshots

See all photos

Fortunately, you still have full control over BlinkFeed through a hidden pull-down bar nestled in between the tiles and clock widget, which is accessed by dragging your finger down on the starting page (you can also use this gesture to manually update your feeds, although you can set it to auto-refresh on mobile data and WiFi or WiFi-only). A tab on the left lets you pick and choose which feeds you want to look at; for instance, you can opt to view only updates from Engadget or go for the whole kit and kaboodle of topics that interest you. If you want to change which feeds are highlighted, just head to the settings, found in the BlinkFeed menu. Additionally, you’ll also find options to post to Facebook or Twitter directly from this bar.
An SDK will eventually be offered so that devs can publish their apps to BlinkFeed as a means of making the service more useful. This is something we look forward to; the entire concept just feels like it’s too drastic a shift from stock Android. Fortunately, in case you’re not a fan of BlinkFeed being the default screen every time you unlock your phone — and let’s face it, it’s a huge departure from anything we’ve seen on Sense or Android in general, so it’s not going to please everybody — you can choose a different home page. There doesn’t appear to be any way to completely disable it, however, so you’re stuck with it taking up one of your five main panels. This leads to our major frustration: while the idea behind BlinkFeed isn’t terrible (and we imagine serial social networkers and news junkies may find it quite handy), it makes Sense feel a little too cluttered with unnecessary bloat and users should be given the option to disable it if they don’t get any benefit out of it.

BlinkFeed performs well, but it adds to the feeling of unnecessary bloat and can’t be disabled

We should note that BlinkFeed’s tiled layout isn’t restricted to that main panel; it’s actually a recurring theme in the gallery as well. The app uses tiles to let you choose between your own photo galleries, your friends’ Facebook albums and other online services like Dropbox and Flickr. When you go into your own photo albums, you may see a few images moving on their own — those Harry Potter-like movies hanging out in your once-stagnant album are Zoe shots. Each picture (Zoe or otherwise) can be starred as a “highlight” so you can show your friends and family the best images from last month’s Disneyland vacation instead of, you know, all of them. You can also upload those precious memories to Zoe Share, a service that generates a URL displaying up to 10 photos which you can share with whomever you want — whether they’re Zoe or plain, old stills. Each website is active for 180 days, in case loved ones or stalkers want to visit over and over. (We’ve generated a sample URL for you to take a peekhere.)
Admittedly, Zoe Share is a much slicker feature than we first gave it credit for, but there’s another clever way to share these five-second clips: the One can take your collection of Zoes and stills from that day and create a professional-style highlight reel complete with images, clips, special effects and music. There aren’t a lot of song choices available yet, and you can’t use your own music, but the stock tones offered are at least diverse. Each individual song comes with its own theme — one comes with an old-timey filter, for instance — and the pictures are synced almost perfectly with the music. These 30-second movies can be uploaded to Zoe Share on a unique URL for 30 days, or it can be uploaded to other services such as YouTube. We had a hard time believing that the resulting movies weren’t done by a human, but this is just one creative way to take advantage of the Snapdragon 600 chipset.
DNP HTC One review 2013
The main home panels on Sense 5 really aren’t that different from what we saw on the previous version. The iconic Sense clock and weather widget is missing by default, but don’t panic, fans — it’s still offered as a widget, so long-press the main screen and you’ll get the standard Sense setup that lets you pick out which widgets, shortcuts and apps you want. You may also notice that the font is different from Senses past, but it’s actually Roboto, the stock font on Android 4.0+ (albeit, Sense uses a different weighted version). The notification bar uses the same setup as before, but it also takes advantage of the new font and a slightly modernized style.
Besides BlinkFeed and the gallery, the other area that received a major revamp is the app menu. The grids, which offer a more Holo-style look than the ones found on Sense 4, are aligned vertically instead of horizontally and come in two different sizes: 3 x 4 and 4 x 5. By default, the grid shows up as 3 x 4, and just as we saw on BlinkFeed, the Holo-style clock and weather widget take up the top row of icons on the very first screen (for either size). App placement is different here than on the stock app tray: you customize your docking tray from here instead of the main screen, you can create or manipulate folders and another pull-down bar with tabs and settings sits between the app icons and clock. This tab allows you to change the grid organization to show alphabetical order or recent apps (folders are non-existent in these modes).
The One makes good use of the included IR blaster with Sense TV, a Peel-powered feature that blends a program guide and universal remote into one app. Stateside, Hulu Plus is integrated and all major cable services are supported; in the UK, Virgin Media, Sky, Freesat and Freeview will be included in the offerings. We’d love to see Netflix supported as well, but HTC hasn’t announced any plans on that end yet, so we’ll become more virtuous by exercising heaps of patience. (It’s a win-win, really.)
DNP HTC One review 2013
As for the remote itself, it still works pretty well but not as flawlessly as the Optimus G Pro’s iteration. It comes with a library of IR codes to support nearly any TV brand, cable service and home theater setup you can think of. The software guides you step by step as you attempt to get your phone properly set up with all of your equipment, even going as far as to tell you to align the One with your universal remote if it’s unsuccessful at getting everything programmed correctly. Once you’re ready to actually use the remote, your mileage may vary depending on your TV brand and cable provider. We weren’t able to turn off the Dish DVR despite easily being able to control the menu, and a Hitachi TV recognized the input menu button on the remote but refused to let us select any of the options in the menu. Aside from this little hiccup, everything worked as advertised. As another nice touch, you can access basic controls and recent channels in the notification tray, use the remote on the lock screen and even tell the app to remind you of upcoming TV shows in BlinkFeed.
Sense 5 also brings with it an updated HTC Sync Manager. This feature is primarily aimed at new users hoping to move their information from iPhones or other Android devices. If you’re coming over from an Apple, you can use Sync Manager to go into iTunes and grab your contacts, calendar appointments, photos, videos and music (DRM-free, natch). If you’re coming from an older Sense device (3.6 or higher), you’ll be able to transfer all of the above as well as texts, bookmarks and preferred settings. You can achieve similar results on other Android phones (2.3 and up) by installing an HTC app from the Play Store, whereas any other devices can still transfer contacts the old-fashioned way — via Bluetooth. Sense 5 also makes it possible to store encrypted backups on your Dropbox account (or Sina, if you’re in China), which is then tied to your Facebook creds. Using this method, you can back up all of your settings, apps, widgets, BlinkFeed, TV, home screen layout and account information. Finally, HTC’s partnered up with Zoodles to add Kid Mode. The app serves as a password- or gesture-protected launcher that your children won’t be able to exit. Once enabled, you have the ability to restrict which apps your children use, while also offering a place to make drawings and read storybooks. Speaking of storybooks, the service lets you record stories via the front-facing cam, so your kids can watch you read The Three Little Pigs to them, even if you’re out of town. There’s also a video mail feature that allows you and your young ‘uns to exchange messages back and forth to each other.
Since your offspring are likely all sorts of ages, each individual child can have their own specific mode in which their favorite apps and preferences (along with your own parental customizations) pop up. As a parent, I found the service to be incredibly handy — it’s no secret that kids have just as intense a love for electronic gadgets as we do, so it’s important to keep them (not to mention our personal data) safe as they play with our phones.

PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY LIFE

DNP HTC One review insert obvious Matrix pun here for minimal originality
Outside of that stunning design, the star of the show is the One’s Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064T) chipset, which pairs a 1.7GHz quad-core CPU with an Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB RAM. This particular piece of silicon is the next logical step up from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro (APQ8064). The CPU features Krait 300 — a bump from the S4 Pro’s Krait 200, which results in a 15 percent improvement in instructions per clock (IPC) and a “speed-enhanced” Adreno 320 GPU. The 600 is also built using a 28nm process, just like the S4 Pro, and offers support for LPDDR3 — even though the One uses LPDDR2 specifically — and 802.11ac support on the WiFi side (in addition to the standard suite of a/b/g/n). This is the same chipset used in the LG Optimus G Pro and ASUS PadFone Infinity, and doubtless countless more over the next few months. It won’t stay king of the Snapdragon hill for long, since Qualcomm expects the 800 to be available in mid-2013.
Still, the fact is that, as of this writing, the Snapdragon 600 is the strongest processor on the market, and the benchmarks — as you’ll see in the chart below — indicate a solid improvement over the S4 Pro chip. We’ve compared the One with its predecessor, the One X+, as well as the S4 Pro-powered Droid DNA and Snapdragon 600-powered Optimus G Pro, so take a look at how the One holds up.

HTC One HTC One X+ HTC Droid DNA LG Optimus G Pro
Quadrant 2.0 12,495 7,457 8,028 12,435
Vellamo 2.0 2,429 1,897 1,752 2,254
AnTuTu 3.1 25,140 15,832 14,474 19,300
SunSpider 0.9.1 (ms) 991 1,107 1,150 904
GLBenchmark Egypt 2.5 HD Offscreen (fps) 34 12 31 27
CF-Bench 25,267 14,558 18,386 20,019
SunSpider: lower scores are better

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise to see the One edge out HTC’s older flagships, but it also handily beat the G Pro in all but one benchmark (SunSpider). Since the silicon itself is essentially the same, this likely indicates that Sense 5 is more optimized than LG’s Optimus UI. In any case, the differences aren’t visible to the naked eye. When they’re both that good, tiny discrepancies in performance just aren’t as noticeable: but for what matters most, the One definitely does the job, and does it well. It runs buttery smooth and the screen is quite responsive. We strained our eyes looking for any sort of lag with no success and the graphics in games likeShadowgun, Asphalt 7, Real Racing 3 and Riptide are as quick and detailed as we’ve come to expect with high-performance phones, if not just a little bit more so. (This reviewer’s personal performance when playing games, however, is a completely different story.)

We got almost nine hours of battery life with constant use.

The One’s 2,300mAh battery is a solid improvement in size over previous flagships — the One X used a 1,800mAh cell, while the One X+’s was beefed up to 2,100 — so we were hoping to see a measurable boost in how long its battery held up. Now for the moment of truth: in our rundown endurance test, in which we play an HD video on endless loop, the One made it through six and a half hours before all of its juice was sucked dry — an average result. As a disclaimer, our initial real-world usage tests were conducted on AT&T’s 1900MHz network, which admittedly doesn’t offer consistent HSPA+ speeds in our area; with this in mind, we got almost nine hours of constant use, which consisted of emailing, social media, taking pictures, making a few calls and an assortment of other random activities.
Update: Our UK team just received a unit with full LTE coverage and has had the opportunity to take it for a spin. Noble gentleman Mat Smith shares his experiences, which are quite similar to ours: “On the UK’s EE LTE network, we were picking up download speeds around 10 Mbps, while uploads were often even higher, circling around 22 Mbps during our tests in central London. Further afield, however, it was closer to those 10 Mbps down speeds. During a standard day’s use on LTE (including a heavy-use three-hour stint in a hospital waiting room), our European review model powered down just after eight hours’ use — not far off our HSPA rundown, possibly thanks to Qualcomm’s integrated radios in its new 600 series.”
DNP HTC One review insert obvious Matrix pun here for minimal originality
As flashy as the One is, it’s an actual phone first and foremost — and even this aspect of the device is specced out to the max. HTC has thrown in a pair of HDR microphones designed to cancel unnecessary background noise and handle a wide range of sound levels without saturating. Call quality was solid, but what really stood out to us was what we didn’t hear. At one point in a recent conversation, we told the person on the other line to excuse the UPS truck passing by right behind us; our friend couldn’t even tell that anything was in the background, let alone a noisy truck.
Remember those stereo speakers taking up all that room on the front of the One? They’re the best set of external speakers we’ve heard on a phone so far, and as afraid as we are to admit this, Beats Audio may have something to do with it. HTC’s BoomSound technology makes it so you don’t have to use earbuds or an on-ear headset to take advantage of the various codecs Beats has to offer. If you don’t want to annoy others — and why would you? — the phone uses the same 2.55v headphone amp used in the Droid DNA, giving you similar bass levels even when you’re not listening through the speaker. In any case, if you do decide to go the no-headphone route, the result is a much fuller audio experience. Not only that, we cranked the volume as loud as it could go and we couldn’t hear any distortion whatsoever.

WRAP-UP

DNP HTC One review insert obvious Matrix pun here for minimal originality

Regardless of how well Samsung’s soon-to-be-announced flagship does on the market, we’ll continue to have a soft spot for the One. Last year, we were very impressed by the One X, but that wasn’t enough. HTC pushed itself and made its sequel even more polished than the original. We love the phone’s industrial design and the camera, while the Snapdragon 600 chipset and 1080p display aren’t bad either. We’re not sold on every aspect of Sense 5, such as BlinkFeed and the One’s two-button layout, but overall the user experience is much improved. As far as we’re concerned, HTC has a hit on its hands.
Update: Here’s a ZIP file containing most of our un-retouched full-size HTC One photos along with matching shots taken with other handsets.
Myriam Joire and Mat Smith contributed to this review.
Read the full review @ engadget).