The HTC One isn't just the best smartphone the company has ever made, it's one of the best devices on the market. It blends the power and versatility of the Android platform with the sleek, stylish design and premium build of the iPhone.Where the HTC One stands out is in Sense, the smartphone's bold new user interface. Sense essentially turns your home screen into a stylish, news-oriented feed.
Design: The true magic of the HTC One comes in the form of its industrial design. A ring of polycarbonate sandwiched between plates of machined aluminum and glass not only gives the phone a feeling of supreme functionality, but also comfort. It's arguably the only günstige smartphones that really stands up to Apple's iPhone in this aspect. Every detail, with the exception of the flimsy volume rocker, appears to be carefully considered, and the gentle curve of the metal back makes the phone a joy to hold.
The nature of the design, however, means that you can't swap out the battery. That isn't ideal, but can get you through a day with some proper power management.
Display: Click to EnlargeThe HTC One's 4.7-inch 1920 x 1080 Super LCD 3 display offers stunning visuals. With a staggering 468 pixels per inch, text on sites such as NYTimes.com and Laptopmag.com looked razor-sharp, while images looked incredibly crisp, even when zoomed all the way in.
Video looked equally stunning, as illustrated by a trailer for the film "Pacific Rim." The neon blues and greens comprising the mechanized cockpit of the movie's massive robots nearly seared our retinas, while details like the fine lines between the machines' armor plating were clearly visible.
Audio: With a pair of front-mounted speakers, which HTC refers to as BoomSound, the One is in a class all its own. While watching the aforementioned "Pacific Rim" trailer, the sound of giant robots and monsters crushing buildings -- and each other -- sounded almost as good coming from the One's speakers as it did our headphones.
While listening to The Smashing Pumpkins' "1979," we were impressed by how crisp Billy Corgan's voice sounded. When we switched on the Beats Audio setting, the audio sounded even richer and much more even.
Performance: Under the HTC One's metal chassis is a 1.7-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor and 2GB of RAM, resulting in one of the fastest handsets on the planet. Games such as "Jetpack JoyRide" and "Super Monsters Ate My Condo" ran without so much as a hint of slowdown, and apps opened and closed in the blink of an eye.
On the Quadrant benchmark, which measures a phone's CPU, graphics and I/O performance, the One clocked an impressive score of 12,706. That's far better than the category average of 3,899. The Galaxy S4, with its quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, registered 11,308, while the LG Optimus G Pro scored 12,075.
Camera and camcorder: HTC has seemingly exited the megapixel arms race. Instead, the company has introduced its own Ultrapixel camera. Though a marketing term, the camera offers a large image sensor and an f/2.0 aperture lens to capture 300 percent more light, which should help you capture quality images in low-light settings. For instance, a shot indoors of a painting taken in near- darkness came out clear, while the S4's image was barely visible.
Click to EnlargeOutdoor shots we took in sunlight looked good, too. An image of a flowering tulip garden looked exquisite, creating a sea of bold oranges, reds, yellows and greens. The camera's Panorama Mode worked well, stitching photos together without leaving any unsightly seams. However, the One's 4-megapixel images aren't as detailed as the S4's, especially when you zoom in.