HTC One review
A benchmark-busting phone that marries stunning design with all-round panache – the HTC One storms to the top of the A-List
Review Date: 15 May 2013
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: Free, on a £31.00 per month, 24 months contract.
Features & Design
Value for Money
UPDATE: We’ve re-run our benchmarks after the HTC One received an over-the-air update. Scroll to the end of the review to read more.
HTC couldn’t have chosen a tougher time to release the HTC One. With the Samsung Galaxy S4 just around the corner, and no shortage of Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8 rivals all vying for the premium handset crown, the competition in the sector has never been so fierce. With the pressure piling on, HTC has responded in the best way possible: it’s unleashed the world’s best smartphone.
The One makes a stunning first impression. Each handset is hewn from a single block of anodised aluminium, and the process is painstakingly thorough: HTC proudly claims that it takes more than three hours of CNC machining to create each and every phone. It’s clearly time well spent. The curved rear fits beautifully in the hand, and the attention to detail is astonishing. Bands of off-white polycarbonate slash across the rear and run around the phone’s circumference, every edge is lovingly chamfered and the speaker grilles above and below the screen are formed from grids of finely milled pinpricks in the aluminium body.
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One
Find out how the HTC One compares with its big rival - the Samsung Galaxy S4 - in our head-to-head review
Those gorgeous looks are matched with excellent build quality. The HTC One isn’t the lightest or slimmest handset – its 143g weight and 9.3mm thickness put it squarely in the middle of the flagship smartphone pack – but it’s certainly one of the sturdiest we’ve encountered. The metal construction and Gorilla Glass display make for a reassuringly stout-feeling handset, and there isn’t a hint of give or flex anywhere to be found.
Unfortunately, there’s a price to pay for such stunning design and build quality. As the rear panel isn’t removable, there’s no battery access, and expandable storage has also fallen by the wayside – you’ll just have to make do with the 32GB of onboard storage.
Still, there’s little else missing. Support for 4G, Bluetooth 4, NFC and dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi is included, and HTC has concealed a tiny infrared transmitter within the One’s power button to allow it to control set-top boxes and TVs. The front-facing stereo speakers are surprisingly good, too, with ample volume and unexpected levels of clarity – the audio quality is a cut above most smartphones.
The One’s display is equally refined. It isn’t the first phone with a 1080p screen – the Sony Xperia Z takes that honour – but the HTC’s 4.7in panel is markedly better. Its maximum brightness of 481cd/m2 and contrast ratio of 1,202:1 soundly beat the Sony’s vital statistics of 409cd/m2 and 454:1, and the HTC also surpasses the Sony for colour reproduction and viewing angles. The very darkest greys are crushed into black, but that’s its only weakness, and one it shares with several other top-flight handsets. In every other respect it’s a fantastic screen, and the match of any smartphone on the market, including our previous A-list smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S III.
I really, really wanted to like this but no removable storage or battery means I'll likely be staying with Samsung. I'm also in love with their AMOLED screens.
By Mark_Thompson on 4 Apr 2013
Looked at this today in store and looked and felt nice. But only 32GB equates to fail from me. I need room for music, vids and photos while on holiday etc
By billy_love on 4 Apr 2013
Never forgave HTC for the Desire / Desire HD issued
I will never Buy HTC again.
By bet1001 on 5 Apr 2013
Oh yes, why I went to IOS, my 18 month old desire couldn't take the Android upgrade, another HTC fail......
By billy_love on 5 Apr 2013
The sealed battery issue
Non replaceable batteries may be an issue or not,Working on the following calculation.
A modern Battery will charge about 1000 times before it will no longer hold a charge.Assuming the HTC one's battery is the same, and that in constant use by its owner it's recharged once every 2 days, that equates to 2000 days or 5 and a half years of use before you have to chuck the thing away( I think the warrenty may well have run out by then :-)).Well most mobiles phones have long since gone to the Scrap heap long before then anyway due to the next big phone thing , dropping it, accidents etc.So maybe sealed in batteries are the way to go after all.Still think they should have added a micro SD card slot though.
By Jaberwocky on 5 Apr 2013
Re: The sealed battery issue
That might be the issue as you see it. For me, a replaceable battery is a must. I'll often be away from a charger for a few days at a time. Carrying a spare battery is a must. I also frequently buy year-old phones on eBay. I will only buy a phone with a replaceable battery because I don't know how the previous owner has treated the battery. If they have abused it and it is Kaput, £10 from Amazon gets me a new one (and, often, with a higher capacity).
By Bassey1976 on 18 Apr 2013
Really nice!! Add HTC One storage with this :http://goo.gl/lfEXI
By Davidjan on 25 Apr 2013
Top of the A list? You must be joking
No removable storage or battery that makes it a dud for me. I'll stick with my Galaxy Note 2 with a 64gb Micro SD
By MikeHitchcock on 28 Apr 2013
A list phone should have Micro SD as Standard
Cant believe HTC released a phone with no Micro SD or removable battery. That's just stupid. Wont be buying one as it would be like loosing basic functionality.
Sure it looks nice but really not worth the money without Micro SD or removable battery for me.
By siddallj on 5 May 2013
When someone steals your phone, the first thing they do is remove the battery to stop it from transmitting its location etc. All those lovely anti-theft techniques are rendered useless. Fine, let the battery be replaceable by the user, but I strongly dislike the simple way you can just slide the battery cover off on many phones. It should be screwed on or something like that - meantime I'm happier with my Nexus 4, as your average thief probably wouldn't know how to switch it off and will spend a while trying to figure out where the battery cover is...
By poglad on 9 May 2013
what depressing comments!
The most exciting phone launched so far, the phone that comes out tops in EVERY review (not just PCPro) a phone that truly is everything your phone isn't and that's the best you guys can come up with?
Ho Hum good luck with your choices.
By stewarta13wsb on 13 May 2013
Pure joy to own!
This phone is a thing of beauty. I chose it before reading reviews but, having handled it and the Samsung Galaxy S4 in the Three shop, purchasing it was a no-brainer. The look, feel and obviously superior build quality sold me. I too was not too happy about the expansion and battery replacement issues but battery life is fine and who needs GBs of storage if all your music is on Google Play Music and all your other stuff on Dropbox? Mind you, it helps if you've got a Three All You Can Eat One Plan (also brilliant btw). Just watch an HD movie on it without headphones and pat yourself on the back for making a great choice!
By richard_no1 on 15 May 2013
The HTC One sounds just what I would have chosen for my next phone...but no expansion slot or removable battery come HTC get real Apple may get away with that crap with their sheep sorry devotees, but for a modern state of the art Android smartphone it has to have both of these!! Looks as if I will be hanging on to my S2 for a little longer maybe for the HTC TWO if they can correct these short falls :-)
By petem on 17 May 2013
removable sd and battery not an issue
I have the HTC one and I have 32gb of space available - more than enough! My friend has the s4 16gb with only 8gb useable and you can't install apps on the sd card! Which is the better phone? The s4 wouldn't be able to handle my 20gb of apps! As for the battery, it will last until my next upgrade so what's the problem?
Plus it is the best phone ever!
By ndavey1 on 20 May 2013
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