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HTC One hits a home run

Last updated on: April 30, 2013 20:20 IST

HTC One hits a home run

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Arup Das

The phone is the king of Android hill at the moment, with great looks and software to match.


The world of smartphones has become like a stuck broken record playing the "I wannabe iPhone" song.

Unfortunately, more than actual innovations, it's the prices that have been skyrocketing. It's been awhile but after numerous Android clones from different companies, HTC has finally got something that has made us sit up and take note.

Let me introduce you to the HTC One. The Taiwanese mobile manufacturer has thrown its thinking cap in the ring, and I must say the droolmeter hits the stratosphere with ease.

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Photographs: Courtesy, HTC
Tags: HTC

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HTC One hits a home run

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Design

The One is the most gorgeous phone and I won't demean it by adding "this side of the iPhone 5". Simply, the built quality surpasses Apple. The design is simple, sleek and not housed in tacky plastic. It is all aluminium, front and back, with uber-class matte finish, which provides excellent grip.

HTC has made sure the One doesn't have any weight issues. It weighs 143 grams. The slightly curved design nestles in your palm. But there are peculiar traits, ergonomicswise, like the power button right on top while the back and home buttons at the bottom.

Being a 4.7-inch device, you can't use the buttons with a single hand, unless you master the art of shifting it on your palm. The One is perfectly balanced in terms of weight and size, as it fits into my jeans pocket.

The One runs on Android 4.1.2 and is powered with a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor and Adreno 320 GPU. It easily sets the benchmark with its lighting speed.

A simple way to know how fast your phone is by opening an app or using navigation features or, the acid test, playing games and seeing if the screen and your movements stutter. The One is responsive and the ample 2GB of RAM helps it gallop freely.

It comes with Bluetooth 4.0, near field communication, Wi-Fi, Digital Living Network Alliance, Miracast, an accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS and surprise infrared.

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Photographs: Courtesy, HTC

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HTC One hits a home run

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Software

The new interface Sense 5.0 is extremely responsive and easy to use. HTC's user interface (UI) has always been one of the prettiest in the market but now the company has optimised it in terms of speed and stability. The Sense 5 gives you the freedom to customise the UI based on your liking, changing the SMS app, homescreen and lockscreen.

The UI gets a new service called BlinkFeed which offers a cascading flow of all updates and media similar to Windows Phone 8's messages feed. If you find it too cluttered, you can shift it to another screen and change your home page.

The One comes with an inbuilt TV remote feature, which transforms the phone into a universal remote. Tap on the TV app and it shows you the shows.

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Photographs: Courtesy, HTC
Tags: UI , HTC , SMS

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HTC One hits a home run

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Display and camera

HTC has chosen a 4.7-inch screen for the One, unlike its competition which has gone for a five-inch screen. It has full HD (1920 1080) resolution and brings out rich colours. Whether you're reading text, looking at photos or watching video, it is clear.

The only problem is if you are in the sun, the screen looks slightly dark. It comes with Gorilla Glass 2, not the latest version, present in Samsung Galaxy S4, but it still protects the screen from scratches.

HTC has done a U-turn in the war of megapixels, mating the One with a, er, four-MP UltraPixel. We sound you out this is no gimmick as the camera is capable of capturing 300 per cent more light than your average sensor. This sensor is capable of shooting 2,688 1,520 resolution images and comes with a smaller 2.1-MP wide-angle front facing camera for self-posing shots and video chat.

The four-MP UltraPixel captures colours subtly during daytime, giving those a natural look. But it is in dim light where the camera outshines the rest of the smartphones' cameras. Thanks to its optical image stabilisation it can basically see in the dark and take steady photos.

It's also really fast to apply filters or switch scene modes. If one has to knit and pick then there is slight noise or grains visible in less light but the photos look bright and visible.

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Photographs: Courtesy, HTC

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HTC One hits a home run

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HTC One comes with a new camera app called Zoe. The difference between this app and regular video is that Zoe is a 3 second video which captures a sequence of 20 images.

This allows you to pick specific moments in the video, for instance, make sure everyone in the photo is smiling or remove a wayward tourist in the background. But use this sparingly as Zoe eats up a lot of battery.

Verdict

At the moment HTC One is the king of the Android hill. It is easily the most beautiful mobile phone and this time HTC matches the looks with the software. But there are some limitations -- like the battery is inbuilt and can't be replaced. Also the One comes in two variants 32GB or 64GB.

Strictly speaking that is more than enough space but an option for an expandable memory card would have been helpful. Also the camera is just 4MP, but then it is in the same league as other smartphone cameras so you don't have to worry about quality photos.

Great devices come at a price... Rs 42,900 to be precise. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Would I buy it? well that's a different story as I don't have the money.


Photographs: Courtesy, HTC
Tags: HTC , Zoe

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