Business | Technology

HTC One: On top, for now

The company has produced its best smartphone, despite some limits on its features

  • By Naushad K. Cherrayil, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 12:13 April 22, 2013
  • Gulf News

Dubai: HTC took a big risk — but it paid off. They have produced their best smartphone ever and possibly the best in the Android market so far. However, it is likely to face stiff competition for the “best smartphone of the year award” from the Samsung Galaxy S4.

The 4.7-inch HTC One uses Super LCD 3 display with a resolution of 468 pixels an inch, better than most devices on the market. The HTC Boomsound front-facing stereo speakers, with Beats technology, offer stunning audio quality. The high resolution display and audio are an impressive combination when watching movies or playing games. The HTC One is powered by quad-core 1.7 GHz Snapdragon 600 processor with 2GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage capacity, but runs on older version of Android Jelly Bean.

The unibody zero-gap aluminium shell really stands out from the crowd. It is extremely thin and rectangular, with curved edges at the back to sit firmly in the hand. However, the disadvantage is that the battery cannot be removed and there is no scope to expand the storage capacity. On the top of the device are the headphone jack and the power button, while the volume rocker is on the right. The micro USB port for the charger and an IRS sensor, to control a TV or home theater system, is at the bottom of the device.

HTC has used a new user interface — HTC Sense 5. I liked the BlinkFeed feature. It streams all your favourite content from Facebook, Twitter and other sources onto one screen to deliver an image-rich home page. It has too many options and can be confusing, but once you are well versed in this feature it is very useful.

You can select the content to be displayed, but a drawback is that it cannot be turned off as it is the home screen by default. However, a swipe to the right gives you access to the home screens usually found on Android phones.

The HTC’s ultrapixel technology lets 300 per cent more light into the sensor than normal smartphone cameras, which is good for taking photographs in low light. The pictures taken by the 4 megapixel camara are rich in colour and look stunning on the phone screen, but lose detail when blown up although they are not prone to distortion.

Video music

The camera app is fully customisable and user-friendly. The camera can take fast images and the HTC Zoe feature captures 20 images and three second video before and after pressing the button. It stitches together all the photos into one, plus you can add background music from HTC Music to make a video. However, you need to keep the camera steady for some time after taking a picture for the phone to complete the video. The gallery becomes live tiles of the pictures. Composing a video with variable speed playback is easy on HTC One. You can add a little drama by slowing down or speeding up a particular scene. HTC has improved its front-facing camera to 2.1MP with HDR capability.

Some camera features will not work when using Zoe, like zooming and high dynamic range (HDR) mode. But HDR can be used during video recording. Another interesting feature is ‘object removal’, which lets you remove passersby and other stray objects in a photo. These are picture effects options.

The HTC Sense TV feature allows you to surf channels, but the app is not available in the UAE. Neither is HTC Watch and 7 Digital, the premium movies library. The app can also be used to control your TV and home theatre systems, but it takes a lot of time to set up.

HTC has improved its battery technology and the One has a decent battery life. The 2,300 mAh battery can power for a full day with moderate use. Users can improve the battery life by using power saving mode and turning BlinkFeed off. For power users, it lasts around 11 hours.

It has 3G/4G LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth and near field communication (NFC) connectivity. HTC is offering only 32GB/3G or 32GB/4G LTE versions in the Middle East. Future models like 16GB and 64GB will be available at a later stage. The 32GB/3G is priced at Dh2,499 and 32GB/4G LTE at Dh2,699.

Quick score

Pros

• Beautifully crafted

• Front-facing speakers

• Innovative camera features

• High-resolution display

• Decent battery life

Cons

• No micro-SD slot

• Old operating system

• Non-removable battery

• Back gets hot after extended use

• Some apps do not work in the region

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