Toting all the latest smartphone features, the HTC One goes head-to-head with the Samsung Galaxy S4 (Est. $200 and up with contract) for the best Android smartphone crown. Excellent build design, high-performing software and a crisp HD screen make the HTC One a qualified contender. "A few quibbles notwithstanding, the powerhouse HTC One is a beautifully crafted, near-ideal smartphone," says Brian Bennett of CNET.
Interface can be distracting. HTC's Sense interface has been tweaked to avoid slowing down the operating system and to offer a less intrusive experience. While it's a helpful update, experts say it may still feel overbearing to Android purists. Most notable is BlinkFeed, a set of dynamic home-screen tiles displaying content from news feeds, blog updates and other real-time events. Though handy, BlinkFeed cannot be turned off. Experts find this frustrating, and note BlinkFeed can only be moved to a different home screen for those who don't want to see it every time they unlock their phone.
Fast-draining battery. Good call quality and reception make the HTC One a nice fit for texters and talkers alike. 4G LTE data is fast, but coverage depends on carrier and area. Sprint and AT&T offer a well-established network and excellent connections for customers who can connect to 4G. Battery life is mediocre, with 4G data, a large display and lots of power-hungry features draining it in a day, or faster with heavy use.
No complaints. The smooth aluminum chassis of the HTC One stands up to scratches and scuffs, while its slightly curved design helps keep a grip on the smartphone. Reviewers say it feels solid and durable to hold.
Stylish and light. Experts agree the One's stunning design is one of its major selling points. The "gorgeous" aluminum slab design is "both totally unique and somehow still understated," says David Pierce of TheVerge.com. "I kept inventing excuses to use the One, just so I could hold it."
Measuring 5.41 by 2.69 by 0.37 inches and weighing 5.04 ounces, the One is both sturdy and lightweight to hold. The 4.7-inch Super LCD display takes up most of the smartphone's front and proves equally as impressive as the design. "The screen is tack-sharp, colors are fantastic, blacks are impressively deep, and it looks great from any angle," says Pierce.
Lower-res camera excels. The One attempts to stand out from the competition with its camera. Instead of boasting higher resolution, the smartphone offers only 4 megapixels, yet that's not a bad thing. Dubbed the UltraPixel by HTC, each pixel takes in three times more light than before for better low-light performance. Fewer megapixels also translates to nearly instantaneous shutter speeds and response times, experts say. The camera's low-light photos look "absolutely stunning," says Sascha Segan of PCMag.com. As for more standard images, the camera "isn't a game changer, but it's very good." Thanks to its front-facing speakers and dazzling display, the One is a perfect choice for movies or games.
Rating the HTC One at 4 out of 5 stars, Brian Bennett puts it through various performance tests and concludes it is a beautiful, "near-ideal" smartphone.
Review: HTC One Review: The Gorgeous HTC One Is a Winner, Brian Bennett, June 3, 2013
After comparing the HTC One's performance and usability with that of other smartphone titans, Sascha Segan awards the smartphone the Editors' Choice for being innovative and well built.
Review: HTC One (Sprint), Sascha Segan, April 8, 2013
After evaluating the HTC One's performance and picture-taking capabilities, David Pierce scores it 8.3 out of 10 for its hardware and performance. Pierce docks the score for a "mediocre" camera and poor battery life.
Review: HTC One Review: Heating Up the Race for the Perfect Android Phone, David Pierce, March 11, 2013
4. PC World
Ranking the HTC One at 4.25 out of 5 stars, Ross Catanzariti praises its design and fast performance but finds battery life below average and camera performance less exciting than advertised.
Review: HTC One Android Phone, Ross Catanzariti, April 4, 2013
Alex Dobie compares the HTC One with its biggest rival, the Galaxy S4, concluding both are fine phones but that the HTC One's hardware and software offer the best performance.
Review: HTC One, Two Months On…, Alex Dobie, May 12, 2013
Calling the HTC One "one of the most exciting pieces of hardware we've seen in a long time," Brent Rose concludes it is one of the best Android phones currently available.
Review: HTC One Review: The Beauty Is a Beast, Brent Rose, April 8, 2013