Whether-or-Not-to-Buy: HTC One (M7) Smartphone

It was touted to be HTC M7 everywhere. I did a tiny research as to where the name came from. On Nov 29 last year, Taiwanese news channel, Focus Taiwan published a story in which was mentioned about a flagship HTC phone to be released in the first quarter of 2013, before the launch of Samsung Galaxy S IV. They called the device M7.

Later on, we identified M7 could just be a codename for the smartphone within HTC circles. During the time when the launch date was confirmed (Feb 19), there were news about the actual name of the phone to be HTC One. No, not One X, just One!

HTC One was released yesterday in an event by HTC in Taiwan. We will check out the details of HTC One and see how great a buy it is.

Technical Specifications

Here are the basic tech specs of HTC One.

Feature HTC One
Display 4.7 inch SLCD 3 FHD (1080p); 468 ppi
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.7 GHz
Operating System Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2
Camera UltraPixel with 1080p video & image capture
Battery 2300 mAh
Storage 32/64 GB
Connectivity HSPA/WCDMA (Europe & Asia edition)
Dimensions Height 137.4 mm
Width 68.2 mm
Depth 9.3 mm
Weight 143 g
Other features Optical image stabilization (see Nokia Lumia 920)
NFC depending on the carrier and location
HTC BoomSound and Beats Audio
HTC Sense UI 5
apt-X audio codec
HTC Blinkfeed customizable home screen
HTC Zoe photo gallery application
25 GB Dropbox account for 2 years

HTC One comes with amazing build quality, with aluminum unibody design and Gorilla Glass 2 for screen protection.

HTC One also sports other features like apt-X audio codec for better compression, BlinkFeed (a home screen app that makes the home screen like Windows Metro UI, and a photo gallery app called Zoe

About the display, 468 ppi is a little bit overdoing it, although it is pretty much necessary if you want full HD in 4.7 inches. What HTC could have done is making the display bigger, to about 5 inches. That would still make a good phone to carry around. With its slightly curved back, similar to Windows Phone 8X, One is amazingly easy to handle.

HTC One is a fully power-packed phone. If you have read about our review of Snapdragon 600, you may know it is one of the fastest upcoming mobile processors.

Benchmark scores in Geekbench ranks shows the following results. LG Google Nexus 4 with Snapdragon S4 Pro (quad-core 1.5 GHz) scored 2027 points, while Samsung Galaxy Note II (Samsung Exynos 4412, 1.6 GHz quad-core) scored 1936. Clearly the Qualcomm Krait CPU of Snapdragon is miles ahead of the competition (processors based on ARM Cortex-A9).

Snapdragon 600 will come with much better performance than S4 Pro.

The Camera

There is a specialty with the camera of HTC One. It is only about 4 megapixels. Weirdly retrograde, don’t you think? It will be a misnomer if I said ‘megapixels’; the camera is actually 4 UltraPixels. That is definitely a new marketing term that HTC invented. However, it has some important technical aspects to it.

UltraPixel is a physically larger pixel. In HTC One’s case the size of the pixel is said to be about 2 microns. This is as opposed to iPhone 5’s 1.4 micron pixels. The significance according to HTC is that this UltraPixel camera can capture light much better than regular camera, and thus it produces more lively images (like the HDR images; HDR [High Dynamic Range] is a technology by which images are combined together to form a better one).

It is late, but HTC is actually embracing the correct notion here. Larger megapixel count doesn’t give better quality image. 8 MP is the maximum you may ever require. Smartphone manufacturers were locked in a predicament for some years by the consumers who were after high-MP cameras. HTC is the first to end the frenzy with One. Note that a few months back, we saw Nokia PureView 808 that sported a whopping 41 megapixel camera. The images taken by that camera would be unnecessarily enormous.

UltraPixel technology

On the other hand, UltraPixel technology will provide regular images with better light capture. We will see how the camera performs in real life conditions and how it competes with the best cameras among smartphones today—Nokia Lumia 920, iPhone 5, Galaxy S3, etc.—in the coming days.

The Sound


Beats Audio

With One, HTC is coming up with a new trademark, BoomSound. The front speaker arrangement on HTC One is charming. HTC scores handsomely on the design front. The speakers are equipped with their own internal amplifiers and are said to deliver amazing quality sound.

We know about HTC’s long-standing relationship with Beats Audio. In 2010, HTC acquired a chunk of Beats Audio shares and remains as the top investor in the company. This was before the launch of Beats Audio equipped handsets, Sensation, Incredible, One X, 8X, etc.

Beats Audio on various HTC phones has received great reviews for its sound quality.

[Update: ]

You can get a $100 cashback on your purchase of a brand new HTC One, wen you exchange an older HTC phone. Details can be found in this HTC website.

All you need to do is send in your old HTC phone (whichever phone it is), and you can make at least 100 dollars, as HTC gives back either the value of your old phone or 100 dollars, whichever is greater.

All you need to do is buy and activate a new HTC One phone before , and send in the old HTC phone along with the proof of purchase of the new One before .


HTC One is a flagship model for HTC, and it will be the one they are betting on to compete better against Samsung Galaxy S3 and also S IV coming in a few days. In terms of build quality, HTC has always been great. This phone is no different. Also, another attraction of HTC One is that you will be getting 25 GB storage on Dropbox for two years (not available in China).

One downside of the phone probably is that it has a smaller display than the competing devices like LG Optimus G Pro and Samsung Galaxy S III. Upcoming S IV is expected to get even larger display. Another thing is the battery, which is 2300 mAh, which is only slightly better than Galaxy S III and slightly worse than upcoming Sony Xperia Z. Overall, HTC One is one of those quiet and yet brilliant products that you can purchase when it comes to the market.

Buy HTC One from Best Buy or Amazon.

[Image: HTC, TechRadar, Slashgear, Ars Technica, Mashable]

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