Meet the HTC One
Technology reviewers are running out of superlatives to describe just how good it is. But they're not talking about the latest from Apple. They're talking about an Android: the HTC One. HTC's new flagship phone is due April 19 for $199 with a contract. By many, many, many, many accounts it is one the best phones ever made -- and possibly the model that is finally better than an iPhone. Take a close look at what they're are raving about.
HTC has wrapped the One in premium materials. No chintzy plastics here. Its case is carved from a single piece of aluminum. The phone, which is 0.36 inches thick and weighs about 5 ounces, is available in silver or black.
Inside, the phone features a Qualcomm (qcom) Snapdragon 600 Quad-Core processor running at 1.7 Ghz and 2 GBs of RAM, putting it on the high end of the Android spectrum. (Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S4 features the same processor running at a slightly faster speed.) Internal storage comes in at 32GB or 64GB. One knock: There's no SD card for storage expansion.
A gorgeous display
The HTC One has a 4.7-inch screen at 1080p resolution, a.k.a. 1920x1080 pixels. That's pretty much standard in this class of phones, but it squeezes an impressive 468 pixels-per-inch -- more than the S4 or Apple's iPhone -- for crisper images and sharper text.
Like laptops, most smartphones don't normally come with great speakers. HTC's answer is so-called BoomSound dual stereo speakers. The name may be silly, but this Beats-designed setup sets the device apart. Crucially, the One's two speakers are on the front of the device, not the back or sides.
There are some drawbacks
The One runs Android Jelly Bean, Google's (goog) latest, but HTC's own software, dubbed Sense 5.0, operates on top. It features a new type of home screen, Blinkfeed, that draws on content from social feeds like Facebook and Twitter. Some people love it, some people don't.
And a so-so camera
The One packs a 4 megapixel camera, bucking the trend of cramming in increasingly more powerful cameras. (Samsung's S4 will feature a 13 megapixel camera by comparison). Instead, HTC says its camera is an "Ultrapixel" device, promising that the sensor pixels are twice as big as they are in most phone cameras. That means they gather more light, making for better low-light shots. In practice, resulting photos are a mixed bag.