Just like its predecessor last year, the HTC One X, the HTC One will face some terrible competition when it comes to flagship device – maybe an even tougher one considering what’s out there, or rumored to arrive soon.
The HTC One will have to convince the public that it’s better than its 2013 Android peers including the Sony Xperia Z, the Samsung Galaxy S4, the Google/Motorola X Phone but also better than other stars from the competition, such as the BlackBerry Z10, the iPhone 5S/6 or the next-gen Nokia Lumia flagship.
So let’s take a look today at HTC One’s arguments.
The images we’ve seen in the past few weeks were real after all. The handset will come in white and black just as rumored and it will feature two speakers on the front. The 4.7-inch display is there just as expected (not a 5-inch panel on this device) and the smartphone measures 9.3mm in thickness. And yes, the order of the buttons has been changed when comparing the handset to its predecessor. In fact, we’re looking at just two capacitive buttons on this one.
HTC emphasized the quality build of the device during the presentation. We’re looking at a device made from a single block of aluminum, with the antenna of the device integrated within the aluminum.
The display is curved, and, if you were wondering, it’s a Gorilla Glass front panel. And those speakers on the front of the device are micro-drilled. Moreover, the HTC One has the largest sound chambers ever, and Beats Audio support is right there.
Looking for more HTC One images? Here’s a gallery.
Specs and features
We’ve seen them in a variety of leaks before the announcement event, so the specs and features of the HTC One won’t surprise anyone that’s familiar with this year’s expectations regarding Android smartphones. The HTC has a 4.7-inch Full HD LCD display, a 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM, storage starting at 32GB (but no microUSD support,) 4-megapixel camera, LTE support, IR support, 2300mAh battery and Android 4.12 Jelly Bean with Sense 5 on top.
If some of those specs sound familiar that’s because you’ll see them on lots of Android devices out there. What’s special then? The camera’s UltraPixels, the sound, the IR support, and HTC’s Sense 5, a new user interface that has been seen in previous releases.
The UltraPixels we heard of before the event are very much real. HTC has further updated the capabilities of its smartphone cameras, and while we can only count 4 megapixels on the main camera, it does have some interesting features. Capturing more light – three times more than megapixels in a 8-megapixel shooter – UltraPixels will help with pictures taken in low light environments, and we can’t wait to see how it fares when pitted against its rivals, even though the maximum resolution will be 4-megapixel in this case.
Then there’s HTC Zoe, not a new smartphone name but a feature that lets the user take five pictures before pressing the shutter, and 15 more after, but also 3-seconds of video right alongside the pictures. This will certainly come in handy to those folks that like to take lots of pictures on their mobile cameras, and want to have save the best shots of their captured moments
Moreover, the camera of the HTC One comes with optical image stabilization (both cameras,) and ultra-wide angle for the main shooter. HDR video recording is obviously supported.
HTC says that the One’s sound experience is the best in town, and has a proprietary name for it: HTC BoomSound. That’s right next to Beats Audio support, that’s also included.
In addition to the two speakers on the front of the handset there are also two microphones meant to improve the quality of calls. The microphones also offer HDR recording support.
Obviously, we’re mainly interested here in the stereo speakers that should also offer an improved media consumption experience, that is if you don’t prefer to use headphones instead.
The 5th Sense
As you expected, there’s a new Sense on top of Google’s Android and it’s called HTC Sense 5. We’re looking at a new interface but also a new feature that has been demoed on stage. Called BlinkFeed, it’s a news aggregator that will let you access your favorite information from websites or social feeds – don’t forget to add Android Authority to your BlinkFeed.
Sense 5 also comes with a Sense TV app that will work well with that IR sensor that we detail below.
We left this one for last, and although it’s not a major feature, and definitely not a must-have feature for lots of smartphone users, the HTC One does have IR (infra-red) support. Just push the power button on top of the handset and, voila, you’ll be able to use the HTC One as a remote control with your TV.
Release date and pricing
HTC is finally learning from the competition – read mostly Samsung and Apple – when it comes to making your handset available in multiple markets at the same time.
The HTC One will hit 80 countries, with 185 mobile operators ready to carry the handset. What seems to be clear from HTC’s presentation is that the HTC One will launch exactly as that, the HTC One with most carriers.
In the U.S., AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile will sell the HTC One, but Verizon won’t carry the handset, at least according to what we’ve been told so far.
Pricing details are not available at this time, but we have a general release window – late March 2013. We’ll note that some of the previous rumors were more than confirmed by HTC during the event when it comes to availability details.
While we don’t have official pricing for you – although we expect the handset to cost $199.99 with a new two-year contract, at least in the U.S. – HTC will offer users that pre-order the handset $100 off the device as long as they’re ready to trade in their current handset for the One.