HTC has always prided itself on the engineering and build quality of its products and rightly so. Think about the One X, One S and even products before them. But the HTC One is in a different league altogether. HTC has outdone itself when it comes to design of the One. The company needed a winner to keep itself afloat and the One might be the answer. We went hands-on with the HTC One and here are our first impressions. Also Read - HTC One (M8) vs HTC One (M7): Here's what's new
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There is nothing that could prepare me for the HTC One simply because there is no comparable product in terms of design out there. The unibody metal has been chiselled out of a single block and polished so fine that it shines. The lines on the back act as various antennas but play their part by enhancing the overall look. The chamfered edges, a la the iPhone 5, are there but it doesn’t look inspired at all. Even the front, which I earlier thought resembled a mashup of the iPhone 5 and the BlackBerry Z10 looks unique in reality. The speaker grill on the top and bottom have really fine holes, much finer than those on the iPhone 5. If there was any smartphone I’d call premium apart from the iPhone 5, then it would have to be the HTC One. Also Read - Can HTC go One better?
HTC has also overhauled its Sense UI in the One. With Sense 5 users can snack on news, social networks like Facebook and Twitter, apart from the phone’s calendars and other lists, directly from the homescreen. There are no boring shortcut icons or widgets. Called BlinkFeed, users can choose from a variety of content sources and customize it extensively. For those looking for the regular homescreen can either disable BlinkFeed or just swipe from the right edge inwards on the display to access it.
The One is a big bet from HTC to show that experiences trump raw hardware specifications. Rather than going for a higher megapixel sensor, it went for a larger sensor where the pixel size is about 300 percent larger than the regular ones. HTC calls it an “ultrapixel” and claims that 4-megapixel photos clicked from the device will have more details and perform better under low-light conditions than any 8 or 13-megapixel camera. We will test these claims in our review but we were quite impressed with some test shots we clicked during our quick hands-on.
Like others, HTC has also incorporated many software-based photograph optimizations, some similar to BlackBerry 10’s TimeShift and others like Scalado’s Remove tool that removes unwanted elements from a photograph. Zoe is a decent burst mode like feature from where users can either take a short video clip or get the exact shot they wanted when the subjects are in motion.
Even the dual stereo speakers on the front make a lot of difference in audio experience. The HTC One really made me wonder why no one had thought about these things earlier.
However, the biggest question that still remains unanswered is the pricing. HTC has faltered in the past with its pricing and there is a big chance it could with the One as well. Yes, it seems to be a remarkably better smartphone than any other but HTC does not have the same brand value as an Apple, where buyers don’t mind paying the so-called ‘Apple tax’. Yes, the One has a lot of stuff going for it but it remains to be seen whether users will be willing to pay the price for it.
Photographs: Rohit Sharma