Unibody aluminium iPhone competitor HTC One gets reviewed

Unibody aluminium iPhone competitor HTC One gets reviewed

Android Central's Alex Dobie has posted his definitive HTC One review. While he bewilderingly managed to misspell aluminium, Dobie otherwise did a fantastic job looking at the almost Apple-class unibody hardware, stunning 1080p LCD display, and the interesting if more divisive HTC Sense 5 interface. His conclusion:

he HTC One is an exquisite piece of design and engineering. From the hardware to the software, HTC’s new handset incorporates some of the very best design work in the industry. If there’s something to be disappointed about, it might be the much-vaunted “UltraPixel” camera. Which is not to say it’s bad per se -- in fact, it’s pretty good. But it’s a long way off being the silver bullet to cure all your mobile photography woes, and though its low-light performance is fantastic, it still lags behind the competition in some other areas.

In spite of this, is it HTC’s best phone yet? Without question. And on balance, is it the best Android phone you can buy? For the moment, absolutely.

I had an HTC G1 and an HTC Nexus One, and to date they've made my favorite Android hardware by a long stretch. The HTC One looks far better built than either the Nexus 4 I currently own, or Samsung's just-announced Galaxy S4. I use my phone all day, every day, so how it feels is incredibly important.

But then again, so is software, and that sounds like it's still a challenge for HTC. At least the interface sounds smooth, though, which would be fantastic if it holds true day in day out, app in, app out.

If you're interested in seeing aluminium and glass at 4.7-inch scale, along with some great speakers, audacious camera technology, and... curious button and Home screen choices, check the Dobie's full review. Then come back here and let me know if there's anything about the HTC One you'd like to see Apple incorporate into future versions of the iPhone.

Source: Android Central

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 60 comments. Add yours.

RagedUSMC says:

How many times did he say ITS THAT SIMPLE or SIMPLE in that video? lol

vianar says:

Not a bad looking device and features are functional (more than can be said about the G4). For an Android device it is not bad.

Madhav Pande says:

Pretty cool! Even though HTC ripped off Apple, the HTC One has the best feel of all Android phones by a long shot. They were probably allowed to copy Apple's design when they signed the licensing agreement so I guess that move wasn't surprising.

Rene Ritchie says:

I don't think the cross-license covered design. HTC's been making unibody phones for a while. I don't think it looks that much like an iPhone, and I like that they're using higher end materials.

ArtVandelay0001 says:

It would have been nice to see more than a front view. And what kind of high end materials do you think they are using? Titanium? Magnesium? Aluminum is cheap the rest are not.

Madhav Pande says:

Whoa, I didn't even know that HTC made unibody phones! I always assumed they were made of plastic. Also, just to clarify, I meant that HTC was using aluminum as its main build material, just like the iPhone, but I see your point that it doesn't look like an iPhone and that they are using higher quality material. Thank you for clarifying about the cross-license agreement too!

prlundberg says:

HTC has long made quality hardware. My 2 year old EVO is an aluminum chassis with a soft touch plastic battery cover. Not as pretty as the iPhones, but a more practical and durable design. Their biggest issue has been that Sense is a resource hog.

actionjackson22 says:

It WAS a resource hog. Ever since sense 4 and up, it's been really really fluid and looks great.
WAYYYYYYY better than anything samsung offers with touch wiz

boovish says:

Well they also ripped off windows phone with their Sense 5. Why can't phone manufacturers understand that if they steal a design, they will get sued

asuperstarr says:

If I was to leave apple this would be the phone of choice!

SockRolid says:

Re: "...audacious camera technology..."

So audacious that HTC can't get their supplier to ship the camera module in quantity? Or is it hard to get those camera modules because HTC is no longer a tier-one customer for components any more? Either way, the HTC One release has slipped from March to maybe April.

Here's what an HTC exec had to say about HTC no longer being a tier-one customer:


Rene Ritchie says:

I like that they went for a big microns rather than high megapixel count. It's a marketing hit, but a technology win. (At least, if they improve the software.)

SockRolid says:

Agree. The whole "megapixel myth" is so over. After you get to a certain resolution, image quality is more important than sheer pixel count. Same with displays.

GeniusUnleashed says:

It's not a myth, it's a fact. Megapixels are very important if you are using all of them as a professional. To post crap on the web, 3 megapixels is more than enough. There's a reason why medium format backs can produce 60+ megapixels, because they need to. Do they need to be in phones? Of course not, but they will because people want to pretend to be professionals and they dumb ass people ruin it for the rest of us who just want a decent 6-8 megapixel camera phone.

Harper2.0 says:

How is the software "still a challenge"? Also I don't see how it resembles "Apple design"?

Rene Ritchie says:

A lot of the features are hidden away, and Sense as an interface isn't universally adored (some prefer stock, some TouchWiz, etc.) BlinkFeed looks like it needs some work, as does the camera software.

Carioca32 says:

Well, no interface is universally adored, least of all the aging iOS springboard. I guess we could say HTC is doing much better than Apple in this category, at least they are trying.

Harper2.0 says:

I agree that no interface is universally adored. Having used the One X, I didn't find camera software to be lacking, and can only imagine that it must have gotten better with Sense 5. I haven't personally seen/used a One yet so I can't comment on blinkfeed, but from reviews, other than it needing more content I fail to see why it's being portrayed as a flaw?

Leo141 says:

Sense has always been a flop. Personally I think all these custom skins for android suck. Just pick up and use a nexus phone. Stock jellybean is just gorgeous. If the htc one had stock jellybean it would have been perfect. I always feel that custom skins cause a bit of lag as sense has always been a resource hogging skin.
Apple do an awesome job of having a fluent os since the interface is pure and clean with no gimmicks like sense. I'm sure sense 5 is an improvement but it can't match stock android jb or iOS.

Harper2.0 says:

Android always lagged compared to iOS, until JB came along. And android was created for the sole purpose of giving users choice, which is what sense is, a choice. I'm not sure what you're comparing sense to JB to come to the conclusion that sense can't match, unless you're talking about speed of android updates. From all of the review videos I have yet to see the One lag.

actionjackson22 says:

Apple still loads things up and it is visible. If I hit settings I have to wait after I see the settings background to actually have the electable options. It just hides the waiting with animaitions.
Sense is now really really good. Ever since sense 4, it's been light, fluid, and wonderful to look it. Eventually you can root and put stock JB on there, but its just not a big deal when Sense 5 is just going to fast and look great.

rpol86 says:

If I were to jump ship, this will be my choice but I didn't like that ship before I'm staying lol

Exxod says:

HTC uses a brushed aluminum case.
Apple is called a copycat.
Seems legit.

Harper2.0 says:

I'm going to assume you're referring to the "Apple-class" phrase in the article. I'm sure Rene is referring to how it's up to Apple build quality standards, and not calling Apple a copycat.

Exxod says:

I didn't mean Rene's article.
I meant in a more general sense, how Apple has been bludgeoned for "taking" features from other phones.

Chipsy#AC says:

Well if you are implying that HTC copies Apple here with the aluminum case and back then I'm sorry but that's wrong. HTC has been known to use aluminum backs in the past: the HTC Legend (2010) for example
And the HTC One S (March 2012) was a unibody aluminum phone.

Neither did Apple copy HTC here. It's just a choice of materials and aluminum is an obvious choice when going for a high finish feel: it's light, feels sturdy and is relatively cheap (cheaper than stainless steel for example).

wscotchmer says:

Looks nice but I am wondering if it wouldn't make sense to make smart phones out of more forgiving - ie flexible materials. Drop this or an iPhone on the ground, the rigid frame almost ensures a cracked screen. How about a shock proof body, eliminating the need most people feel to get cases for their gadgets.

raybeem says:

Every company should now waterproof their phones but cases are still a great way to protect and individualize the phone.

raybeem says:

All the drop tests I have seen with the iPhone 5 vs Samsung s3 put the iPhone 5 on top.

prlundberg says:

Not at all. The Aluminum chassis on my EVO has protected my screen from numerous drops. Flex + Glass = Bad in most situations.

prlundberg says:

Casio makes a shock proof phone. Unfortunately it's about 3 years out of date. Sony makes some decent waterproof phones. It really should be standard, given how much phones cost and how they are used. But it probably won't be until either Samsung or Apple start doing it on their flagship phones.

chaitanya91845 says:

"But then again, so is software, and that sounds like it's still a challenge for HTC. At least the interface sounds smooth, though, which would be fantastic if it holds true day in day out, app in, app out."
Haha.. I had a hard time deciding if you were talking about Sense's performance or if it was a subtle attack on Android's performance, something which hTC can't do much about :P
Anyway, the hTC's unibody is so beautiful that it could have been my next phone. But Android is definitely a no-go for me.
And I don't think it looks like an iPhone. On first look, however, I did feel that it slightly resembled the Blackberry Z10!!

metllicamilitia says:

Wow, I too have always loved HTC's build quality and devices, though how well Android ran on it was always hit and miss. I loved Friend Stream as well. A great way to keep up on Facebook and Twitter at the same time, but Blink Feed is a wonderful replacement for it. I'd even be able to easily keep up on my Mobile Nations at the same time as well. HTC has done well, we'll see what the future holds for them.

Andrew Boyter says:

I could go for a 4.7"-5" iPhone, Stereo speakers, and apps that can talk to each other. I suppose that last one is an Android feature, not an HTC One feature though. A phone somewhere between the current iPhone and the iPad Mini would be perfect for me.

SuperBad007 says:

Great phone, would love it even more if Blinkfeed can be removed and that camera would be of 8mp ultrapixel instead of 4mp. The design though great job HTC, looks like more android manufacturers are going towards premium materials instead of plastic.

Ratane says:

It looks stunning. If I had to buy something solely on build quality and design - this would be it. However, that being said, overall as phone I would still go with GS4 or iPhone because they have much more to offer.

actionjackson22 says:

Like what? iPhone was rated the worst high end smartphone by consumer reports.
the GS4 is filled with features that everyone is going to eventually forget and has one of the worst overlays to androidL touchwiz. It doesnt look good, it isnt uniform like sense 5.

NAMISH says:

I wouldn't mind trying out my hands on that gorgeous phone. And I have to admit, HtC Sense 5 seems to be heading in the right direction...

androidbuff123 says:

"Android Central's Alex Dobie has posted his definitive HTC One review. While he bewilderingly managed to misspell aluminium"

No he didn't.. aluminum is an accepted spelling of aluminium in the United States.

raybeem says:

I want one, if this phone ran iOS, it would be perfect for me!

lbaxter says:

Out of all the smartphone hardware I've owned, HTC definitely makes some of the best handsets around. Even without the unibody design, they always felt sturdy, sleek, and comfortable. The HTC One looks like they did another premium job, and I like the new Sense UI. If I were an Android user, this would be the one I'd want. At least until the next "oh gotta have it" phone comes out next month...and the next month...and the month after that.... :)

Gazoobee says:

Is it really "unibody" though? I've seen a lot of reviews throw that term around but I can't find anything on the web anywhere that proves that it actually is a unibody design. I find it difficult to believe that someone else besides Apple is actually going so far as to do unibody construction. It's an aluminium phone, but I'm not sure if I believe it's a unibody.

raybeem says:

The HTC One is the one phone that almost every Apple fan boy wants but can't have at least with iOS on it. But the real frustration is that we all now know that a great phone like this can be built right now! Not 1 1/2 or 2 years from now but RIGHT NOW! So my questions is why is Apple not giving us this high end hardware before we see it first on an Android phone!? Where is that 5 year lead gone? I believe when you look at the HTC One, you are looking at the iPhone 7! I think Apple as a Giant company can no longer lead or take chances. I think we will see a bigger iPhone this year, but it won't be as advanced as the HTC One. You can forget stereo speakers or a battery sipping OLED screen. 128 gig option would be nice. You can also forget about an iWatch. (If I were introducing one I would be calling it the DT for Dick Tracy and it could do FaceTime calls! And it would have an IRblaster built in! ). But the iWatch with a one size fits all is just to hard to produce for the masses right now. Waiting on better batteries. Maybe next year.

chrishull says:

Now I'm going to have to find one of these to look at and hold.
They do look pretty sharp.

CueBall909 says:

This is the first Android phone I've seen that didn't strike me as a thrown together plastic toy. I really wish Apple would take some cues from this phone, because the size and form factor look just about perfect to me.

dayoungatl says:

Love to see the home screen concept on an Iphone - where you have access to your content right from the home screen. I know the idea of widgets has been discussed many times, but it looked pretty cool on that phone, be great to get that kind of function on an iphone.

NWNirvana says:

I agree about HTC being the best android handset. When I checked out android phones in the store a year ago, the HTC was easily the smoothest. I thought android had fixed their stuttering problem, until I went and played with the S3. Nope, still stuttering. Still don't understand why people bought the S3 over the HTC (forget what their flagship phone name was at the time).

icebox93 says:

Rene, aluminium is "chiefly british" usage according to dictionary.com. It also reports that Canadian usage matches US usage in calling element 13 "aluminum." So, the real question is why are you using the spelling aluminium?

shinuyuki says:

I am always disappointed with HTC products. I cannot stand the HTC Sense; I deem it ugly and cause for a major lagfest. HTC hardware on the other hand..is fucking amazing. RENE! Did you hear that the HTC logo CAN be mapped as a key with a custom kernel? Ooooo!!

actionjackson22 says:

Htc sense 4 and on looks and feels great. You need to pick up a ONE x and play with that. Really great phone.

AdrianGabeChen says:

for an android phone i think it's best on market right now. i think it's better than the gs4

raybeem says:

Rene, how crazy is it that almost everyone would want and would really use the features of having an IR Blaster built into the iPhone but we won't see this feature for at least a year if ever! Why?

raybeem says:

Rene, how crazy is it that almost everyone would want and would really use the features of having an IR Blaster built into the iPhone but we won't see this feature for at least a year if ever! Why?

raybeem says:

Rene, how crazy is it that almost everyone would want and would really use the features of having an IR Blaster built into the iPhone but we won't see this feature for at least a year if ever! Why?

ny3ranger says:

I really hope HTC does well. Competition is always good for consumers. Apple makes Samsung better. Samsung makes HTC better. HTC even manages to make Sony better which all come back to make Apple better. We win!

gardnerkymani says:

The htc one looks like the iphone 5