Now that we’ve had some time to spend with the HTC One, we wanted to share our swooning with you, valued reader. With formidable power, an innovative approach to its camera that doesn’t get hung up on megapixels, and a design aesthetic to rival, well, its rivals, consider the HTC One the Taiwanese maker’s attempt at “one phone to rule them all.”
There’s definitely more than meets the eye when it comes to this svelte smartphone… and what meets the eye is already pretty amazing. We’ve taken it for a test drive and even turned its own high-tech camera on itself – pro photographer Greg Hall took all the images of the device in this post with an HTC One. Here are five reasons you’re likely to get all gooey over the HTC One.
There’s a reason HTC isn’t discussing raw camera specs in the HTC One. As the old adage goes, it’s not about the number of megapixels; it’s how you use them… or something like that. Without delving into the finer points of HTC’s UltraPixel Camera, let’s just say that the HTC One takes probably the best pictures you’ve ever seen on a smartphone; unfailingly sharp, crisp and vibrant.
“The HTC One has a pretty cool camera and once you get familiar with the interface,” says Hall. “For these images I used Auto white balance, as I found it more accurate, and also changed the ISO to 100, it’s lowest, to reduce the amount of noise. It has more of a grain look, which I like a lot.”
The UltraPixel tech uses larger pixels on the sensor, capturing 300% more light. It also has a crazy f/2.0 aperture that HTC boasts as the largest of any smartphone currently available.
In low light, the camera really shows its stuff, grabbing pictures that most other smartphones (and even most point and shoot cameras) would present as a grainy, blurry mess.
This same UltraPixel technology translates to video as well. With a lens flare effect and some green screens, you could probably shoot the next major motion picture with the One. If you’re looking for a script writer, I’ll work for scale.
2. Meet Zoe
The HTC One does more than just grab great pics and videos though. When you fire up Zoe, best described as the most helpful photographic assistant you’ve ever met, your pictures become much more than just stills to share or videos to sit through. They become stories.
Shoot pics with Zoe and you’re actually capturing video both before and after you hit the shutter button. After you get the shot you can scrub through to find the perfect instance of your pic before committing it to your album. It’s like a photographic time machine.
What’s more, Zoe can pull together images and videos taken in a given day or at a given event and create 30-second video montages (zoetropes, if you will). We’re not talking about novelty, disposable videos but the kinds of videos that tell a story and that you’ll want to keep and share. Sharing tools (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Picasa, email, Dropbox, text and more) are, of course, built in.
The folks at HTC tell us that the One’s body is milled from a single billet of anodized aluminum. Each one takes more than three hours to mill in an incredibly precise computerized process. Then there’s the assembly.
If it sounds like a lot of time and work for one little smartphone, it is. By most manufacturing standards. If you think about the amount of time you spend with that smartphone in your hand, is it really though?
The back of the HTC One is perfectly curved. The screen melts into the aluminum shell with near seamless grace. If I’m sounding overly poetic it’s only in an homage to just how much attention HTC has clearly paid to the design of this, its flagship phone.
Why are speakers typically placed on the bottom or back of a smartphone? The answer is ease of design and manufacturing… but we meant that as more of a philosophical question.
The HTC One corrects this fundamental weirdness in smartphone design by moving the speaker to the front. Actually, we should say “speakers;” stereo speakers behind tiny, perfectly drilled speaker holes that push sound right toward your face. HTC calls it “BoomSound.” Play your favourite song or fire up a video and you’ll soon understand why.
More, a mic on the back of the One captures ambient sound and squashes it when you’re on the phone; walk down the street on your phone (be careful crossing the road) and the person on the other end will still hear you, clear as day.
HTC also continues to work with that seminal doctor of sound, Dr. Dre, with the One also rocking his Beats Audio technology, which makes for full-spectrum sound in the headphones and when using the native speakers.
We’ve seen some gorgeous smartphone screens in our time. None more so than this one. Before you even turn it on, the screen is spectacular – meeting the matte aluminum unibody back with a perfect beveled edge, both figuratively and literally rounding off the overall design.
Hit the power button on the top and this 4.7-inch, 1080p display comes to life. That’s the same resolution as your HDTV at home. Movies downloaded from Google Play have never looked better. Given that it’s a Rogers LTE device with mobile network speed to rival your home, wired connection (see rogers.com/lte for full details), streaming video in full, beautiful HD is a reality too.
Then there’s BlinkFeed, a customizable Flipboard-like navigation that puts curated news based on your preferences as well as the latest from your social media feeds front and centre… or one screen separated from front and centre, if you so choose.