The new HTC One is a full-spec quad-core Android phone with a heavily customised version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, 4.7in HD screen and a camera that HTC describes as the best on the market. And it flies, oh how it flies. Updated on 28/03/13.
The new HTC One also enjoys top of the range build quality - throwing down a svelte aluminium guantlet to other high-end phones such as the iPhone 5, Galaxy S3, Lumia 920 and Sony Xperia Z. It throws another expensive, large-screen handset into the mix, taking on the phones mentioned above as well as the BlackBerry Z10, other top Android phones and the best Windows Phone 8 devices. And it in no way suffers by comparison. Here's our HTC One review, with new HTC One benchmarks.
Stay on this page for our take on the HTC One's performance and build quality. On page two we look at HTC One display, audio and media. Click through to page three to find out about the HTC One camera and page four is where you find our review of the HTC One software and setup. Or just keep reading!
New HTC One: specs, performance, benchmarks
We normally start with a smartphone's design and build, and trust me that section is worth hanging around for. But we have to talk about the new HTC One's performance, because it is the fastest phone we have tested.
Straight out of the box it feels zippy. And there is good reason for that. The HTC One combines a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, quad-core, 1.7GHz processor with 2GB DDR2 RAM. It aced our GeekBench 2 synthetic performance benchmark, turning in a record average score of 2721 points. To put that into perspective the previous record holder was the Nexus 4 with a speedy 2009 points. The Sony Xperia Z - no slouch itself - scores 1986, and the iPhone 5 1650. Neither of those phones is slow, so you can see just how fast is the HTC One.
See also: iPhone 5 vs HTC One comparison review.
The good times continue when we tested graphics performance in our GLBenchmark HD framerate benchmark. The new HTC One smashed that test, too, turning in a top quality score of 34fps. That's not quite top of the shop - the iPhone 5 achieved a massive 38fps, and the Nexus 4 a so-far unmatched 39fps. The Sony Xperia Z managed 30fps. What that bewildering array of stats actually means is this: the HTC One is one of a few phones that offer stunning graphics performance.
In terms of storage you will have a choice of 32GB or 64GB. Sadly there is no expandable storage. There's an internal GPS antenna, GLONASS and a digital compass, as well as a gyro sensor, accelerometer, proximity sensor, and ambient light sensor. In terms of connectivity you get a 3.5mm stereo audio jack, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and a micro-USB 2.0 (5-pin) port with mobile high-definition video link.
The HTC One is a smartphone boasting performance that beats or matches the best of the rest in all key areas. See also: Group test: what's the best Android phone?
HTC One video review - One of the best smartphones there is
New HTC One: build quality and design
The new HTC One is also a beautiful object. HTC says it has the best build quality of any phone on the market. It would.
That is of course a subjective claim that cannot be proved or disproved. Let's say only this: in terms of the feel of the materials, and the way they fit together, we can name no smartphone that obviously bests the HTC One. It's like a bigger iPhone 5 with rounded edges, or a non-metallic Sony Xperia Z (without the flappy ports).
It is virtually all metal, aluminium in fact. Indeed the only part of the HTC One's shell that isn't obviously made of lightweight metal is the Gorilla Glass screen and a slim plasticky band that runs around the edge.
Like the iPhone 5 and Xperia Z the HTC One is also light for such a well-put-together device, yet it feels solid. HTC claims the new HTC One weighs 143g. According to the PC Advisor scales it is a much more significant 144g. But what's a gramme between colleagues? The key point is that it is big and solid, but surprisingly light. The iPhone 5 is a much lighter 112g, but the case in which I keep mine adds another 17g - this is a personal opinion, but I want to protect the iPhone, whereas the HTC feels like it could withstand the slings and arrows of life in my pocket unscathed. See also: Group test: what's the best smartphone?
It's like the BlackBerry Z10 in that respect, only it feels like a much more desirable object. The Sony Xperia Z is probably the closest matched device in terms of size, shape and want-me coolness - that phone is marginally thinner at its widest point: 7.9mm as opposed to the HTC One's 9.45mm. But both weigh almost exactly the same.
Like the Xperia Z, the HTC One is perfectly balanced. That weight and size isn't a problem - it fits neatly into my trouser pocket. One minor down side is that the display isn't quite edge to edge, although the bezel is far from huge.
We have to point out the all-aluminium back. We wanted to be sceptical after HTC made such claims for the design and build of the new HTC One, but this sheet of brushed metal is the finishing touch on a beautifully put together device. This is a shiny precious thing you will want to have and hold.
There is one caveat, however. As I was testing the HTC One the back got hot to the touch. Not too hot to hold, but enough to make me worry about its long-term health. I was running benchmarks at the time which put enormous strain on the components, but it's not something you like to feel. (We've read reports elsewhere of this phenomenon, so it is an important consideration.)