HTC One – Is HTC’s new flagship any good?

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Just a day after the official HTC One launch in New York and London, it was Australia’s (and South-East Asia’s) turn to experience the new phone. Hosted at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, the venue offered outstanding views of Circular Quay and the Harbour. Not sticking to the default setup of a stage and rows of seats, HTC opted for a very open design with plenty of standing room.

IMG_3864Darren Sng, HTC’s Asia-Pacific Senior Director of Product Marketing, had flown over 36 hours straight from the UK to give us the rundown on the phones features and specifications. The presentation was pretty much the same as the London one, however, Sng thankfully didn’t repeat the presentation word for word (and had no autocue). With the HTC One’s display projected up onto big screens, Sng gave a first hand experience of the HTC One’s new features.

After the formal proceedings, we have the opportunity to speak to some HTC representatives regarding outright pricing and carrier pricing. Unfortunately, no pricing has been announced from Telstra, Optus or Vodafone. We were also unable to get a figure for outright pricing. We expect this information to come very soon from the carriers and HTC.

Hands on

Written by Terence Huynh

There was some initial scepticism on my part about the HTC One. Once I heard the megapixels on that camera, I couldn’t believe that the company would release a phone with four megapixels. However, once I played with the phone and saw some impressive shots by some of my colleagues – all my scepticism pretty much died away. While the camera has a four megapixel sensor, it does take excellent shots – especially in low-light conditions. Of course, we need to test it day-to-day to see if it holds up, but my expectations have been set high.

While some may seem HTC’s argument that quality is better than megapixels is utter crap – let us remind you that the iPhone 4′s camera was lower than its competitors at the time, which was 8 megapixels (and still is, I might add). And yet, it produced better photos than most of its competitors.

A HTC rep told me at the Sydney party that they will be avoiding marketing the megapixels in favour of the features – even the website will not mention it. They want to kill this notion that megapixels = quality, but it will be tough – given all of its rivals use their spec sheets, not the features, as a point of differentiation.

Following recent HTC phones, the design on the HTC One looks brilliant in its aluminium unibody shell. There are no gaps and seams, and pretty much makes the Nokia Lumia 920 look fat. Only 9mm at its thickest point (the curve on the back), it houses a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, a 4.7-inch screen, 2GB of RAM and a RF module to act like a universal remote control (via its TV app). Everything just fits in, and doesn’t extrude like the Motorola RAZR phones for their cameras.

Sense gets an update and includes something called BlinkFeed. BlinkFeed is a brand new addition to the home screen that pools news, sport, entertainment and updates from social network profiles and puts them in one place. It is not a widget, it is another screen. You cannot delete it, but you can avoid it by simply setting your default to another screen with the more traditional Android layout. You also cannot add any other feeds to have content that isn’t from one of the 1400 media partners that signed up.

On the units they had on the event, the One is pretty snappy – and it needs to, given it does a lot of intensive tasks like compiling a short video around the Zoe shorts. Though, it would be interesting to see if the One follows the One X in its approach to multitasking – which annoyed a lot of Android enthusiasts.

Below is an image gallery featuring some shots of the new phone. Hopefully, we’ll be getting our hands on a review unit soon, so look out for that.

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