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Hands on with the new HTC One

The HTC One is no longer a mystery. The Taiwanese company proudly unveiled its boldest move to date this afternoon, revealing a brand new flagship smartphone with a host of brand new features, apps and more. We were there at the London launch and were one of the first in the country to get our hands on HTC’s new toy.

The first thing that strikes you when you pick up the HTC One is how well built and how ‘premium’ it feels. That’s thanks to the aluminium construction that has absolutely no moving parts or real visible gaps. At just 4mm thin at the sides it’s an incredibly slender phone, yet it fits in your hand perfectly thanks to a smooth curve across the back – it’s very similar to Sony’s Xperia P in shape. Due to the curve the phone is technically 9.3mm thick, but don’t let that make you think there are thinner phones out there – 4mm is as slim as we’ve seen.

An intriguing design aspect is the power button on the top of the phone – it almost doesn’t look like a power button because that’s where HTC has integrated the IR sensor, which allows the phone to be used as a remote for all sorts of TVs, set top boxes and DVD players. The button is black and slightly see-through, but works like a normal power button would.

Its all metal construction doesn’t make the phone overly heavy either, although there’s enough weight there to give you the feeling that you’ve got something well made in your hand. Micro-drilled holes sit either side of the 4.7-inch Full HD display to provide an outlet for the powerful speakers, which when we tested at the launch today were impressive. While we never encourage people to play music through their phone speakers in public, HTC has given the One speakers that you won’t need to be ashamed of – plenty of bass and the ‘tinny’ word is nowhere in sight.

Sandwiched between the two speakers is a 4.7-inch Super LCD 3 display with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080. It’s bright and sharp, although from our brief look it didn’t seem to blow us away as the Xperia Z’s display did. We’ll reserve full judgement for when we have the phone to ourselves for a while – demo units were in hot demand at the launch!

Overall operation is slick and very smooth thanks to that new Qualcomm 600 processor and 2GB of RAM, and for a while we found ourselves having to rethink how we were getting around the phone, such is how simplified the new Sense 5 user interface now is. It’ll take a little getting used to but we definitely think HTC has struck the right balance of functionality and simplicity here.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to put the intriguing UltraPixel camera through its paces, but we did have a play around with the new Camera app. HTC’s new Zoe feature is right there as an option for shooting, alongside video and stills, allowing you to snap short HD videos and share them from within the Camera.

We’re very much looking forward to getting to know the HTC One better, to test out that new camera and Sense 5 in full. The phone will hit the UK on March 15th, with pre-orders being taken now.

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