Review: HTC One Page 2

Video (the other kind)

The screen on the One is ridiculous overkill, in a good way. It's a 4.7-inch, 1080p LCD with ultra-tough Gorilla Glass 2.0. If you've never checked out Gorilla Glass, it's worth reading about. You could argue that's it's basically transparent aluminum. One result of having so many pixels on such a tiny screen is that even up close, it looks like there's no pixels at all. This is pretty cool, for no particular reason. Photos look pretty awesome on it.

Streaming video services, like HBO Go and Netflix, don't have the detail you'd might hope for, given the 1080p resolution of the screen. Since this is largely the fault of the source, it's hard to blame the One. A better scaler and noise reduction would probably do wonders, but since the screen is so small, it's not a big deal. The colors look good, though the color temp didn't look quite right. The speed of the phone is a benefit here too, responding to commands and navigation instantly.

Check out our separate article on the objective audio and video measurements, but the short version is, the color accuracy is far better than it needs to be, and the contrast ratio is better than some LCD TVs I've reviewed. In the latter case, the OLED screen in the Galaxy is going to be vastly superior.


Surprisingly, the two speakers on the front of the One are pretty decent. You could concevibly listen to them to watch a movie or show instead of headphones. Sure the headphones would sound better, but the internal speakrs are a reasonable option, which is not the case with most phones.

Speaking of headphones, I'd initially assumed I'd discard the included ones, looking like cheap plastic knock-offs of Beats' in-ears, but on a whim I took a listen and... Hmmm, not bad. They're far better balanced than I expected, and quite comfortable, the rubber tips giving me a solid seal. You can enable "Beats Audio" in the menu, which seems like it just bumps up the bass a couple of dB. Even so, this definitely improves the sound of the stock headphones even further. I'm not saying you should ditch your pair of favorite in-ears for these, but for freebies, you could do far worse. It also seems to improve the sound of the built-in speakers somewhat.

Brent measureed the One, you can check it out here.

TV App

There's one more One feature that's worth talking about on S+V: the TV App. There's two aspects to this. The first is a Google TV-like listing of your channels and what's on. It even recommends shows and movies coming up for you to watch.

That's not even the cool bit. Built into the power button on the top of the One is an IR emitter. True, most TVs and BD players these days are controllable via WiFi from their own company's app, but think of the potential for this. Someone needs to write (or find, I haven't yet) a universal IR blaster. So you can be sitting in some crappy waiting room somewhere, with an obnoxious TV blasting entertainment "news," and you can open up this app, and turn off the TV (or turn it down, change the channel, whatever). Technically, if you're really annoyed by a TV, you can program the TV app to treat that TV as "your" TV, so it will download the IR codes and blast it. It's a few extra steps, but doable.

Bottom Line

I'm probably the wrong person to give advice on what phone to buy. To me, the "best" phone is the one that fits your budget and personal tastes. The HTC One is a fantastic piece of hardware, and I lov using it. Should you upgrade if your smartphone is a year or so old? I can't imagine why. But if you're due for a new phone with your provider, or are tired of your dumbphone or whatever, I'd say it's definitely worth getting a top of the line phone, be it the One, the 5, or the S IV. Life's too short to waste time waiting for your phone to do something, or have it take crappy photos, or be annoying to use. Getting a good phone is like getting a good washer/dryer: you're not going to regret it. For me, that phone was the HTC One, but definitely check out the new iPhone and the new Samsung, as I'm sure they're just as awesome.