The quad-core Snapdragon 600 running a 1.7 GHz clock definitely pulled its weight on this device. The Qualcomm chipset is equally impressive on synthetic benchmarks — which is not that important — as it is in practice. According to AnTuTu benchmark, HTC One is approximately 10 percent faster than Sony’s Xperia Z and LG’s Optimus G Pro, scoring 22668, and almost 50 percent faster than the Samsung Galaxy S III. According to other speed measuring tools (Benchmark Pi, Linpack, Quadrant) — it alternated among the top three positions with the aforementioned Sony and LG flagship models.
In reality, of course, when it comes to speed, the differences between the HTC One and the competition’s top models cannot be spotted. Tasks take place without glitching, stopping, lag, or slowing down on these devices, regardless of whether the user is playing a graphically demanding game, forwarding video clips, zooming in and out or scrolling through web sites. Still, the advantages of the new Snapdragon generation are evident in other aspects, like economical energy consumption or the option of providing users with certain functions that older processors would find hard to handle (HTC Zoe, for example).
Thus, the HTC One has solid battery life, especially considering that Sense 5 uses radio communication relatively frequently, even on stand-by. At first, everyone with an HTC One will toy with it intensively in order to get acquainted with all of its options, and it will be difficult to really stretch out the battery life. But with average usage, recharging roughly every other night will be regular for owners of this smartphone.
HTC Sense 5 UI and BlinkFeed
HTC One comes with Android OS 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) and Sense 5, the latest version of HTC’s Sense UI, which includes significant differences compared to “pure” versions of Google’s operating system and previous versions of Sense. Above all, the home screen has had the most alterations, with BlinkFeed taking up most of its space.
BlinkFeed is an information stream, drawing from the user’s social networks and hundreds of news web sites and presented as a line of variously sized tiles. Due to design, BlinkFeed is reminiscent of Flipboard, the difference being that the tiles are not flipped through here, but moved downwards, as they are arranged in reverse chronological order (from the latest to the oldest).
The user can select which type of information they wish to see on BlinkFeed and according to default settings, it will be automatically refreshed every hour if Wi-Fi is used or every two hours if 3G or LTE is used. The user can also manually refresh their BlinkFeed at any moment. Touching an individual tile will take the user to the appropriate web site or social network application (Facebook, Twitter etc.).
BlinkFeed is not a standard widget and a different home screen cannot be selected, but it can be turned off altogether. This is an especially useful option for those who have limited data plans (e.g. those who often travel abroad), seeing as how BlinkFeed generates large amounts of data traffic. Understandably, with BlinkFeed, HTC targeted users who are used to transferring large amounts of data via smartphone, as typical flagship model purchasers are. BlinkFeed is a useful and exceptionally well-integrated Android OS software addition, but still, it is not something that significantly differentiates this device from the competition, given that there is a whole line of similar applications for this operating system.
A significant difference compared to others is that Sense UI 5 enables menu activation by gesture. Google, for one, intends to eliminate special menu keys on newer Android OS versions, forcing developers to place the keys within applications, but HTC has enabled menu activation with a swipe down. The user should keep in mind not to start the downward swipe from the upper edge of the screen, as this motion activates the notifications panel, but this is easy to get used to.
Other novelties boil down to a different lock-screen design, the option of setting up icons in the 3×4 or 4×4 formation in the applications drawer, and several useful widgets and applications that come preloaded on the device. HTC One can be switched to “Car mode”, which provides enormous icons for navigation, telephone, music player etc. or “Kid mode”, activating a limited group of educational games for children, while all other functions are unavailable. This is quite practical — probably more useful than the prominent BlinkFeed.
HTC has put a lot of emphasis on this device’s multimedia options — to be precise, its BoomSound speakers and 4MP camera with ultrapixels. As far as the speakers go, they really do provide better sound than any other smartphone does, but if you turn them up full blast, i.e. the declared 93 dB, you will hear a great amount of distortion. Still, there is no room for serious objections. You will be using headphones or external speakers if you want to listen to music more seriously, while the built-in BoomSound is still better than what the completion has to offer.
On the other hand, the back-facing camera deserves some criticism. HTC has equipped it with a chip that includes three times greater sensors than common smartphone chips, which theoretically means they can perceive three times the amount of light. In practice, this should mean that photographs have evidently less noise (especially under poorly lit conditions) and that the images are sharper and purer, with precise exposure and better saturation than those taken with ?regular’ sensors. This is why HTC has dubbed pixels captured by One as ultrapixels.
The problem is that there are only 4 million of these ultrapixels, i.e. the maximum resolution provided by the HTC One is 4 megapixels. True, the amount of pixels is not proportional to the photo quality. However, when a 13-megapixel photograph is resized to 4 megapixels, the amount of noise is drastically reduced, while its sharpness is drastically improved, along with all other features. Photographs taken by the HTC One are above average according to some criteria, partially due to the ultrapixels and partially due to the viewing angle of 22 mm with an f/2.0 aperture. However, I have seen better photographs taken with smartphones – sharper, better exposed, and better saturated – especially when it comes to greater shooting resolutions. The same thing goes for the video shooting quality — HDR is supported, but you won’t fall in love with it.
What might delight you is HTC Zoe, the shooting option which records several seconds of video every time a photograph is taken. Later on, a 30-second video can automatically be generated, depicting a certain situation (a birthday, vacation, trip?) which will consist of photographs and the short video fragments, with the option of adding special effects. This looks like Instagram for video — with minimal effort, an effective and creative video can be made in a few seconds, which is an excellent option this device provides. Of course, it is one of the options enabled by its excellent Snapdragon 600 chipset.