HTC One is Durable, But Near Impossible to Repair

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News Posted: Fri, Mar 29 2013 9:48 AM
Have you ever dropped a smartphone and had the rear cover pop off when it hit the ground? Well, that's not something you'll have to worry about with the HTC One, a durable handset that's incredibly hard to crack open even if you're specifically trying to do so. The wonderfully sadistic tech surgeons at iFixIt put the HTC One on its operating table and concluded that it's "very, very difficult," if not impossible, to peel open the device without damaging the rear case, leading to a woefully low "Repairability Score" of 1 out of 10.

This is partially by design. HTC wanted to create a seamless handset, hence the lack of any exterior screws on the unibody construction. To start things off, iFixIt lifted the front panel by heating it up and using a suction cup to pull it upwards. It can't be removed at the outset because it's still connected with ribbon cables that route strategically underneath the case assembly. That meant busting out a metal spudger and spending a half hour prying the handset open.

HTC One and Spudger
Image Source: iFixIt

"We won't lie, getting to this point was an arduous and daunting task," iFixIt states in its worklog. "The amount of work required to separate the rear aluminum case and the front case was immense."

Once inside, you'll find liberal use of copper shielding, even on the rear camera. This was one of the negatives that led to the low score, as the shielding is difficult to remove and replace. iFixIt also took issue with the battery being buried beneath the motherboard and adhered to the midframe, rendering it extremely difficult to replace.

HTC One Disassembled

Despite being a bear to repair, the delayed HTC One will likely find a wide audience due to its specs and durable construction. It has a 4.7-inch Full HD 1080p display with Corning Gorilla Glass 2.0, 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of built-in storage, 2.1MP front camera, 4MP rear "Ultrapixel" camera that's supposed to catch 300 percent more light than a standard lens, 2,300mAh battery, and Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.
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The rear camera is 4MP? I have an Optimus G right now and I am heavily considering the One S since it is such a beautiful device.

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semitope replied on Fri, Mar 29 2013 11:15 AM

4MP is fine. The quality rivals the best out there and it does much better in low lighting (great for those who take pics at night parties etc.). I'd take that camera over any other smartphone camera right now (cept that nokia 42mp or so one.)

Think it beats the s4 13mp camera as well.

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Marco C replied on Fri, Mar 29 2013 11:37 AM

it's not a "standard" 4MP sensor. HTC's marketing folks are calling it a 4MP with "Ultrapixel" sensors. It's basically got much larger pixel sensors, so it takes much better shots in poorly lit situations.

Marco Chiappetta
Managing Editor @ HotHardware.com

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The MP of a camera is not what decides the quality of the output. It is the size of the pixels (over all size of sensor), the lens construction, and the image processing hardware. 4MP is more than high enough resolution (2,289 x 1,712) for any use you will have for the pictures.

The HTC One camera uses a much larger sensor (compared to other phones) with a very advanced lens configuration (better than everyone except maybe Apple's newest) and very high quality custom image processing hardware.

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