HTC One Smartphone Review: Android Empowered

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Camera And Battery Life

The HTC One is the first smartphone to feature HTC’s new UltraPixel Camera. Although pixel count cannot be ignored when comparing cameras, there are many factors that affect the ability to capture good pictures other than just the number of megapixels. HTC’s UltraPixel Camera features a 4 megapixel sensor. But according to HTC, this sensor is capable of capturing 300% more light than most leading 13 megapixel cameras.

Another key feature of the UltraPixel Camera is the use of HTC ImageChip which enables continuous autofocus, color shading, noise reduction, and a more realistic High Dynamic Range feature. The camera features an aperture of f/2.0 and optical image stabilization technology as well.

HTC also includes a feature known as Zoe with the UltraPixel Camera. When Zoe is enabled, the camera automatically takes a series of photos and a three second video to give you a living photo of the moment. Zoe captures for three seconds after you press the shutter button. Zoe also captures a few frames before you tap the shutter button. You can freeze a single frame and convert it to an image to share or share the short video clip. You can also use Zoe to edit your photos using a number of effects including Sequence Shot, Always Smile, Object Removal, Skin Smoothing, Face Contour, Red Eye Removal, Anti-shine, and more.

Although the pictures captured with the UltraPixel Camera may not be as large as pictures taken with other camera phones, it is possible to capture some really great images with the HTC One. As you can see from some of our sample shots below, some of our close-up images are very detailed. Landscape and distance images also turned out well, though some of our distance images were not quite as crisp as we would like. Although the UltraPixel Camera has a continuous autofocus lens, in many instances when we told the camera to refocus on a spot by tapping the screen, we captured better images than when we let the camera select the focus area.




While viewing images on the phone, the One will automatically place the images into albums. When you open an album, you'll see a slideshow of images at the top and individual images below. If you scroll through the images and come to a live photo, you'll notice the thumbnail will play the living photo.  

When capturing video using the UltraPixel Camera and Zoe, the camera did an excellent job at focusing and capturing crisp video, even with a very active subject.

Overall, we felt Zoe and the UltraPixel Camera did a good job at capturing images. We're still not ready to trade in our point and shoot for the One's camera, but this camera will definitely do the job as well, if not better than some smartphone cameras we've seen.

Battery Life

The HTC One comes with a 2300 mAh embedded Li-polymer battery. As mentioned earlier, this battery is not removable. HTC claims you should get up to 19 hours of talk time in CDMA mode on this phone and up to 496 hours (over 8 days) of standby time in CDMA mode.

In an attempt to quantitatively measure the HTC One's battery life in a controlled benchmark environment, we ran a test in which we set up a webpage with a mix of graphics, media and text. The page automatically refreshes every three minutes, we loop the page and also setup a screen lock utility that keeps the display from sleeping during the test.  Battery life is measured down to the minute the smartphone shuts down.  The Wi-Fi radio is enabled in this test to simulate battery life in real-world web browsing over a wireless connection. 

For this test, we set the HTC One's display to 50% brightness, which is still plenty bright and easy on the eyes. The HTC One lasted 12 hours and 28 minutes untethered before it powered down, making it the longest lasting phone in our chart by a large margin. Although we always like user-replaceable batteries in phones, the longevity of the One should eliminate the need to swap batteries for most users.


In real-world use, the phone seemed to last longer than many other phones we’ve tested. We would expect an average user should have no problem making it through an entire day with moderate use of the phone while checking email, taking pictures, making calls, surfing the web, etc.

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