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How does it compare? The new HTC One versus the competition

The HTC One is now official and available to pre-order, toting an impressive specification sheet and a bunch of cool new features to tempt the would-be buyer. But does it offer more, or do anything better, than the current crop of competition?

We’re talking the iPhone 5, Galaxy S3, Xperia Z, Lumia 920, Nexus 4 and the BlackBerry Z10. Right now these are the HTC One’s main competitors, although within a few months Samsung will also have a new Galaxy S flagship model out, and Apple will join the party around September time.


Full HD is the new thing when it comes to smartphone screens. Companies want to put the same resolution into your phone’s screen as you’ll get on your HD TV at home. The HTC One has a Full HD display, although it’s slightly smaller than that of the Xperia Z at 4.7-inches instead of 5.

The display of the One is sharp, bright and colourful – sharper than the S3, Z10, Nexus 4 and iPhone 5. It’s right on par with the Xperia Z on paper, but from our brief hands on it didn’t hit us with the same ‘wow’ factor – perhaps because we’ve gotten used to Full HD smartphone goodness from our time with Sony’s phone.


The HTC One benefits from a brand new Qualcomm 600 chip; quad-core and clocked at a speedy 1.7GHz. Paired with 2GB of RAM that makes for a very capable phone that’ll play the latest games, multitask with no trouble and shoot 8 pictures per second in burst mode.

Again, on paper the One has more raw power under the hood than the competition – the Xperia Z and Nexus 4 come closest with their quad-core 1.5GHz chips and 2GB of RAM. HTC also says that its processor isn’t all about power – it’s also designed to be very efficient when it comes to battery usage, giving you a longer life from a single charge, so it’s a double win.


With HTC’s daring move to be the first to offer an ‘UltraPixel’ camera, this is the big one. Several stacked image sensors allow for bigger pixels, which in turn allow more light in and therefore the camera produces sharper images and better results in low light, or at least that’s what HTC tells us.

At the launch HTC compared low light shots to two rivals, with the difference very clear to see. The rivals weren’t labeled, but it’s well known that the Lumia 920 offers the best low light performance right now, so we’re intrigued to see whether the One will out-do it. Only serious testing will tell.

The rear camera isn’t the only exciting part either; up front HTC uses a 2.1-megapixel sensor with an ultra-wide 88-degree angle lens. It’s capable of capturing video in Full HD quality; something none of its rivals can do. This looks to be the best phone for those who love to Skype.


HTC redesigned its Sense interface for Android to be much simpler and yet more engaging. It’s clearly aimed at those who love to consume content, with the new BlinkFeed feature offering live updates from social sites and various worldwide news outlets right on the homescreen. This, without the need for any apps, we feel, makes the HTC One the best of the bunch for media consumption – reading, checking social updates, etc.

If you’re big on communication and staying in touch, the BlackBerry Z10 is the winner – its Hub feature that collates emails, texts, BBM and social networking in one place is unrivalled. In short the Z10 is for the messagers and emailers and the One is for the news and media lovers. Everything else falls in between, either relying on you downloading third party apps or by using other pre-installed services.

HTC has built in plenty of other features, too. You have ‘Zoe’ for creating gif-like short videos, a new music app that shows lyrics as you listen, and more. Whether you’ll find these features useful or interesting depends on the user, so time will tell how worthwhile they are.

Battery life

A bigger, brighter screen needs a bigger battery. The One’s 2,300 mAh battery is second in size only to the Xperia Z’s at 2,350 mAh, but with a smaller screen to power and a brand new power efficient processor at its core, HTC’s phone should in theory be king of battery life amongst its rivals.

Of course, the operating system and apps used by the user will have a big bearing on battery life, but it looks as though HTC has safeguarded itself well by cramming in a plentiful power source.


On paper the HTC One has everything you’d expect from a top-tier smartphone in 2013. It will be out and on the market ahead of new offerings from Samsung and Apple, but will have to go up against the Sony Xperia Z as its closest rival for now.

We feel it has advantages over Sony’s handset in being smaller and more compact, with a more premium design and feel, and not to mention being much more comfortable to hold. It has a beautiful display and superfast processor, along with some interesting features and unique selling points. Whether things like the UltraPixel camera and ‘Boomsound’ audio will convert the public to HTC remains to be seen, however.