It so happened that of all the top new products of the current season, it was the new HTC smartphone that was in our hands last when reviews of all other flagship devices have already appeared on the pages of our publication. This was not our fault. the release of the device was postponed for a long time, there were no final samples, and this situation is quite symbolic. Things are not going too well for the Taiwanese company. over the past year and a half, NTS has gradually lost its former glory among users, and the company’s position in the world market has noticeably shaken. After the release of problematic models with the prefix X and X in the name, the company did not offer the market any significant new products for some time, and the only noticeable model HTC Butterfly released during this time was a strange fate. In the European version of the phone for some reason there was too little flash memory, and at the same time there was no possibility of its expansion due to cards. All this, coupled with a dubious glossy case and a very high price, could not arouse (at least in our area) the great interest of users in this model. And now the company decided to “reboot” and start all over again. The developers again concentrated all their forces on only one model, ceasing to spray, and this immediately paid off. The latest creation of the NTS turned out to be so interesting that in a flash it attracted a lost part of the user’s attention back to the company. Although we are not talking about the full return to former positions: at the last Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the NTS stand could not boast of either size or an abundance of attention from visitors and the press. Yes, and the model at the stand during the exhibition was presented almost one. HTC One. The one on which all bets in the company are now made: “take off. fly on.”
An unusually tense attitude in the company towards the “new hope” was manifested even in the very name of the novelty. A very strange name, it is worth recognizing. The Taiwanese suddenly decided to give their creation a name that corresponds to the general name of the entire line of smartphones that have been released from their factories recently. no more, no less. “HTC One” is the same as if Sony named its next smartphone simply “Sony Xperia”, without any additional alphanumeric designations. A curious decision. It’s very inconvenient for searching on the Internet (when driving in the name of any other device starting with “HTC One”, information about HTC One itself and vice versa will automatically drop out) and very beneficial for the company itself (for the same reason). However, given the recent shaky position of the Taiwanese company in the global market, perhaps this step was well thought out in order to raise the fading interest in HTC products?
The main flagship models that we tested earlier, we added for the convenience of visual comparison in a single plate, presented below.
The most common SIM card formats are described in a separate article.
Key Features of HTC One
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 SoC, 1.7 GHz, 4 cores, ARMv7 Krait
- GPU Adreno 320
- Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean Operating System
- IPS touchscreen, 4.7 ″, 1920 × 1080
- Random access memory (RAM) 2 GB, internal memory 32/64 GB
- No microSD card slot
- Communication GSM GPRS / EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
- 3G UMTS HSDPA 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz
- Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, MHL, OTG
- Support Wi-Fi Display / DLNA
- Wi-Fi 802.11a / ac / b / g / n
- GPS / Glonass
- Digital compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, position, light sensors
- 4 megapixel camera with support for HDR video
- 2.1 MP camera (front)
- 2300 mAh lithium polymer battery
- Dimensions 137.4 × 68.2 × 9.3 mm
- Weight 143 g
Appearance and usability
The description should begin, of course, with the materials of the case. Unlike most plastic modern communicators, the NTS One is almost entirely made of metal. The developers at each presentation relentlessly demonstrate such a picture, especially focusing on the production technology of the body of the new smartphone.
The case is entirely cut out of a single piece of aluminum, the place is left only for the glass screen and camera optics. In principle, the NTS used to have experience working with metal in creating the cases of its smartphones. However, by her own admission, she always had to compromise by embedding plastic parts in a metal case so that the metal would not shield the radio waves. When creating HTC One, developers took a different path. They carried all the antennas and microphones out, laying them in special grooves. grooves cut from the outside directly in the body material. The elements that should not be shielded by metal are laid in these recesses. On top of these grooves are filled with a special composite material, reminiscent in structure of ordinary plastic. It is curious that not only the recesses on the back side, but also all four lateral faces along the perimeter are also filled with this material. This does not cause inconvenience for the user, and it looks unusual. it is somehow “unbroken”.
Everything else here is just metal and glass, so you don’t have to think about whether the new smartphone looks expensive or cheap. The materials themselves are premium, so the NTS One looks exactly so that at any moment it is ready to match any environment. In other words, HTC One will look equally good with an expensive suit and in the hands of a teenager.
The smartphone is quite heavy (143 g), which is logical, given the abundance of metal from which the body is machined. If we talk about dimensions, then due to the narrow edges and sloping back, the phone is quite conveniently located in the hand. But this does not mean at all that I am ready to praise metal as the best material for the production of smartphones. Many users, by the way, prefer “warm”, light and rough plastic, especially since it is now also quite durable. And in terms of the convenience of holding in your fingers, the soft-touch matte coating is probably more practical than smooth and sometimes slippery metal. This can slip out of the hand (especially considering the mass), and is more susceptible to heat than plastic. Yes, of course, metal removes heat from the processor stuffing better than plastic, we all know that, but in terms of comfort it’s hard to say that it’s very nice to take in your hand always cold metal, which after a few minutes of work suddenly glows to hot. Plastic in this sense simply behaves calmer, that’s all. But in any case, the neat appearance and small thickness make it possible to talk about HTC One as a universal smartphone that fits the same for both male and female hands.
And of course, such a sturdy case will better withstand various external influences than plastic. Although at this point it is worth noting that the experts of one popular foreign publication who disassembled the NTS One smartphone claim that the smartphone is practically not suitable for repair, because it does not understand. That is, if the speaker wheezed or the glass cracked, it is likely that replacing these elements will be very problematic. However, this is only an unofficial opinion of some journalists.
Now consider the details and individual elements of the housing of the NTS One. In the back, in addition to the above-mentioned grooves, there is a window for a digital camera and a number of flash peepholes next to it. everything is standard. The form factor of the case is a monoblock. The case is non-separable, there are no removable parts, respectively, the cover also does not come off.
Another fact logically follows from this building structure. The SIM card is inserted into the side groove on the left side of the smartphone, driving there on a metal slide. The mounting method is exactly the same as that of the iPhone: you need to press a paper clip key to eject the container with the card. The SIM card is used in Micro-SIM format, the container itself is made of metal.
Both connectors, traditionally located on the upper and lower ends of the device, are universal: Micro-USB. at the bottom, audio output 3.5 mm. at the top.
But this is where the logic ends. All other controls at the NTS One are so unusual and uncomfortable that it remains only a wonder. Firstly, this ill-fated power and lock key. For some reason, it was again placed not on its side, but on top. where no finger can reach. And the fact that this button in combination is also an infrared transmitter does not justify it. And who, in fact, forced to embed the infrared port in the power button? At the upper end and without it there would be enough space to equip the IR transmitter. By the way, he is here needed to control various equipment, such as a television set or set-top box. the corresponding software is already installed in the smartphone.
Secondly, both this key and the other, which controls the volume, are both embedded flush with the plane of the body. They completely do not protrude from it, and therefore, to find them blindly is not possible. Manipulating with such buttons is extremely inconvenient, all the time you have to look where you press, and it’s impossible to get used to it. As already mentioned, these buttons are indistinguishable from the rest of the surface by touch.
And crowned with this list of absurdities is the unusual touch panel of control buttons under the screen. During the time that mankind was creating smartphones with touch screens, it managed, it would seem, to sort through all the possible options for executing a block of buttons under the screen. But the developers of the NTS have managed to change everything this time. From the standard set, they simply “sawed out” the button that brings up the menu. In its place, the NTS logo now flaunts. right in the middle of the panel, and on the sides of it. only Back and Home, there is no Menu button at all. There was no question of saving space: unlike the entire virtual block of buttons that migrated to some screens in some smartphones, here the strip under the screen still takes up space, even if not with three, but with two buttons. A rather strange solution, and how it is justified, is not entirely clear. Accordingly, the list of recent open applications is also not intuitive to find now: it is called here by double-tapping the Home button.
Finishing the theme of buttons, it is worth noting that the menu pop-up by a long press on the power key, in addition to the standard functions of turning off, rebooting and switching to flight mode, is supplemented by another item. calling the child mode. In this mode, you can safely let your smartphone play for your children, without fear for access to important phone features that are blocked for them.
It remains to add that there are two variants of the Onne NTS available on the market with different color schemes: Glacial Silver (gray metallic with the romantic name “silver glacier”), as in our review, and Stealth Black (“invisible black”). in the photo above. In the black version, all the materials are the same, only the metal is painted here, and the plastic, which is filled with all the recesses and sidewalls, is the color of the case: in the gray version it is white, and in the black phone it is black. Otherwise, smartphones are identical. Both options are not too easily soiled, since there are no glossy surfaces. True, fingerprints, dirt, dust and grease are more visible on the black HTC One black than gray. this should be taken into account by pedantic cleaners when choosing.
HTC One has a very high-quality touch screen, called the creators of S-LCD 3. In numbers, the physical parameters of the new screen look as follows: dimensions. 58 × 103 mm, diagonal. 119 mm (4.7 inches), resolution. Full HD 1080p ( 1920 × 1080 pixels), PPI pixel density is 469 dpi, which is now a record figure in the smartphone market. The HTC One display has both manual and automatic brightness control, which is based on the operation of the light sensor. Multi-touch technology allows you to simultaneously process up to ten touches, which is confirmed by tests. It is curious that here you need to manually enable this feature in the settings, otherwise the screen will recognize only two simultaneous touches. such strange know-how has already been encountered in NTS devices before. There is also a proximity sensor that locks the screen when you bring the smartphone to your ear.
A detailed examination of the display using measuring instruments was carried out by the editor of the Monitors and Projectors and TV sections Aleksey Kudryavtsev. Here is his expert opinion on the screen of HTC One.
Video: How to Disassemble an HTC One S Network Phone
The smartphone’s screen is covered by a glass plate with a mirror-smooth surface and, judging by the reflection of bright light sources in it, has an anti-glare filter. On the outer surface of the screen there is a special and quite effective oleophobic (grease repellent) coating, so fingerprints do not appear as fast as in the case of ordinary glass, but are removed more easily.
With manual brightness control, its maximum value was about 450 cd / m², and the minimum was 11 cd / m². The maximum value is quite high, so in bright daylight the readability of the screen will be preserved to some extent. In complete darkness, the brightness can be lowered to a comfortable level. There is an automatic brightness control according to the light sensor (it is located in the upper left corner of the front panel): in complete darkness, the automatic brightness adjustment function reduces the brightness to 18 cd / m² (still not very dim), in an office lit by artificial light it sets to 81 cd / m² (acceptable), in a very bright environment, increases to a maximum of 450-460 cd / m² (as it should be). In automatic mode, when the external lighting conditions change, the screen brightness both increases and decreases. There is no flickering backlight.
This smartphone has an IPS type matrix. The micrograph shows a typical IPS subpixel structure:
The screen has good viewing angles without inverting colors and without significant color shift even with large deviations of the gaze from the perpendicular to the screen. When deviating diagonally, the black field highlights quite a bit and, depending on the direction of deviation, acquires a violet hue or remains almost neutral gray. With a perpendicular look, the uniformity of the black field is very good. The response time for the black-white-black transition is 21 ms (12 ms on. 9 ms off). The transition between the midtones of 25% and 75% (according to the numerical value of the color) and vice versa in total takes 33 ms. The contrast is good. around 950: 1. The gamma curve constructed from 32 points did not reveal a blockage in either light or shadow, and the approximating power-law function exponent is 2.23, which is close to the standard value of 2.2, while the real gamma-curve deviates slightly from the power-law dependence:
Color gamut equal to sRGB:
Therefore, visually the colors on this screen have a natural saturation. The spectra show that the matrix filters to a moderate degree mix the components together:
The balance of shades on the gray scale is good: the color temperature, although higher than 6500 K, but on the entire part of the gray scale that matters, this parameter does not change very much, while the deviation from the spectrum of the black body (delta E) is less than 10, which for a consumer device is considered good indicator. (Dark areas of the gray scale can not be taken into account, since there the color balance does not matter much, and the error in measuring color characteristics at low brightness is large.)
As a result, we have a high-quality version of the screen on an IPS-type matrix, which is commendable.
In its sound, the HTC One smartphone is one of the best solutions on the market. Of all the smartphones we tested recently, only Oppo Find 5 will be able to compare with HTC One in terms of the quality of the sound produced. At HTC One, the speakers are arranged in the most unusual way. the creators in television advertising never tire of reminding them of this. Two frontal stereo speakers are built into the phone, and both of them are turned towards the front surface, and not the rear, like most smartphones. The device produces not excessively loud, but very clear, even in the entire range, deep sound saturated with low frequencies. The openings of the speaker grilles on the front surface cannot be blocked by the surface of the table, therefore, nothing prevents the sound output (except, of course, the option when you put the smartphone “face down”). The sound here is further processed and enhanced with the help of HTC Boomsound and Beats Audio technologies.
There is an FM radio in the smartphone, but traditionally it works only when headphones are connected, acting as an antenna. There is also a regular voice recorder used to create voice notes. Both applications should be searched in separate folders, where the icons corresponding to the application topics are carefully collected: the radio in the Multimedia folder, and the recorder in the Tools folder. Unfortunately, HTC One has no built-in default ability to record telephone conversations.
Evaluation of photographs and conclusions on quality were made by Anton Soloviev.
HTC One is equipped, like most modern smartphones, with two digital camera modules. The front camera, which is used for video communication, has a sensor with a resolution of 2.1 MP, an example of a picture in front of you. In principle, the shooting quality for the front camera is not bad, you can even parse the text if desired. The maximum resolution of images obtained using the front camera is 1920 × 1088 pixels.
The whole intrigue lies in the new module of the main, rear camera of the smartphone: here the developers installed a module with a resolution of only 4 megapixels. Explaining the resolution so low by modern standards, developers tirelessly repeat at their presentations the words that the number of megapixels does not really mean anything, and offer to look at the other characteristics of the new sensor. Which, by the way, make up the most voluminous section in the list of specifications on the manufacturer’s website.
HTC UltraPixel Camera:
- 2.0 μm pixel size
- Sensor size 1/3 ″, matrix backlight
- Special HTC ImageChip 2 processor
- F2.0 aperture and [relatively] 28 mm wide angle lens
Colorful epithets and large pixel sizes do not help too much so far: pictures with special quality do not shine and leave much to be desired. “For now”. because there is an opinion that something can improve with the release of new firmware for HTC One. At least most HTC brand fans are now inclined to believe this and wait. In the meantime, you can independently evaluate the quality of the resulting images by clicking on the thumbnails below. By default, the camera is set to shoot at a maximum resolution of 4 megapixels, while the pictures are obtained in the size of 2688 × 1520 with an aspect ratio of 16: 9.
And a few more photos taken with different settings in different lighting conditions.
Examples of macro photography of nearby objects, as well as text from paper.
There are four shooting modes in the video settings: with the maximum Full HD-resolution of 1080p, with the effects of fast (60 frames per second) and slow motion, as well as Full HD-video using HDR technology.
The ability to video on a smartphone’s camera in accelerated and slow motion modes, as well as use HDR technology when shooting video, are now fashionable “tricks” among manufacturers. We saw the same set of features when testing the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Oppo Find 5, as well as some other top-end smartphones. By the way, it is worth noting that the fast shooting in Oppo Find 5 is carried out at a speed of 120 frames per second, and in HTC One. only 60 frames per second. However, in Oppo this is achieved due to the reduced resolution of the video to 480p, while HTC One, although the speed is slower, but the faster mode is implemented in 720p resolution. So it’s clear from everything that the struggle on this new front is just beginning to unfold. In any case, while both of these “unusual” modes — slow and fast — can only be used when shooting at a lower resolution, and not in Full HD, so the image quality on the resulting clips always leaves much to be desired. Examples of video shooting in all four described modes are laid out below.
- Movie №1 (Normal, 30.5 MB, 1920 × 1080, 16: 9, 30 frames / sec, video. MPEG-4 AVC (High@L4.0), sound. AAC LC, 192 Kbps, 48 kHz , 2 channels)
- Movie №2 (Slow motion, 11.9 MB, 768 × 432, 16: 9, 23 frames / sec, video. MPEG-4 AVC (Baseline@L3.0), sound. AAC LC)
- Movie # 3 (Fast, 13.5 MB, 1280 × 720, 16: 9, 60 frames / sec, video. MPEG-4 AVC (Baseline@L3.2), sound. AAC LC, 192 Kbps, 48 kHz , 2 channels)
- Movie # 4 (HDR, 26.3 MB, 1920 × 1080, 16: 9, 29 frames / sec, video. MPEG-4 AVC (High@L4.0), sound. AAC LC, 192 Kbps, 48 kHz , 2 channels)
And of course, one cannot fail to mention one more “find”. the shooting mode, in which the camera not only takes several shots in a row, but then glues them together into a whole micro-clip that can capture some short event in motion. This is not a standard video recording mode, but a little different, even the different resolution of the resulting micro-clips speaks of this (1920 × 1088, and not 1920 × 1080, as with ordinary video shooting in Full HD). In principle, there is nothing special in this mode. probably, in such cases, normal video shooting could have been completely dispensed with. over, this format is not unique: Samsung Galaxy S4 presentations demonstrate exactly the same mode that can capture short events in motion. a dance pirouette, for example. But for some reason, the developers at HTC decided to place a strong emphasis on this, highlighted this mode with a separate button in the most visible place on the screen, and even gave the mode its own unique name: Zoe. Examples of a pair of such “Zoe” in front of you.
- Zoe No. 1 (3.82 MB, 1920 × 1088, 16: 9, 24 frames / second, video. MPEG-4 AVC (High@L4.0), sound. AAC LC, 108 Kbps, 48 kHz, 2 channel)
- Zoe No. 2 (3.74 MB, 1920 × 1088, 16: 9, 24 frames / second, video. MPEG-4 AVC (High@L4.0), sound. AAC LC, 107 Kbps, 48 kHz, 2 channel)
It is curious that in the phone’s memory, in addition to the Full HD video data, a whole series of photographs from the same video sequence were found, numbered with the zoe marking, but in a resolution different from the micro-clips. 2688 × 1520. That is, Zoe is a real burst shooting, and then with individual frames from the series you can then work with the built-in tools. in particular, choose the best one. Here, for example, “frames” related to “Zoe No. 2”:
As for the settings for controlling the camera, they are somehow unusually assembled all into a single long tape, in which it is necessary to open in turn the items of interest to you. At first it’s a little confusing, but then you get used to it. It is curious that there is no point on changing the resolution of the resulting photographs here, shooting is carried out in only one resolution. True, there is the possibility of “cropping” for a different aspect ratio. In the settings there is also the possibility of geotagging, adding graphic effects, enabling face recognition, smiles, panoramic shooting and, of course, manual settings for exposure, white balance, etc. You can turn off the shutter sound. You can also display a grid on the screen, which is convenient.
HTC One does not have a separate hardware key on the side of the device to control the camera. It is also impossible to release the camera shutter with the volume key here, although this is now often practiced in smartphones of other companies. Here, this key also continues to adjust the sound volume level in shooting mode, which is frankly surprising. Of the positive aspects, it is possible to note the possibility of taking photos during video recording, there is also a regular possibility of serial shooting.
Conclusions on the capabilities of the camera for taking photos:
The camera is well suited for everyday shooting, designed to capture interesting moments or important information. Of the advantages, one can single out a good exposure selection program, as well as an interesting implementation of macro photography. A significant drawback is the low resolution of the camera. It was done really well, but nevertheless, the main task of the smartphone’s camera is rather documentary shooting than artistic shooting. And here HTC One almost three times loses to the top smartphones of competitors. On the other hand, it boasts good sharpness compared to some smartphones, whose manufacturers do not believe that a large number of pixels on the matrix is a big responsibility.
Compared to the LG Nexus 4, the HTC One smartphone only loses in resolution. The sharpness at the edges of the Nexus falls, but not much. LG Optimus G, in turn, loses HTC One in the exposure program. In places and sharpness, it leaves much to be desired, despite the resolution of 13 megapixels. The same can be said about Sony Xperia Z, whose optics are clearly weak for such a “large” matrix. But the camera on the Oppo Find 5 smartphone is very worthy: there is practically no drop in sharpness to the edges of the picture, and overall the sharpness in the picture is good. Nice choice of exposure. However, she also has geometric distortions inherent in all of these smartphones, as a result of using a wide-angle lens. Samsung Galaxy S4 also copes well with photography, although it is slightly inferior to Oppo Find 5. Apparently, all manufacturers have almost succeeded in defeating chromatic aberrations and white contours. In fact, in this general comparison, HTC One lacks only a large resolution, so that you can rightly call its camera one of the best among the top smartphones.
Recall that the company refused high resolution completely deliberately, using a standard-sized matrix with a relatively small number of pixels. That is, the linear size of the photosensitive elements is relatively large here, which should at least provide images with such a matrix a reduced noise level. And in practice, we really see that HTC Noise definitely wins by noise. However, if you reduce the picture of the same Oppo Find 5 to 4 megapixels, then in terms of detail and noise it will be no worse, and perhaps even better than the HTC One option. It is no secret that good old cameras with a 4-5 megapixel sensor were shot cleaner than earlier cameras with 12 megapixels. Now, due to software processing, manufacturers are trying to achieve the same purity with a higher resolution. HTC went the other way, trying to win with lower resolution. The experiment is very interesting, but from the series “new is well forgotten old”. However, we also note that it is impossible to objectively evaluate the noise and detail of a smartphone from field pictures (or rather, it is very difficult). In a good way, shooting the world in a specially prepared room is required, and we are completely not sure that our readers will be interested in these technical details when applied to the smartphone’s camera. Returning to the “user” level, we can give such an assessment: HTC managed to achieve better quality of the pictures, but this quality is manifested in the “beauty” of the art picture, and not in the detail of the documentary. For all its dislike of the large number of pixels on the matrix, we believe that HTC is not following the right path, since the 4 megapixel flagship smartphone is too small. in any case, for those areas where the smartphone’s camera is usually used. This camera shoots better than the 5-megapixel cameras on previous HTC smartphones, so they should have laid down at least 6 megapixels.
In conclusion, we can say that the HTC One camera is well suited for shooting artistic scenes that do not need to look at small details.
HTC One is currently running on the Google Android software platform version 4.1.2. On top of the standard OS interface, the company installed a shell of its own manufacture, called HTC Sense 5. The shell has undergone significant changes compared to previous versions. Here, literally everything has been completely redesigned, from color schemes and the general organization of the desktop to strange, elongated fonts.