BARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS — HTC hasn’t announced any new devices here at Mobile World Congress, but that’s because it chose to give its latest Android flagship, the HTC One, its own press event earlier this month. It is here to show off that device, however, and it’s easy to see why the Taiwanese company wants everyone to get their hands on it.
Android smartphone vendors are often criticized for using too much plastic, and making devices that feel cheap — especially in comparison with Apple’s premium iPhone. But the HTC One is very different. Made from a block of aluminum, the device actually has a lot in common with the iPhone, and it looks and feels exactly how a high-end smartphone should.
Admittedly, HTC’s devices have always been better built than those from the likes of Samsung, Sony, and LG. But the One is in a different class. It’s made almost entirely from aluminum, with a ”zero gap construction” that feels sleek and solid. It has tapered edges that feel like they were made for your palm, and a 1080p display that’s simply stunning; if you thought the HTC One X had an awesome display, wait until you see its successor.
The camera is also very impressive. A 4-megapixel camera might not sound all that great, but the One proves that pixel-count isn’t everything. The device took good shots under the nasty lights at MWC, and HTC was encouraging visitors to try it out. The company even had gymnasts at its booth performing all kinds of funky tricks to get people snapping.
It’s clear that some of the One’s inspiration has come from the iPhone 5. The front of the device almost looks identical to the iPhone’s back — particularly with the black model — and it has the same chamfered edges. But there are plenty of things that differentiate the two; the One certainly isn’t an iPhone clone.
The handsets new Sense 5.0 user interface is pretty neat, too. I’ve never been a huge fan of Sense, but this version is nothing like its predecessors. It’s clean and fresh — like the One itself — and HTC’s made some great improvements. It might not suit stock Android fans, but it’s sure to please the HTC faithful.
If you’re an Android user who’s on the hunt for a new high-end handset, I urge you to wait for the HTC One and try it out before you grab something else. There are some terrific Android handsets out there right now — the Sony Xperia Z is also a beauty — but the One is in a league of its own when it comes to design and build quality.
The big question now is: will the Galaxy S IV knock it off its perch next month?