There's a lot we love about the HTC One. It's beautiful to look at and comfortable to hold, with striking yet elegant aesthetics. It packs powerful speakers above and below the screen, so when you're watching a video in landscape mode, you can enjoy surprisingly great stereo sound. And the screen itself is stunning, sporting 1080p resolution on a 4.7-inch display. Its camera and processor are underwhelming, but taken as a whole, the HTC One is an excellent Android smartphone.
The One's screen is among this smartphone's best assets. At 4.7 inches, it falls squarely in goldilocks territory – big enough to let you enjoy movies and video and feel like you're getting a full experience, but small enough to be comfortable to hold and use in one hand. If you have small hands or you plan to wrap a thick case around the device, you might find yourself using one hand to hold it and the other to navigate, but it's not so big that you'll feel awkward pressing it to your ear.
The One's 468ppi pixel density is the highest of any smartphone we've ever seen. Packing full HD, 1080p resolution into its screen has netted a crystal-clear visual experience. You will never, ever see individual pixels. Nor will you have trouble viewing the phone in bright sunlight or from various angles, thanks to its LCD display; many competing phones use AMOLED displays, which don't do as well under direct light.
Impressive as the display may be, some of the HTC One's internal components aren't quite as commanding. The phone's 1.7GHz quad-core processor is merely average compared to other top smartphones, many of which sport processors with clock speeds over 2.2GHz. In real terms, this means the HTC One will run many applications just fine, but it may struggle with more graphics-intensive apps and games.
The One's camera sports some fun features, including HTC Zoe. Zoe takes short snippets of video instead of photos, then lets you scrub through that video frame by frame to find the perfect shot. It's an interesting idea that appears in various forms in other phones, but it suffers from the same issues the One's camera generally experiences: a lack of overall quality. HTC One photos tend to be less crisp and vibrant than the competition, due in large part to the phone's surprisingly low 4-megapixel lens.
As a camera phone or mobile gaming hub, the HTC One isn't particularly noteworthy, especially compared to some of the other smartphones we've reviewed. It will service basic needs and provide some interesting variety thanks to Zoe, but don't expect to win any photography competitions. That said, if you crave a multimedia experience that will rival and potentially beat most other phones, the One is the device for you. Its stunning screen packs all the beauty of an HDTV into an easily pocketed 4.7-inch smartphone.
The HTC One has a gorgeous pixel-packed screen and excellent front-facing stereo sound, making it a mobile movie-watching machine.
While its camera has some fun software features, the images it produces are below average.
If you love consuming multimedia on the go and want a stunning phone to do it with, the HTC One is your answer.