The Internals: Snapdragon 600 On-Board

At the core of the HTC One is a Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064Pro) SoC at 1.7 GHz. This is quad core Krait 300 (as opposed to 200 in MSM8960 or APQ8064) which brings a 15 percent increase in IPC as well as higher clocks (from 1.5 to 1.7 GHz), for about 20–30 percent higher overall CPU performance. This is still built on a 28nm LP process, and is analogous to the MSM8960Pro change from Krait 200 to 300, but for APQ8064. HTC One includes 2 GB of LPDDR2 RAM on a PoP in a 2x32 configuration. For storage, there’s no microSD card slot, but instead 32 or 64 GB of internal memory with no option for lesser 16 GB configurations. For connectivity the HTC One uses the same MDM9x15 baseband we’ve seen in Fusion 3 phones and in other places, and as expected the HTC One will come in LTE-enabled flavors for the appropriate operators. There’s still no magical single SKU that will do every region, but the most important band combinations are supported. On the WiFi side the HTC One is the first device I’m aware of to include 802.11ac support as well, alongside the usual a/b/g/n, this is provided by Broadcom’s latest combo, BCM4335.

The One continues to use the pyramidal internal stacking of display, then battery, then PCB which started with earlier designs. As a result the One includes an internal 2300 mAh 3.8V (8.74 Whr) battery which should be more than adequate in conjunction with Snapdragon 600 to provide good battery life.

HTC One Specifications
Device HTC One
SoC 1.7 GHz Snapdragon 600
(APQ8064Pro - 4 x Krait 300 CPU, Adreno 320 GPU)
RAM/NAND/Expansion 2GB LPDDR2, 32/64 GB NAND
Display 4.7-inch SLCD3 1080p, 468 ppi
Network 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Qualcomm MDM9x15 UE Category 3 LTE)
Dimensions 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm max / 4mm min, 143 grams
Camera 4.0 MP (2688 × 1520) Rear Facing with 2.0 µm pixels, 1/3" CMOS size, F/2.0, 28mm (35mm effective), 2.1 MP front facing
Battery 2300 mAh (8.74 Whr)
OS Android 4.1.2 with Sense 5
Connectivity 802.11ac/a/b/g/n + BT 4.0, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, MHL, DLNA, NFC
Misc Dual front facing speakers, HDR dual microphones, 2.55V headphone amplifier

 

Abandoning the Megapixel Race and Shooting for Quality

I’ve buried it a bit, but one of the biggest headlining features of the HTC One is inclusion of a camera system that definitely goes against the prevailing industry smartphone imaging trend, in a very positive way. The trend has been smaller and smaller pixels on a smartphone CMOS for some time now, and as generations have marched on we’ve seen pixel sizes shrink from around 2 microns, to 1.65, to 1.4, to 1.1 which seems poised as the flavor of the year. More of smaller pixels lets an OEM sell a phone with more megapixels, but it’s fairly obvious that beyond 8 MP there’s not much sense in going way higher. In fact, even with the best possible diffraction limited optics operating under the constraints of a smartphone package, it’s impossible to resolve pixels that small. For so long megapixels has been the only figure of merit presented to consumers, and continually increasing that number, at the expense of other things arguably might not make sense. In a world increasingly dominated by photo sharing services which downscale images aggressively instagram (600 x 600) or pic.twitter (1024 x 2048 for the first party image sharing target) or Facebook, does 13 MP make sense?

HTC made camera a big emphasis with the previous One X, S, V, and other One series cameras with the first F/2.0 optical system which was shared across all devices. With the new HTC One has taken a huge risk and gone against the trend by keeping CMOS sensor size the same (1/3"), and moving to bigger 2.0 micron pixels, with the same F/2.0, 28mm (35 mm effective) optical system. The result is a camera that trades resolution we arguably can’t realize to begin with for dramatically better sensitivity in low light and better dynamic range. In addition, the HTC One includes optical image stabilization (OIS) with +/- 1 degree of accommodation in pitch and yaw to enable even longer exposures without hand shake, as well as for stable video. On the video side, the HTC One also includes HDR video capture at 720p30, normal dynamic range video at 720p60 or 1080p30, and this time video is encoded using the full capabilities of the SoC (high profile, 20 Mbps).

There’s a new shooting mode as well which HTC has coined Zoe mode, short for zoetrope. This simultaneously captures a few seconds of 1080p30 video while bursting still image captures at full resolution. The combination is a short video and series of photos at full size which can be shared. This then can be used with a new gallery feature called the Highlights reel which combines this media into a short, computationally edited 30 second video with other photos and videos from the same day. There are a number of different video themes to choose from, and in practice the videos that result are impressively well put together.

 

Design and Construction Sense & Final Words
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  • flyingpants - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    I didn't mean to imply my 16 hours thing was was a realistic workload. It's just an extreme example of the most you could possibly do with a phone. It's not necessary to go that far, but if any manufacturer did, it would put battery anxiety to bed permanently. No matter what you did, you wouldn't be able to kill the phone within a day unless you ran something that consumed 100% CPU the whole time. Reply
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    "The proper way to measure smartphone battery life is with benchmarks. Anandtech doesn't innovate much in this area and I expect a lot more from my favourite tech website. Even ultra-nerd smartphone editor Brian Klug is guilty of the "It lasts me allll day!" blunder."

    Whoa, what site have you been reading? I'm not sure there's anyone on the planet more obsessed with battery life testing than Anand. It takes time to do those tests, they're not completed yet. This article is titled "Hands on and Impressions" not "Brian Klug's Definitive Review". This piece is just to coincide with the media event earlier.
    Reply
  • flyingpants - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Well... GSM Arena for one. They do a video playback test (screen-on time!) and a standby test. Anandtech does neither of these.

    As for someone out there being more obsessed with battery life testing than Anand (or Brian), I can safely say that I am. I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten to charge my phone, or forgot to bring a charger, or had to make a quick stop to charge at a Starbucks or something.. Or the amount of times I've had to text someone "Hey, I'll talk to you later, I have 1% battery". Then I'm just unreachable.

    Phones have already replaced GPS devices/iPods/Point & Shoot cameras for many people.. Soon they will in effect start to replace computers as well. Within 3-5 years we'll have Ivy bridge-like performance on phones, using them with wireless displays and keyboards.. Wouldn't it be great if we established a "16-hour actual usage life" precedent before all that, while it's still relatively easy?

    I use an app called My Battery Analyser and it does nothing except chart each time the battery drops by 1% for easy readability, and give you a figure of % drop per hour. This is very useful for testing how much charge a specific app uses, or finding out if your phone is mysteriously losing 5% charge overnight when it's supposed to be perfectly idle. I've done some testing with interesting results. For example, using Skype over 3G on my SGS3 gives a consistent 23%/hr drop, or just over 4 hours of life. Terrible! But guess what? Heavy SMSing (0% Brightness, everything OFF) doesn't fare much better.

    I'd like to see a test just sending SMS constantly every few seconds with the screen on. MANY people text more than talk nowadays.

    A test that measures screen time while displaying mostly static content, like an e-book, would be nice. The Anandtech web browsing test is useful as a comparative tool, but if I were ever to spend 5 hours browsing the internet, most of it would probably be spent looking at the same page for at least minutes at a time, not loading new pages every 10 seconds.

    And why not do a video playback test? I remember being really confused by this.

    I'd also love to see a proper standby test, to see if the software pre-installed on the phone (widgets and Samsung apps and whatnot) causes drops in standby life, and exactly how much % you are losing per day to this nonsense. This could be done with My Battery Analyser or an equivalent app. You'd charge the phone to 100%, turn everything off but leave Wifi on, reboot it, put it to sleep, wait for it to discharge. Every modern smartphone should last at least a week.

    I don't know what you refer to at the end, I didn't mention anything about the tests for the HTC One being complete or not.
    Reply
  • xaml - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    "While the previous HTC One series’ industrial design and performance was top notch (...)"

    Well, my beautiful black One S peeled itself, all replacements seemed to, too and so I ended up with the silver version that was neither as nice looking or as comfortable to touch.
    Reply
  • DukeN - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Once again I refuse to buy anything with Beats on it.

    Lame, HTC, lame.
    Reply
  • bigboxes - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    So, you read the whole article, saw what an awesome phone it was, found out that it had Beats Audio and decided it was a deal killer. Hint: You can turn off Beats Audio.

    Lame, DukeN, lame.
    Reply
  • themossie - Thursday, February 21, 2013 - link

    You won't buy anything with an equalizer and higher line-out voltage? The line-out voltage is even useful... and if you don't like the equalizer, turn it off. Reply
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Or you can simply make 1M devices in one year by having 1,000 machines in your factories. (52 * 6 * 12 * 1000 = 3,744,000 hours of CNC time) And your hourly rates have nothing to do with the going rates in China at the moment. Reply
  • flyingpants - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Yes, because I'm sure HTC manufactures only one phone body at a time, at a cost of $80 each. Are you out of your mind? Reply
  • noblemo - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    I am a huge proponent of attentive industrial design and incorporation of non-synthetic materials, so the machined aluminum body with front-facing speakers commands big love. Although the 2013 HTC One is presumably well positioned against the iPhone and Galaxy S4, my next smartphone purchase will likely be either the next Nexus or a pen-toting phablet. The tradeoff is fairly straightforward: either I save $300 on an extremely capable handset with rapid OS updates (i.e. Nexus 5/X), or I spend $600+ on a multi-tasker like the Note III. YMMV Reply

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