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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  • owned66 - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    when the nexus s was released i was a god send for galaxy s devs because they had all they stuff they need (source) to have a very good implementation of cm7

    when the galaxy s2 was released it was hell for devs they ended up signing a petition with +10000 signatures just to get the kernel source and that took them over 6 months or so

    now with the HTC one almost as the same as the nexus 4's hardware , no ?
    are there big architectural changes?
    could they use stuff from the nexus 4 to make cm10.1 work flawlessly ?
    Reply
  • ssj3gohan - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Why are they touting 200 minutes of milling and using ridiculously energy-intensive aluminum bodies as a bonus? It just seems extremely wasteful to me for a small device that will be thrown away in a year. If anything, if they want to make aluminum devices, they should tout how well-optimized they got their manufacturing.

    I don't get why they mill it from a solid block either. The only advantage of milling over casting is that you can do small series and the base material strength is (mostly) preserved. It's not like you need 7075 grade aluminum for strength. The only strength requirement for these phones is scratch resistance, and you can get that with anodized clad aluminum. They should just use cast recycled aluminum and post-process it with conventional means. It will save them, the environment and your wallet without any downside to the end product.

    This is just irresponsible.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    I'd rather have a larger battery, sane front buttons (HTC logo in the middle, whut?), microSD card, and definitely require inductive charging.

    I also have no interest in a 1080p screen on a phone.

    It's a phone. You do not need or want a 1080p screen. You may think you want it, but in reality it just adds a bunch of cost and battery drain, for a very pointless difference over 720p.
    Reply
  • peevee - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    "The HTC One runs Android 4.1.2, a choice which might seem alarming, but was done for stability and quality reasons, although 4.2 is coming. I think it might sound bad to ship with 4.1, but even Google acknowledged that 4.2 was primarily a release with more tablet features than something for smartphones, after all both are still Jelly Bean. "

    it should be "still NAMED Jelly Bean", and name is irrelevant. Old version is old version, and 4.1 is 8 months old now and will be even older when the phone starts to ship. It is a very poor excuse for not investing in updating OS for their phones. Even top of the line phones are updated maybe once. 4.2 is 4 months old too, and by the time it MAYBE, EVENTUALLY, comes to HTC it will be outdated too.
    Only Nexus is updated regularly (4.2.2 is knocking at my door right now), but even Nexus is not updated on Verizon.
    Reply
  • Azurael - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    As long as HTC won't S-Off their bootloaders and keep harassing developers, I'll not buy another. I love HTC hardware and would once have called myself a diehard fan. Now, I've got a Nexus 4 (to replace my Intl. One X) and I've not looked back. I ran Cyanogenmod on the One X anyway, I haven't wanted Sense since 2.3 on my old Desire when Android's own UI sucked by comparison. I can't see the reason to put up with the horrible experience clash between the Sense UI and Holo apps. Reply
  • Hrel - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    I want that phone. I'd have to see battery tests to be sure but it's about time someone did a camera right. Hopefully Sprint won't wait long to put the phone on Virgin Mobile. I don't even care if it's 400 bucks, I'll still buy it. The amount of money I save monthly makes it worth it. Reply
  • robco - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    I'm one of the curmudgeons who doesn't like the fact that smartphones are becoming ginormous. The design does look really nice though, a good change for HTC. I'd be happier if they made a 4" version with a 720P display.

    Unfortunately one of my pet peeves remains: the UI. I know HTC wants to differentiate themselves, but I'd prefer stock Android. I know I might be able to root it and put on a clean build, but I shouldn't need to do that with an "open" platform.

    Still, it's nice to see the competition get better and better. I like my iPhone, but iOS is starting to feel a bit stale. Should I decide to switch, it's nice to have a range of options.
    Reply
  • blandge - Friday, February 22, 2013 - link

    Hey can I buy an HTC One at full price and add a SIM card for Verizon? Reply
  • dwightja24 - Thursday, February 28, 2013 - link

    I have had a HTC one X and it was waterproof fell into a 2 feet deep puddle during rainfall
    and there was no issue after retrieving it. If that was a Samsung i would be sending it for replacement. Can't wait to see the price on this one HTC always makes quality phones . Sold my One X for a LG Nexus and now all i want is another HTC phone the sense UI and hand grip made it feel like it was worth the cost. The battery Life was an issue with the one x but with the bigger battery in the One i see that problem dissapearing.
    Reply

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