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What You Should Know about The HTC One Smartphone

By Wesley Fenlon

Two gigs of RAM, an IR blaster, rebuilt Sense and a 1080p display are just a few of the features of HTC's new flagship phone.

This is the One--the HTC One, HTC's follow-up to its 2012 flagship One X. Despite being a great phone, the One X never became a huge hit like Samsung' Galaxy S III. Time to try, try again, and as usual HTC is loading up its flagship phone with top-of-the-line features.

The HTC One packs a resolution of 1080p into a 4.7-inch screen, or 468 pixels per inch (well over the "retina" requirement of Apple's branding). More good stuff lurks underneath the screen: HTC picked out a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor for the One, which should make this a beastly phone indeed. The quad-core SoC runs at 1.7 GHz, includes an Adreno 320 GPU, and is paired with 2GB of RAM.

A few months back Anandtech tested out the LG Optimus G, which also uses the Adreno 320 GPU for graphics performance. The GPU performed dramatically better than the Galaxy S III, which was the next-best device. Of course, that was months ago, and the next batch of Android phones releasing this year may match or exceed the Adreno 320 soon after the HTC One's launch. But for now, it's a serious improvement over last year's hardware--in the strenuous GLBenchmark test, the 320 managed 29 frames per second, while the Galaxy S III and One X could only push 13.

The HTC One is, of course, packed with even more goodies, including 802.11ac wi-fi, 4G LTE, and a 2300 mAh battery. The power button doubles as an IR blaster, two front-facing speakers flank the screen, a 2.1MP webcam sits above it, and NFC connectivity is on board. Perhaps the only thing missing is a microSD card for expandable storage.

HTC's dropped plastic in favor of aluminum for the body, and the design quality really shows.The phone weighs 143 grams (a tad heavier than the Galaxy S III) and measures 9.3 mm thick (again, a tad thicker than the polycarbonate Galaxy S III). The company has also rethought its approach to cameras in phones. For starters, the One can do 1080p60 video, shoot HDR photos, and work some image stabilization mojo on pictures, too. But those are just the bells and whistles--the core camera has changed quite a bit this year.

The One offers a mere 4 megapixels (2688 × 1520) of resolution but in the same CMOS sensor size as last year's One X, upping the pixel size to 2.0 microns and keeping the f2.0 aperture. The result: fewer pixels, but more accurate pixels, capable of capturing much more light than many other smartphone cameras. HTC calls it the UltraPixel. If it's as good in low light as they claim, the One is poised to overcome the greatest weakness facing smartphone cameras. And that's probably worth sacrificing megapixels for.

Even HTC mainstay Sense has been reworked for the One with Android Jellybean 4.12-based Sense 5. The biggest difference is a home screen that looks an awful lot like Windows Phone or Flipboard. Anandtech says the rest of Android should feel relatively normal, aside from a customized launcher, and there's an option to set up application widgets for a homescreen instead of Sense 5's "Blinkscreen" if you're old-fashioned.

The HTC One hits AT&T, Sprint and and T-Mobile in March. Verizon's customers are out of luck on this one, but they'll no doubt get whatever Samsung's cooking up for the Galaxy series within a few months.