JR Raphael

HTC One smartphone: The complete FAQ

February 19, 2013 4:05 PM EST

With its One X, HTC made one of the finest smartphones of 2012. Unfortunately, the device's limited availability and lackluster marketing kept it from achieving mainstream success -- particularly next to near-ubiquitous competitors like Samsung's Galaxy S III.

HTC One SmartphoneThis year, HTC is more determined than ever to achieve redemption. The newly announced HTC One phone -- previously known by its codename, "M7" -- is the company's most ambitious effort to date. The One takes some of the standout elements of last year's flagship and combines them with a slew of updated design elements and new standout features.

So what's the HTC One all about, and when can you get your hands on it? From hardware to software and everything in between, here are answers to all of your most pressing questions.

[SEE ALSO: HTC One: To buy or not to buy?]

What's the lowdown on the HTC One's hardware?

HTC One AluminumExcellent question, my dear Watson. The HTC One has an all-aluminum body -- what HTC describes as a "zero-gap unibody design." In other words, we're talking about a single piece of aluminum for the device's entire casing -- a sharp contrast to the plasticky panels seen on other high-profile phones. The One will be available in both silver and black.

The HTC One rocks a 4.7-in. LCD display with full 1080p and 468 pixels per inch. Not much to complain about there. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 2.

The One has a power button on its top-left edge that doubles as an IR blaster, allowing you to use the device as a universal TV remote. A headphone jack sits on the top-right of the phone; a volume rocker is on the right edge, while a micro-SIM card tray is on the phone's left side. The bottom of HTC's One houses a standard microUSB port, which also doubles as an MHL outport for HDMI connections.

In terms of size, the HTC One is 5.4 x 2.7 x 0.36 in. and 5 oz. For comparison, last year's One X was 5.3 x 2.8 x 0.35 in. and 4.6 oz.; the Galaxy S III, meanwhile, is 5.4 x 2.8 x 0.34 in. and 4.7 oz. and the Nexus 4 is 5.3 x 2.7 x 0.36 in. and 4.9 oz.

How 'bout under the hood? Is the HTC One fast?

In a word: yes. The HTC One runs Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor clocked at 1.7Ghz and has 2GB of RAM. All signs point to an absurdly speedy experience.

What's the deal with the HTC One's camera?

Well, Mr. Seinfeld, like with its 2012 phones, HTC is making camera quality a strong priority with its new HTC One device. Things are a bit different this go-round, though: Instead of playing the megapixel bragging game, the company is focusing more on actual image quality and less on sheer size.

HTC One CameraWith that in mind, the HTC One uses what the company calls an "UltraPixel camera." Aided by a new dedicated "ImageChip" and retooled light sensor, the camera is said to be able to absorb three times as much light as a typical smartphone camera setup. The resolution is limited to 4 megapixels, but HTC insists the pixels are far more detailed and high-quality than what you'd get with other comparable phones.

[HTC One camera samples: Judge for yourself]

As an HTC exec explained it: "We're talking about real image quality, not just megapixels for the sake of megapixels."

[HTC One: An in-depth discussion with the company's camera guru]

The One's main camera includes optical image stabilization. The phone has a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera, too, with an 88-degree wide-angle lens and 1080p video-capturing capability.

Tell me about the HTC One audio setup.

Gladly: The HTC One has dual front-facing speakers for stereo sound. They're giant, too, extending across much of the width of the phone's face. Compared to the tiny back-facing speakers on most current phones, that's a very nice touch.

The speakers have a dedicated amp along with HTC's now-standard Beats Audio integration. With past HTC phones, I haven't been able to tell much difference from the Beats Audio addition -- but regardless, with the hardware and placement alone, we're looking at an above-average audio experience.

The One's audio system also includes an option for dual-microphone HDR recording.

What kind of storage does the HTC One have?

The HTC One will have either 32 or 64GB of internal space, depending on the carrier and model you pick. The phone does not have an microSD slot for external storage.

What's up with the One's battery?

The phone packs a 2300mAh battery, and no -- you can't remove it.

NEXT PAGE: The strange new world of HTC's One software

Continue Reading