HTC One Google Play Edition review: One for Google

Stefan Vazharov, 28 July 2013.
Pages: 12345678910

Tags: HTC, Android

Introduction

The Google Play Edition of the HTC One presents one of the hottest smartphone tickets this year in a whole new dimension. Gone is the home-brewed, Sense-d Android OS. Instead, users of the Google Play Edition of the metal-clad smartphone will be treated to a clean, unmodified Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, coupled with the promise for timely future updates.

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HTC One Google Play Edition official photos

The hardware of the pure-Google HTC One has remained the same as what its "regular" sibling has to offer. The combination of a Snapdragon 600 SoC with a potent quad-core Krait CPU, 4.7" of a 1080p display, an optically-stabilized camera, and built-in stereo speakers is about as fine as its gets in the smartphone realm these days.

Here goes the full list of talents which the HTC One Google Play Edition has on tap.

Key features

  • Stock Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2
  • 4.7" 16M-color 1080p Super LCD3 display with 469ppi pixel density; Gorilla Glass 2
  • 32 GB built-in storage; 2GB of RAM
  • 4 MP autofocus "UltraPixel" camera with 1/3'' sensor; 2m pixel size; LED flash; OIS
  • 2.1 MP front-facing camera with 1080p video recording
  • Qualcomm APQ8064T Snapdragon 600 SoC with four 1.7 GHz Krait 300 cores; Adreno 320 GPU
  • Quad-band GSM; Quad-band HSDPA; LTE support
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac with DLNA and Wi-Fi Direct; Bluetooth 4.0; NFC
  • GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS support
  • 2300 mAh battery

Main disadvantages

  • Only a few of the HTC Sense enhancements are present
  • Underwhelming 4MP ultra-pixel camera
  • Camera app offers only basic settings
  • Available only in the United States with no subsidies for $599
  • 32GB version available only, single silver color scheme

Considering the HTC One has been selling for a few months now, the main highlight of the Google Play Edition is the presence of stock Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The unmodified OS, coupled with the One's powerful hardware and sleek design are bound to offer an experience straight from the dreams of Android purists.

Of course, plenty of people will argue that the HTC One Google Play Edition is an exercise in wasting precious cash. With the latest version of HTC Sense sporting functionality which closely resembles that of a Swiss army knife, it is not easy to make a case for spending six hundred dollars and the applicable taxes on an unsubsidized HTC One which comes with less functionality out of the box.

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HTC One Google Play Edition live photos

Still, seeing one of the best smartphones of the year in a Nexus guise is an occasion worthy of celebration. We will therefore, put the purified HTC flagship through its paces and find out what it is capable of. As always, we'll kick things off with an unboxing, followed by a design and build quality inspection.

Editorial: You might notice that this review is shorter than usual and doesn't include some of our proprietary tests. The reason is it has been prepared and written far away from our home office and test lab. Still, we think we've captured the essence of the phone in the same precise, informative and detailed way that's become our trademark. Enjoy the good read!

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