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printed July 31, 2014
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Review: HTC One for Sprint

Form Performance Basics Extras Wrap-Up Video Comments  30  

Screen

The screen is amazing and will spoil you for all other phones. Period. It looks gorgeous, and performs well outdoors. Brightness falls off sharply when viewed from an angle, but that's normal for any LCD, and colors remain true off-angle, which is better than many LCD panels.

The big news here is the pixel density. There are a few phones these days with 1080p screens that measure 5 inches, and those look great. But this screen packs the same number of pixels into a smaller 4.7-inch screen, resulting in simply incredible pixel density. If you thought Apple's Retina display looked great at 326 ppi, just wait until you see the One with its 468 ppi. It makes everything look like a work of art.

Signal

The HTC One can use both Sprint's CDMA 3G and LTE 4G networks. During our time testing it both in New Jersey and San Francisco, we never once encountered Sprint's LTE network. It's simply not available across wide swaths of the country. That said, the One's performance over 3G was consistent with other Sprint devices. When there was a strong Sprint network signal, the One was quick to sync email and refresh Twitter, but app updates and photo uploads were slow. In areas where Sprint's 3G network was weak, the One performed terribly. It often needed two attempts to connect calls, and it dropped several. Need to update an app? Don't bother when there's a weak signal. It just can't do it. We'd love to be able to tell you how the One performed on Sprint's LTE network, but we cannot.

Sound

The Sprint version of the One is good as a voice phone, but it doesn't quite live up to the experience on AT&T or T-Mobile's networks. I could hear callers loud and clear, and they said I sounded great. The background noise cancellation worked remarkably well. Walking by a packed, noisy playground, the person on the other end said they could hear zero background noise. To them, it sounded like I was standing in a quiet room, when I was actually standing next to fifty squealing kids. Calls in the earpiece may have been loud, but there was definitely some static and other network-related nonsense that we didn't hear in the unbranded review device we examined earlier.

The speakerphone works well, although it's not great at filtering room echo from the outgoing sound. Everyone sounded loud and clear to me, but people on the other end had a harder time hearing me in speakerphone mode.

With better source material, like music or video clips, the speakers sound absolutely amazing.

The ringers and alert tones are simply the best I've ever heard on a phone. HTC has created a suite of sounds that are unique, interesting, and sound fantastic through the One's clear and powerful stereo speakers. Importantly, HTC provides a solid variety, so no matter what kind of ringers you prefer, you're covered. Do you prefer something smooth that won't wake the baby? Got it. Need something shrill you can hear over the baby? Check. The ringers range from classic to futuristic to jolt-inducing, and they all sound great. There are even multiple ringers that sound like an old telephone bell.

The vibrate strength left something to be desired.

Battery

Optimized for Sprint's network, the HTC One's battery performed very well. I found it lasted through an entire intensive day of use in San Francisco with no trouble. (Keep in mind that LTE 4G was not available, however.) Further, it consistently lived through several days of light use in NJ, also under 3G only. In sum, the One's battery rates well, especially considering the large display and powerful processor under the hood.

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