The Best Android Phone Just Got Better

HTC hit a critical home run last year with its flagship phone called the One.

It was the first mainstream Android device that felt like a premium product thanks to its metal body, big screen, and gorgeous design. Until the One came along, most Android phones felt like cheap plastic slates desperate to catch up to the iPhone’s lead in design and build quality.

And reviewers went nuts for the One. Simply put, it was the best Android phone you could buy.

Today, HTC announced its new model of the One, which keeps the same name and improves just about everything that was great about the original. It has a slightly bigger screen (5 inches), two rear cameras (more on that in a bit), and a cleaner software interface. It’s just as beautiful and well constructed as the original.

You’ll be able to buy the new HTC One from all four major U.S. carriers for about $US199 with a two-year contract. Prices will vary depending on your carrier, but the phone retails for $US649 if you buy it without a contract or payment plan. It will be in stores April 10, but you can order it online starting today.

Click here for photos >>

There’s a lot to go over, so here are the most important new features:

  • The HTC One runs the latest version of Android called KitKat. That means you get all the best Android features and services from Google like the great voice assistant Google Now.
  • It comes in three colours: silver, dark grey, and gold.
  • BlinkFeed, an app that pulls in news from social networks like Twitter and Facebook plus a variety of other established news sources, has a cleaner design. You can also create your own custom feeds for news around a certain topic, like the missing Malaysian Airlines flight.
  • There are two cameras on the back. The primary camera is for snapping photos. The smaller one is a depth sensor that lets you edit photos and change the focus later. It results in some really cool effects.
  • New htc one coverSteve Kovach/Business InsiderThe Dot View cover for the new HTC One.

    HTC added a microSD card slot that will let you add up to an extra 128 GB of storage. You can buy the One with 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage.

  • Like the original model, the new One has two front-facing speakers, which HTC calls “Boomsound.” This time, HTC added some more amplifiers so you get a deeper sound.
  • The new One has a bunch of features that you can activate even when the screen is off. For example, you can wake up the phone just by double tapping on the screen. If you swipe in certain directions when the screen is off, you can launch straight to your home screen, BlinkFeed, the phone dialer, or your widgets. If you turn the phone horizontally and press the volume down button when the phone is off, the camera app automatically launches.
  • You can buy an optional case called Dot View for an extra $US49. Dot View flips over the phone’s screen and displays stuff like the time, weather, and incoming calls with lights that shine through dozens of little holes in the case. It’s really clever.

HTC let me get an early look at the new One. I’ve only spent about 24 hours with the device, so I won’t have a full, in-depth review for you until later this week. In the meantime, here are a few first impressions.

In short, the new One is gorgeous, possibly better looking than the iPhone 5S, which is starting to feel stale after keeping the same design for two years.

The dual cameras don’t seem too useful to me. You can get some nifty effects thanks to the secondary depth sensor, but I imagine most people won’t want to go back and edit photos they have already taken. Still, it takes great regular shots just like the original One phone and the front-facing camera is five megapixels, which is much higher than front-facing cameras on competing devices. Your selfies will look great.

Other than that, it doesn’t look like anything major has changed with the new One. HTC made incremental improvements to the important stuff like screen size, design, and camera.

It feels like we have another winner.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.