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In order to most fully appreciate the One’s hardware, you first need to understand the process that goes on behind the scenes. Rather than opt for the sort of polycarbonate shell used on the One X and One X+, HTC crafted the One out of a single block of anodized aluminum, sprinkled with polycarbonate accents throughout. It’s incredibly intricate: each unit goes through at least 200 minutes of CNC machine cuts, and the aluminum is etched into channels filled with polycarbonate — a technique called zero-gap injection molding. Add chamfered, polished edges that connect the sides of the phone to the glass (Gorilla Glass 2, to be specific), and you have a handset with one of the best industrial designs we’ve ever seen. The amount of detail here is staggering, and it reflects just how crucial this device is to HTC’s future.

Much like the Windows Phone 8X and Droid DNA (globally known as the Butterfly), the One has a pyramid-like internal setup: larger components like the display and battery sit up front, with the parts getting progressively smaller as you move toward the back of the phone. This gives the rear cover a sleek curve that makes it utterly comfortable to hold. Though the One is even slimmer at 9.3mm (0.37 inch) than the 10mm (0.4 inch) 8X, it’s easier to grasp because the edges are contoured the way they are. At 5.04 ounces (143g), it feels a little weightier, but less than you might have guessed; it’s actually relatively light given the materials used.

black HTC ONE

While industrial design, ergonomics and build quality are a good start, there’s much more to this skinny slab of aluminum. The front of the device is home to some of the biggest changes, headlined by a 4.7-inch S-LCD3 panel with 1080p resolution and two capacitive soft keys just below it — a departure from the standard three-button setup. A tiny HTC logo sits where the home button once did, smack-dab in between the two soft keys. In fact, it’s almost a little deceiving: it looks as if the logo should double as a button (we’d prefer it), but unfortunately there’s nothing more than meets the eye.
Aluminum strips line the top and bottom of the phone’s face, with a set of BoomSound speaker grilles designed to offer stereo sound when you’re watching movies or listening to music. (The grille setup isn’t unlike what you’d find flanking the keyboard of some laptops.) An LED notification light resides under the top grille, toward the left. A 2.1MP wide-angle, front-facing camera is located in the top-right corner, while a pair of sensors sits over on the top left.

The front is by far the busiest part of the phone, while the edges and back have a more minimal design that helps keep the phone looking refined. The polycarbonate-laced sides angle inward until they meet the Gorilla Glass on the front, with only a chamfer to connect them. The left side is uninterrupted, save for a micro-SIM tray and miniscule ejection port. A micro-USB / MHL port and mic are on the bottom, and the right is taken up by a single volume rocker that uses the same ridge-like exterior as the Droid DNA.

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Finally, as you’ve likely already surmised by now, the 2,300mAh battery inside the One isn’t removable or even accessible. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has used an HTC unibody flagship. There’s also no place to stick a microSD card, so the 32 or 64GB of internal storage will have to suffice.

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