Today we are looking at a clone of the original HTC One, now referred to as the One M7. The clone is known as the HDC Nano One, and is a 5 inch, 1080p Android smartphone that resembles the One M7 in most respects, but especially in terms of overall design ethos. The HDC Nano One can be purchased for just over $280 from CECT-shop.com, which certainly sounds like a bargain compared the HTC One M7 which still commands a retail price north of $400. The Nano One sounds great in theory, but how does it shape up in reality? Mobile Geeks reveal all.

HTC One M7 Clone Review: Introducing the HDC Nano One

Don’t forget that you can watch a full and detailed video comparing the HTC One M7 and the HDC nano One below:

Hardware Overview

The clone is marketed as the HDC in terms of its packaging but the device itself carries no actual HDC, or indeed HTC logos or symbols. The only logo is a NANO embossed on the center of the back of the device and a beats audio logo near the bottom. Despite not carrying a logo, the hardware of HDC Nano One is pretty similar to the One M7.

HDC-Nano-One-11

Overall the HDC is slightly larger than the One M7, sporting a larger 5 inch display compared to the smaller 4.7 inch panel on the original M7 device. However in terms of design the two are very similar at a glance. The first thing you will notice is the fact that the Nano One relies on plastic in places where the One M7 actually uses a uni-body aluminum shell. The HDC also features a cheaper processor, favoring MediaTek over the more premium Qualcomm platform in the M7. One impressive feature on the clone however is the inclusion of a 1080p LCD display. The clone also supports dual SIM cards, a feature not supported on the original. Check out the specifications comparison table below:

HTC One M7 vs HDC Nano (clone): Specifications Comparison

HTC One M7HDC Nano
Display4.7" 1080p Super LCD3
Corning Gorilla Glass 2
469 ppi
5" 1080p IPS LCD
480 ppi
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 600
Quad-core 1.7GHz
MediaTek MT6592 Octa-core
1.7GHz
RAM2GB2GB
Storage32GB / 64GB32GB
microSDNo microSD SupportNo microSD Support
Cameras4 Ultra Pixel & 2.1MP13MP & 5MP
Thickness9.3mm7.9mm
Weight143 grams150 grams
OSAndroid 4.4.2 Kit KatAndroid 4.3 Jelly Bean
UICustom UIHTC Sense UI
Battery2,300mAh2,500mAh

Design and Build Quality

As I mentioned earlier the signature build feature of the HTC One M7 is not present on the HDC Nano One. I refer of course to the uni-body aluminum shell that comprises the device’s chassis, arguably the most impressive aspect of the device and a design feature that helped HTC restore their tarnished reputation for smartphone manufacturing. On the HDC we find a the same design realized using a polycarbonate plastic that does its best to impress. To the touch it’s no surprise that the Nano One feels very different to the M7 – but let’s be honest, no other device (except the HTC One M8) actually feels and looks remotely like the HTC One M7 which can be regarded as a completely unique feat of manufacturing.

HDC-Nano-One-06

In terms of buttons, USB port and headphone jacks, the HDC Nano One remains loyal to the device that inspired it. Apart from the materials used to create the device, there isn’t too much difference between the two.

HDC-Nano-One-08

Display

As I mentioned earlier, one of the more impressive aspects of the HDC Nano One is the fact that it manages to mimic the One M7 in terms of its display resolution. The Nano One uses a regular IPS LCD panel with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, where the HTC original sports an LCD3 at the same resolution. The spec sheet for the HDC reveals a pixel density of 480 PPI, but this is a little difficult to understand when the HTC One M7 uses a smaller 4.7 inch panel at the same resolution and is understood to have a 469 PPI density.

HDC-Nano-One-10

In terms of brightness and color reproduction, the HDC is actually one of the best displays we have encountered on a Chinese-made clone device. The viewing angles are decent, the brightness levels may not win awards, but it’s certainly bright enough in all but the sunniest of conditions. The sharpness of the images presented by the screen is also impressive.

HDC-Nano-One-07

In general, the display has to be regarded as one of the highlights of HDC Nano One. Considering the price bracket of the device, it’s actually very decent.

Cameras

The HTC One M7 debuted HTC’s Ultra Pixel camera technology which avoided completely the Mega-pixel race that has characterized camera technology for some time. The One M7 uses a 4 Ultra Pixel sensor that tends to divide opinion with perceived issues in low light conditions. The HDC Nano One instead opts for a much more standard 13MP cam on the rear which actually delivers a very solid camera experience.

HDC-Nano-One-13

Again, like virtually all the cameras we have tested you will encounter problems in low light conditions, and the HDC Nano One is no exception. Close up shots in good light look pretty awesome, especially compared to the One M7 which can easily become washed out. In the comparison shots below, I you can see how well the HDC is performing.

HDC Nano One

HDC Nano One

HTC One M7

HTC One M7

The camera app of the HDC Nano One is similar to most MediaTek builds we have encountered, offering a selection of camera modes that includes HDR, Beautification, Panorama and more. Whereas the HTC One is capable of implementing filters and effects in real time, the HDC Nano One does not.

HDC Nano One

HDC Nano One

HTC One M7

HTC One M7

In low light environments however, the 4 Ultra Pixel sensor on the One M7 pulls ahead, gleaning substantially more light than the Nano One. Generally speaking the Nano One has a camera that is capable of good quality photos in the right conditions. It will not impress users of flagship quality devices from Samsung or Sony, but for a device in this price range, it delivers plenty of potential.

HTC One M7 vs HDC Nano One: Comparison Photo Gallery

Audio

The HTC One M7 blew the competition out of the water in terms of audio quality when it first arrived on the scene, setting a new benchmark for all other smartphone devices with its beats audio speaker array. The HDC is designed in much the same way, with two speakers built-in to the top and bottom of the bezels of the device, but you should not be fooled, the speakers used on the Nano One are not of the same quality as those used on the One M7.

HDC-Nano-One-12

In a side-by-side comparison the HTC One is much louder and clearer than the clone. There is a distinct lack of bass although in terms of sheer volume it is not too far away. The HTC delivers a superbly balanced sound that belies the devices’ size, the difference compared to the HDC Nano One is stark and quite pronounced. The two devices are pretty much worlds apart in terms of audio quality.

HDC-Nano-One-16

Battery Life

One concern that we frequently have when reviewing cheaper Chinese-made devices revolves around the battery life, and this appears to be one area where the HDC Nano One fails to impress. We ran our Laptop Magazine battery benchmark app on both the HTC One M7 and the HDC Nano One and the difference was very significant; the HTC managed to hold out for just over 11 hours, whereas the HDC lasted only 3 hours 25 minutes. The benchmark uses a series of scripts to emulate a fairly intensive usage pattern that includes a great deal of browser activity.

It seems that the MediaTek processor is less suited to long periods of intense activity, with its eight cores capable of draining the battery in a relatively short space of time. The Qualcomm Snapdragon appears to deal with the scenario quite differently, not only using less power but also not producing as much heat. The HDC Nano One did indeed get quite hot in benchmark and battery life testing.

The key difference here is that the HDC will get you through a full day only with relatively light usage. Anything remotely intensive will result in a drained battery and a dead phone. This is certainly one area where the HDC Nano One does not outshine the original.

Performance

The MediaTek SoC used in the HDC Nano One is an example of the newer high-performance octa-core processors from the Taiwanese chip maker. The MT6592 is an Octa-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz. Each of the processor’s eight cores is essentially an ARM Cortex-A7 processor, while the GPU is an ARM Mali clocked at 700Mhz. In terms of performance we have been very impressed with MediaTeks’s new octa-core architecture.

MediaTek-MT6592-Marketing-Image

In many of the benchmark scores below we see the MT6592 out-performs the Snapdragon 600. It is interesting to note that the one area where the Qualcomm processor really pulls ahead however, is in terms of the 3D Mark Graphics benchmark, indicating that the Adreno GPU in the Snapdragon 600 is superior.

HTC One M7 vs HDC Nano One: Benchmark Comparison Table

HDC Nano (MT6592 - Octa-Core)>HTC One (Snapdragon 600)
AnTuTu2298126335
GFX Bench T-Rex9.2fps14.7fps
Geekbench 3.0401591
Geekbench Multi-Core21661801
3DMark - Ice Storm557610922
Vellamo HTML25432541
Quadrant14675
11718
HWBot Prime32112021

The overall scores here are impressive. MediaTek clearly has upped their game with this new generation of processors. The MT6592 might not hold up so well against Qualcomm’s top tier Snapdragon 801, but in truth it is actually not that far away, especially in multi-threaded applications that take advantage of all eight cores. The HDC Nano One is no slouch in raw performance terms. We found the user experience to be slick, with very little stuttering or lagginess throughout.

Software

The HTC Sense UI is popular with some people but does also have its detractors. Personally I like the UI and especially the newer v6 iteration we find on the HTC M8. The M7 sports HTC Sense v5 which is a solid offering with plenty of pre-installed apps, little in the way of bloatware and a generally attractive design.

HTC-M7-UI

The HDC Nano One in fact does fairly little to try and emulate the Sense UI, instead it offers a very familiar Android 4.3 Jelly Bean experience that we have seen on many MediaTek based devices in the past. The experience is pretty close to a Vanilla android experience, although not as polished as a Google Play, Nexus or Cyanogen ROM.

HDC-Nano-UI

Many popular Google apps are surprisingly absent however. Youtube, Gmail, Maps etc are not installed but I guess its easy enough to download and install using the Google Play app, which is thankfully present. Overall the device sports virtually no bloatware and is in fact a very minimal Android install. Of the 32GB of storage, you have around 27-28GB to play with.

Price

The price of around $280 means that the HDC Nano One is by no means the absolute cheapest smartphone coming out of China’s Shenzhen manufacturing hub, but I think considering the hardware you are getting, the asking price is actually quite fair. At a little more than half the price of the HTC One M7, the HDC Nano One is a reasonable option.

HDC-Nano-One-26

HDC-Nano-One-14

Final Thoughts

The HDC Nano One is a quality piece of kit. You are getting a Full HD display, a powerful processor, a very decent camera and build quality that impresses. What’s not to like? Well, the octa-core processor is capable of killing your 2,500mAh battery in a fairly short space of time and like the original, there is no microSD card. Are these deal breakers? Not at this price. Overall however, the HDC Nano One is a very solid, capable and affordable alternative to the HTC One M7.

HDC-Nano-One-ScorecardThe HDC Nano One is available from CECT-Shop here.

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