The HTC One (M8) is HTC's newest flagship phone that runs on Android 4.4 with a 2.3Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor. The HTC One (M8) has improved on its predecessor by increasing the LCD display to a stunning 5" and adding a memory card slot that allows users to add up to 128GB in expandable storage. Additionally, the front facing camera is a remarkable 5 megapixels and a secondary depth camera has been added to the rear of the phone to complete HTC's new, "Duo Camera." Other prominent features include full a 1080p HD resolution, NFC, Wi-Fi, BoomSound speakers, Bluetooth, and 32GB of internal storage. With its sleek aluminum design and variety of new features, the HTC One (M8) is one of the best selling phones on the market today.
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In 2013, the HTC One made a spectacular introduction. With an attractive design with broad appeal, the phone featured an amazing display, powerful camera and exceptional performance. The HTC easily surpassed the expectations of many. The only major drawback in creating a device so far beyond the competition would be designing an even more impressive phone. Nonetheless, the HTC One M8 does not disappoint.
HTC One (M8) Design
The HTC One M8 continues offering a number of the characteristics found in the M7. The phone features the same curved back, horizontal stripes and “BoomSound” speaker grilles. This year's model is constructed with more metal. Approximately 90% of the current chassis is made from brushed aluminum with rounded corners. The metal body is appropriately available in gun metal gray, silver or gold. The exterior overhaul gives the phone a richer, more refined appearance. However, some may find the new finish somewhat too slick. With a larger 5-inch screen and distinct curves along the sides, the phone feels a bit awkward to hold. While the metal casing looks fantastic and seems durable, looks can be deceiving. The slick surface is not scratch-resistant and succumbs to chinks in the armor, so to speak.
While the phone thickness of 9.3 millimeters is the same as the M7, the M8 is taller, wider and weighs more. However, these slight variations are not surprising considering the larger screen, and are really not an inconvenience. The button configurations are also a bit different. The power button now resides on the top right edge of the phone. The volume control is also on the right and improvements include a slight elevation.
The phone also features a right-sided microSD memory card slot that accepts cards up to 128 GB in size, which may come in handy given the mere 16 or 32 GB internal memory. The bottom side has the 2.0 USB Quick Charge port and 3.5 millimeter headphone jack. Unfortunately, the phone comes boxed with a 1.0 USB charge cord, meaning one must invest more money to take advantage of the Quick Charge option. The left edge has a SIM card slot. The new version also has a second nano-SIM slot option.
The back looks similar to the M7 with an arched back, flash, camera, iconic logo and stripes. But wait, the M8 now features an additional camera and flash. The front and top of the phone features an improved 5 MP camera, navigation buttons and the company logo. The surprising BoomSound now has better sound produced by an amp upgrade, a new DSP and deeper speaker chambers.
The slightly larger LCD3 display has 1080p resolution, which provides sharp images in vibrant colors. Viewing angles are conveniently wide and easily viewed in direct sunlight when increasing the brightness. The screen, thankfully, remains protected by Gorilla Glass 3 for ultimate scratch-resistance. The phone also has an IPX-3 liquid protection rating. While not offering enough resistance if submersed in water, the barrier protects the phone during a downpour.
A transparent top status bar and a bottom navigation bar make the display even more expansive. Three keys now provide back, home and app functions. There is also more choices for personalized colors and themes. The BlinkFeed remains on the left, but now users may have up to five right panels. The Sense clock is missing, which makes it simpler to push apps to the home screen. Outside of a few tweaks, the Sense 6 is similar to the Sense 5. The extra screen space provides ample room for a larger, lighter, modern appearing font. The Gallery, Sense TV and Zoe apps are available at the Play Store, which means programs are updated and debugged before downloading.
The screen is operational using Motion Launch. Double-tap to unlock, swipe up for home screen, swipe right for BlinkFeed and left for the widget panel. Swiping down initiates voice dial. Taking a picture merely entails depressing the volume control and holding the phone in the landscape position. Gestures were meant to trigger Motion Launch. However, the overly sensitive function easily awakens the phone with the slightest motion or touch. The Sense 6 also offers a Do Not Disturb mode, which silences the phone when desired. Multiple presets enable users to determine when to start and finish DND.
The newer battery offers a 300mAh improvement over the M7. The current 2,600mAh battery is designed to last up to 15 hours, after which time five percent of the power remains. The power-saving mode eliminates connections and background apps. A basic launcher then allows manual access to calls, email or texts, in addition to the calculator and calendar. In this way, users extend charge life if expecting incoming data on a low battery charge. After a week of solid daily testing, the battery displayed 30% of a charge at the end of the day. When playing videos, the battery offered 11.5 hours of usage.
The HTC One M8 contains a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 or a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, which represents the best available. The phone also comes equipped with 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 330 GPU clocked at 578MHz, which alleviates the stress on the main processor. Function is quick and smooth and regardless of the intense playing of games with superior graphics, the phone continued performing exceptionally well. The advanced chipset design also prevents overheating.
The BoomSound feature is great for conference calls or hands-free talking. The sound produced is much improved over the M7. The GPS displayed some glitching with the blue dot freezing for up to 30 seconds when using Google Maps, but does not experience problems with Google Navigation.
In addition to the internal 16 or 32GB storage and the external card slots, HTC offers cloud storage space on Google Drive. After agreeing to the terms of service, users get 50GB for free for two years. HTC also provides users with firmware updates for two years. In the U.S., HTC offers a cracked screen replacement option for the first six months.
The UltraPixel technology combines big pixels with a large sensor that captures more light and 333% more photons. The ImageChip 2 and a 28mm f/2.0 AF lens also allows more light absorption for higher resolution photos. The 4MP camera features an upgraded depth sensor and software optimizations that include faster autofocus. The speed of the AF is currently 0.3 of a second. The dual-LED flash eliminates glare and improves on night image quality.
The 5MP front camera features a f/2.0 wide-angle lens, BSI sensor, is HDR capable and offers 1080p video function. The front camera additionally comes with a built-in “selfie mode.” The newer interface also provides dual-camera photos, 360-pan shots and Zoe in separate modes accessible on the lower-right hand corner of the phone. Each corner of the viewfinder features icons for accessing the gallery, flash, modes and settings. The ISO setting goes up to 1,600 and the camera allows for exposure settings, filters, random settings, scenes and white balance. Users also see the results of each adjustment in real-time.
Duo Camera Feature
The M8's Duo Camera negates the need for separate photos and instead requires one photograph while automatically adjusting the depth. This means that the background or other desired areas of the photo blur while the main point of interest in the picture appears sharp. The technology magically determines the difference between background and foreground. The program also provides a number of editing tools that includes cartooning, cut, copy and paste, and a 3D like effect. The separate Zoe mode additionally has the ability to capture a burst of multiple photos, combined with video to create a moving picture reminiscent of the unique newspaper seen in Harry Potter. Sense 6 also allows for photo importing. While nothing compared to a conventional camera, the M8 competes well with the camera found on the Nokia Lumia 1020.
The HTC One M8 is an innovative smartphone with awesome features. The company took many suggestions and recommendations from M7 users and made the necessary upgrades to improve upon an already brilliant device. The Duo Camera, Sense 6, BoomSound and BlinkFeed make the M8 worthy to own. Time will tell whether the M8 will stand-up to the Samsung Galaxy S5. HTC future improvements might include cameras with more pixels and a better gripping design. All in all, the newest HTC One definitely gives the competition a run for the money.
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