HTC One (M8) Review
Ah yes, it’s a brand spanking new year, a time to wipe the slate clean and start anew! The onset of 2014 is a refreshing one no doubt for the many smartphone companies vying for supremacy, where the atmosphere is brutally nothing less than a dog eat dog world. Certain companies rise to the occasion, while others simply fall into obscurity – due to the fierce nature of the business.
In particular, HTC is one of the companies that has been through the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. Last year, they were one of the first major players in the Android sphere to announce a flagship smartphone – the metal cladded HTC One. Argued by many as the epitome of outstanding design, especially when it won our award for having the best product design, the fabled smartphone from the Taiwanese based company seemed destined for glory.
When many flagship smartphones dared not to dabble in metal with their designs, HTC’s pride and joy surely showed that it could be done – and done well in fact! Historically speaking, the HTC One became the company’s most famous and best-selling smartphone. For all of its triumphs, it didn’t do enough to keep HTC from bleeding out and being in the red by the year’s end.
There’s no denying that HTC is at a cross road at the moment. Rather than scaling back and rushing development, they’ve taken the time out to plan a strategy to emerge victorious this year with its newest flagship phone. The result of all of the work is now being seen in the all new HTC One, or as some of us know of it intimately by its codename, the M8 for short. Of course, the road ahead is unpredictable, but the new HTC One is one short step away in making people believe in the impossible.
The package contains:
- microUSB cable
- Wall charger
- SIM Removal Tool
- Get Started Guides
- Wired headphones
Design that pushes the boundary further than ever before! Sporting more metal in its construction, the HTC One is again the class leading head turner in the smartphone design space.
Last year’s HTC One blew us away with its outstanding design. Quite frankly, it was something refreshing and new. When you have an outstanding design already, it’s really tough to go outside the box and sprinkle something different with a new model. Fortunately for this new HTC One, it’s been given an evolutionary redesign that continues the task of telling everyone else that there’s a sensible amount of love given to the design process.
Briefly glazing over the appearance of this year’s model, we can instantly see some of the distinctive elements that have been established by the sweet industrial design of its predecessor. First and foremost, there’s the even more profound gunmetal colored brushed aluminum casing of the handset – the same unibody construction and design language from before. However, there’s more metal all around the body, giving it more of a uniform appearance. Upping the ante, this year’s model is now 90% metal – whereas its predecessor sported a 70% frame. Gone are those plasticy separators that hugged the trim of last year’s HTC One, and instead, the polished aluminum material extends to nearly all corners of the frame.
Partly thanks to its solid metallic frame, there’s a lot of sturdiness with its seamless construction – with smoother edges that gracefully hug from one side to the other. Impressively, HTC has done a bang up job in also minimizing the amount of seams throughout its body. In fact, there’s very little of them jutting out from the surface, so the end result is one smooth feeling phone in our hand. Nevertheless, the expected result from garnering premium choice materials is the amount of weight (5.04 oz) it’s carrying along. It’s not bad per se, seeing that it merely contributes in giving it that solid construction – and it helps too that there’s a subtle curve to the rear casing, giving it that ergonomic feel as well.
Barely relinquishing its grasp in the product design category, HTC once again impresses us with the fantastic, top-notch, and evolutionary design of the new HTC One. Few companies are as daring when it comes to product designs, so it’s extremely comforting to see that HTC doesn’t loosen up one bit. Instead, they have the forward momentum to eclipse what we’ve seen thus far from the field.
Gee, it’s pretty sweet when a company listens to complaints and corrects them. That’s what we find here with the new HTC One, seeing that it’s rocking a power button and volume controls that are more distinct to the touch and offer better feedback. The placement of the power button has changed, as it’s now positioned on the top right corner, which makes it more accommodating to right handed folks. Interestingly, there’s a dark plastic trim lining the top edge of the phone, which tucks away the unit’s IR blaster.
Elsewhere on the handset, there’s a microUSB port and 3.5mm headset jack lining the bottom edge – while a nanoSIM slot hugs the left side, and a microSD slot is discretely placed on the right edge. With the latter, it’s wonderful that there’s storage expansion with the handset, but accessing it is a slight inconvenience because it requires those pin-hole sized adapters to access.
Gone are the capacitive Android buttons from before, which are now incorporated into the UI. However, just like before, the new HTC One wields two signature front-firing speakers with HTC BoomSound to deliver an even more potent punch. And finally, the rear is home to probably the most peculiar thing on the handset – its Duo camera system. Oh no folks, the two cameras present here aren’t used to produce 3D content, but the tandem work together in achieving some cool focusing effects that we’ll expand upon later on.
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146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
5.64 oz (160 g)
142 x 72 x 8 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)
146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm
5.75 oz (163 g)
138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)
The size has been increased marginally to make it more flagship-like, but as a whole, there’s nothing particularly out of the ordinary with it.
Everyone is looking for the next big thing when it pertains to displays on mobile devices, but so far this year, it’s been nothing more than the usual flavor. As for the new HTC One, the only different thing about the display is its larger size – moving from the 4.7-inch panel of its predecessor, to a more flagship-like 5-incher. Yes, it’s still a Super LCD-3 panel. And yes, it’s also boasting the same 1080p resolution from before as well – so its pixel density is very similar, but ever so slightly lower - at 441 ppi. Despite that, it doesn’t really burst our bubble considering it’s still a high pixel density count, so details are tight, clear, and distinctive to the eye.
Image quality has improved slightly compared to the previous model - as before, it has a bit of a colder color temperature, so white appears slightly blueish. However, there's been some definite improvement in this area, as the new One comes with color temperature of ~7200K, compared to the 8000K of the old One (reference point is 6500K). The reproduced colors are vibrant and enticing to the eyes, with an overall lively look, instead of washed out, dull one. Screen purists will definitely like the fact that colors are slightly more accurate than before Thankfully, outdoor visibility isn’t an issue with this LCD-based panel, thanks in part to its brightness of 489 nits.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Sony Xperia Z1||495
|HTC One (M8)||490
|LG G Pro 2||420
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Sony Xperia Z1||78.2%
|HTC One (M8)||79.6%
|LG G Pro 2||84%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
HTC One (M8) 360-Degrees View
Drag the picture or use the keyboard arrows to rotate the phone.
Double click or press keyboard Space to zoom in/out
20. almostdone (Posts: 109; Member since: 25 Sep 2012)
It could of been worse. With the same 4 UltraPixelated camera they should of been deducted 2 points.
47. akki20892 (Posts: 3255; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)
We have to wait for camera comparison first. Because they have done improvement in their ultra pixel camera.
61. MrKoles (Posts: 296; Member since: 20 Jan 2013)
What kind of improvement?
You mean that childish faux bokeh effect?
2 minutes in any photo-app and I will do a better one.
Certainly one of the biggest gimmicks of smartphones in 2014...they should have used a different camera tech because Ultrapixel was outdated and pathetic either last year.
109. Jinto (Posts: 295; Member since: 15 Jan 2014)
The headphone jack design in
really bothers me...
73. hassoups (Posts: 254; Member since: 06 Jun 2013)
I don't understand how not being waterproof lowered the review though, Id take this over flaps all over the place. I'll wait and see if they'll treat the next iPhone the same way because I'm pretty sure it won't be waterproof.
105. Maryewww (Posts: 25; Member since: 16 Sep 2013)
It wasn't a con until sammy got involved in the waterproof department, PA are awesomely biased...
29. AppleHateBoy (unregistered)
But wasn't it unboxed a few minutes ago by Daniel P.?
54. AppleHateBoy (unregistered)
So P.A. had 2 HTC Ones?
56. HouTexan (Posts: 300; Member since: 08 Jan 2012)
They've had a review unit for awhile like most of the websites have.
62. AppleHateBoy (unregistered)
I know that. The question is how come they got 2 of them?
92. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 379; Member since: 24 May 2011)
They made the videos before hand and posted them together. Seriously how hard is it to get that.
69. bassof (Posts: 2; Member since: 24 Mar 2014)
BIG FAIL Phone.
Move it there's nothing new to see here.
the best phone so far this year Galaxy S5, no doubt .
78. Chunkyspudface (Posts: 9; Member since: 31 May 2013)
Eh? What new does the GS5 bring that make it stand out (that aren't gimmicks no-one uses) then? Another uninspired piece of plastic to add to the thousands already flooding the market, at least HTC are TRYING to make their product stand out. Samsung rely too much on the fact that millions will blindly buy it anyway...
79. Chunkyspudface (Posts: 9; Member since: 31 May 2013)
I'll admit the camera features of the M8 are pretty gimmicky though.
96. iushnt (Posts: 601; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)
A better camera..screen with 2nits lowest brightness and 500nits+ highest brightness, water and dust resistant, download mode merges LTE and WiFi, two WiFi antennas for better connectivity.., ultra power saving mode makes the screen black and white and only allws limited number of apps to run, also heard rate sensor is better than having 2_cameras at .. the m8 is just ahead in design and nothing else
99. Chunkyspudface (Posts: 9; Member since: 31 May 2013)
I know that the HTC One wasn't a huge leap in specs (yet neither was the s5) but they at least seem keen to innovate or try and change things. If the galaxy s5 wasn't the same (very similar) plastic slab, I would agree with you. I'm not saying the s5 is a bad phone, just simply that samsung seem to be getting complacent...
100. threeline (Posts: 256; Member since: 11 Sep 2011)
Very well put, you just sold me on the GS5 and I have the GS4. I was looking for something different this time but after the camera let down on the M8 I now realize that the upgrades the GS5 has are very useful; dual wi-fi antennae, download booster that merges LTE and wi-fi and a upgraded camera. Those are the 3 most used features for me. I really don't care if it has a metal or glass or plastic housing as long as it's well constructed.
103. Droiderr (Posts: 32; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)
well said.. but i dont agree its ahead in design too.. Comapare the dimensions and weight of m8 with s5. S5 is significantly smaller and lighter even though it has a bigger battery.
If design means only looks then it acceptable but i dont think thats the case.
102. Droiderr (Posts: 32; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)
to name a few:
1. finger print scanner
2. heart rate monitor
3. water resistance
4. better hardware and camera
6. lighter and smaller with same screen size.
now go figure!!
112. Blaze.Infernus (Posts: 10; Member since: 01 May 2014)
Maybe if you like Touchwhiz, which personally I think is garbage. Not to mention the bloatware.
71. Dude2014 (Posts: 102; Member since: 12 Feb 2014)
How come this HTC One M8 only gets 8.8 while iPhone 5Crap got 9.0? We know HTC One M8 is obviously not the best phone out there. But still at least it's much better than iPhone 5C in every way. The only three things let me down are stupid logo placement, really huge size compared to other 5" phones and of course camera.
59. 7Superman9 (Posts: 69; Member since: 17 Sep 2013)
How is it that the battery, that according to them lasted longer than the G2, which is also bigger is not a"Pro". Same goes for the 128Gb so card slot. Really, really????
3. Arte-8800 (Posts: 3086; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)
nice, great review, but 8,8 that"s bias John V.....
33. _Bone_ (Posts: 2104; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
Did you look at performance? Did you look at photos? Did you look at size, weight (BIG!) vs. screen size and battery size (moderately small)?
50. true1984 (Posts: 582; Member since: 23 May 2012)
can someone explain the weight thing to me? i don't see the big deal as long as i dont get a workout lifting the phone.
63. chebner (Posts: 120; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
I agree that the phone is a little on the large size but the BoomSound speakers have a lot to do with that.
Regarding the battery... Please tell me what matters more, the size or how long it lasts? Last year's One had a smaller battery than the S4 but lasted longer.
95. iushnt (Posts: 601; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)
Check gsmarena's battery ratings.. S4 lasted better than HTC one
4. PapaSmurf (Posts: 7370; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Went straight to page 3 to read about the camera. HTC failed again this year.
24. greathero1 (Posts: 459; Member since: 13 Jun 2008)
I thought the pics looked quite good Smurf. What part was most disappointing for you?
36. _Bone_ (Posts: 2104; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
Noise, purple clouds, lens inconsistency (nights shots, lamp post, low resolution.
64. true1984 (Posts: 582; Member since: 23 May 2012)
well, in my opinion it depends on what you do with the camera. i only use my phone camera on 2 occasions. when i first get it and when i'm on vacation. otherwise i forget its there.
27. PorkyBurger (Posts: 196; Member since: 18 May 2013)
I looked at the sample images and I got shocked because of the lack of detail. Is that even a camera for high-end phone? Zoom in and die. (BLURREEH~!) Don't get me wrong, it's a nice camera for a phone, but 4MP? No, no not this time.
Overall, pretty good phone. If I would have enough money, I could even consider buying this beauty :D
49. adecvat (Posts: 117; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
Front camera is better than rear :)
And NO OIS.
81. rawbow (Posts: 407; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
eh? that's what makes or breaks a "phone" for you!?
Anyways, read the other pages for your own good.
1. Sense 6.0 beats as much crap out of your sad Note 3s touchwiz as it would on the camera department vice versa.
2. The "DESIGN" with bezels beats mega crap out of Samsung again, what do you have - camera
3. Waterproof and Dustproof would have been better but who needs flaps on their phones anyways. And after the s4 active fiasco, not so confident about the s5 waterproof. I mean, i can still use my phone in the rain without it being water proof. I wouldn't go swimming with it unless you would with the s5 lol
4. I had a note and frankly I am much better off with the Nexus 7.
5. HTC One M8 is what samsung with all its money should be trying to achieve.
Oh yeah, we have people here confusing galaxy s4 with chinese(love the country) made crap and also some of the samsung low end crap = spend so much money and still look like crap is what a fail is in my book
5. chunky1x (Posts: 166; Member since: 28 Mar 2010)
How on Earth can you properly review a product after it was launch just minutes ago?!?!?!?!
8. jexxx (Posts: 48; Member since: 23 Feb 2014)
He probably had the phone for quite awhile and only able to post the review after the launch due to NDAs.
18. chunky1x (Posts: 166; Member since: 28 Mar 2010)
So Phone Arena was the source of the leak in the first place.
38. Martin_Cooper (Posts: 370; Member since: 30 Jul 2013)
Smartass ALL major tech sites had a demo unit for a week now to review it.
12. aditya.k (Posts: 455; Member since: 10 Mar 2013)
That's what I was thinking! XD
With full photos and such a big review. Not even Chuck can do that! XD
15. almostdone (Posts: 109; Member since: 25 Sep 2012)
Many people had this phone for a while but couldn't release the review until it was official.
The same applies with some stores already have them in stock.
25. aditya.k (Posts: 455; Member since: 10 Mar 2013)
Take a look at the phone pics. Date is 21/3. So they had it well before.
35. chunky1x (Posts: 166; Member since: 28 Mar 2010)
Dear Phone Arena;
Can somebody explain to us what is your basis for your numerical points system. Do you have a points tally or something not shown in your page? Many of us are confused how did you get 8.8, 9 and etc.
P.S. Don't send me an Email of a reprimand and I kindly ask for an honest answer.
46. Martin_Cooper (Posts: 370; Member since: 30 Jul 2013)
Its basically like reviewing a movie on IMDB, you give it a specific score because its above and below some other movies based on their scores. Obviously for the reviewer above having the ugliest phone of 2014, that looks cheap, has amazing camera, full of gimmicks is better than this piece of art with innovative after focus camera.
53. chunky1x (Posts: 166; Member since: 28 Mar 2010)
I wish they did category specific points(design, display, camera and etc) first then average out in the end. After focus camera is not new(Nokia and LG already have this system). I agree that when the giant band aid comes out it may have a high score with much of the dismay of the readers.
68. Martin_Cooper (Posts: 370; Member since: 30 Jul 2013)
Thats why I like theverge reviews, they put points in different categories and that helps a lot
7. MarkArigayo (Posts: 240; Member since: 18 Dec 2013)
Still, better than S5 in term of overall design. On screen keys arrangement on the 2014 HTC One makes the S5 looks so old. Lol.
9. NexusX (Posts: 86; Member since: 16 May 2013)
HTC just took their previous year model, made it uglier, gave it a marginally better processor, and a EVO 3D camera. and hope it would turn their company around from bankruptcy.
How hard is it get rid of of the stupid logo, give it a bigger battery Doesn't it already have a aluminum unibody?why not it give it a bit water resistance and wireless charging while they are at it?
40. Martin_Cooper (Posts: 370; Member since: 30 Jul 2013)
1. EVERYONE did that with the cpu. Why is HTC bad while other arent for using same CPU? 805 wont be available for months to come. 2. Uglier? Its personal taste. I read, seen 4-5 reviews in the last hour and everyone agrees how pretty and amazing looking it is. 3. It doesn't have a 3D camera, it has two cameras so you can FOCUS the photo after you take it. 4. They had a reason that there is a black bar on the bottom, engineers of the phone must have had a serious reason, instead of leaving the black space they added the logo to kinda hide it. 5. Waterproofing a phone means you have to cover all the holes and makes the usability less desirable, ALSO it makes the phone bigger and ONE is already a big phone.
55. NexusX (Posts: 86; Member since: 16 May 2013)
it's getting harder for consumer to justify an upgrade. Most current hardwares are capable of running most apps including the budget phones. If HTC wants to succeed in this throatcutting business. Their new flagship is just not up to par.If they still wanna compete with Samsung, they have to either make the best phone with all desired features and charge a flagship premium or get out of the flagship race start selling more budget friendly phones similar to the google's Nexus series. the way I see it, this phone is only worth nexus price tag.
57. NexusX (Posts: 86; Member since: 16 May 2013)
HTC's love for unibody aluminum design also compromises their abilities make a compact phone and any last minute tweaks with their hardwares to add new features. The size and heft of this phone would probably alienate a lot of female consumers (who seem less concern about phone specs and features (HTC is clearly the loser to Samsung on this one)
66. true1984 (Posts: 582; Member since: 23 May 2012)
can someone please explain the weight thing?
60. NexusX (Posts: 86; Member since: 16 May 2013)
then again ithink it's likely HTC is running out of cash to burn so they rush this into the market for a quick turn around to pay some bills so hopefully there's another flag ship coming before HTC goes out of business and get bought out by another mainland-based Chinese firm.