HTC One (M8) Review
Interface and Functionality
Sense 6.0 continues to be one of the more visually superior looking custom UIs. Unlike others, it doesn’t try to overcomplicate things with the new features in tow, but rather, they’ve kept it simple and to the point.
Drastically unique from what we’re accustomed to seeing from any Android smartphone, HTC Sense 5.0 on last year’s flagship product proved to be an inviting endeavor. Visually, the design of HTC’s customized Android interface was unequivocally a star in its own right – thanks primarily to its cleaner, modern looks. Best of all, it was an unobtrusive skin that provided users with a simple feeds list, the HTC BlinkFeed, that aggregated activities in one centralized and uniform area in the homescreen. Whereas other customizations threw everything at us, including the kitchen sink, Sense 5.0’s offering kept it uncomplicated, inviting, and most importantly, simple.
Specifically targeting the social networking crowd, the HTC BlinkFeed is smarter in the way it delivers relevant information – as if it ‘sensed’ what you like most. Naturally, it aggregates the same content from before (Facebook, Twitter, etc), but they’ve added Fitbit to the mix. It’s a nice touch for those who use it, but unless you have some diehard Fitbit pals that are socially active with the service, you won’t see a whole lot of it pop up in the BlinkFeed. Beyond that, it’s more aware in what you ‘like’ in Facebook, so that it delivers the content that matters most to you.
There’s no questioning the absolute chic look of the UI, one that’s a cut above its competition with its ‘flat’ design language, but there’s a subtle change that some people might overlook. Depending on what core application you’re using, like the phone dialer, messenger, or calendar, each one will be marked differently with a particular color at the heading of each app. To be more precise, a blue highlight will be attached to communication apps like Mail and Messages, green for data-centric apps like HTC BlinkFeed and Weather, entertainment apps like the Gallery and Music will be attached with Orange, and black will be reserved for settings. It’s nothing major, but a small visual tweak that gives better organization – albeit, it’s tough to say if it monitors other third party apps, especially when they have similar color themes already in them.
At the end of the day, the same visual treat is present here with Sense 6.0 – complemented by some added new features and minor enhancements. In comparison to some other customized skins, it’s just inviting that it still combines a modern looking skin with software features that aren’t over the top or redundant. Like its clean and modern presentation, Sense 6.0’s operation is straightforward, simple, and sensible.
The biggest new undertaking with the Sense 6.0 experience is seen most in how it employs various gestures to accomplish certain tasks when the phone’s screen is turned off. At the core of it all, these particular set of features provide us with quick-peek functionality. HTC’s interpretation is a pleasant addition and consists of using swipe gestures from all sides of the display.
Determining the time or date normally requires us to physically press the power button to turn on the screen, but a double tap from our finger brings the screen to life – and by that, we mean that the entire screen is powered on, as if we pressed the power button. Yeah, it’s great that it’s a convenient way to see the time or date, but it’s not entirely as great of an interpretation as the Moto X’s Active Display feature.
Swiping down from the top bezel gets us into voice dialing, something that will probably appeal most to phone chatters. To quickly unlock the phone, all we need to do is pick it up so that it’s in portrait orientation, and from here, just swipe up to unlock it. Again, it just eliminates the task of physically pressing the power button. If we want to jump straight to the widget panel (the usual Android homescreen panels), a swipe to the left does just that. Conversely, swiping right gets us into HTC BlinkFeed.
HTC has also sprinkled on another other motion-based gesture that automatically accepts an incoming call when the phone is picked up and placed next to the ear. We’ve seen this execution before on other handsets, so we’re not entirely wowed by this. In addition, we can launch the camera app by placing the phone into landscape and pressing on the volume button (any of them).
Processor and Memory
The latest piece of silicon from Qualcomm shows its veracity by providing the new HTC One with all the power and goodness to keep its performance in tip-top shape.
Befitting enough for today’s modern marvels, the HTC One M8, much like its other highly esteemed rivals, is powered by Qualcomm’s latest chip. It’s powered by a quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC coupled with 2GB of RAM and the Adreno 330 GPU. Outfitted with this behemoth of a chipset, it’s not all surprising to find its performance improved over its predecessor. Everything, and we mean everything, is accompanied with that snappy feel – something we’d expect to come from such a high-end piece of silicone. From playing intensive 3D games, to simple tasks, the new HTC One M8 barely loses any steam with its performance.
Interestingly enough, HTC will also have a particular variant of the handset for the Asian markets, which will be packing a slightly faster 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801.
Nowadays, it’s laughable to find a premier smartphone with only 16GB of internal storage. Unfortunate for this beauty of a smartphone, that’s the tally what we’re given with HTC’s prodigy. Nonetheless, the new addition of a microSD slot is a comforting gesture that gives us better expansion, but accessing it is a pain because we need that pinhole sized adapter to gain access to it.
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 25041
LG G2 20654
Sony Xperia Z1 20277
LG G Pro 2 19490
HTC One (M8) 19139
Sony Xperia Z2 18584
HTC One 12481
Sony Xperia E1 5627.3
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 36603
LG G2 35376
Sony Xperia Z1 30838
LG G Pro 2 28615
HTC One (M8) 31075
Sony Xperia Z2 34088
HTC One 23308
Sony Xperia E1 13031
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 1186
LG G2 1229
Sony Xperia Z1 1115
LG G Pro 2 1269
HTC One (M8) 1171
Sony Xperia Z2 1177
HTC One 781
Sony Xperia E1 477.6
Vellamo HTML 5
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 1632
LG G2 2951
Sony Xperia Z1 2889
LG G Pro 2 1692
HTC One (M8) 1673
Sony Xperia Z2 1584
HTC One 2395
Sony Xperia E1 1885
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 777.3
LG G2 932.8
Sony Xperia Z1 746.2
LG G Pro 2 818.3
HTC One (M8) 693.1
Sony Xperia Z2 925.4
HTC One 977.9
Sony Xperia E1 1575.4
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 11.7
Sony Xperia Z1 9.57
LG G Pro 2 8.9
HTC One (M8) 11
Sony Xperia Z2 12.4
HTC One 4.9
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S5 1054
LG G2 772
Sony Xperia Z1 927.6
LG G Pro 2 1050.6
HTC One (M8) 1071
Sony Xperia Z2 1207
HTC One 755.3
Sony Xperia E1 212.3
Basemark X on-screen
Higher is better
LG G2 14.662
Sony Xperia Z1 17.007
HTC One 8.236
Donning a more spacious sized screen, the result here in the messaging experience is just the larger layout of the on-screen keyboards. Using either of them is a cinch, as it’s uber responsive to the touch and packs a decent auto-correct feature. On top of that, several numbers and symbols are accessible from the main layout – so there’s less need to get into some its secondary and third layouts.
Moving over the Mail app, there’s nothing out of the ordinary here that we haven’t experienced before. Aside from the particular theme color splashed along the top of the app to indicate it’s part of the messaging category of apps, everything else is pretty much in line to what we expect.
Going through the various core organizer apps, it’s quite evident that there aren’t any dramatic differences between last year’s model. Functionally and visually, they all pretty much mimic what we’ve seen already – though, the color theme accent is the only noticeable difference.
Accessing Google Now is done in the same manner we’re accustomed already, which is accessed by doing a long press on the home button. From here, we can see all of the pertinent information that Google Now is known to precisely deliver.
HTC didn’t do a darn thing to really change up the web browsing experience. Out of the box, we can choose between HTC’s stock web browser or the always familiar Google Chrome. Both are more than equipped for the task at hand, as they perform flawlessly thanks in part to their quick page loads, buttery smooth navigation, and on-the-fly page rendering.
Seeing that our review unit is the international version bound for the European markets, it’s not able to receive 4G LTE using it with AT&T’s network stateside – so we’re left to using nothing more than HSPA+ connectivity. However, there will be different versions for major US carriers, and we can expect nothing but lightning fast speeds with LTE connectivity. Not surprisingly, the new One is outfitted with the latest connectivity gear, which consists of aGPS with GLONASS, Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX enabled, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, NFC, and video out functionality with the aid of an optional MHL adapter.
20. almostdone (Posts: 124; 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: 3555; 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: 325; 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: 399; Member since: 15 Jan 2014)
The headphone jack design in
really bothers me...
73. hassoups (Posts: 373; 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: 29; 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: 315; 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: 396; 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: 17; 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: 17; Member since: 31 May 2013)
I'll admit the camera features of the M8 are pretty gimmicky though.
96. iushnt (Posts: 666; 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: 17; 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: 257; 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: 16; Member since: 01 May 2014)
Maybe if you like Touchwhiz, which personally I think is garbage. Not to mention the bloatware.
71. Dude2014 (Posts: 171; 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: 75; 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 (banned) (Posts: 4562; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)
nice, great review, but 8,8 that"s bias John V.....
33. _Bone_ (Posts: 2135; 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: 592; 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: 142; 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: 666; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)
Check gsmarena's battery ratings.. S4 lasted better than HTC one
4. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8614; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Went straight to page 3 to read about the camera. HTC failed again this year.
24. greathero1 (Posts: 490; Member since: 13 Jun 2008)
I thought the pics looked quite good Smurf. What part was most disappointing for you?
36. _Bone_ (Posts: 2135; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
Noise, purple clouds, lens inconsistency (nights shots, lamp post, low resolution.
64. true1984 (Posts: 592; 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: 230; 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: 131; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)
Front camera is better than rear :)
And NO OIS.
81. rawbow (Posts: 428; 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: 254; 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: 254; Member since: 28 Mar 2010)
So Phone Arena was the source of the leak in the first place.
38. Martin_Cooper (Posts: 459; 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: 463; 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: 124; 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: 463; 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: 254; 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: 459; 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: 254; 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: 459; 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: 134; 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: 459; 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: 134; 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: 134; 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: 592; Member since: 23 May 2012)
can someone please explain the weight thing?
60. NexusX (Posts: 134; 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.