HTC One (M8) Review
With its signature speakers, there’s no issue trying to make out voices in even the noisiest of environments.
As the earpiece is actually one of the stereo speakers, it really lends some help in the calling quality performance of the phone. Not only are voices exquisitely loud and commanding, but they’re for the most part clear and noise-free – making it very easy to hear our callers in extremely noisy environments. Lucky for us, that’s also the case switching it to speakerphone mode, where its dual front-firing speakers deliver a potent mixture of power and clarity. Lastly, our callers also benefit by being greeted to voices on their end of the line that are robust and lively.
It’s a pretty decent performer from the looks of it, though, its battery size is smaller than those of its main rivals.
As an indirect result of sporting a larger screen this time, the new HTC One also sees its battery size increased. Specifically, it went from a 2300 mAh one last year, to a slightly juicier, 2600 mAh battery. Compared to other recently announced flagship phones, the capacity still pales when you consider the Galaxy S5’s 2800 mAh battery and the even larger 3200 mAh one stuffed in the Xperia Z2.
Regardless of that, it’s more than enough to get us a solid one-day of normal usage – and that’s with the HSPA+ connectivity of our particular unit! Going through our synthetic battery life benchmark, the HTC One (2014) has lasted the impressive 7 hours, which puts it in the same league as some notable performers, such as the LG G2, or the gargantuan HTC One Max. In comparison, the old HTC One's result is just 5:45 hours, so the new flagship will be a definite improvement in this area.
HTC has yet another ace up its sleeve in the form of the unit’s ‘extreme power saving mode.’ Depending on what battery level you have the phone set to activate the mode, battery life will be extended tremendously. Under these extreme conditions, the handset only permits us access to the bare essential functions – like phone calls, text messages, and manually receiving email. For example, even with 10% battery capacity, the extreme power saving mode will provide roughly 30 hours of standby.
We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage. All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.
HTC isn’t wasting any time in getting its flagship out and into the hands of hungry consumers. In just a short time, we’ve witnessed the unveilings and announcements of several flagship smartphones, but it’s comforting to see that HTC is aggressive with the new HTC One’s rollout. To the amazement of many folks out there, it’s being made available right away for the usual $200 to $250 on-contract price point or $650 off-contract..In a field of other contending flagship smartphones, the new HTC One (M8) is blatantly outstanding for its impeccable industrial design – one that’s unparalleled thus far! Seriously, it’s one of the few smartphones that take pride in donning a stylish and solid metallic chassis - the elements needed in giving it that oh-so delicious, premium association.
Of course, the addition of a second camera in the rear helps to enhance the look of photos that are taken, but generally speaking, the pure quality of its camera is still lagging behind the forerunners in the space. Yeah, it takes some pleasant looking photos and videos, but it just can’t capture as much fine details as its esteemed rivals. Therefore, the overall feeling we have regarding the camera isn’t an enthusiastic one.
So what does it all mean for the new HTC One, the handset that the company is betting on to succeed in the face of stiff competition? Yet again, we can’t deny the obvious that it’s an amazingly gorgeous smartphone – one that we’re unlikely to see surpassed by any of the flagships being released within the first half of 2014, probably with the exception of the Sony Xperia Z2, which will be able to rival the new One's premium build. The new HTC One doesn't seem to have any particularly weak spots, save for the UltraPixel camera, which continues to lag behind rival offerings. Still, we have to make it clear that the camera is good enough for casual usage. So, it'll all come down to just how important the camera is to you. If you happen to demand top-notch camera quality with no compromises, then we think it'd be worth waiting a few weeks so that you can take a look at the upcoming Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2, which are expected to perform noticeably better in this respect.
However, if you're ready to settle with just a decent camera, then we're sure you're going to appreciate the new HTC One's beautiful design and robust set of features and capabilities.
Software version of the review unit:
Android Version: 4.4.2
HTC Sense Version: 6.0
Software Number: 1.54.401.3
Kernel Version: 3.4.0-g56241fd
Build Number: 1.54.401.3 CL325617
- Seamless design that’s even more gorgeous than ever
- Great front-facing stereo speakers
- Duo effects add that professional look to our photos
- Sense 6.0 is a clean & modern looking skin
- Motion Launch gestures give us quick access functionality
- ‘UltraPixel’ camera is still an underperformer
- Not waterproof like many other flagships
20. almostdone (Posts: 130; 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: 3653; 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: 330; 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: 410; Member since: 15 Jan 2014)
The headphone jack design in
really bothers me...
73. hassoups (Posts: 384; 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: 30; 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: 316; 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: 400; 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: 35; 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: 35; Member since: 31 May 2013)
I'll admit the camera features of the M8 are pretty gimmicky though.
96. iushnt (Posts: 756; 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: 35; 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: 259; 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: 182; 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: 76; 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: 2140; 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: 593; 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: 147; 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: 756; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)
Check gsmarena's battery ratings.. S4 lasted better than HTC one
4. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8922; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Went straight to page 3 to read about the camera. HTC failed again this year.
24. greathero1 (Posts: 494; Member since: 13 Jun 2008)
I thought the pics looked quite good Smurf. What part was most disappointing for you?
36. _Bone_ (Posts: 2140; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
Noise, purple clouds, lens inconsistency (nights shots, lamp post, low resolution.
64. true1984 (Posts: 593; 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: 256; 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: 139; 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: 261; 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: 261; Member since: 28 Mar 2010)
So Phone Arena was the source of the leak in the first place.
38. Martin_Cooper (Posts: 635; 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: 482; 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: 130; 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: 482; 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: 261; 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: 635; 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: 261; 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: 635; 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: 179; 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: 635; 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: 179; 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: 179; 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: 593; Member since: 23 May 2012)
can someone please explain the weight thing?
60. NexusX (Posts: 179; 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.