Living with the HTC One M8: climbing up the ladder


If you haven’t read my colleague Chris’ article about living with the Samsung Galaxy S5 just yet, then you better do so because he provides some good insights about Sammy’s prized smartphone. There are the good, there are the bad, so it’s inviting to see it from a different perspective. Although I haven’t necessarily made the Samsung Galaxy S5 my daily driver of choice, I can relate to many of his intimate experiences with the phone – some more so than others, of course.

For the majority of last year, and even up until very recently, I made the Samsung Galaxy S4 one of my daily drivers. I preferred it over the HTC One M7 primarily because I was really impressed by the whole package, how it was able to soundly satisfy my particular requirements in what I look for in a daily driver – like having a high quality camera. Interestingly enough, the tides have turned this year, as I’ve recently decided to choose the HTC One M8 as my phone of choice at the moment.

Now, before I dive in deeper into this article, I have to stress the point that I’ve been using the HTC One M8 since late March, giving me plenty of time to appreciate and digest its full arsenal. At first, I was using an international gunmetal grey version, which was eventually replaced by Sprint’s two-toned Harman Kardon Edition. Internally, the guts are basically the same, so there’s no particular one that has a specs advantage. The noticeable differences between them, naturally, are the paint jobs and the audio-centric enhancements put into the Harman Kardon Edition. So why go with the HTC One M8? There are plenty of other fantastic flagships to call my own, like the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the Sony Xperia Z2. Who knows how long HTC’s flagship will remain as my go-to device, but let me fill you in on a secret, I really dig what it has to offer.

The premium, iconic design proves why it’s so beloved

Let’s get straight to the point here folks! Amongst the flagship smartphones announced in the first half of 2014, the HTC One M8 is the indisputable king when it comes to design. Very few phone manufacturers, past and present, opt to use high quality materials for their smartphones. On one hand, it’s not really all that surprising to know that the HTC One M8 climbs straight to the leaderboard when it comes to design, seeing that it readily improves upon the distinct design language of its predecessor.

Flaunting an even more metal unibody construction, the HTC One M8’s astoundingly defying because of the premium element attached to it – and there are few phones that come close! Namely, the Sony Xperia Z2 comes to mind, but I don’t find its design evolution as profound in comparison to HTC’s offering. Every time I pick it up, I can’t help but admire its meticulous attention to perfection. It’s a metal constructed phone, which automatically gives it a more premium element over the plastic based bodies of its rivals.

Water resistance, it’s the new fad

Indeed, as much as I admire it for its impeccable design, there’s one single thing that comes to mind with the HTC One M8’s design. Quite simply, it doesn’t have the water resistant properties to make it survive a submersion under water for an extended amount of time – like some of its highly esteemed competition. To an extent, it can be safely protected from minor excursions with water, like using it in the rain for phone calls, but don’t press your luck expecting something greater.

Many people feel the same way regarding this, but who knows how getting it would’ve modified the design of the phone. Don’t get me wrong, I would’ve loved to use this for special moments. Recently, I took a vacation to Walt Disney World and used the dual capture features of its camera to capture my first-person experience on several rides. However, for the water-soaked rides or having fun around a pool, I had to rely on another device for the occasion.

Then again, I hardly see myself being in a whole lot of situations where I’d be inclined to use my phone when water is involved, but nevertheless, the feature is something useful to have just in case. And I can’t emphasize that just in case feeling.

Missing the finger print sensor

One thing becoming especially popular since the holidays is the finger print sensor in some of today’s phones. You’d think it’d be a staple amongst the elites, but interestingly enough, it’s still a rare occurrence. Yes, we know that HTC already has a phone with a built-in finger print sensor (think the HTC One). Prior to its official announcement, many folks were expecting to see the flagship incorporate a finger print sensor as well – whether it’s the same implementation found in the HTC One max or something new.

Needless to say, it would’ve been swell to see it on board with the final product, but at the end of the day, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a deal breaker. In fact, after fiddling around with the Samsung Galaxy S5’s implementation, I’m happy to stick with the usual security measures we’re familiar with Android.

Sense: it’s simple, gorgeous, and uncomplicated

HTC Sense 5.0 stirred things up tremendously when it was introduced with the HTC One M7 last year, so when its successor came rolling along with the HTC One M8, I wasn't expecting a dramatic overhaul. Thinking more about it, HTC Sense 6.0 continues the company’s principle of delivering a simple Android experience – sprinkled with a modern design that’s arguably one of the best looking Android skins. Functionally, it doesn’t deviate from providing me access to the stuff that matters to me the most with the experience. HTC BlinkFeed isn’t anything extraordinary over the handful of dedicated social networking apps we sometimes choose to use, but nonetheless, it’s nice just having that quick peek functionality.

Speaking of some of its new features, Sense 6.0 brings forth a few Motion Launch gestures that try to streamline some processes. As for myself, now that I’ve put on a pattern lock on the phone, the Motion Launch gestures aren’t as useful if I simply had a swipe unlock. Instead, every time I execute a Motion Launch Gesture (aside from the double tap to turn on the display), I’m required to bypass the pattern unlock first before it’s able to finish executing the function. It serves its purpose, but like other similar functions, its usefulness is best experience with no locks on the phone.

Seriously, unless you care about cropping, the camera is good enough to use

Alright, this is where some hardcore fans of the phone might show their passionate dedication to the phone. In several of our own camera comparison articles, the HTC One M8’s camera lags behind the competition in terms of overall quality. Frankly, its biggest flaw is the lack of detail captured by its 4-megapixel “Ultrapixel” camera. I get that, seriously. Some folks would rather have a higher count camera, so they have the flexibility of cropping images afterwards without any significant loss to detail.

However, in my experience, if there’s something I truly want to capture and preserve, I would whip out my mirrorless camera to shoot it – not this phone. Everything else, though, I really can’t complain about using it for quick sharing via my social networking accounts. With the aid of that second camera, and its set of Duo Effects, you’d be surprised by the kind of photos it can produce. For what it’s worth, I really can’t fathom why people are so harsh or opposed to this camera. It takes good looking photos, especially when its bokeh effect gives the background that out-of-focus appearance.

Looking to the horizon

It’s funny how things go sometimes. Like I said, I favored the Samsung Galaxy S4 over the HTC One M7 last year, but the tides have turned. Regardless of that, I can’t totally count out what Sammy is doing with the Galaxy S5 either. At the core, it’s a solid phone that’s filled with several new features, but as my colleague Chris pointed out in his article, some of them do nothing more than to give it some geek cred. Clearly, the HTC One M8 isn’t as feature filled – both in terms of hardware and software. That’s exactly what I like about it, though, seeing that it focuses its attention more on things that I care about most.

It’s not perfect, of course, since it’s already being eclipsed in various hardware departments. For example, the LG G3 is about to make its presence in the space with its class-leading display resolution. In addition, nearly every single announced flagship smartphone blows the HTC One M8 in the details department with their cameras. Despite that, I still choose on making it my daily driver – for the simple reason that it works great. Yeah, we can say the same thing about other phones, those that are out or about to arrive, but for me, I feel that HTC has crafted something that’s capable of revolving around MY lifestyle.

Related phones

One (M8)
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 4 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2600 mAh(20h 3G talk time)



1. Zenzui

Posts: 114; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

If only HTC had increased the screen size further. It could had stand well with late comers like LG.

4. express77 unregistered

They should have put the capacitive buttons in that black bar instead of stupid HTC logo. And camera ofcourse ruined this great phone.

7. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Completey agree. HTC could have had a larger effective screen size by just putting capacative buttons in the black bar, similar to the M7. I'm sure historians will look back at the One M8 with its 4MP camera as one of HTC's key failures.

24. adwienc

Posts: 136; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

Yep, that HTC logo kills this phone for me, G3 has 0.5 inch bigger screen and is same size it's pathetic. And I will always choose capacitive buttons over software, so I thought about M7 but it's battery life and lack of SD slot is something I can't go without.

25. b1acktiger

Posts: 223; Member since: May 19, 2012

They put a bunch of sensors behind that black bar.

12. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Living with HTC M8, I feel like M8 top of the tallest mountain.

33. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

yes larger screen size, 5.5 will be perfect and it won't be hurt to have extra RAM instead 2.

2. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

HTC One M8 Google Play Edition is where it's at...

5. billgates

Posts: 555; Member since: May 29, 2014

Nah... for me vinella android is far to generic for me but I do like sense 6. If they had upped the mp count we would have had a winner. I choose the s5 but the other 3 could have easily got my sale. Z2- no where to be found so Sony didn't get me.. Sony how about you release the damn phone on some carriers next time k? M8- I was ready to jump but the mp thing killed it for me G3- I may look on Craigslist and trade my S5 for one in the future. S5- HATE the design of the front... why SS won't you stop the same ugly front design you use on everything??? BUT I got pulled in on it being water resistant and the possibilities "shower selfie anyone"?

18. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

+1 agree non biased post

19. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Just let down by 2Gb Ram 4Mp and to tall

3. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

Would love to see a speaker to speaker screen on this model. A friend at work owns one of these and loves it, it does feel like a solid phone.

6. Bioload25

Posts: 213; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

Its camera is indeed usable,but to a consumer planning an upgrade,its quality can be the reason not to buy this phone. As for the secondary camera,its pretty cool and can impress some curious people,but its not exactly 'useful',its just fun...

8. DevilWithin

Posts: 2; Member since: May 12, 2014

this is indeed very helpful i chose S4 over One last year just like you did but i regret every bit of that decision by now and i just hate this phone in every single aspect of this phone ! overall i like the sound quality and premium feel that htc is feeling and i felt solid software unlike s4 on m7 last year im sure that its got even better on m8 ! and about the camera part i like every single picture that's been taken by this phone people should stop being arrogant and just see or even google some of them there are some extraordinary pictures on flickers taken by this beauty and that doesn't look like a low performer camera at all! i already chose this phone to purchase in summer despite great performances by Z2 and newcomer G3 and this article gave me that perfect confidence to do it so! i really hope they make the harman kardon version available worldwide that a music junkies phone!!

9. Bjray

Posts: 199; Member since: May 29, 2014

"around MY lifestyle." See posts like these are perfect simply because this is a reviewers personal option on the said device after owning it for a fair amount of time. However almost all reviewers put their "personal lifestyle / requirements" on official reviews. I don't care about your style... Just tell me if the device good or not simple as that.

34. azers07

Posts: 27; Member since: Aug 17, 2013

there're bunch of little things, that makes this phone awesome. For example, when i take my m8 out of my pocket people are staring at it =)) you can read from their look - "dude, you're awesome".. about the camera. everywhere except sunny day, it is awesome. under direct sunlight ultrapixel camera blows it too much. but photo effects which it provides is super amazing. Me and all my friends like it. when we hang out together, we take selfies and group photos with my phone, coz of the effects and low light performance ( and they have G2, S4 , 5S at their disposal) HTC sense is super fluid and fast)) it is so gorgeous, i enjoy every second of it )) and boom sound is really good.

10. edditnyc

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 19, 2014

Seriously, I'm tired of the whole "if there’s something I truly want to capture and preserve, I would whip out my point & shoot/dSRL/mirrorless camera to shoot it" response from tech bloggers like everyone has a P&S, DSLR or Mirrorless camera on them or can afford one. I have a DSLR which I love but the best camera to have is the one you have on you. Why tote around a point and shoot when we're talking about candid shots? Not everyone does that but the joy of having a smartphone is having the option to take a great shot at any moments notice. Not just a concert or a graduation or special event like that. Also since the camera is inherently a wide angle shot, you are essentially stuck with a fixed lens camera. Why would you give up the ability to crop an image if you're on a fixed lens? It's ridiculous. The ultra pixel benefit is negligible, even in low light, because the sensor is a fraction of what you'd find on any other point and shoot, much less DSLR or mirrorless. So again, why skimp on resolution? Seems to me HTC is simply saving money they're spending on the unibody design. It's a cheap solution and uninformed tech bloggers eat it up.

11. rsiders

Posts: 1954; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

So I guess you're not pleased with the camera? Oh...

13. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

Quad HD Snapdragon 805 devices are just a few months away, there's absolutely no reason to get this phone and besides the only thing that is going on with this is the boomsound. Hold on to your current devices and it'll be worth it in the end HTC blows

16. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Good advice. HTC isn't a terrible company. Rather, they have too many mediocre managers, so they make profoundly stupid mistakes. While their corporate slogan used to be "quietly brilliant", it really should have been "almost brilliant".

17. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

You could use that logic anytime of the year. Once Snapdragon 805 devices come out, we'll be waiting on Snapdragon 810 devices that will be out just a few months away. You can't keep waiting for the next big thing, you have to be content with the technology today or else you'll be holding onto your device forever, in fear of being "obsolete" as soon as you buy a new phone. Your opinion is yours, but I think HTC makes great products.

21. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

They make great phones ayt, too bad they don't listen to their loyal user base....... The SD card inclusion? Yep they did that when their sales plummetted to the mud, yeah it is anecessity after all Ultrapixel? They might ditch it in their next flagship iteration but took them forever to do it..... Huge bezels? God knows when Again, i must reiterate, there is no point buying this phone right now, HTC is a clumsy company run by idiots who doesn't know how to market a phone

27. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

The most popular smartphone series in the world currently doesn't have a MicroSD card. So it's not a necessity. The Ultrapixel camera in the One is much better than the 13 MP camera in the One Mini 2 or the HTC E8. The only thing it's not good at is cropping photos; otherwise, it's pretty good. The One M8 still has smaller bezels than Sony and Apple's flagships, and they improved it over the M7. The massive speakers make it seem more than it actually is. Why wouldn't someone buy this phone? Great design, great screen, awesome speakers, a good camera (especially in low light), Sense 6 looks nice and has useful features, and HTC has been amazing with software support for their One devices recently. Unless they had really small hands and/or didn't like Sense 6, I'd recommend this phone to anyone.

31. gaara6775

Posts: 738; Member since: May 20, 2014

I'm with you bro. Those who think m8 has worst camera they will have worst low light photos in their phones.

22. techloverNYC

Posts: 601; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

HTC's great product haven't lead to great sale number.

14. Lboogey6

Posts: 281; Member since: Jan 31, 2012

its a cute phone but its boring android is about a vision of capabilities i feel like the one just gives you an iphone.its a big phone with a regular screen size the speakers aren't impressive and the camera is subpar. but you say that water proof is a fad when most phones generally have water damage if they aren't cracked why? well because people have their phones on them 24/7 right before the shower right after in the middle. with kids dropping in cups in the rain washing accidental pool hops.... youre an idiot oh btw you have to warranty the phone for 6 months because the beautiful design flaw could easily slip out of your hand.

15. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Please ask your doctor to increase your Ritalin dosage.

20. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Loving this segment on PA. Hopefully more writers here will share their experience of using their phones with us soon.

26. LikeMyself

Posts: 631; Member since: Sep 23, 2013

A good phone for me is when you look at it, it feels unique and sexy! But I'm a miser and don't want to spend money on phones when my s2 with cm11 can meet all my needs! It's like a wife! A wife who looks good, u can live with her for many years provided she cooks good food as well and u can manage her eccentricities!

28. tahaea1

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 07, 2014

HTC One (M8) is rated IPx3 for water "splash". This is still not an IP certificate but its better than nothing. Also the new E8 and Butterfly S is rated at IPx5.

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