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.
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.
Things that are NOT allowed: