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.

Enter HTC Sense 6.0 running on top pf Android 4.4.2 KitKat, the next step up to HTC’s Android skin. As a whole, the design language doesn’t make any dramatic departures that would diminish Sense’s already established looks. Instead, it retains mostly everything that we like about the UI – plus, a few minor tweaks here and there. Just like before, the homescreen is arranged in the same familiar layout where the left most panel is the HTC BlinkFeed, and everything else to the right is the traditional Android homescreen. This time though, we can designate which of the screens we want to make as our main homescreen.

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.

Motion Launch


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.

Quadrant Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 19139
Samsung Galaxy S5 25041
Sony Xperia Z2 18584
LG G2 20654
LG G Pro 2 19490
Sony Xperia Z1 20277
HTC One 12481
Sony Xperia E1 5627.3
AnTuTu Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 31075
Samsung Galaxy S5 36603
Sony Xperia Z2 34088
LG G2 35376
LG G Pro 2 28615
Sony Xperia Z1 30838
HTC One 23308
Sony Xperia E1 13031
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 1171
Samsung Galaxy S5 1186
Sony Xperia Z2 1177
LG G2 1229
LG G Pro 2 1269
Sony Xperia Z1 1115
HTC One 781
Sony Xperia E1 477.6
Vellamo HTML 5 Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 1673
Samsung Galaxy S5 1632
Sony Xperia Z2 1584
LG G2 2951
LG G Pro 2 1692
Sony Xperia Z1 2889
HTC One 2395
Sony Xperia E1 1885
Sunspider Lower is better
HTC One (M8) 693.1
Samsung Galaxy S5 777.3
Sony Xperia Z2 925.4
LG G2 932.8
LG G Pro 2 818.3
Sony Xperia Z1 746.2
HTC One 977.9
Sony Xperia E1 1575.4
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 11
Samsung Galaxy S5 11.7
Sony Xperia Z2 12.4
LG G Pro 2 8.9
Sony Xperia Z1 9.57
HTC One 4.9
Basemark OS II Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 1071
Samsung Galaxy S5 1054
Sony Xperia Z2 1207
LG G2 772
LG G Pro 2 1050.6
Sony Xperia Z1 927.6
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

Messaging


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.

Organizer


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.

Internet and Connectivity


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.

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114 Comments

1. jexxx

Posts: 48; Member since: Feb 23, 2014

LOL, just a measly 8.8!

20. almostdone

Posts: 448; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

It could of been worse. With the same 4 UltraPixelated camera they should of been deducted 2 points.

47. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

We have to wait for camera comparison first. Because they have done improvement in their ultra pixel camera.

61. MrKoles

Posts: 368; Member since: Jan 20, 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: 436; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

110. Ahmadovich

Posts: 43; Member since: Mar 16, 2014

Why? I think it's attractive!

73. hassoups

Posts: 473; Member since: Jun 06, 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: 32; Member since: Sep 16, 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.?

51. HouTexan

Posts: 461; Member since: Jan 08, 2012

They already had it for a while.

54. AppleHateBoy unregistered

So P.A. had 2 HTC Ones?

56. HouTexan

Posts: 461; Member since: Jan 08, 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: 408; Member since: May 24, 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: Mar 24, 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: 65; Member since: May 31, 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: 65; Member since: May 31, 2013

I'll admit the camera features of the M8 are pretty gimmicky though.

96. iushnt

Posts: 3105; Member since: Feb 06, 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: 65; Member since: May 31, 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: 313; Member since: Sep 11, 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: 35; Member since: Mar 05, 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: 35; Member since: Mar 05, 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: May 01, 2014

Maybe if you like Touchwhiz, which personally I think is garbage. Not to mention the bloatware.

71. Dude2014

Posts: 448; Member since: Feb 12, 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.

2. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2350; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Whooaaaa?? Really jon V? 8.8?

59. 7Superman9

Posts: 86; Member since: Sep 17, 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: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

nice, great review, but 8,8 that"s bias John V..... A9.5

33. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 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: 866; Member since: May 23, 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: 249; Member since: Oct 17, 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.

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