A lot of emphasis has been put into its new duo camera, providing photos with some snazzy bokeh effects. However, the general quality of its shots doesn’t dramatically improve upon what we’ve previously seen with its ‘UltraPixel’ 4MP camera.

The facts point to the obvious, HTC is continuing to bet on its ‘UltraPixel’ camera. First introduced last year with the HTC One, we’ve seen it become a staple feature in HTC’s flagship portfolio of late. It features the same size 4-megapixel 1/3” sensor, resulting in larger-than-normal 2-micron pixels. However, this comes at the cost of having a relatively low image resolution of 4 megapixels, while rivals offer 8, 13 or even 20MP ones. As before, the camera comes with wide, f2.0 lens, but this time the flash is updated to feature two differently colored LEDs, called “Smart Flash”. Gone is the optical stabilization, replaced by “Smart Stabilization” that is said to rival the optical ones.

In this newest device, HTC is experimenting on something new by carrying along a secondary camera used specifically to measure depth information, so that the camera can cast specific focus onto different depths throughout the shot.

Placing our attention to the primary rear camera, It’s not to say that we’re a bit perturbed by the lack of any changes with the specs, but we were at least hoping to see something marginally better – to make up for the year long wait. The bigger question here is how the new ‘duo camera’ will be able to factor into enhancing the quality.

HTC has rearranged the camera UI with the new HTC One M8 by giving it a cleaner and more organized layout. Well, it’s wonderful that we can quickly launch the camera app while the phone is locked/turned off by utilizing the new motion launch gesture. Gone is the unified menu system that combined options for photos and videos, which are now separate from one another to reduce headaches in differentiating settings for either more. Of course, it’s blessed with a myriad of manual controls and shooting modes that really add some fun post photo.

Image Quality

Let’s first talk purely about its general image quality. From the looks of it, little has changed with the quality here. Outdoor shots turn out fairly sharp (but not oversharpened) with a good handling of dynamic range, where it balances out dark and light areas properly – and without under or over exposing certain elements. Despite the charming results, the ‘UltraPixel’ camera can’t capture fine details as good as higher resolution cameras. Sadly, purple fringing artifacts can often be noticed in high-dynamic areas. Meanwhile, macro shots tend to be delightful with that profound bokeh effect being cast to the area surrounding the object in the foreground.

However, photos taken indoors or in low lighting situations, produce underwhelming shots. Indeed, those large, 2-micron-sized pixels help to draw in more light into the camera, simultaneously giving our shots a brighter appearance and minimizing noise, but colors are washed out looking. In addition, details are once again soft and speckled looking.

Somewhat untraditional, the HTC One’s front-facing camera actually has more megapixels than the rear one – it's a 5-megapixel, wide-angle FF snapper. Not only does it play nicely when it comes to cramming in more people into the shot, but we’re pretty impressed by how good-looking the photos turn out.

Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 2.3
No data
LG G2 4
LG G Pro 2 4
No data
Sony Xperia Z1 3.2
No data
HTC One 3.4
No data

1080p video recording quality in general is pleasing to the eye, as long as there’s sufficient lighting around. By default, the phone has its focus locked when recording, which means that adjusting it is done via touch focus. Turning it off, though, the camera is constantly adjusting the focus on the fly. Frankly, it’s a nice option, but it seems a bit too sensitive – causing certain situations to become out of focus. Under low light, we’re content by how bright the videos turn out, but yet again, we’re simply faced with softer details. Regardless of that, audio recording is impressive, since it’s fantastic in capturing depth in low tones.There's also the ability to capture panoramic and 360-degree images, which adds depth to the camera shooting experience. Even though the quality follows what we’ve talked about already in different lighting situation, the process in making them is a pretty simple one.

Along for the ride again are those memory making Zoe video highlights from before, complied and created automatically by the phone using a collection of captured images and videos. Choosing instead to do it manually, we can use the “Zoe Camera” mode to capture the collection of content by tapping the screen to take a photo, or holding down the camera button to start recording video. From here, Zoe highlights will capture a burst of 20 hi-res shots during the first 3 seconds. Again, not everyone will take advantage of this feature, but it’s something to bear in mind at least.

Duo Effects:

As we’ve detailed already, the secondary camera on the rear is strictly used for depth information. If you love bokeh effects (the blurred background behind the object in focus in shots taken with a DSLR camera) to the max, you’ll absolutely love how the second camera is able to attune the effect into the shots. When it comes down to it, the second camera allows us to select what areas of our pictures we want to be in focus – while the rest of the areas have that dreamy bokeh effect applied to them. Now it should be noted that this is only enabled with shots taken with the 16:9 aspect ratio.

Once a shot is captured, we can go back and apply the various ‘duo effects’ – they include ufocus, foregrounder, seasons, dimension plus, and touchup. Amongst them, the ufocus effect is what dishes up the most intriguing results, seeing that tapping anywhere on the photo adjusts the focus accordingly. Essentially, that riveting bokeh effect is composed to the area outside of the focus point – giving images that professional-like touch.

In addition, the foregrounder effect is carries along some amusing post effects too that replaces the usual bokeh with other enhancements. There are other effects too, like the copy and paste feature, that deliver Photoshop-like qualities by allowing us to ‘Photoshop’ ourselves into other photos with celebrities. However, the 'seasons' and 'dimension plus' effects seem rather tacky – just thrown in for the fun of it.

A warm, fuzzy feeling creeps in whenever we apply these various duo effects, primarily because of the sleek professional touch they splash onto our otherwise normal shots. Still, this isn’t a feature that’s necessarily new to a smartphone, since there are third-party apps that can achieve the post bokeh effect. Nevertheless, the seamless operation in bringing the effect to life is an inviting touch for the new HTC One.


Bigger screen, louder speakers, and a speedier performance makes the new HTC One more of a multimedia powerhouse.

The same categorized layout seen with the Gallery app with last year’s Sense 5.0 interface makes its presence yet again here with Sense 6.0. Compared to other stock or customized gallery apps, this one has a more dynamic look thanks to the Zoe highlights that prop up automatically under each categorized set of images. And of course, we have the wealth of editing and sharing functions to further share the joy of our content.

Although the bulk of the Sense 6.0 music player functions and appears similar to its predecessor, it’s undeniably one of the more stylish music players out there. In fact, it has a more discerning dynamic quality to it, evident by the cool 3D-filled visualizer player and its ability to display lyrics as a song is being played. If the Sense 6.0 music player isn’t your cup of tea, the Google Play Music app is preloaded as an alternative.

Audio fans have a lot to rejoice about with the new HTC One, just because the signature dual front-firing speakers with HTC BoomSound and built-in amplifiers are back for another ride. Showing us it’s serious, they deliver a pounding level of audio quality that’s unrivaled – while maintaining a pleasant audio level that’s accompanied by some subtle bass, making them sound fuller compared to the speakers of most rival phones. Meanwhile, its 3.5mm headset jack also proves to be a venerable thing in making the experience such a joy.

Keeping it simple, HTC didn’t tinker too much with the video player. Indeed, it’s a tantalizing thing to behold with its larger and sharp looking display, as high-definition 1080p videos fill every nook and cranny of the screen. However, it would’ve been nice for HTC to follow suit by adding some kind of multi-tasking element to the experience, but that’s not the case here. Nevertheless, those front-firing speakers make themselves known by enabling us to adequately hear everything even in noisy environments.

Supplementing the experience’s new Motion Launch gestures, there’s actually one particular gesture that applies to media integration. Referred to as HTC Connect, the three-finger swipe gesture allows us to send music or video via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to a host of compatible multimedia devices – such as television sets, portable speakers, or other home theater devices. Quick and simple, it’s something that will gravitate towards media sharing individuals.
Back for round two, the HTC One M8’s HTC Sense TV app and built-in IR blaster allows the phone to double as a universal remote and media hub. Not only can we program it to work with an array of media players, but there’s a social element included with the app’s functionality. In true to Sense, the app ‘senses’ what content we enjoy watching and makes relevant recommendations based on that.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 1.28
LG G2 0.29
LG G Pro 2 0.58
Sony Xperia Z1 0.29
HTC One 0.68
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 75.2
LG G2 66
LG G Pro 2 78
Sony Xperia Z1 68
HTC One 78



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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