HTC One (M8) vs HTC One (M7)



Gambles are warranted in the mobile space, that’s how things move forward with momentum. Some pan out for the best, while others are crushing blows that catapult companies back to the drawing board. Last year, veteran smartphone maker HTC took the biggest gamble with the HTC One, a smartphone that eventually became the company’s best-selling and most popular smartphone of all time.

The competition was thick and fierce during 2013, and by the year’s end, the HTC One’s presence in the space became a bit clouded – due to immense competition it had to deal with throughout the year. Nonetheless, no one really came close to producing a smartphone that matched the HTC One’s premium metal design. As if the smartphone wasn’t a gamble on its own, the Taiwanese based company took another gamble with its ‘UltraPixel’ camera. Touted for its low lighting performance and larger pixel size, HTC believed that the combination would be enough to steer consumers’ minds to thinking that more megapixels doesn’t necessarily translate to better photos.

Well, we know too dearly how that all panned out, as the quality from its ‘UltraPixel’ camera couldn’t quite keep up with its rivals. For 2014, HTC improved every single aspect of the phone for its successor, the 2014 version of the HTC One. Obviously, there are specific reasons as to why you should pick up one smartphone over the other, but nevertheless, we know some of you are itching to know exactly how much better the new HTC One fares against the old – so let’s find out for sure how HTC is able to follow up.


It’s plainly evident how the design of HTC One has evolved with this latest model, since we feel as though it moves in the correct direction by being sturdier in construction, more stylish, and comfortable to hold. First and foremost, we really enjoy how the new HTC One features more metal with its design. In fact, the chassis is now comprised out of 90% metal, in comparison to the 70% figure of its predecessor. Looking meticulously at the brushed aluminum casing of the new HTC One, it absolutely has more of a pronounced metal appearance due to the milling process – whereas with the old HTC One, it’s seems subdued by comparison.

Of course, the size difference between the two shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, especially when the new HTC One bears a larger 5-inch display. You’d think that the smaller footprint of the 2013 HTC One (5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inches versus 5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches) would benefit it in making it the comfier handset to handle in the hand, but that’s not exactly the result. Considering that the metal frame of the new HTC One extends from edge-to-edge, while also sporting a generally curvier trim, it constitutes in giving it the more comfortable feel. Indeed, the two sport a subtle arch with their rear casings, but the sharper chamfered beveled edges of the old HTC One digs into our hand more.

Looking at the two, there’s no questioning that the new HTC One bears that evolutionary design, but it’s not as dramatic when compared to the design direction that HTC established with the first model. Yet, we have to applaud them for improving every aspect of the new design, despite the fact that it still generally bears the foundational elements of its predecessor’s design language. The old HTC One earns adulation for its fresh and innovative design, but the new HTC One equally deserves the same love.

Relying on that signature design, the new HTC One doesn’t stray far from what we’ve seen previously. However, we need to applaud HTC for improving the feel and responses of its power button and volume controls. No longer are they indistinct, which was a troublesome issue with the 2013 model. Beyond that, everything from before makes an appearance again – like its dual front-firing speakers with HTC BoomSound, microUSB ports, and various mics. Again, HTC listened to the complaints about the original HTC One lacking memory expansion, and rectified it with the introduction of a microSD slot with the new model.

HTC One (M8)

5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches

146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm


5.64 oz (160 g)


5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inches

137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm


5.04 oz (143 g)

HTC One (M8)

5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches

146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm


5.64 oz (160 g)


5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inches

137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm


5.04 oz (143 g)

See the full HTC One (M8) vs HTC One size comparison or compare them to other phones using our Size Comparison tool.


Everyone was expecting something crazy like 2K resolution displays with this year’s crop of flagship smartphones, but after Mobile World Congress 2014, that expectation quelled down tremendously. Therefore, we shouldn’t be too critical when comparing the new HTC One’s display to its predecessor. Well, the only thing separating them are their sizes, and the newer Gorilla Glass in use with the newer model. Specifically, the HTC One M8 features a 5-inch 1080p Super LCD-3 display with Gorilla Glass 3 – while the HTC One M7 bears a 4.7-inch 1080p Super LCD-3 panel with Gorilla Glass 2.

The increase in size is a logical one for HTC to pursue, more so when everyone’s flagship devices measured up at 5-inches at the minimum. Factoring their sizes and identical resolutions, the newer model’s pixel density is a smidgen lower than its predecessor – 441 ppi versus 468 ppi to be exact. Even though the 2013 HTC One is technically higher on paper, it doesn’t really appear sharper as our eyes feast on the two displays.

To the untrained eye, the improvements seen with the new display might be regarded as subtle or non-existent, but rest assured, they are absolutely there. Employing Super LCD-3 technology as before, the new HTC One’s display is more vibrant and color accurate. In fact, it improves on almost every single display category that matters to us. Firstly, its color temperature of ~7200K bests its predecessor’s 8000K, giving it a more iridescent glow. And on top of that, colors produced by the new HTC One’s display are more accurate too. Finally, the last piece in making the new display superior is its higher brightness of 490 nits – eclipsing its predecessor’s tally of 460 nits.

Interface and Functionality

Okay, this should be an easy decision, seeing that newer software tends to accompany more features. As it currently stands, our T-Mobile unit of the 2013 HTC One is running Sense 5.5 on top of Android 4.4.2 KitKat. In comparison, the newer handset runs the most up-to-date experience – Sense 6.0 above Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Needless to say, the 2014 HTC One is going to steal the show with its updated interface and enhanced functionality. Still, it’s worth mentioning that Sense 6.0 is eventually going to make its way to the original HTC One – so the two will be on the same playing field.

The Sense 6.0 interface isn’t as profoundly different from what was already established with Sense 5.0, but the enhancements in it simply exemplifies HTC’s commitment to deliver the best looking and functional experience. The same ‘flat’ design is well in abundance again with Sense 6.0, which is a good thing, seeing that Sense is generally lauded for being one of the more visually pleasing custom UIs out there.

However, we appreciate the new Motion Launch gestures that are in play with Sense 6.0, giving us quick access to a few things from the lock screen. Rather than relying on the power button, the various Motion Launch gestures permit us to power on the display to view the time/date, unlock the phone, jump access to the Android widget screen/HTC BlinkFeed, and even get right into the camera.

Some of the other enhancements found with Sense 6.0 that we feel are noteworthy to Sense 5.5, include the integration of additional services to BlinkFeed – like Foursquare and Fitbit. With the latter, the new HTC One becomes a vessel for the app, where it’s used to collect information from its various sensors, so it can continually track how many steps we’ve taken.

Processor and Memory

Never one to settle for anything less, HTC outfits the two with the best stuff from Qualcomm’s camp. When it launched, the 2013 HTC One’s quad-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 SoC with 2GB of RAM and the Adreno 320 GPU proved to deliver a smooth performance. However, the quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 SoC coupled with 2GB of RAM and the Adreno 330 GPU of the newer HTC One is even snappier with its response. Heck, it’s most evident when running intensive 3D games, where the 2014 HTC One produces the smoother operations between the two.

We were sorely hoping to see the minimum storage capacity of the new HTC One to be higher than that of its predecessor, but sadly that isn’t the case. Even though the two have 16GB of memory, HTC keenly listened to the complaints by adding a microSD card slot into the new HTC One – giving owners more flexibility and elbow room.

QuadrantHigher is better
HTC One(M8)19139
HTC One12481
AnTuTuHigher is better
HTC One(M8)31075
HTC One23308
Vellamo MetalHigher is better
HTC One(M8)1171
HTC One781
Vellamo HTML 5Higher is better
HTC One(M8)1673
HTC One2395
SunspiderLower is better
HTC One(M8)693.1
HTC One977.9
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screenHigher is better
HTC One(M8)11
HTC One4.9
Basemark OS IIHigher is better
HTC One(M8)1071
HTC One755.3

Internet and Connectivity

Honestly, there’s not one handset that we prefer more when it comes to surfing the web, mainly because they have all the quality elements in making the experience oh-so enjoyable. From their speedy page loads, to the buttery kinetic scrolling they offer, there’s nothing different between their performances. Certainly, some folks will prefer browsing with the new HTC One’s larger display, but we don’t feel that it’s any more beneficial.

For being the newer device, the 2014 HTC One doesn’t pack along any new connectivity features that we didn’t have already with the 2013 model. Meaning, they both feature aGPS with GLONASS, Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, NFC, IR blasters, video-out functionality via MHL, 4G LTE connectivity, and they’re available in both GSM & CDMA flavors.


You’d think that after having a year to develop its next-generation flagship smartphone, HTC would’ve made some incremental changes to the camera. Sadly though, that’s not the case, seeing that the new HTC One M8 packs along the same-spec'd camera as its predecessor – a 4-megapixel “UltraPixel” camera that features a 1/3” sensor, f2.0 aperture lens, and a backslide illuminated sensor. Well, they did happen to complement it with a dual-LED flash and a secondary camera that’s strictly purposed for measuring depth information, however, the new model lacks optical image stabilization that its predecessor features.

Fortunately, we’re happy to see that HTC decided to update the camera UI of the new HTC One M8. With the M7’s camera interface, it seemed a little confusing with its layout – especially when the functions of the camera and video have been combined into the same menu layout. Instead, HTC opted to separate the two completely, making for a more logical organization.

Snapping the same set of photos with each camera, it doesn’t surprise us to realize that the quality between them is identical – in all lighting conditions even! On one hand, we can vouch that the images put out by them are pleasant enough to share via our usual social networking outlets. However, the most pressing matter is just their inability to capture the sharp fine details as some of the other contemporary flagships in the space. Indeed, photos taken under sunny conditions produce the best results, but they fail to deliver anything tangible under low lighting conditions. Again, their qualities don’t differentiate from one another, as they generally compose images that are bright and with minimal noise distortion.

Taking a picLower is betterTaking an HDR pic(sec)Lower is betterCamSpeed scoreHigher is betterCamSpeed score with flashHigher is better
HTC One(M8)2.3
No data
HTC One3.4
No data

Likewise, their 1080p video recording qualities mirror one another as well, as they deliver charming results when lighting is plentiful. When lighting becomes sparse, the quality naturally takes a dip with the two.

Frankly speaking, this is the biggest disappointment we have with the newer HTC One M8. One expects marginal improvement in quality, but it’s nowhere in sight as we meticulously go through our samples. The saving grace for the new model, of course, is the various duo effects that can be applied once a shot is taken by the M8 – something that’s achieved with the help of that secondary camera. Using this unique feature, we’re permitted to emphasize different sections of our photos so that anything outside of the selected area is touched up with that bokeh-like blur effect. In addition, there are even more cool effects available with the HTC One M8 that enhances its quality over its predecessor.


Visually, there’s only one single thing noticeable that differentiates the music players of Sense 5.5 and 6.0 – it’s the colored theme accent placed at the top of the Sense 6.0 music player. And that’s about it, seeing that everything else is identical. Compared to other camera UIs, these two players are astounding for their stylish presentation, one that’s dynamic, thanks to the option of having a visualizer player and ability to display the lyrics as a song is being played.

Sporting that signature look, these two feature stereo front-firing speakers with HTC BoomSound. Strangely, we were actually shocked to find out that the HTC One M7’s speaker is technically the stronger one, since it’s able to churn out a maximum level of 78.2 dB measured with white noise – in comparison to the 73.9 dB mark of its successor. However, we prefer the quality from the M8, mainly because it produces the clearer, richer, and more commanding tones. As for the M7, its quality is still likeable, though a bit more subdued in tone. However, when the Beats Audio mode is turned off with the M7, its audio output is clearly flat.

Obviously, the two are more than equipped to play high definition videos without any fluff. As much as we enjoy using the two, our eyes continue to stray over to the HTC One M8’s display more, not only for the larger size, but for the iridescent glow surrounding it. That by itself shows the kind of subtle improvement needed to show people that the newer model has some tricks up its sleeve.

Headphones output power(Volts)Higher is better
HTC One(M8)1.28
HTC One0.68
Loudspeaker loudness(dB)Higher is better
HTC One(M8)75.2
HTC One78

Call Quality

HTC didn’t need to do too much with its latest flagship, just because last year’s HTC One already proved itself to be one fantastic device for phone calls. In fact, the good fortunes extend to the new HTC One as well, as its earpiece and speakerphone produce strong and vibrant voices that are easily audible in even the noisiest of environments. Better yet, the quality with both is mostly noise-free – placing even more emphasis on those wonderful toned voices.


This is certainly one area we were most surprised about, even more when the M7’s battery life didn’t amount to anything better than average results. Come to think about it, the significantly improved battery life of the M8 is attributed to the combination of having a larger 2600 mAh battery, up from the 2300 mAh from before, and its newer processor. Factoring in the battery optimizations in play with the Snapdragon 801 chipset, it powers the M8 to eclipse its predecessor in dramatic fashion. In fact, when we look at our battery benchmark tests, the HTC One M8’s tally of 7 hours, 12 minutes, blows away the 5 hours, 45 minutes figure of its predecessor.

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.
hoursHigher is better
HTC One(M8)
7h 12 min(Average)
5h 45 min(Poor)


HTC hit the mark in several areas with the M8, proving to us that they’re able to improve upon the foundation set forth by its predecessor. Even with all of the improvements, like its speedier performance, more stylish looks, and longer battery life, we can’t help but think about its camera. To tell you the truth, that’s single handedly the one thing we were hoping to see the most dramatic improvements. Rather, the generally quality of its photos remained unchanged before – enhanced instead by the myriad of duo effects courtesy of that secondary camera.

Now comes the matter of pricing, something that always becomes the focal point for any consumer purchase. The new HTC One M8 is going on sale for $200 with a 2-year contract with most carriers – a befitting mark for a brand spanking new flagship smartphone. In contrast, the M7 can probably be picked up for dirt cheap nowadays. Heck, it’s likely that it can be found for free even, depending on where you look naturally! Bearing that in mind, it’s only fitting for budget conscious individuals to pick up the older model, but if cost is not an issue, then it’s only logical to snag HTC’s latest flagship.

Quite simply, that’s probably going to be the biggest deciding factor. All roads point to the obvious here, where it’s painstakingly clear to pick up the newer device if you fancy the most cutting edge thing. You won’t be disappointed either, since improvements are seen in pretty much all aspects of the smartphone. Well, that still doesn’t mean you should totally disregard the aging model, seeing that it’s still a capable smartphone in itself. For what it’s worth, it can still tangle with some of the best – albeit, probably not at the highest capacity like its successor.

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