HTC One M8 review

HTC One M8 review

T3 5
  • HTC’s new flagship has a new depth sensor but is it a worthy upgrade to the HTC One? Read our HTC One M8 review

    HTC One M8 review

    Love

    • Stunning build quality
    • Nice camera features
    • Run like a dream

    Hate

    • Dot View case is frustrating

    Update:HTC has once again launched a smaller, pared down version of its flagship smartphone in the form of the HTC One Mini 2. Previously, the brand launched the HTC One Mini as a cheaper follow-up to the original HTC One. Check out our HTC One Mini 2 hands-on review.

    The new HTC One M8 has finally landed (not the HTC One 2 or HTC M8, as it was rumoured to be called) and T3 was one of the first to get hold of the phone for an extended length of time.

    We were big fans of the HTC One here at T3 Towers, so much so that we named it Phone of the Year and Gadget of the Year at the 2013 T3 Awards.

    But can the follow-up possibly be as good? HTC has upped the ante on its new flagship considerably, with a sturdier metal body, bigger screen and a fancy hairline texture on the gunmetal grey version that feels great and oozes quality.

    The latest HTC Sense 6.0 UI and Android KitKat are here, along with an improved camera with depth sensor (more on that below).

    Going up against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5, the iPhone 5S the Sony Xperia Z2 and the Nokia Lumia 1020, the new HTC One M8 certainly has plenty of competition, but what does it bring to the table?

    HTC One M8: Size and build

    The HTC One also won the T3 Design Award last year, so were happy to report that HTC has stuck with a similar form factor with a few tweaks. The metal build on the back of the handset now stretches over the sides of the phone, which were previously plastic.

    Not only does this make it feel even more premium, its also a lot stronger than before. The buttons are also far more robust. The volume rocker on the original HTC One was a little on the flimsy side thankfully that's been rectified.

    And the headphone port, previously on the top of the HTC One has been moved to the underside of the M8, which makes far more sense when slipping the phone into your pocket.

    WATCH: HTC One M8 unboxing video:


    The profile is very slightly thinner (9.3mm) and more rounded off than on the previous model meaning that the phone is just that little bit more comfy in the hand.

    Its also slightly longer, and the soft keys have moved onto the screen, giving you plenty more display to work with.

    The new M8 is available in three shades - arctic silver (the original HTC One's flagship colour) a new amber gold hue, plus gunmetal grey - the flagship colour. The latter also sports a subtle hairline texture on the rear of the phone.

    Tipping the scales at 160g, the HTC One M8 is heavier than both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5S, but marginally lighter than the 163g Sony Xperia Z2.

    READ: HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

    Make no mistake, the M8 is a thing of beauty. It doesn't feel overly heavy in the hand, but it has a satisfying premium weight to it. The brushed metal finish on the gunmetal grey version oozes build quality, and the whole thing feels robust with a few small tweaks that improve upon the original HTC One.

  • The new HTC flagship has a new depth sensor but is it a worthy upgrade to the HTC One? Read our HTC One M8 hands-on review

    HTC One M8 review

    Love

    • Stunning build quality
    • Nice camera features
    • Run like a dream

    Hate

    • Dot View case is frustrating

    The new HTC One (M8) has finally landed (not the HTC One 2 or HTC M8, as it was rumoured to be called) and T3 was treated to an early preview.

    We were big fans of the HTC One here at T3 Towers, so much so that we named it Phone of the Year and Gadget of the Year at the 2013 T3 Awards. But can the new HTC One M8 possibly be as good?

    HTC has upped the ante on its new flagship considerably, with a sturdier metal body, bigger screen and a fancy hairline texture on the ‘metal grey’ version that feels great and oozes quality.

    The latest HTC Sense 6.0 UI and Android KitKat are here, along with an improved camera with depth sensor (more on that below).

    Going up against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5, the iPhone 5S the Sony Xperia Z2 and the Nokia Lumia 1020, the new HTC One M8 certainly has plenty of competition but what does it bring to the table. Article continues after our extended HTC One M8 hands-on video.

    HTC One M8: Size and build

    One of the things we loved about the first HTC One was the design and we're happy to report that HTC has stuck with a similar form factor with a few tweaks.

    The metal build on the back of the handset now stretches over the sides of the phone, which were previously plastic. Not only does this make it feel even more premium, it's also a lot stronger than before.

    The profile is very slightly thinner (9.3mm) and more rounded off than on the previous model meaning that the phone is just that little bit more comfy in the hand. It's also slightly longer.

    Tipping the scales at 160g, the new M8 is available in three shades - 'arctic silver (the original HTC One's flagship colour) a new 'amber gold' hue, plus 'metal grey' - the flagship colour. The latter also sports a subtle hairline texture on the rear of the phone.

    HTC One M8: Features

    The One M8 features a spruced up version of HTC's Blinkfeed along with the latest HTC Sense 6.0 UI [insert Sixth Sense gags here].

    The new Instant Access feature means that a number of the phone's sensors are always on alert so that you swipe once to turn on the phone. Swipe left and the phone will show you Blinkfeed. Swipe up and it'll open your last application, turn the phone to landscape and it'll open the camera and a quick double-tap will show you the lock screen.

    HTC is no longer sporting the Beats name, but the Boomsound speaker has been redesigned so that it can now amplify with a wider frequency meaning stronger bass and a clearer mid-range. HTC's claims that it's now 25% louder - we listened to the Everything is Awesome song from the The Lego Movie and compared it with the original HTC One and the sound was noticeably richer and clearer on the new model.

    Fitbit’s app comes preinstalled and will use the One M8’s sensors to act as a pedometer without a fitness band.

    As you'd expect, the phone also sports NFC and LTE (4G) connectivity.

    HTC One M8: Screen

    At 5 inches, the screen on the the One M8 is slightly bigger than the 4.7-inch screen on the original HTC One. The screen has full HD resolution of 1920x1080, with a pixel density of 441ppi and looks every bit as good as the clear, vibrant screen on its predecessor.

    HTC One M8: Camera

    HTC is still refusing to be drawn into the megapixel showdown and instead sticking to the same 4-'ultrapixel' camera that it had on the HTC One. New to the party is a depth sensor on the back of the camera which enables you to refocus your snaps after you've taken them, similar to the Lytro light field camera.

    You simply tap the screen to refocus the image and blur the rest of the picture - we were very impressed with the results and how easy it was to get them.

    There's also a Parallax mode - similar to the iPhone 5s, where you can tilt the phone effectively tilt the angle of the image slightly as well. The degree to which you can tilt the picture is pretty small so we can't really see a great use for this, but it's a neat gimmick to show off in the pub.

    HTC's Zoe mode is back again, automatically stitching together movie clips from videos and photos that you've taken and HTC will also be introducing a Zoe app for other Android phones to you'll be able to make colloborative clips with your pals.

    The camera also now includes a dedicated 'Selfie' mode (basically just a shortcut to the 5MP front-facing cam) and there's  also a dual capture model which can take snaps from both the back and front cameras at the same time.

    You'll also get full manual controls - such as ISO and exposure - although you can always stick to the auto mode if you prefer.

    And of course there's a comprehensive selection of Instagram-style filters plus effects that be added to your pics such as snow or flower petals. Watch our HTC One M8 camera demo below.

    HTC One M8: Performance

    The One M8 features the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quadcore processor, with clock speed of 2.3GHz. We found navigating around the home screen and menus to be nice and speedy (even though this wasn't a final version) and we didn't see any noticeable lag.

    Along with 2GB of RAM, there's a standard 16GB of built-in memory but you can expand up to 128GB thanks to the micro SD card slot.

    HTC One M8: Battery

    The new handset has a 2600mAh battery on board - a slight boost compared to the original One's 2300mAh battery. Obviously we haven't had time to test the battery out in full just yet, but if the previous model is anything to go by, you should get at least a day's use out of it before having to recharge.

    HTC One M8: HTC Dot View case

    HTC has come up with a brand new rubber case - known as the HTC Dot View case - which gives the appearance of an old-school dot matrix display.

    The flip cover contains magnets that correspond with the phone and turn on the screen so that it shines through tiny holes in cover to create the retro effect. You can simply tap the top cover of the case to check the time without having to open it and fire up the whole screen. You can also view other basic functions like weather and battery status.

    The case will be available in a range of colours and we reckon it won’t be long before some bright sparks will come up with some form of 8-bit game to go with it (our money’s on Pong).

    HTC One M8: Verdict

    Our first impressions of the new HTC One M8 were all good - we like the tweaked design and we were impressed by the new camera features, the improved speakers and we also like the new Dot View case.

    The older HTC One will continue to be sold be the timebeing (presumably at a reduced price), though it will eventually be phased out.

    We'll be bringing you a full review very, very shortly- stay tuned...

    HTC One M8 release date: Late March/Early April 2014

    HTC One M8 price: TBC

    • HTC One M8 review: Hands-on
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    • Video
      HTC One M8 unboxing

      Fresh from the launch, we take a look inside the HTC One M8 official box

      01:57
    • Video
      HTC One M8 camera demo

      We take the M8's camera through it's paces in our extended-demo

      02:57

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