The HTC One M8 – Did the best just get better?

Last year HTC made a statement with the HTC One M7. That phone was spectacular, with its lighting fast internals, to its new more stylish approach to Android. We can’t forget about the thing that set it apart, that gorgeous build quality which gave Apple a run for its money. So this past week when HTC gave us their all new HTC M8. We couldn’t help but wondering, did the best just get better?

With the success of last year, the HTC One M8 is vying to repeat it all over again. Right off the bat HTC gives us even better internals than last year (if that’s possible). The 2600 mAh battery will just get you through the day.  We get arguably one of the fastest processors around, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, which runs at 2.3GHz. Along with 2GB of Ram, geek talk for insanely fast. You won’t go without storage with HTC’s new offering of 50GB extra storage on Google Drive, free for the first two years on either the 16\32GB models. But in the unlikely event that you do, the M8 comes with something its predecessor didn’t have: a microSD slot. With up to support for an extra 128GB in additional storage, is something sure to gain HTC some popularity.

With all the amazing specs you are sure to wonder: how does it perform in day to day use? Well a beast is an understatement. It is a serious contender for the best phone of 2014, and we’re not even half way through the year yet. It brings the user fast performance on top of Android 4.4.2 KitKat and HTC’s new Sense 6.0. If you were wondering if Sense could get any better, the answer is yes. 6.0 brings us modern fonts and icons and a new color pallet. Orange, green and purple are the new funky offerings. But if the colors are too “in your face”, there’s also the low key but stylish colors and fonts from last year, it’s on screen buttons make so much more sense from last year’s M7 and 6.0 also welcomes back BlinkFeed. HTC’s social media and news presenter. It is no longer a FlipBoard wanna be, but it’s now an established first choice offering onboard HTC devices. BlinkFeed not only brings back the traditional “customize yourself” news categories, but also brings the user new integration for their social media accounts. That’s right CNN, Instagram, Facebook and of course Geekanoids all in the same place.

But what’s on the outside? Well HTC brings us perhaps its defining feature: Build Quality. HTC brings back its aluminum casing that is literally sex on a phone. Its beautiful design is reported to be 90% aluminum compared to last year’s 70% on the M7. But reading this doesn’t give it just, you have to feel it. With its thin edges, and wide-radius corners its fit for a king and its 160g mass it feels just right in the pocket. The 5 inch LCD display is eye opening, with a resolution of 1080p and a pixel density of 441ppi is above and beyond most other Smartphone’s. BoomSound is better than ever, it is the best speakers on a phone even without Beats audio. HTC also brings more gesture based commands, that don’t always work, but are nice to have just the same.

But not all is as it seems, it’s still annoying to have the power button on the top next to the 3.5mm headphone jack, the outside casing as elaborate as is, isn’t totally invincible to scratching ( but there’s some beautiful cases out there) and perhaps the biggest thing holding it back: the camera. The M8 has a 4mp camera on the back that’s less than that of the 5mp front facing camera. HTC will claim that their Ultra Pixel design takes better low light pictures, but that just doesn’t cut it. Plus HTC took out possibly one of the only thing that made the M7’s camera good. Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). The company claimed it had to remove OIS in favour of its stereoscopic capture technology. But in good news the company also added its new duo camera design. This may not be the most visually pleasing on the physical design of the phone. But long story short it gives the M8 the ability  to refocus the picture after it is taken, which gives the user the choice to take more, what do the kids call it? Oh that’s right more “Artsy” pictures.

But where the HTC One M8 lacks, it makes up for it in performance, speed, and overall its workhorse approach. If you have a M7 I would say don’t upgrade, there’s nothing that’s a huge difference from last year’s model.  I’d recommend this phone to anyone coming from an iPhone to Android for the first time, if only for its build quality, as well for anyone who likes Android. BoomSound, BlinkFeed and all the extra goodies are sure to amaze you, and that build is to die for. I give this phone a solid 9/10, the only major thing holding it back is the camera. This phone is an absolute salute to amazing engineering and carefully executed planning. This phone will be an extremely welcomed companion for your pocket over the next two years. So what are you waiting for? Go out and get one, you’ll be glad you did.

Author: Ben SmithTwitter

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