HTC One M8 : Hands on Review

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HTC recently launched its latest flagship device, One M8 in Pakistan. This new device builds upon the success of last year’s highly acclaimed HTC One M7.

We managed to briefly get our hands on this gorgeous device and prepared a short review for your consideration.

Let’s start with what you’ll find inside the sleek and stylish box:

  • HTC One M8
  • Handsfree with call controls
  • USB Charging adapter
  • Data cable
  • SIM & Memory card slot ejector
  • Manuals

Design:

Just like its predecessor, M8 is a pure metal phone. According to HTC, last year’s M7 body was made with 70 percent metal which is increased to 90 percent in this year’s HTC One M8.

We have got the Gunmetal Gray color of M8, which gives a brushed metal finish and the curves are more visible which looks striking. The new device is a little bigger and taller than the original One.

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Front side is dominated by a large 5-inch SLCD (1080p resolution and 441 ppi pixel density) with a layer of Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The screen is very sharp and responsive, white balance & brightness are excellent with great viewing angles.

Above the screen you’ll find, 5-megapixel front facing camera along with light and proximity sensors. The top BoomSound speaker also serves as the ear-speaker during calls while the notifications LED is embedded alongside the speaker.

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Below the screen there is the second BoomSound speaker with HTC logo above it. Touch sensitive keys are now removed and are part of software, with an addition of recent apps key.

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The nano-SIM card slot is on the left and microSD card slot along with the volume rockers is on right. Volume rocker is now a little more raised and offers better feedback when pressed.

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The IR blaster and power/lock key is on the top. Most of the phones these days come with power button either on the right or left, top position makes it a little hard to reach there but with HTC now you can also wake up the phone by just double tapping the screen.

MicroUSB port and 3.5mm headphones jack are located on the bottom. The microphone is not visible anywhere which means it is also embedded in the BoomSound speaker.

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The backside of the phone is quite interesting, as you will find two cameras along with two-tone dual-LED flash. Metal makes it difficult to transmit wireless signals therefore two plastic strips sit across the top and bottom, which covers the antennas and host the noise cancellation mic.

Curved design makes HTC One M8 very easy to handle and the metal gives a premium feel, but there is a drawback of all metal design: the phone get extremely hot when using resource hungry applications or when you take it outside in this hot summer season.

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Operating System & UI:

M8 runs on Android 4.4.2 out of the box along with Sense 6, HTC’s custom user interface. The user interface is quite similar to what we had seen on M7 and other HTC devices, but with some useful additions.

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The first of new additions is Motion Launch —  now you don’t have to reach the power key to unlock the device, simply double tap to wake.

Slide up to wake & unlock, slide down to quickly go to call menu and slide right or left to go to homescreen or BlinkFeed.

UI now gives a more flat look, with slightly changed icons, but the functionality is almost the same. The left screen features BlinkFeed and on the right there are the homescreens.

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The new version of Sense also has a dedicated Car mode screen, which shows icons for basic controls. It also features Kid mode, which allows you to make a separate profile for kids and restrict their access only to certain applications.

Sense TV app allows you control your TV, set top box and home theatre system by using the IR blaster. It also gives you a TV guide for the channels in your area. Another new app bundled with M8 is Fitbit, which allows you to use HTC M8 as a pedometer.

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Sense 6 also has a new music application, featuring a cool visualizer and the ability to download song lyrics to the phone. Coupled with the BoomSound speakers it gives you a great experience listening songs on this device.

Hardware & Performance:

HTC One M8 is packed with a Qulacomm Snapdragon 801 SoC, 2.5GHz quad-core processor and Adreno 330 GPU. It features 2GB DDR3 RAM and 16/32GB Internal memory with an option to expand it via microSD card.

It is a well-known fact, that manufacturers use score-boosting techniques to get better benchmark results and HTC is not different. But the top-notch premium hardware of M8 makes it extremely fast and fluid in real life usage. You won’t notice any lag and it runs all the resource hungry applications without breaking a sweat.

M8 is a 4G phone, sadly no operator has launched 4G services in Pakistan yet, but 3G services work just fine on this device. Despite all the metal — interfering with signals — the call quality is pretty good.

Have a look at some of the benchmarks:

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Camera & Video:

While other manufacturers are busy pouring more and more “megapixels” to the phone camera, HTC has decided to stick with a 4-megapixel primary camera, just like the last year.

There is however an addition of second camera on back (which is quite unusual). This second camera doesn’t take any pictures rather its job is to measure the depth of the scene. The new gimmick allows you to add some interesting effects to your photos, like blurred background or the ability to focus later.

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The primary camera(s) is also equipped with a Dual LED flash, which utilizes two LEDs in different colors. So the camera system can produce more natural looking light for the photos.

As expected the image quality of the primary camera is nothing extra-ordinary. Although the quick auto-focus and shutter speeds are very impressive, but the lack of detail and sometimes over-exposed shots are not so much of fun and quality.

The primary camera can also shoot 1080p videos @ 30fps. The video quality is actually pretty good, however the lack of OIS is a bummer.

Interestingly HTC One M8 is probably the first phone to have a higher resolution camera on the front. The 5-megapixel sensor coupled with a F2.0 lens enables you to capture selfies or you can use it for video calling.

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Camera interface of M8 has also been simplified, though the use of Ufocus feature is a bit tricky.

The mode selector allows you to quickly navigate between the most used features of the camera. The settings button in the bottom left gives you access to the scene setting, ISO, exposure white balance, filter effects and some other camera Settings.

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Camera also features Zoe (which takes stills and video at the same time to let the phone make a highlights reel. Gallery app has also been updated which also allows you to create a nice animation from your still photos.

Battery Performance:

HTC One M8 is packed with a 2600mAh battery. According to the company claims the new device manages to provide 40% longer battery life than the last year’s flagship device, as not only battery capacity has been increased but the newer Snapdragon processors are also energy efficient.

The phone takes almost two hours to charge if the battery is fully drained.

For most of the power users, who use their phone quite often for taking photos, play games and use internet with 3G ─ The battery won’t last for more than a day.

For those folks who want to extend the battery life to a couple or more days, there is the Power Saver mode. Which limits the efficiency of the phone, so you can get more time to play with your phone.

There is also an extreme power saving mode, which allows you to extend the battery life a few extra hours, when it is about to die.

You can automatically set this mode to kick in when the battery gets very low too.

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Price & Availability:

HTC One M8 is available in the market for a price of Rs. 75,000 with one year warranty of Brightex all over Pakistan.

It is a high end device, so definitely it would cost more, but I think it is overpriced. The competition is offering much better devices at lower rates ─ especially if you compare it with Galaxy S5 or Xperia Z2.

Verdict:

HTC One M8 is undoubtedly the best phone from the Taiwanese manufacturer to date. This device is packed with the superior hardware and the build quality is excellent. The shiny metal body looks and feels a lot better than the cheap plasticky phones out there, though it could get you in trouble during summers.

There are some areas that need improvement, especially the camera department, but no doubt M8 is a classic high-end device.

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Do share your opinion about HTC One M8, in the comments section below. If you have any queries don’t shy, we’ll try our best to provide a satisfactory answer.

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  • Eli Ehsan

    Really! 7/10 in Battery?! i’ve been “POWER-USING” this device for 3 months now! and I’d gladly give it 8.5/10 in battery performance. In fact its Heap loads better than SamDung S5 & Z2…

    • Battery performance is good enough but it is nothing “extra-ordinary”. You shouldn’t compare it with Z2 having 600mAh more capacity.

      • Eli Ehsan

        My bad! bit clumsy in typing model names! i was referring to the Latest Sony xperia Flagship (whatever that be called). and Re: battery not being “extra-ordinary”! so trust me bro! S5, Nexus 5, LG G3, Xperia Z(whatever) ain’t got nothing over HTC’s.

  • Akram

    3/5 seriously ?? All the leading reviewers are saying this is the best smartphone in market. Check the awards won by M7 last year.

    • My bad, the stars don’t reflect the overall score. Let me change the image :/

      • SDKforLumia

        I agree with u Zohair bhai, this is definitely 1 of the most overrated phones of the last 3 or so years. Only because it has a metal chassis doesn’t make it the best droid out there. 1 can either accept this simple fact or live a life of ignorance.
        I mean, can anyone from HTC give me 1 single good reason why they omitted OIS from this model despite it being the only saving grace of previous model’s dumb camera?? 2ndly, can someone explain to me how could Sony manage a 0.2 inches bigger screen into the same hight and with additional benefits of waterproofing and dust resistance and still giving front speakers which HTC is so foolishly singing all the time about?? To me, honestly, among all the 2014 flagship upgrades, this 1 is the biggest disappointment with LG G3 coming as 2nd. No offence but look deeper, it really is a DISAPPOINTMENT in ( almost ) all the required departments

  • خورشید آزاد

    No doubt htc produced a brilliant smartphone after htc desire…the price way too high….in hong kong you can get this device for Rs 45000.

  • sana

    hate its back cover design. Plus no resale value of this phone

    • Rizwan Yaqoob

      Buying a high-end smartphone considering its resale value? I think we’d come out of this #€&@ now.

  • جنید

    رات کے وقت کم روشنی میں تصویر کھینچ کر دیکھنا… بیک گراؤنڈ میں پرپل کلر آتا ہے یا نہیں… میرے سیٹ میں یہ مسئلہ ہے… سرچ کیا تو پتا چلا ھزاروں سیٹ میں یہ مسئلہ آیا ہے

  • SDKforLumia

    what about video preview?

  • Rizwan Yaqoob

    Only if they had used 8MP or above camera and shrink bezels (specially the bottom one), HTC could manage to come out of crisis and grab more market share. Overall rating: 6/10 (IMO)

  • xubairAhmed

    @kofmzc:disqus – where are the sample still images ?