The unique HTC One was (and nonetheless is) a mighty superb phone. Considered one of only a few Androids that would rival the iPhone within the appears division whereas additionally doing everything else we count on of a flagship phone, it was a shoo-in for our 2013 Smartphone of the Year Award. After which, on the last minute, the LG G2 arrived and stole its thunder. And who could’ve seen that coming? We actually didn’t.
HTC’s plan to reclaim the highest spot in our smartphones Top 10 is a simple one: Extra of every part. Extra battery, extra display, extra energy, extra cameras and much more metallic.
Extra is not at all times higher, however, within the case of the HTC One (M8) it’s carried out simply the trick.
Questioning what the “M” in “M8” stands for? It’s “steel”. Apparently, that is the eighth-generation metallic HTC – therefore M8. And also you thought it was simply strive-hard textual content.
There’s really 20% extra steel within the One (M8) than the original One (roughly equal to a bounce from Iron Maiden to Slayer), and whereas the original One regarded somewhat like a plastic phone with metallic panels, the One (M8) feels as if it has been hewn from a single piece of cool, clean aluminium.
There are some Stuff staffers who really feel a number of the original One’s design aptitude has been misplaced on the M8, due primarily to the rounded edges, however, no-one can deny the improved ergonomics of that completely rounded again. It is a phone that matches within the hand superbly – much more so than its predecessor, regardless of practically a centimeter improve in peak and 2.4mm increase in width. Depth stays the identical at 9.3mm.
If you happen to just like the machined strains throughout the again of our pattern phone, greatest go for a similar Metallic Gray end – the Arctic Silver and Amber Gold variants don’t have that pretty little aesthetic flourish. All three are fairly in their very own proper, however to our eyes Metallic Gray fits the One (M8) better of the three anyway.
Lovely machining is an enormous a part of the One’s attraction, from the rows of tiny, meticulously reduce holes for the audio system at prime and backside (extra on which later), to the sunshine-catching bevelling on each edge, together with across the camera lenses. It’s a little bit unusual, then, that the quantity rocker protrudes fairly a great distance from the fitting edge. It makes it simple to seek out without trying, nevertheless it’s a barely sharp blemish to the in any other case impeccably dressed body.
The chassis has expanded for one major motive – to facilitate a much bigger display. Phabletophobes needn’t panic, although, because the M8 is not any finger-stretching large – fairly, it is had a reasonably modest dimension enhance from the unique One’s 4.7in show to a brand new 5in panel.
However the 1920×1080 decision stays, and meaning there’s truly been a slight drop in pixel density from 468ppi to 441ppi. Generally use that’s an imperceptible loss, and textual content and icons (a few of which have elevated in measurement to utilize the bigger show) are very sharp indeed. Colors are satisfyingly vibrant however by no means over-cooked, and off-axis viewing may be very spectacular certainly.
Examine an HD video facet-by-aspect and there’s a marginal loss in sharpness in comparison with the unique One. The palette leans just a bit in the direction of the green side, too, however neither of those traits are noticeable with out going all nerdily comparative. What is straight away noticeable to anybody with eyes is that additional show house, which makes a far larger (and fully positive) distinction than both of these minor flaws. Be in little doubt – it is a actually lovely display screen.
The HTC One (M8) is the quickest phone we’ve examined.
With an AnTuTu rating of 36,149, it is manner above the outdated HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, and somewhat higher than the likes of the LG G2, Sony Xperia Z Ultraand even the mighty Galaxy Note 3. The numbers aren’t vastly larger, however going proper to the highest is an enormous symbolic win for HTC.
However as a petrolhead would have it – energy’s no good in case you can’t put it down on the observe. And the One M8 positively places it down on the monitor. Within the comparatively quick time we’ve thus far had with it, we’ve thrown every part we probably can at it – HD motion pictures, graphics-intensive video games, benchmarking instruments, continually updating apps – and we’re but to see a lot as a stutter. The quick fluidity of every part it does makes dwelling with the brand new One an countless pleasure.
It’s all all the way down to a brand new chip, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801. In some ways it’s “merely” a juiced-up Snapdragon 800, however that’s nonetheless sufficient to energy HTC’s flagship to new heights in smartphone efficiency.
Will it keep on high of the efficiency charts for lengthy? We suspect not. The Snapdragon 801 may even energy the incoming Samsung Galaxy S5. Whether or not Samsung can use it to create a consumer expertise that’s sooner and smoother in actual life than that of the One (M8) is one other query altogether – we will’t watch for that individual showdown.
HTC continues to carefully object to the megapixel conflict, as an alternative sticking to its mild-gobbling UltraPixel weapons. The One (M8) has mainly the identical 4.1 UltraPixel sensor as was discovered on the original One, however now it’s joined by a devoted depth sensor to create what the company’s calling a Duo camera. And the Duo digital camera is kind of a factor.
Keep in mind the Lytro, the camera that might focus after your snap was taken? The One (M8)’s principally acquired a type of constructed-in. Take your image, choose the UFocus choice and faucet a degree on-display screen and that turns into the main target level, with throughout blurring in an exquisite bokeh impact. And it’s not a fireplace-as soon as characteristic – you’ll be able to faucet to alter the main target level as a lot as you want.
You’ll be able to scream “gimmick” all you want – we’re fairly assured that many extra people will make use of the refocus impact than will ever crop, blow-up or print their smartphone snaps.
That’s key to HTC’s method. The One (M8) loses out to the likes of the LG G2 in the case of tremendous element, however that’s solely actually uncovered by way of shut scrutiny and zooming. Use your photos as most do – for sharing vacation snaps, meals porn and selfies – and the One seems simply as sharp. What’s extra, it’s obtained a very properly balanced, lifelike-however-vibrant color palette, and is a cracking camera for capturing get together motion – the sensor finds gentle the place others see solely darkness, and when it’s lastly defeated by lighting situations the twin-LED flash works to steadiness colors and produce pure pores and skin tones.
When you do need a gimmick, you’ll be able to have one. Dimension Plus primarily 3Difies your image through the use of the depth sensor to work out the sides of a particular object. You possibly can then use the phone’s movement sensors to change the angles. Whereas not flawless (it may be confused by some edges, making a enjoyable warping of the picture), it’s fairly spectacular tech. The issue is that there’s no actual goal to it – you’ll do it a handful of instances in your first weekend with the phone after which by no means contact it once more.
You’ll, nevertheless, make use of the Zoe Highlights Video function lengthy into your phone’s life.
A lot liked by current One house owners, Highlights teams all your pics and video from explicit moments and occasions and turns them right into a enjoyable montage. It’d sound somewhat like what grandparents do after they get again from vacation, however consider us after we say the outcomes are far cooler and much much less boring than that. What’s extra, Highlights are getting extra social with the One M8. You and your folks can share your pics and video from the identical occasion and the software program mechanically combines all of them into one video, even going as far as to time-synch the lot as a way to get totally different angles on the same moment. Seeing as we have been testing the one remaining One M8 within the UK, we weren’t capable of give this characteristic a go, however that received’t be an issue for many who purchase the phone – there are even going to be suitable apps for different Androids and even iOS gadgets very shortly.
Fairly simple, this one. The old One had a 2300mAh battery, the brand new One (M8) has a 2600mAh battery. It’s little shock, then, that the M8 outlasts its predecessor. What’s extra stunning is that in our ordinary battery rundown check (looping HD video, half brightness, Wi-Fi on) the One (M8) matched the LG G2’s energy drain, dropping a mere 6% each hour.
That’s spectacular, however it doesn’t imply the HTC can match the fantastically frugal LG basically use. In truth, over a weekend we discovered ourselves charging the One M8 simply as a lot because the common One – it’s going to final the day however not far more. Except, that’s, you deploy its genius Excessive Energy Saving mode, which kills every little thing aside from a Kids Mode-model display screen of phone, Messages, Emails, Calendar, Calculator and an enormous Exit tile. Greater than price it for a 40% longer battery.
MORE INTELLIGENT NEWS
For individuals who aren’t already aware of it, Blinkfeed collects social media posts and information out of your favorite sources, along with calendar appointments, and gathers them in a superbly introduced pane of your Dwelling display. You’re not simply restricted to the 1400-odd official HTC content material companions, however can add any RSS feed you want. Extra impressively, the HTC now screens your exercise, works out what most pursuits you and presents that first. Make it your default Residence display and each time you flip the phone on you’re handled to a snap shot of the information and pals’ exercise that’s most attention-grabbing to you. Within the time we had with it, Sense 6 Blinkfeed was sensible, and it ought to turn out to be even higher the extra you use it.
Nicely, only one extra sensor – a barometer – however what’s intelligent is that a number of of the present sensors (gyro,accelerometer, proximity sensor) now stay awake even when the phone is asleep. This at all times-on Sensor Hub means some enjoyable new options comparable to built-in Fitbit monitoring – now you can track steps, distance and energy with no bodily tracker as on the iPhone 5s.
It additionally introduces LG G2-like wake functions. When the display is off you possibly can double-tap to wake it and double-tap to clean it once more, allowing you to quickly test the time or your updates. You may as well swipe in from the appropriate to get to your homescreen, or from the left to completely open Blinkfeed. From the underside unlocks to the final app you had open, and from the top is voice calls. All of it makes the One (M8) a faster, slicker device day-to-days.
Maybe the most awesome use of the brand new sensors, although, is the Dot View Case (£tba). Double tap its rubbery dot-matrix cover to get retro time and weather updates or see if that vibration was a message or e-mail. And switch morning alarms off by swiping the clock animation by way of the case. We’re detest to cover the One (M8) up however Dot View wins us over.
HTC and Beats have parted company, however that doesn’t imply the brand new One isn’t serious about sound. Quite the opposite, the BoomSound stereo audio system on the high and backside are 25% louder than these on the earlier One, which is clearly good information for anybody attempting to have a peaceable journey to work on the bus.
In equity, the audio system do additionally sound higher than earlier than, producing clearer voices from YouTube movies and fewer tinny audio from video games, however truthfully, except you actually need another person to listen to what you’re enjoying, please use headphones – they sound infinitely higher and so they received’t annoy everybody round you.
HTC ONE (M8) VERDICT
Chucking extra of every thing at your flagship phone appears an all-too simple method to get your self to the highest, however in HTC’s defence it’s not almost so simple as it sounds.
There’s a cautious balancing act to be achieved. An even bigger display screen requires extra power, extra energy requires extra battery, and all of these items require extra room – onerous to seek out with out messing up a design thought by many to be essentially the most trendy ever to grace an Android handset.
However HTC has achieved simply that with the One (M8), and launched different options which may initially appear comparatively trivial however may nicely be the issues that individuals use and recognize most each day.
Inside a matter of weeks we’re going to see the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2 and probably even the LG G3. We’ll be mighty stunned if each certainly one of them isn’t extra highly effective and extra pixel-packed than the M8.
However will they really carry out higher, and can they be as good to carry and to dwell with? That is far much less sure – however it received’t be lengthy earlier than we discover out. Till then, take pleasure in your time on the high, HTC.
HTC One (M8) Tech Specs
Battery – 2600mAh
Dimensions/weight – 146x71x9.4mm/160g