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HTC One (M8) Review: Man of Steel

HTC did a great job with last year One (M7) and it is awarded as the best smartphone of 2013. After one year the successor of One (M7) has announced with more premium build material and better specifications in town. Can the One (M8) manages to win out against other flagship devices this year?

HTC One (M8) official photos

- Dimensions: 146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
- Weight: 160 g
- Display: 5" Super LCD 3 Full HD (1,080 x 1,920 pixels)
- Processor: 2.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
- RAM: 2 GB
- Memory: 16 GB, microSD card slot
- Camera: 4 MP UltraPixel Duo Camera, 1080p video recording, 5 MP front
- Battery: 2,600 mAh
- OS: Android 4.4 Jelly Bean

The One (M8) is just beautiful, it follows the footstep of its predecessor with metal body. The new One (M8) has more solid feel than its predecessor thanks to a body with even more metal (90% over 70% from the M7).

HTC One (M8) front (left) and back (right)

We got the Gracial Silver version of the One (M8), which is less impressive compared to the Gunmetal Grey as the brushed design is only exclusive for Gunmetal Grey.

A look on top of the display (left) and below the display (right)

Sitting on top of the display, there are a earpiece, sensors and 5 MP front-facing shooter. The bottom speaker and HTC logo are just right below the display. The mouthpiece is likely located within the speaker grille as it is not visible. HTC has gave up the off-screen capacitive buttons on the M8 and follow the Nexus device with on-screen navigation buttons.

The right side of the phone (left) and the left side of the phone (right)

The volume rocker and microSD card slot are at the right side of the phone, while the nano-SIM tray is at the left side.

A look on top the phone (left) and below the phone (right)

The top of the M8 looks like the TV remote control as the it features IR port that can remote your TV. Sadly the power/lock button is still located at the top, which is very hard to access. Below the phone there's a microUSB port alongside with the 3.5 mm audio jack.

Close up to the Duo Camera

Unlike most of the Android flagship device, the One (M8) has Duo Camera on its back and it is the first Android smartphone to come with two-tone dual-LED flash after Apple iPhone 5s.

Handling of HTC One (M8)

The curved back design of the M8 gives good handling. However the metal build material is quite slippery, so putting a casing on it is recommended.

The HTC One (M8) sports a 5" Full HD Super LCD 3 display with the pixel density of 441 ppi. The display is larger than its predecessor but the on-screen navigating buttons did fill up some space.

The HTC One (M8) has a 5" display

The M8 has one of the best 1080p display with its bright and sharp display. Super LCD 3 display never disappoint us with wide viewing angles and above average contrast, though it is not as contrast as the AMOLED display.

The HTC One (M8) is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor backed up by 2.5 GHz quad-core CPU and Adreno 330 GPU. The Snapdragon 801 processor performs smooth gaming experience and multitasking is not a problem with 2 GB of RAM.

The benchmark results of the HTC One (M8)

It scored 25,934 on Quadrant Standard and 36,497 on AnTuTu benchmark, which is currently the highest score in its category.

The HTC One (M8) runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat with latest Sense 6 UI. The latest Sense 6 UI brings revamped design with simple and clean interface.

The HTC One (M8) is running on Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Sense 6 UI

The HTC Sense 6 UI basically looks same to the Sense 5/5.5, but it does come with a ton of great features.

HTC One (M8) Sense 6 lockscreen

The Sense 6 lockscreen is more polished, swiping up takes you to the last app you used, while swiping to the left or to the right will take you to the homescreen or BlinkFeed respectively.

The Motion Launch feature

The One (M8) features Motion Launch gestures, which allow users perform gestures to wake or unlock the screen without pressing the power/lock button.

HTC One (M8) homescreen and apps drawer

Perhaps the biggest difference between Sense 6 and Sense 5/5.5 is the presence of on-screen navigation buttons. HTC Sense 6 is fast, plus the powerful processing power, everything just runs smoothly without any hiccup.

HTC BlinkFeed

HTC BlinkFeed now looks flatter and it follows the colour theme you've set. It aggregates content from social networks and news sources. You can pick interested topics and even search for specific content in BlinkFeed.

Managing widgets and homescreen panels

The good news is if you don't like the BlinkFeed, you can remove the BlinkFeed panel if you wish. You can add maximum five homescreens plus BlinkFeed to the M8. Anyone of them can be set as default - including the BlinkFeed.

Theme options

One feature we really like from the HTC Sense 4/4+ is that user can customize the phone with different skins and scenes. However HTC has removed this feature from Sense 5/5.5. Although Sense 6 is almost same as Sense 5/5.5 but thankfully you can choose the theme and the colour scheming will change depending on which theme you choose.

Notification area and quick settings

The notification area and the quick settings power toggles stay unchanged. You can access the quick settings by tapping the upper right corner or through a two finger swipe from the status bar.

Recent apps

The recent apps interface looks better now but it can only save up to nine recent apps you've used. Thankfully you can now clear the recent apps once by tapping the close button at the upper right corner.

Font style

With HTC Sense 6, you can now choose the font style and you can get those fonts online too.

Extreme Power Saving mode

The key feature of the M8 is the Extreme Power Saving mode. The Extreme Power Saving mode restricts the background data and only allows user to use some basic apps such as phone, messaging, mail, calendar and calculator apps.

The HTC One (M8) packs a 4 MP camera with UltraPixel technology on its back. Unlike other flagship devices, the M8 features Duo Camera which comes with a ton of nice features.

The camera interface

The camera interface has changed from previous Sense version, the camera shutter and video recording buttons are now not separate instead of staying at the same screen.

The camera modes

The latest Sense 6 camera interface offers different modes - Auto, Night, HDR, Panorama, Anti-shake, Manual, Portrait, Landscape, Backlight, Text and Macro mode.

Outdoor shoot

The outdoor image quality has accurate colour but it lacks of details due to the low resolution camera. Noise are present but overall it has a noticeable improvement over the One (M7).

Indoor shoots

The One (M8) did well on indoor shots,  it is able to shoot enough details and the colour is accurate. However the photos are slightly over exposed in certain scenes.

Macro shoots

Nothing much complain about its macro image quality, the images have enough details and it did even better than some devices with higher resolution camera.

Low-light shoots - Auto mode (Left) / Night mode (Middle) / Flash on (Right)

The 4 MP UltraPixel camera with f/2.0 aperture promises is able to shoot more lights than other devices. At the end it turns out good results as we have tested it with nearly no light condition. Small amount of details are still noticeable and the two-tone dual-LED flash did quite a great job to decrease the noise level and gain more details in the photos, as well as producing more realistic colours.

Duo Camera effects

With Duo Camera, the One (M8) is able to add effects on the photos, but before that you need to make sure that you didn't block the Duo Camera.

Photo effects: Normal | UFocus (1) | UFocus (2) | Sketch | Cartoon | Colourise | Zoom Blur

The new image effects bring the photography on mobile to another level. The UFocus effect is basically same as Nokia Refocus feature, but it takes faster time to capture the images thanks to the Duo Camera.

The One (M8) has a slightly larger 2,600 mAh battery over its predecessor (2,300 mAh). Based on our test, it is able to last for around 5 hours for heavy usage with mobile data all day on. The Extreme Power Saving mode did a great job for saving battery when the device is low-battery.

Final thought
The HTC One (M8) is priced at RM 2,399, which is same price as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2.

Samsung Galaxy S5 (Left) / Sony Xperia Z2 (Right)

The Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Sony Xperia Z2 are the closest competitor to the HTC One (M8). Both devices have higher resolution camera (Galaxy S5 16 MP and Xperia Z2 20.7 MP) with 4K video recordings and, dust and water resistant. However the M8 is better in build quality and the dual-frontal stereo speakers, and Sense 6 is fast and more stable comparing to the TouchWiz UI and Xperia UI.

- Premium build quality
- Decent speakers
- Fast and stable user interface

- Relatively low resolution camera
- Slightly longer than current flagship devices

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