|Style & Handling|
|Incredible build||Camera resolution is disappointing|
|Great display screen|
Verdict:The HTC One M8 is a near perfect successor to the HTC One, with an even better build, improved specs and battery life and smart new camera features.
The HTC One took the world by storm. Combining an Apple-worthy eye for design with an innovative camera and top end specs. It was always going to be a tough act to follow but HTC has clearly put its all into the One M8, to deliver a worthy successor with a bigger screen, an impossibly good build and even better specs than the original.
The HTC One M8 will face some tough competition from the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2, but it’s certainly come prepared.
The HTC One M8 is an incredibly striking handset, with a gorgeous curved, brushed aluminium chassis and rarely a hint of plastic in sight. It feels as good as it looks too, with none of the cheapness of plastic, though the metal can be a little cold.
The front of the phone doesn’t look quite as good as it’s mostly just screen, albeit with a BoomSound speaker above and below the display. Those speakers are responsible for some of the best sound we’ve ever encountered on a phone, with rich, loud tones and they don’t look bad either, but HTC has opted for plastic grills rather than metal ones. Acoustically that’s probably a wise move but it does rather fly in the face of the otherwise premium design.
The HTC One M8 is 146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4mm and 160g, which is mostly pretty normal for a 5 inch handset, but it’s a little thicker than most of the competition. That’s understandable though as it has a curved back which fits comfortably in the hand and we’ll happily take an extra millimetre of thickness for a comfortable grip.
With a 2.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and 2GB of RAM the HTC One M8 certainly doesn’t need to worry about a lack of power. Technically the Galaxy S5, Xperia Z2 and OnePlus One all slightly edge it out but it’s not as if Android really leverages the extra power those handsets are packing anyway, so you’re not going to notice.
The HTC One M8 proved supremely speedy whether playing games, streaming videos or browsing the web, so there’s really no usage case where you’re likely to find yourself wishing for more power.
Of course it supports 4G LTE as well, so you’ll be able to leverage the power of high speed mobile internet when you’re out and about and get just as seamless an experience when browsing, streaming and downloading as you would when at home.
A phone is nothing without a screen and the HTC One M8 doesn’t disappoint there. Not only does it obviously have a screen but it’s a very high quality one at that. At 5 inches it’s a little bigger than the 4.7 inch display on the previous HTC One, but the resolution hasn’t gone up any, so at 1080 x 1920 it has a slightly lower 441ppi pixel density this time around.
That’s still ludicrously high though and we’re pretty sure no human eye can tell the difference between that and the 469 pixels per inch of the original HTC One.
It’s also every bit as high quality as its predecessor. It uses a Super LCD3 screen and it has brilliant viewing angles, crisp, true to life images and those extra few millimetres of screen real estate combined with improved BoomSound speakers make it just about the most immersive handset around for watching videos and playing games.
It there’s one disappointing aspect to the HTC One M8 it’s the camera. It’s packing the same 4 UltraPixel lens as last time around and while the first time it was an interesting oddity it never really delivered and that’s even truer now that it’s up against stiffer competition.
It’s not all bad. Those UltraPixels are far larger than normal pixels, which means that they let a lot more light in and as such the HTC One M8 can take far brighter, more detailed images in low light than any of its competitors. Unfortunately in well-lit scenes the limitations of only having 4 megapixels become more apparent as it just can’t match the detail of say the Samsung Galaxy S5.
It does have one trick up its sleeve though in the form of a dedicated depth sensor, which looks like a second lens. This allows you to do various clever things with images, such as changing the focus of an image or blurring the background after it’s been taken. Be aware though that what it obviously can’t do is bring an out of focus image into focus.
Backing up the main camera there’s a 5 megapixel front facing snapper which is great for selfies and the One M8 can also shoot 1080p video at 60fps.
The HTC One M8 runs Android KitKat, but HTC has overlaid that with its own Sense 6 interface. That’s no bad thing, as it’s a simple, intuitive interface with none of the bloat seen on some handsets. It’s also every bit as pretty as the phone itself.
The key feature of Sense is undoubtedly BlinkFeed, which is a screen filling feed of customised news and updates. It’s undeniably useful but HTC has seen sense (no pun intended) and made it less of a focus than it was when the original HTC One launched. Now it defaults to the left of the main screen, rather than being the first screen you see and it can be disabled entirely if you’d prefer.
The One M8 also comes preloaded with the Fitbit app, which allows it to work as a basic pedometer or allows you to feed in data from one of HTC’s fitness trackers or any of Fitbits own devices if you have one. It seems like a fairly half-hearted implementation of fitness tracking features as HTC is relying on someone else’s software, but it certainly gets the job done.
The HTC One M8 comes with a 2600 mAh battery which promises life of up to 496 hours on standby or up to 20 hours of talk time. The good news is that by and large it delivers, with vastly improved battery life over its predecessor. It can easily last the day and can even just about stretch to two if you’re a fairly light user.
The handset comes with a choice of 16 or 32GB of built in storage and either way you also get a microSD card slot. That’s a big deal as one of the few things the first HTC One was lacking was any form of expandable storage.
For connectivity options there’s 3G, 4G LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and infrared, also known as the complete package.
The HTC One M8 is a fantastic successor to the HTC One. In fact we’d go so far as to say that it’s almost perfect, with all the power you could need, a stunning screen, possibly the best design and build we’ve ever seen on a phone, great battery life, impressive speakers and expandable storage. Not to mention a slick interface and a full suite of connectivity options.
The one real weak link in the chain is the camera and even that isn’t bad. In fact in poor lighting conditions it really outshines the competition, but the rest of the time it’s not quite up to the standards that we’d expect from a flagship handset. But with everything else it does right the HTC One M8 is still deserving of full marks.
HTC One M8 Specification
Dimensions : 146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4mm
Screen size: 5.0 inch display
Screen Resolution: 1080*1920 pixels
Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 441
Processor: 2.3 GHz Quad-core processor
Battery capacity : 2600 mAh
Onboard Memory: 16 or 32GB (microSD support)
Camera : 4 mega-pixel camera
Operating system: Android KitKat
Ultrafast / 3G / 4G LTE : Yes / Yes / Yes
Bluetooth / NFC : Yes / Yes
Colours : Gunmetal Grey, Glacial Silver, Amber Gold
Launch Date: Out Now
Price : £520