HTC One M8 – is it a Winner? We Go Hands-on

Sometimes, it’s all too easy to forget that the smartphone race has more than two horses. HTC is still trying to hang in there with Samsung and Apple, and to their credit, they’ve released some excellent, critically acclaimed phones that just haven’t quite taken off. Last year’s HTC One was a good example of that – this year’s HTC One M8, HTC hopes, will be more of a success story.

HTC has just announced their flagship smartphone for this year, and it’s available now – depending on your carrier, but we’ll get to that later. First, let’s talk about the One M8, which has a few upgrades over its predecessor that are worth looking into.

The One M8 gets a power boost to the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, Qualcomm’s latest and greatest commercial chipset. The phone is also a little bigger and heavier than the One from last year, thanks to a size increase from 4.7” to 5.0”, with a 1920 x 1080 display. It’s also coming with the brand new HTC Sense 6, coupled with Android 4.4 KitKat, although there will be a version available that runs stock Android. HTC Sense 6 will include new software features and Motion Launch, which will allow you to launch apps from the home screen or lock screen using gestures. You’ll also find a microSD card slot on the One M8, along with all of HTC’s new features from last year, including the big audio of HTC BoomSound and the social media stream of HTC BlinkFeed.

On the back, the already powerful HTC Duo camera will now have a third camera sensor, which will constantly be taking in information. This sensor will allow you to do things like refocus a picture after it has been taken, which should be handy. On the front, you’ll find a pretty impressive 5 MP camera, compared to the usual front-facing camera.

For design, HTC has once again gone with the unibody aluminum approach, this time with curved and tapered edges. Like the Samsung Galaxy S5 did, the HTC One M8 is focusing on solid, incremental changes that don’t represent a huge departure from last year’s model. It’s more about HTC putting out a phone with this year’s top-of-the-line specs, while trying to develop a trademark look that people can easily identify with HTC – important, if they want to become competitive in smartphone sales again.

First Impressions

The HTC One M8 is a seriously fine improvement over its predecessor. The build quality feels phenomenal and it’s much easier to grip in your hand this time around. We have been playing around with the camera and are impressed with how fast and responsive it is. We’re also very excited with its ability to focus and defocus, even if that is something that is available in third party apps. So far, photos on the HTC One M8 look great. HTC’s Dot Matrix case is also a winner. Although it has got a retro name, its cover notifications look futuristic, and we like that the case protects the HTC One without adding much bulk. We’ll have a full review up soon of the HTC One M8.

Pricing and Availability

If you’re excited, no need to wait patiently. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint all have the HTC One M8 available online as of today, with T-Mobile following up sometime next month. They’ll be in Verizon stores today, with AT&T and Sprint getting them in stores on April 11. The phone will be available at all carriers for $200 with a two-year contract. The unlocked version will be available for $650, with the stock Android version coming in at $700. At AT&T, you can use AT&T Next to get the One M8 for $24.62 per month for 18 months or $32 per month for 12 months. Sprint customers can use Easy Pay to pay $27.09 for 24 months to get theirs.


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