HTC One (M8) Android smartphone review
Is this the year HTC topples the mighty Samsung?
- Excellent design
- Great speakers
- TV remote and EPG
- Low resolution camera
HTC has managed to put together one of the best smartphones. Forget the DuoCamera gimmick, because the One M8 boils down to the basics — the screen, the speakers, the processor, the software — and HTC has laboured extensively to get them absolutely right.
Price$ 899.00 (AUD)
HTC's latest flagship is available in retail shops from today. The 5in KitKat smartphone is ripe with improvements and innovations, but has HTC laboured enough on the things that matter to make the One M8 the best smartphone yet?
Let’s not be coy about this: no Samsung, LG or Sony can hold a light up to the design of the HTC One (M8). Hold it in your hand and you don’t see the science, maths and coding. Skilled craftsmanship and the texture of brushed metal deliver an experience that is more emotional.
Ninety percent of the HTC One (M8) has been crafted from metal; a material that has previously proved troublesome in the construction of smartphones. A hairline brushed finish places emphasis on the increased curvature of its back, while sandblasted sides, diamond polish chamfered edging and laser drilled crevices add to its elegance.
The most confronting design element is the secondary rear camera
The most confronting design element is the secondary camera on the back of the HTC One (M8). It’s not the first time HTC has included a second rear camera on a smartphone, but this camera works a little differently to 3D-shooting HTC Evo.
South-west of it rests a dual-colour LED flash, which is an improvement over the single flash found on the M7. Upgrading the flash is a seemingly insignificant detail, but the One (M8) is full of these little upgrades, and one-by-one they add up to deliver a far better experience.
High-resolution screen, booming stereo sound
Interfacing with the One (M8) is handled by a 5in, 1920x1080 display. The resolution is on-par with that of the Samsung Galaxy S5, but by cramming the same amount into a smaller footprint, the HTC One (M8) benefits from a market-leading 441 pixel-per-inch density.
The M7 made headlines for its front-firing, Beats powered, BoomSound stereo speakers. These speakers were amongst the best available on any smartphone. Now they’re even better, and this is in spite of HTC ending its affiliation with Beats by Dre.
Sound quality is more than just practical; it's ideal
Improvements to the One (M8) include redesigned speaker chambers, dedicated speaker amplifiers and the implementation of a tailored audio profile. HTC claims this has helped the company improve audio output by 25 percent.
We measured music playback between the HTC M7 and the HTC M8 and found the newer M8 produces an average of 5 decibels more volume per song.
In more simpler terms, the One (M8) is fantastic for music playback. The speakers are so good that we rarely had to increase the volume upwards from 70 percent. Watching videos and YouTube clips on the M8 is more than just practical; it’s ideal. This smartphone delivers sound so articulate you’ll never have to inch it towards your ears.
The One (M8) runs Android 4.4 KitKat dressed in HTC’s custom Sense 6 user interface.
A few tiny tweaks have made Sense UI properly enjoyable to use. For instance, HTC has introduced a button in the task manager that closes all of the running apps. Thanks to this addition, Sense users no longer have to manually swipe each app to achieve the same thing.
Another improvement is the ability to define what shortcuts are featured in the application tray. You can nominate 12 shortcuts and define the order in which they appear. Again, this is a small detail, but these tiny little improvements add up to a great difference.
The big HTC additions to the Android operating system are Blinkfeed and SenseTV. BlinkFeed combines social networking updates and with aggregate news stories in one sleek interface. Although it was introduced with Sense 5, HTC has updated it by incorporating inline images and the bundling of same-topic stories.
Sense TV could be the reason people walk away from Samsung and towards HTC
The best thing about BlinkFeed is that it can be turned off. It’s not that the service is by any means bad (in fact, some rivals are beginning to mimic its functionality), but rather that some people simply might not want a news/social networking aggregate on their homescreen.
SenseTV was a game changing feature introduced on the HTC M7. The software, alongside with an in-built infrared blaster, transformed it into an all-in-one remote capable of curating television content. The software eased the HTC One into the heart of the home entertainment ecosystem, and it meant you never had to scour looking for the television remote again.
HTC has subtly refined SenseTV by integrating Facebook and Twitter streams, and by feeding sporting scores and sporting news directly into the application.
This is a case of making a good thing even better. In fact, Sense TV could be the reason people walk away from Samsung and towards HTC.
Finger friendly gestures
Often unlocking a smartphone can be a tedious step. What’s the point of unlocking a phone when you’ll have to swipe left to travel to the widgets panel anyway?
Learning this lingo will take some time
HTC has streamlined this process by devising a language of gestures that take you to different sections of the Android operating system. The company calls this functionality ‘Motion Launch’.
Unlocking the phone can be done by tapping the screen twice — something we appreciate since the HTC One (M8) is a tall smartphone — while other gestures include swiping left for the widget panel, right to launch BlinkFeed, up to voice dial and down to lock the smartphone. Additionally, pressing down the volume button while holding the M8 in landscape mode will launch the camera.Read more: The best smartphone for watching video
Learning this lingo will take some time, but once committed to memory, it’ll pay itself off.
Click over for hardware, DuoCameras, Dot View and the final thought
Join the newsletter!
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
cloudandco Smart Cane
Apple iPhone X
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Toys for Boys
Bose SoundLink Micro
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Lego Mindstorms EV3
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Xbox One X
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Belkin Introduces USB-C 3.1 Express Dock HD
- Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 Will Come To Australia
- Boost Mobile Doubles Data Offering With New Summer Plans
- BlackBerry KEYone Black Launches in Australia
- HTC U11 Plus latest rumours: Release date, price and specs
PCW Evaluation Team
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review
- Get set for Amazon Australia Black Friday launch
- Destiny 2 PC review: A port worthy of PC gaming's mightiest rigs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCAndroid developerNSW
- FTAdvice Trainer / AdministratorOther
- CCChange ManagerNSW
- CCAxway DeveloperQLD
- TPSupport Java RoleNSW
- TPSenior Business AnalystNSW
- TPNetwork EngineerVIC
- CCMid-level SAP ArchitectQLD
- FTSenior Systems Engineer (WINTEL)ACT
- FTBusiness Project ManagerOther
- FTIT Service DeskSA
- FTPageUp BAOther
- FTSenior Project ManagerACT
- TPPrincipal Project ManagerQLD
- CCLevel 1 Help DeskNSW
- CCLead Pega Systems ArchitectACT
- FTSenior Business AnalystOther
- CCSecurity AnalystQLD
- FTBusiness AnalystACT
- CCAssociate Project Manager - Infrastructure ServicesVIC
- TPSenior Project Manager | Service Management I ITILQLD
- FTRobotic Process Automation DeveloperOther
- FTJuniper EngineerOther
- FTSenior Business AnalystOther
- FTField EngineerVIC