Can’t decide between an iPhone or Samsung? Maybe it’s time to give the HTC One (M8) a try. The successor to last year’s HTC One comes with an improved camera, new gesture controls and a general specs upgrade. It’s certainly well-placed to challenge the iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S5 having launched today at a SIM-free price of £550.
Read on for our guide to its five key features and a video first look at the handset.
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HTC One (M8) – first look video
HTC One (M8) – five key features
Introducing Sense 6 – although the One (m8) runs on Android 4.4.2 (KitKat), what you’ll interact with on a day-to-day basis is HTC’s Sense 6 skin. This is a lot less cluttered than last year’s Sense 5 software with the BlinkFeed screen for displaying status updates and news stories being better organised than before. You can now arrange groups of articles around a topic – like your local town or your favourite football team – making it easier to navigate.
Alluring aluminium design – last year’s HTC One featured a gorgeous aluminium design, and the new m8 is no different. It’s certainly a more handsome handset than the plastic Samsung Galaxy S5. The screen size has been increased slightly, from 4.7 to 5-inches, and comes with a crisp 441 pixels per inch resolution.
Two rear-facing camera sensors – rather than settling for a single rear-facing camera sensor, the HTC One (M8) has two of them. Why? The dual sensors will increase the focus speed of the camera and ultimately the speed at which you can take a photo. HTC also claim the two sensors will increase the ‘depth’ of photos by capturing the area around the main subject of the photo in greater detail. We’ll be testing whether this new feature makes a practical difference or not in our test lab.
Handy gesture controls – just like the LG G2, the HTC One (M8) comes with several gesture lead shortcuts that are supposed to make it easier to use. Tapping on the phone’s screen will turn it on, while rotating it horizontally and pressing the ‘volume down’ button will immediately activate camera mode. Genuine improvement or a fiddly gimmick? We’ll find out when we get the phone into our lab.
Better BoomSound – one of the best features on the HTC One was its sound. Compared to the tinny tones you get with most mobiles, the HTC One offered a stereo experience. Thanks to bigger speakers and built in software designed to improve the sound produced, the new One (M8) claims to sound even better than before. We’ll see if this is true in our test labs.
Which? expert verdict – ‘A dark horse for the best phone crown’
Despite having all the makings of a popular handset, the HTC One didn’t quite capture the public’s imagination. It was the Samsung Galaxy S4 that swept up the legion of Android followers, while the iPhone 5 did as Apple’s mobiles usually do and sold by the truckload.
The HTC One (M8) isn’t all too different from its predecessor. It features the same plush, metallic design and sticks with the UltraPixel camera technology that offers fewer, larger megapixels instead of lots of tiny ones. The One (M8)’s camera is slightly improved, 4.1 megapixels compared to 4Mp, but we’ll be keen to see how it fares in our all important low light testing.
Inside the phone, it’s a story of iterative updates too. With a 2.3 GHz quad-core processor and 2GB Ram, it should be more than speedy enough for your everyday app multitasking. A 2600 mAH battery is slightly smaller than the Galaxy S5’s 2800 mAH, but is likely to last a working day’s usage.
In terms of specs, the HTC One (M8) looks like a stern rival to the iPhone 5s and Galaxy S5. Once you get it in your hands it’s certainly a comfortable to hold and the aluminium design makes it the kind of phone you want to show off.
If you want a top of the range Android that looks and feels like a flagship phone, then I’d certainly keep a keen eye on our test lab results for this handset.
Rob Leedham – Senior Researcher