The much leaked next generation HTC One, also known as the M8, was just announced at an event here in New York and FoneArena was live at the venue to report on it. We’ve had some time with the handset that has a tall order to fill being the successor to the rather excellent HTC One. So without further ado, let’s get onto our hands on with the brand new HTC One M8.
Video Hands On
Right off the bat, you notice that the design is an evolution of the HTC One and takes cues from the entire One series of phones. The curved corners of the phone are now more pronounced and should fit better in the hand. The construction remains aluminum and the phone will now be available in a glacial silver and gunmetal color.
Here we have with us the gunmetal variant of the device and we’ve gotta say that it definitely stands out. The front of the phone essentially consists of the 5 inch Full HD panel. Gone are the capacitive buttons at the bottom of the screen but the large bezels remain and that’s a definite drawback. HTC could’ve managed to shrink the size of the phone substantially by reducing the bezels on the M8.
Powering the phone is a 2.5Ghz Snapdragon 801 processor that is paired with 2GB of RAM. You get 16 or 32GB of built in storage depending on the variant. There’s also a micro SD card slot this time around so you can bump up that storage by up to 128GB. The phone runs on Android 4.4.2 with Sense UI 6.0 onboard. Interestingly, HTC plans to make the most visible part of Sense UI ie Blinkfeed available as a separate download for Android devices.
The new and improved Sense UI 6.0 brings with it integration for sensor based activities. The design is cleaner and has an increased focus on bolder colors. It also gets a lot more features that you may or may not appreciate. One of the more visible and tangible improvements is a new extreme power saving mode. This mode uses software and hardware tweaks to increase power saving by up to 40 percent. HTC claims that triggering extreme power saving mode will give you 30 hours of battery life on a 10 percent charge.
As we mentioned earlier, there is an increased focus on sensor based activities this time around. You can unlock your homescreen, launch apps with the Motion Launch feature. Built-in motion sensors detect when you pick up the phone, and with a single swipe or double-tap you can unlock your screen or launch an app, without even hitting the power button. The camera can be triggered by holding the phone in landscape mode and tapping the volume key.
Talking about the camera, HTC One M8 is equipped with a dual camera system. The main camera is a standard Ultrapixel camera that combines a BSI 1/3″ sensor and an f/2.0 lens to deliver superior low light shots. This is now combined with a secondary 2MP camera that captures depth information. This will let you do a lot of computational imagery related things like changing the focus points in your image after shooting it. We cover it in depth in our camera related post. The front camera is a 5MP unit with an ultra wide lens that will be ideal for shooting group shots and getting all your friends in the image.
Over at the top you get the IR Blaster as before. HTC has built in a brand new application that interfaces with the iR Blaster to control your media devices.
Another feature that stood out on the HTC One and has now been further improved is the BoomSound speaker. The stereo speakers now get a new amplifier and speaker chamber design. This has resulted in a 25% boost in volume. In actual usage, the difference is definitely noticeable and without a doubt, the BoomSound speakers remain some of the best you’ll see on a mobile device.
Adopting a brand new Gunmetal finish in addition to the standard Glacial Silver color, the HTC One (M8) is an attempt by HTC to build the iPhone of the Android world. It aims to bring real life improvements, pairs it with seriously polished software and innovations while not bumping up specs just for the heck of it. The finished product shows the attention to detail and there’s a lot to like here. Some of the more polarising features like the dual camera set up warrant a lot more testing that we’ll be doing shortly but for now, we quite like what we’re seeing. The device will be available in the US starting today. Got any questions about the HTC One M8 ? Let us know in the comments section below.