Before starting this review, a huge shout out goes out to Vodafone for providing the HTC One M8 for review. The HTC One M8 is available from Vodafone from contracts starting at £34.50 a month with no upfront cost. This review will be a dual review giving different perspectives from Purav (an Android user) and Usman (an iOS user) from TeckComesFirst.
The HTC One M8 is one of the most anticipated phones of 2014. Does it live up to it’s hype though and what’s it like compared to the Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5s. Read this review to find out.
- Quad-core 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 Processor
- Android 4.4.2 KitKat with HTC Sense pre-installed
- 16/32 GB on-board flash storage
- 2 GB RAM
- Super LCD3 Display, 16M colours,1080 by 1920, 5.0 inches, 441 PPI
- Dual 4 MP (Ultrapixel Sensor), 2688 by 1520 pixels, auto focus, Dual LED, Flash
- Front Facing Camera at 5 MP, 1080p@30fps,
- Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
- Non-removable Li-Po 2600 mAh battery
As you can tell, the HTC One M8 is one of the highest spec phones on the market right now. The M8 has more than enough power for even the most demanding user and can easily handle intense gaming, videos and even basic editing.
You can view a detailed walkthrough of the HTC One M8 below.
Android with HTC Sense Pre-installed:
Usman: The HTC One M8 runs Android 4.4.2 also known as KitKat, which is the latest iteration of the mobile operating system. The M8 also comes pre-installed with HTC Sense on the device. KitKat performs very well on the device due to the quad core processor and there is hardly any noticeable lag which is very unusual for an Android Device. HTC Sense does a great job of making the device easier to use and really provides the finishing touches to Android. Since I use an iPhone as my daily driver, I found that moving over to Android was easy and hassle free. HTC Sense and Android KitKat allowed me to easily move my content, music and contacts over to the device without any issues. Overall, I felt that using Android on the HTC One M8 was extremely smooth and I didn’t experience any lag or crashing.
Purav: As a Samsung GALAXY S3 owner, I regularly get frustrated with the lag in simple tasks like navigating the home screen and opening applications. I am pleased to report that on the HTC One M8, I didn’t have any of these issues, the user interface (UI) was a breeze to get around and all at very swift speeds without any lag or delay. The new HTC sense does add some nice UI tweaks like changing the status bar colour to match the application theme, for example green in Calculator. Blink Feed did get a bit annoying personally for my taste but it is a nice way to aggregate news and content from social media for certain users that might find it beneficial. Back in 2012, when I used the HTC One S, the stock keyboard was a pleasure to use. However on the HTC One M8, I kept pressing the home button when I wanted a space bar for example and sometimes the autocorrect and suggestions weren’t that great and I found myself wasting time having to go back and delete these. I later replaced the stock keyboard with the Google Keyboard and all these issues went away. Overall, the Android experience was really nice especially because applications loaded instantly and I never found myself having to wait for certain things to load or experience any delay.
Build Quality / Design:
Usman: When I reviewed the HTC One last year, I was extremely impressed by the build quality of the device with the whole phone being made out of brushed aluminium. Well this year, HTC have really ramped up the design and modified the device so that it contains even more metal compared to previous devices. The HTC One M8 that I was sent to review was the grey model. The device is noticeably heavier than the iPhone 5 and a lot of other phones due to the fact that it contains so much metal. However, the build quality of the phone is phenomenal. There is no creaks or flexing of the display even when pressure is applied to the sides of the device. The device has a very high build quality to it and feels great when held in the hand. The back of the device has a nice texture to it to stop the device from slipping out of your hand and HTC have been nice enough to include a basic rubber case with the device. This helps to keep your device secure against basic drops and minor impacts.
The sleep / wake button is positioned on the top, towards the right and the volume rockers are at the upper right hand side of the device making them easy to reach and press when holding the device one handed. The dual stereo speakers are on the front of the phone and are positioned above and below the screen. The sound from these speakers is noticeably better than all other phones that I have used and is comparable to a 5.1 speaker system. The larger 5.0 inch display compared to the 4.7 inch display on last years device is a huge advantage and doesn’t make the device noticeably larger. Overall, I feel that the design of the HTC One M8 is incredible and that the device is one of the best looking phones on the market right now.
Purav: When I briefly used the HTC One last year, I said it was one of, if not the best designed handset in the world at that time. It’s successor the M8 definitely delivers on this build quality front but there are some small caveats. First of all, the back texture has a smooth, glossy finish which contrary to what Usman found actually made the device slip out of my hands on numerous occasions. Recently it has been quite hot in London and while my hands were a bit sweaty, I found it hard to grip the device by the sides. The predecessor M7 had a bit of thickness around the sides by which you could grip it but since the M8 is thinner and curved towards the back, it does kind of “fall back” into your hands. Having said that, the build quality is surpassing all the other plastic Android smartphones out in the market having a 90% metal build, giving rigidity and a sense of luxury when using the device. I personally didn’t like that the headphone port was on the bottom since it meant the device would be upside down if I took it out of my pocket to change a song for example. HTC set the bar for phone speakers with the original M7 being front facing stereo speakers and they have continued this with the M8. I really enjoyed listening to music and watching videos on the M8 due to these speakers and for the first time when I set an alarm, I actually woke up rather than just snoozing it and waking up much, much later like what happens when I use the Samsung GALAXY S3.
Usman: The HTC One M8 has massive 5 inch screen which is absolutely stunning. The 1920 by 1080 full HD resolution display is just gorgeous to look at. The display produces vivid and vibrant colours and is a pleasure to watch YouTube videos or play games on. The viewing angles on the display are great and colours are very vivid and sharp. The blacks are very deep and vibrant and the display is great. Reading text, looking at photos and playing games was an awesome experience on the device. Overall, the display on the HTC One M8 is one of the best on the market.
Purav: Usman has put it perfectly above, I agree with everything he said. The only addition I’d like to make is that since I’m used to a 720p panel on the Samsung GALAXY S3, using a 1080p one on the HTC One M8 was a nice jump, text definitely looked crisper to me as did images and videos were an absolute joy due to the display coupled with the speakers as mentioned above. I did use the Samsung GALAXY S4 last year which also is a 1080p display but the HTC One M8 looked slightly sharper to me and while Samsung’s displays are often over saturated, I felt HTC kept the colours quite accurate with the M8’s display.
Usman: The HTC One M8 has a 2600 mAh battery installed. Just like last years, HTC One, the battery is non removable and therefore, you have to charge the device regularly rather than carrying around a spare battery. During my testing of the device, the phone easily lasted all day with heavy use. When I used the device mildly, the battery lasted for two days easily. The battery on the HTC One M8 easily lasted longer than the battery on my iPhone. Overall, I feel that the battery on the HTC One M8 is great compared to a lot of the competitors.
Purav: I was pleasantly surprised with the battery life on the HTC One M8, I was easily getting a day out of it on medium to high use which included using maps with GPS turned on, tweeting with mobile network on and playing some casual games. Yes the battery is non removable as Usman said so I couldn’t carry around a spare battery like I do with my Samsung GALAXY S3. HTC’s Power Saver mode works well and it kicks in just when you need it to give you that extra juice. Overall the battery life was decent on this smartphone.
Usman: Last year when I published the review of the HTC One, I was heavily criticised for slaying off the camera on the device. Well, it seems like HTC took on board my feedback and with the HTC One M8, they have included a completely revamped camera. The HTC One M8 contains a dual 4 mega pixel camera that takes photos up to 2688 by 1520 pixels. The device also has double flash which is similar to the one found on the iPhone 5s. The improved camera on the HTC One M8 is an absolute beast and some of the photos that it takes are absolutely stunning. A few of the photos that I took with the HTC One M8 were easily comparable to them that I took with my DSLR. The photos taken were very sharp and crisp and the colour reproduction was very accurate. You can view some of the photos that I took with the device below.
Purav: HTC saw quite a bit of flack when it first announced it’s whole ultrapixel technology, less megapixels but a larger sensor to capture more light producing sharper images, especially in low light. While on last year’s HTC One, the M7, the pictures left a lot to be desired, the ones on the M8 were quite sharp even in low light. Below you can see the picture of my birthday cake, the flame doesn’t overexpose the whole image and there’s a nice level of detail in the icing and the pattern around the cake container. The second shot outside which shows a huge chess board has a really nice amount of detail. So much so that you can see the individual dots within each square on the board and certain details and shapes of the chess pieces are accentuated well. Even when you zoom into the image, it doesn’t pixelate much, if at all.
Below is a vlog recorded using the front facing camera on the HTC One M8. As you can see, the quality is simply exceptional. The subject remains in focus at all times and the white balance / effects remain very stable.
Below are some photos of the HTC One M8.
- Great Aluminium Design
- Awesome Camera
- Stereo Speakers produce great sound
- Vivid, Bright and Sharp 5 inch screen
- Non removable battery
Overall, the HTC One M8 is a great phone. With it’s great design, improved camera and outstanding speakers, the phone is definitely one of the top contenders of 2014. The device is very well built and has great aesthetic qualities. We would give this phone a rating of 9.5 out of 10. The M8 is one of the best phones that has been released in 2014. Thanks for reading this review. We would love to hear what you think of the HTC One M8 and what improvements, if any you would make to the device. Also, please be sure to share and promote this review.
You can pick up the HTC One M8 in Grey at Vodafone’s two new stores: Wood Green (Unit 46, Cavendish Walk, Wood Green Shopping City, London, N22 6YA) and Woolwich (27 Powis Street, Woolwich, London, SE18 6HZ), let us know if you do and say TeckComesFirst sent you!
We did a dual review of the iPhone 5c earlier this year too. Thanks to Vodafone for making these possible!
Stay tuned to TeckComesFirst for more tech news and be sure to like our Facebook page so you don’t miss any updates. Written by Purav, @PDTechHD (My personal account is @PDTalkinTech) and Usman, @TeckComesFirst (His Personal account is @TheTekGuy)
What did you guys think of this dual style review? Would you be interested in seeing more? Let us know your thoughts and feedback in the comment section below!