HTC One M8 review
|Review: March 2014|
In a nutshell: The HTC One M8 builds on last year's One with a premium metal design, superb stereo audio, blazing fast performance and Android KitKat with BlinkFeed. The camera is unique, with a second lens to capture depth information and Ultrapixels for low light performance.
Today's best buy: HTC One M8 UK SIM-Free Smart ... from Amazon (£184)
The HTC One was voted Mobile Phone of the Year 2013 by our readers, and the M8 looks like a serious candidate for the 2014 award. Let's take a closer look and see if HTC can deliver on the very high expectations for this new phone.
It was probably the design that made the HTC One a winner, and the One (M8) takes that design to the next level. If there's one word that describes the M8 it's "premium".
The brushed aluminium unibody has an even higher metal component than before, and is available in three colours reminiscent of the iPhone 5s - grey, silver and gold.
The M8 is larger than the One, putting it into the "seriously big phone" category, just below a phablet. It's not exactly slim either, although its curved shape makes it very easy to handle. It's put on weight too, right up to 160g, which is toward the top end even for a flagship phone. If you like to feel a solid phone in your hand, then the M8 will please you very much. If you have small hands and tight pockets, it may not be the one for you. We're thinking that it's really quite a macho phone.
Those dual BoomSound speakers that first appeared on the HTC One are still here thank goodness, and they do exactly what it says on the tin, delivering a full-flavoured rich stereo sound thanks to built-in amps.
The display has grown slightly in size to a truly enormous 5 inches, and the resolution is a Full HD 1080 x 1920 pixels. It's an IPS display, as opposed to the AMOLED displays used by Samsung, and it isn't quite as vibrant as those OLED displays, but it's still impressive and incredibly sharp. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
Android plus Blinkfeed
The One M8 runs Android KitKat (4.4.2) with the latest version of HTC Sense. Sense is now less intrusive than in olden days, and makes for a very polished, refined version of Android. We enjoy the colourful BlinkFeed homescreen that displays all the latest from social networks, news feeds, weather and calendar apps. It's unique to HTC and it's our favourite version of Android yet. It certainly beats Samsung's endless bloatware offerings.
There are some gesture-based controls present in the M8 too. Tap the screen twice to wake it from standby and then slide your finger to open BlinkFeed or the home screen. There are shortcuts for the camera too, although what we'd really like here is Nokia's solution - a dedicated camera button.
Like all the latest high-end phones of 2014, the M8 runs with a quadcore Snapdragon 801 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. Here it runs at 2.3GHz and is blindingly fast.
Memory options are either 16GB or 32GB built-in, and we're thrilled to find a microSD memory card slot, giving an easy upgrade of an extra 128GB for truly monster storage. That fixes a serious flaw in last year's HTC One.
HTC isn't afraid to innovate with its cameras. Last year saw the Ultrapixel concept with fewer but larger pixels, which we generally didn't like. The M8 retains the UltraPixel sensor but adds in a second camera that captures depth information about the scene. This lets you do all kinds of amazing post-processing of your pictures. For example, you can change the focus of the shot after taking it. Just typing that makes us come out with goose bumps. This is one of the most sophisticated camera phones available.
If only it wasn't limited to just 4 megapixels. Yes, it's the same problem as last year - lack of detail - and we're frankly surprised to find that HTC is sticking to its guns on this one. Oh well, you can't have everything it seems.
A 5 megapixel front camera with a BSI sensor lets you take high quality selfies and can capture Full HD 1080p video.
This is a quadband 4G phone and it also offers quadband 3G and 2G network connectivity. All the other options you'd expect to find are here: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (4.0 with aptX), micro USB, a headphone jack, DLNA and NFC.
The battery is larger than in last year's HTC One, but at 2600mAh it doesn't match the 3000+mAH batteries that LG, Samsung and Sony fit into their flagship phones. The jury's out, but we feel this may be one area where the M8 underperforms the competition.
If you liked the HTC One, wait no further. The M8 is a worthy upgrade. And if you missed out on the HTC One and are perhaps considering the Samsung Galaxy S5, it might just be time to jump ship. The M8 is the bee's knees - the dog's danglies. The aluminium design is surely enough to win over the coldest heart, and in combination with the incredible 5 inch screen, quality audio and superfast processor, it's pretty well got the lot.
It may be lacking when it comes to megapixels, and it's certainly not going to be happy if you take it swimming (unlike the Sony Xperia Z2), but it takes the best phone of last year and makes it better, and really who could ask for more?
Well, us, actually. It's that darn UltraPixel camera again. It's been a whole year now and we still don't like it. But that's the only flaw. As for everything else - it will blow your head off, and we haven't said that about a phone for quite some time.
HTC One M8 features include:
- UltraPixel duo camera with autofocus, BSI sensor, f2.0 lens and dual-LED flash
- 1080p HD video recording with slow motion
- Display: Full 1080p HD, 1920 x 1080 pixels (5 inches)
- GPS receiver with GLONASS, digital compass, Google Maps and geo-tagging
- Music player (aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .wma formats)
- HTC BoomSound
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, Email, chat
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, 2.3GHz quad-core
- Memory: 16GB/32GB plus microSD card, 2GB RAM
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX, micro-USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack, DLNA, NFC
- Vibration alert
- Quadband 4G LTE (800/900/1800/2600 MHz), HSPA/WCDMA (850/900/1900/2100 MHz), GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
- Size: 146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
- Weight: 160g
- Battery: 2600 mAh
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HTC One M8 user reviews
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Average rating from 18 reviews:
Reviewed by Mike Scott
on 7th Aug 2015
Wasn't impressed. Nice looking phone but had nothing I wanted that HTC One original didn't have. Also less user friendly online & kept freezing. I sent it back & went back to HTC One that I still had.
Reviewed by Sam Aiken
on 9th Feb 2015
This is my 5th HTC phone. I've never had any problems with HTC phones. The M8 is truly one of the best looking phones around when my contract is up I may even have it framed as a work of art. I've been using the M8 for a couple of weeks now and with medium use I can get 3 days between charging the battery. That's with 30-40 mins of listening to music, checking and replying to emails and maybe an hour on phone calls everyday.
Reviewed by Heraldmum37
on 19th Jan 2015
I've just upgraded to the HTC and I love it! It's gorgeous to look at, the screen is fab and it's so fast. My old phone was a Motorola Razri which was really starting to show it's age i.e. very slow, took an age to do anything! I had doubts about the size of the HTC as it's substantially bigger than I'm used to, but I'm used to it already after only a couple of days! I'm not a heavy user and I think the battery will easily last me a couple of days. I couldn't be happier with my choice.
Reviewed by Dan
on 21st Dec 2014
Where do i start? Owned this phone for 3 months now, lovely looking phone with a brilliant screen but for me that is where the good bits end, I have had nothing but problems with this phone since day one. First it would not find the sim, so back to the shop, 4 sims later it worked. Then the software updated and the rear camera stopped working, back to the shop again, after 3 factory resets a new handset was supplied, and guess what, 2 weeks and the camera stopped! Will be returning this HTC and getting an iPhone next week.
Reply by jim
on 12th Jan 2015
you must be the most unlucky guy around. mine has been perfect infact any phone i have bought ive never had to return as there all very reliable these days and i have owned loads. most problems are software bugs that normally get sorted maybe its just to complicated for you to work cause most problems are down to the end user.
Reviewed by phone fan
on 27th Oct 2014
Top dog of smartphones. Cannot fault it.
Reviewed by Ajmal
on 25th Sep 2014
Before I write anything I would like to state that I Have also owned an used the Samsung s5, iphone 6 and the htc one m8 so I can give a good all around opinion. I believe this phone is the best on the market however I would only give it 4.5 stars because no phone is perfect and it seems these days this website gives everything a 5 star including the iphone 6 which should be 4 stars. Now everyone talks about the good things about the m8 so I would like to point out some flaws.
1) volume button is annoying and should be harder to push to stop you changing volume midway through convo
2) My htc m8 and apparently many other people have suffered from a foggy lens issue which make picture quality very bad... just google to see for yourself. HTC will repair but what a headache it turned out to be...
3)The only department this fall slightly short on compared to Samsung in terms of software is general usability. It seems the Samsung just "feels" better to navigate and use on a day to day basis... a few example from the top of my head.... the htc is very professionally laid out and as a result the texts and emails are quite boring ... if that's the right word. Its harder to notice you have a new txt or email on the m8 the the s5. Also Samsung uses the vibrant colours to its advantage and the chimes and rings are very nice..... once again htc falls a little short. So if functionality is your number 1 priority than in this particular department the s5 wins. Iphone on the pther hand is only an improvement over itself which isn't great... its the same os just tweaked ... no blinkfeed, no full customisation of apps and widgets... still miles behind android as lovely as it all seemingly comes together.
4) Camera quality is not as good at iphone or Samsung .. esp in low light
5) fixed memory of 16 or 32 might be an issue for some, not me , plus there is always sd
I personally feel the signal strength on the Samsung is better than iphone and m8 and might be due to the plastic body.
Hope that helps people ... oh and bothe htc and s5 blow the iphone screen out of the water. For me apple are taking the mick.
Reviewed by George Popescu
on 1st Sep 2014
Reviewed by saqar muhammad ali
on 17th Aug 2014
Its a super phone, extremely happy with in functions. Maasha Allah , its abetter one.
Reviewed by Mark
on 19th Jun 2014
A month in to my first HTC phone, and I'm impressed. The ui is buttery smooth and so far I've had no crashes. The whole experience feels very high class compared to my G2 and Samsung which used to suffer from crashes etc
The camera is good most the time but shows it limits on big screens.
Battery life is good once all the Google junk is turned off.
I do have a few minors... The phone would have been great with a better camera, and shows HTC ignored the public really, as the same concerns were raised with the first HTC one.
And lastly the size of the thing... It has a smaller screen and battery and is a fair bit larger than my g2. I'd rathe a modest speaker in favour of bigger battery and a smaller phone. Would lead to an excellent battery life.
That said, I'm impressed and would recommend the phone.
Reviewed by Anon
on 13th Jun 2014
Having been an iPhone fan, owner ever since the first it was a big leap to move to android. Apple are to slow to react to peoples demands and have failed their customers. Only now are they probably going to release a larger screened device, years after others. I needed a larger device for my work, the iPhone 5s was indeed a fast phone but with the 4" screen it was a chore to use it filling in forms for work. A tablet to big, a phablet still to big. I checked out flagship handsets from LG, samsung , Sony and HTC. All lacked something that I craved, except the HTC one m8. Build quality. All the others just didn't cut the mustard.
Being a dab hand with phones I've rooted my HTC one m8 and run cyanogenmod 11, nightley build. It's a near pure android kitkat with some very welcomed mods. I installed this ROM as it allows me to disable the volume keys for ringer volume, one thing that bugs all my mates who have android devices.
Although the HTC ui was OK it just didn't wow me to want to keep it. The device itself is fantastic. Great specs. Well worth getting rid of my 5s for it.
Camera with the cyanogenmod ROM gives basic functions but I feel it makes it better this way. Photos are good enough for me. I have a proper DSLR for high quality shots.
Buy with confidence.
Reviewed by Shewie
on 11th Jun 2014
I've now had this phone for about two weeks. In that time I've noticed two main negative points.
1. The volume button is positioned badly. I tend to hold the phone in my left hand and operate it with my right. My left forefinger keeps pressing the volume down button.
2. Blink feed is too hard to customise. I have never had an HTC phone before so I could just be getting it wrong, but I have tried to customise blink feed but all I can do is make it come up with a random selection of things from the topics I want. I would prefer to be able to pic exactly what is displayed in each frame.
However, on the positive side:
1. The voice dialling is very good, by far the best I've used. As I often only have one hand free (the other is hanging on to shopping or children) this is so much easier than finding a name in my contacts.
2. Battery life. This is good anyway but when I use power saver or extreme power saver mode it really lasts. Much better than my old GS3.
3. Sensitive touch screen. On my old phone, a GS3 I struggled to zoom in to web pages and it would either zoom too far or not far enough as the screen was just not sensitive enough. This HTC is fantastic!
4. TV remote. I love gadgets, this is brilliant and genuinely useful as I always loose the TV remote and have to get up to switch to HDMI2 to play the xbox. Now I can be lazy and do it with the phone.
5. Design and case. I love the metal case. It looks and feels so much better than Samsung Galaxy phones I have had in the past.
Overall, I am very impressed with this phone. The one star deduction is mostly because of the badly positioned volume key but there are so many other good features that I can live with that. I am definitely a convert to HTC and I highly recommend this phone.
Reviewed by pezzer
on 9th Jun 2014
had the phone just over a week battery life amazing 4g super fast the cameras spot on i would defo recommend this phone you wont be dissapointed.
Reviewed by AJC
from United Kingdom
on 8th May 2014
Ever since the almost mandatory 24 month contracts were introduced by the UK networks, it is extremely rare I have ever lasted the duration without buying myself out by trading in my old phone. Ever since picking up a Nokia E71, the whole 'premium quality' feel and look of a phone clad in aluminium is something that has had me hooked. An E72, iPhone 4s, and an HTC One M7 later, I couldn't hold back from trading in early again to get hold of an M8.
Other than the imminent G3 and it's anticipated huge battery capacity, the S5 (plasticky, feels cheap), the Z2 (unergonomic with regards to its squareness and bulk, along with dealing with annoying little flaps whenever plugging in a charger), the 1020 (camera masquerading as a phone), and the iPhone 5s (Android has been a breath of fresh air) just haven't presented themselves as having a significant edge for me over even the M7.
I for one do miss those halcyon days of mobile phones lasting a week, but unless there is some form of miracle battery technology introduced in the coming years, we all just have to accept that our mobiles are now portable computers that can only be relied on lasting for a maximum of a working days worth of heavy use. The latest snapdragon CPUs Have assisted to some degree, but each new hardware iteration on a handset demands more power, which means bigger capacity batteries are surely simply a marketing ploy. HTC have not built the M8 with as big a battery as the X2 or the S5, but all of these top end handsets will allow users to stay connected for a working day with moderate use. The G3 will surely not take us back to those pre-smartphone battery mega-longevity days.
So, with the M8 being out there, was the upgrade from an M7 worth it? I've had mine for just 24hrs, but can wholeheartedly say it certainly is for those who like their gadgets to have the perfect balance of looks and function.
The UltraPixel debate will continue to rage for many, but even with the M7, when I used to take even just day to day family / holiday / nights out photos, I always got admiring glances and positive comments. For average users of a mobile phone and day to day photography, the M7 was excellent and was the first phone that led me to relegate my compact camera to the attic. The M8 camera is again excellent (I understand that is is basically the same as the M7) but there are some nice focsussing / defocussing additions facilitated by the second rear facing camera, and it is even faster. Zoe is again excellent, and other handsets that offer 4K have surely introduced handset technology way too early as I can't see many mainstream domestic users being able to afford a 4K TV for a considerable while.
The M8 keyboard is a revelation - perhaps because it is just that tiny bit bigger, but I haven't had any of the text input issues I used to have with the M7 - it is a noticeably worthwhile improved exeperience. Think how manyvtexts and emails we write these days - this sort of thing is important to most of us.
The screen - well it's bigger and brighter, but most screens on the latest handsets are these days. Am sure those who have more knowledge than me could highlight the real differences, but that sort of thing gets far too geeky (even for me).
Transferring settings and data rob the new HTC hansdset was a breeze - other than a few simple screens to negotiate, it was just a case of downloading the transfer tool software from the Play store, and each device connected via a sexure P2P Wi-Fi connection, and everything was transferred over.
The final comment I want to make is that HTC's decision to ship a bespoke gel case with the phone was an excellent idea, again taking many of us back to the old days. I haven't seen this since the E71 / E72 days, and when you have £500+ worth of brand spanking new kit in your hand, it is always nice to have something to protect it with right from the off.
In summary, it's a cracking phone and the best out there at the moment. It looks classy, feels classy, has equivalent battery longevity to all other flagship devices, fits well into a trouser pocket without being obtrusive, and is an all round joy to use.
Reviewed by pete s
on 20th Apr 2014
Had m8 for over a week after waiting to check user reviews and I'm not disappointed this phone is superb solid build very fast and the battery is fine the screen is Crystal clear I've always had HTC phones and this is the best I don't have any problems with the camera nice clear pics I would not have any problems recommending this phone I would just say go and get it
Reviewed by Chris J
on 18th Apr 2014
I've had the M8 for just over a week. The improvement in every area over my previous Galaxy S3 is just incredible. The build quality and screen are a revelation, HTC Sense is far superior to TouchWiz, the speakers are brilliant, and for those asking about battery life - I've just put it on to charge after 4 days 10 hours. (I'm a relatively light user - calls, texts, internet, a few apps - but still unbelievable!) The only minor negative is that the 4mp camera shots are not as detailed as some when zoomed, but the overall quality of low-light photos is noticeably better than any other phone camera I've used. Unless close-up photography is your main consideration I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this phone to anyone.
Reviewed by James
on 15th Apr 2014
The battery life is great but like any smartphone, except perhaps an iPhone..if you expect it to last 24 hours with medium to heavy usage then you're living in a dream world. You need to charge this nightly if you dont want it to run out halfway through the second day.
The old HTC One battery was also fine, probably the best battery life i had on a smartphone until now. People complaining are the ones who dont know what they are doing with android and have a ton of apps auto syncing in the background. My old HTC one would last the full day and i would charge every night whilst i sleep. I dont see what the issue is.
Reviewed by John
on 11th Apr 2014
What a beautiful device! The 90% alluminium casing is gorgeous as is the even bigger and better screen. Camera could be better but it's good enough. Love blink feed and boom sound. Awesome phone and feels so premium like the BMW or Merc of phones, that is, quality and class.
Reviewed by Tony M
on 27th Mar 2014
Got mine today in gunmetal grey. Outstanding device although camera is not particularly stellar compared to my s4. Build quality is immense, look and feel is great and HTC Sense 6 is a god send compared to Touchwiz.
Very happy with my purchase and just hope the battery life is better than its predecessor.
Reply by Tony
on 2nd Apr 2014
Any news on the battery life?