HTC One E8 review

August 5, 2014
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The Bottom Line

HTC packs a lot of good into the One E8

PROS
  • Still great build quality
  • Bright, punchy and clear display
  • Fast & responsive
CONS
  • Camera still not there
  • Battery life is below industry best
  • no IR blaster
7.5
HTC packs a lot of what made the original One M8 great into their value oriented offering, the One E8.

We have seen and experienced the legendary HTC One M8, one of the best smartphones 2014 will produce. The high-end device is a beauty and its build quality is matched by none, but what happens when you try to take this flagship smartphone and remove its metal housing? Enter the HTC One E8, a more affordable version of the One M8 that leaves little to be desired.

Design

The HTC One E8 is, for all intents and purposes, nearly a plastic carbon copy of the One M8. It retains all the awesome design qualities that made the M8 such an amazing smartphone, only differentiating itself by that polycarbonate shell. We found pros and cons about the new design.

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Let’s first note that you can choose between glossy and matte colors. Our unit sports a matte finish with gold trimmings, which happens to be quite a good-looking combination. It’s hard to keep it looking dandy with such a fingerprint-friendly back, though. One main complaint about the One M8 is that the phone is amazingly slippery. This problem was fixed in the One E8’s design, as the new construction makes it “grippy”, yet very smooth.

It’s hard to keep it looking dandy with such a fingerprint-friendly back.

You will find the usual ports and buttons around the device. The camera and flash are well-placed in the back, with the microUSB charging port and 3.5mm headset jack occupying the bottom side. The volume rocker is located on the right side, where a dual-SIM slot is to be found.

The power button is placed in the mid section of the top, and on the left you can find a microSD card slot. I do have something to say about this power button. HTC heard our complaints, but it seems they didn’t understand them very well. This power button is even harder to reach!

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We definitely can’t forget HTC’s iconic BoomSound speakers, which keep the crown as the best in the industry. The front-facing speakers are clear, loud and offer a great bass.

Display

Something I wasn’t a huge fan of was the display’s saturation, which can be a bit overkill.

The HTC One E8 display is one component that won’t disappoint. The 5-inch IPS-LCD display holds a 1080p resolution panel that offers great resolution, even if the standard is currently being raised to QHD (2560x1440p). Something I wasn’t a huge fan of was the display’s saturation, which can be a bit overkill. The reds often look a bit orange and blacks are amazingly deep, which is rare for an LCD screen.

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Hardware

While other manufacturers continue making their lower-end “Minis”, the HTC One E8 is no slouch compared to the best of the best. Its Snapdragon 801 processor is clocked at 2.3 GHz (or 2.5 GHz, depending on your region) and it holds 2 GB of RAM. Its 16 GB of internal storage can be expanded via microSD. The battery holds 2,600 mAh of juice, which may sound more lackluster than it actually is.

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I was able to get around 16 hours of battery life without cutting off resources. I had bluetooth connected to Android Wear the whole time, switched between 4G and WiFi, and used about 2 hours of screen-on time.

I was able to get around 16 hours of battery life without cutting off resources.

While this is no Droid Maxx, it definitely holds a charge and will not disappoint or make you look for outlets mid-day. I am sad to say one cool part/feature is missing, though. Both the IR blaster and the TV Remote app are gone, leaving us with no way to control our TVs.

Software

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Those looking for similarities between the E8 and the M8 will love this device’s software. The HTC One E8 runs Android 4.4.2 and HTC Sense 6, leaving the software untouched. I happen to be a fan of Blinkfeed, a social and news aggregator that will remind you of Flipboard.

You can connect to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and a plethora of news sources. It’s simple, looks good and works well – that is all a good app needs. Another favorite is Zoe, HTC’s picture software. It offers effects, filters and even animation. It’s as easy to then share your creations with the world or social networks.

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Performance

HTC One E8 BenchmarksYou can tell right off the bat that this phone lacks nothing other high-end smartphones tout. Its Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and 2 GB of RAM keep everything running as smooth as butter. Day-to-day tasks are handled effortlessly and multi-tasking is an easy chore. We also can’t forget the Adreno 330 GPU, which is just as necessary.

The device can handle any game you throw at it without a single hiccup. While benchmarks are not the be-all and end-all of performance, we thought we should put the device to the test and bring you some numbers. AnTuTu benchmark scores this device at 37,461, which does happen to be above the One M8.

Oh, and for those who still use the phone for making calls – call quality was good and reception didn’t fail me.

Camera

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The HTC One M7 and M8 cameras are known as great low-light shooting devices, but users haven’t been completely happy with their performance. For the HTC One E8, the manufacturer got rid of the dual-camera set-up and gave the E8 a single 13 MP shooter.

This will come as a testament that more MP definitely doesn’t mean better images. Though I wish I could tell you otherwise, the images are washed out and hazy, while low-light photos are grainy and lack detail. The front shooter is also a lackluster, suffering from similar problems.

In sum 

The HTC One E8 is a great smartphone, but no device is perfect and you will have to measure your preferences. Those who value camera quality may want to look somewhere else. Likewise, picture quality has its defects.

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We can’t deny that for every issue we find in the One E8 we also find multiple advantages.

We can’t deny that for every issue we find in the One E8 we also find multiple advantages. The build quality is amazing, even if the smartphone is made of plastic. Performance is as good as it gets, battery life is astounding and, depending on your preferences, Sense 6 could offer the right experience for your needs.

If priced right, this should be a great alternative for those looking for a more affordable HTC One M8, or simply a good phone that won’t slip right out of your hands.

Gallery

And what of your thoughts? Does HTC have a winner on their hands? What’s the perfect price for such a device?

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