HTC One E8 review

August 5, 2014

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?

Comments

  • Jayfeather787

    HTC!! Get your camera up to par already!!! :P
    Great device other than that! Well done.

    • http://www.AndroidAuthority.com/ Darcy Alexander LaCouvee

      They tried this time around, by adding more megapixels, but more MP didn’t result in a better photo taking experience. LG, Samsung and Sony all seem to have an edge here. Either way, it’s still a beautiful device. I do hope they price it appropriately.

      • Luka Mlinar

        You know they won’t :D

        • http://www.AndroidAuthority.com/ Darcy Alexander LaCouvee

          Yep, they definitely won’t. They are to be commended for the build quality of the original One and the One M8 but they need a lot of work on improving their sales channels. It’s a pity when a great device gets hampered by… well, he who can answer that is the million (billion maybe) dollar man.

          • Luka Mlinar

            It’s turning into a game of prices. Just look at the market right now; Samsung going down, Motorola kicking ass, OnePlus in grate demand. I bet the G3 isn’t selling as good since they bumped up the price vs the G2 (at least here). HTC is overpriced and they don’t have the brand name for that. The metal phones got them out of trouble, the overpriced plastic will get them right back.

          • kg2105

            Motorola was sold off by Google precisely for NOT kicking ass. And though they have lowered prices somewhat and the Moto G is a good budget phone, Motorola continues to not kick ass. HTC is less overpriced now than Motorola is when you consider the hardware/quality of the M8 vs anything Motorola makes. And Samsung demand has gone down but it’s from a place much much higher than any other Android manufacturer. And the G3 is kicking ass if anything is, it’s the best Android phone out right now. As for the one plus one it’s not really in great demand, they barely make any so it just seems like it.

          • Luka Mlinar

            Well no and no on the first two. Google bought Motorola for the patents but figured they would rebuild the brand in the process since more android manufacturers is what they want. Samsung got pissed at Google for owning a OEM and threatened to leave. Google got into an agreement and sold Motorola to Lenovo for way less than it was worth.
            HTC One Mini 2 is the exact same phone (except the camera) as the Motorola Moto G and it is exactly twice as cheap as the as the One Mini. Motorola is selling a boat load of G phones. I don’t think any one HTC phone will sell as good as the G.

          • Aadil

            Thats a nice story but Google didn’t sell Motorola at less than what its worth. Google still owns almost all the patents which are worth more than the Motorola Mobility hardware division.

          • Luka Mlinar

            Maybe. I personally think Lenovo got Motorola cheap. I mean it’s not any name, it’s Motorola. A god among mobile company’s.

          • Aadil

            Then its not just you who thinks this way. Nokia and Motorola were bought dirt cheap when you consider that a messaging app(Whatsapp) was bought at a price higher than Nokia and Motorola combined.

          • Luka Mlinar

            So true.

  • Luka Mlinar

    I think the power button location is a massive con.

    • MasterMuffin

      Colossal!

      • One Big Meh

        Haven’t used it in ages.

        xposed Motion-gestures and a kernel mod. I can tap/swipe to turn the display on or off as well as bring up the reboot menu.

        I think this all started with LG’s Knock and I can only see it getting better. I can live with fewer buttons.

        • MasterMuffin

          That has been as a mod for devices at least from Galaxy Nexus days, but it really isn’t an option for over 90% of people

        • Luka Mlinar

          But when you think about it they made a software fix to a hardware problem. All because they have this signature look that they don’t want to change. Sony made the move and did it with style, why is it so hard for them? Especially now when the screens are so huge and their devices so long.

        • John Garlits

          Don’t even need that! I switch off with the “Screen Off” app widget, or I could use Nova Prime and set it to activate said app when double-tapped to duplicate knock-off. To turn on, I nearly always use the native swipe up function, though I could double tap or use another waking gesture built in. I only use the button if I want to feel old school, lol.

        • Aadil

          Nope it started with BlackBerry not LG

    • Romeo Bucur

      Not to mention the other huge con.. the still non removable battery… come on… it’s a plastic back now.. it’s easy.. just make it removable !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • MasterMuffin

    $150 dollars lower than M8 would be something. Not that I’m expecting that much, but it would make this a great deal

    • Luka Mlinar

      Cheapest price of the HTC One M8 here in Croatia is 880$ so 150$ lower doesn’t cut it, not even close. Overpricing their products will kill them. I think that’s the main thing that’s hurting Samsung right now since there are more and more awesome phones out there at half the price.

      • MasterMuffin

        $250 then!

        • Luka Mlinar

          Go fish :D

          • Mike Reid

            On Ebay, cheapest prices for new M8 tend to be about US $600.

            For new E8 about $500.

            So, about $100 difference from my perspective.

            I want an M8, but I’ve been eyeing the E8 now. But I think there will always be more custom ROMs for M8, so M8 it is. I will add the M8 to my collection of app testing phones, because it’s been one of the most popular this year.

  • ajftl250

    Cheaper ? Lol. Still 550$ plus

  • Carlos Garcia

    How is $640 value oriented?

    • derp hurr-durr

      We’ll let you know when it’s available in a developed nation.

  • Shark Bait

    I heard it’s going to compete with the nexus 5, if they price it like that it could be a winner!

    They are all most identical after all

    • One big Meh

      Much better speakers on the E8 (it’s the main reason I gave my son my Nexus 5 and got the M8). Could not stand the speaker on the Nexus 5…drove me bonkers.

      (Ask anyone…I’m completely bonkers now….)

      • Shark Bait

        Completly agree, poor sound, and dreadfully placement, that’s the only thing I don’t like about it. I do love the look of boom sound however !

        • John Garlits

          Boom sound is totally worth it. Even with headphones in, the software gives it a nice bass boost. I plugged into my car this way and realized I had to turn down the car stereo bass settings as it was too much for my speakers.

  • i_say_uuhhh

    I’m still baffled by HTC not being able to pump out a decent camera. I mean can’t they do some market testing to see what Samsung, LG, and even Apple are doing and apply the technology to their camera?

    I really want this phone but, it’s sad to hear about the camera.

    • Jesus

      ‘and even apple’

      don’t take me as a fanboi, but iphones have great cameras.

      • i_say_uuhhh

        The same with me. I’m no Apple Fanboy at all, but my GF’s 5s takes some pretty damn amazing shots.

  • Malek Kassem

    I LIKE THIS ONE AND WE WISH TO HAVE A REVIEW FOR XIAOMI MI4 >>>THANKS