With all of the hype surrounding the launch of the HTC One (M8) slowly dying down, it’s time to focus on some of the most exciting features unveiled alongside HTC’s newest flagship smartphone. 2014 might not be the year of revolution in the smartphone market, but the HTC One (M8) still introduces some rather unique features that you’ll be hard pressed to find on any other smartphone.
Check out the video above, or read the full article below.
Camera and camera features
In 2013, HTC decided to forgo the megapixel race that many other manufacturers have been wrapped up in. HTC was right in claiming that there were other, more important elements to a smartphone camera that were being forgotten in the race to fit more megapixels in a smartphone. So HTC decided to drop the megapixel count to 4, in an effort to increase the amount of light passing through each pixel. More light, means better light performance and this led to the marketing term “ultrapixels” (more info on how Ultrapixel technology works can be read here). Despite this, the HTC One (M7) fell short of achieving smartphone camera greatness, and while low light performance was great, there were noticeable issues in good lighting.
The HTC One (M8) hasn’t dropped the Ultrapixel tag, and neither has it upped the megapixel count, as it stays at 4. Instead HTC has worked on other departments of the camera, including a secondary camera at the back to help with some nifty re-focusing hardware features. In addition to the secondary back camera, the front facing camera has been boosted to 5MP, and there is also a dual LED flash which has seven tones to help keep the flash consistent.
There’s also a few software tweaks, but sadly, there is a growing consensus that the camera may be the weakest part of the M8.
Premium design and build
The HTC One (M7) introduced what would be a defining feature of HTC flagships to come, and the HTC One (M8) takes it up another notch. The M8 is more rounded, offering a much better handling experience, which is much more comfortable than the more rigid, sharper design of the HTC One (M7).
This curved body means the unibody metal design wraps around the corners of the HTC One (M8) and extends right up to the screen, improving on the plastic sides of last year’s model. Over 90% of the HTC One (M8) body is metal, which handsomely beats out last year’s model which was only made of 70% metal. While this means the new HTC One is a little heavier (160 grams vs 143 grams), it also means that the M8 feels even more solid than before.
The HTC One (M8) retains the unique “BoomSound” stereo front facing speakers, but boosts them with a new amplifier which is set to increase the volume by 25% when compared to last year’s model, while retaining the bass, and keeping the audio crisp. Put this alongside the HTC One (M8) display, which has been bumped up to 5-inches, and retains the Full HD resolution, meaning the HTC One (M8) is an ideal media consumption device.
As expected with a new flagship release, the HTC One (M8) brings a new version of Sense in Sense 6 or as HTC has dubbed it, “Sixth Sense”. While Sense 6 isn’t a major jump over Sense 5, it improves on what was already a nifty and visually appealing UI, and thanks to that super fast quad-core Snapdragon 801, the HTC One (M8) flies through Sense 6.
BlinkFeed makes a return in Sense 6, again looking to put all the information you want at your fingertips without you having to search for that information. It brings a slightly different look, diverting away from the paginated look in the previous version to the scrollable one found on the M8.
BlinkFeed has been opened up to allow third party manufacturers and app developers to plug directly into BlinkFeed in order to provide information within your feed. One of the early backers of this new BlinkFeed feature is the popular wearable fitness tracking company Fitbit, which has added support for BlinkFeed to help you keep up to date with all the stats and observations your Fitbit can offer.
Motion is also a big feature, as you’ll be able to answer calls, unlock your phone, and open the camera with a few gestures. You can unlock your phone by simply tapping and sliding your finger on the display the way you’d normally do to unlock the phone, but it won’t be necessary to press the power/unlock button, therefore saving yourself a few seconds.
Improved battery and battery saving mode
The battery was the second issue with the HTC One (M7) and that’s been given a good boost to 2600 mAh in the M8 (up from 2300 mAh in the M7). While this doesn’t quite match up to the massive battery capacities found on the LG G2 and Xperia Z2, HTC claims that the M8 will achieve 40% longer battery life than the HTC One (M7).
Even if that doesn’t quite impress you, HTC has also provided an “Extreme battery saving” mode, which it claims will offer up to 14 days of standby time. Naturally, you’ll lose a few of the important features that make a smartphone “smart”, but HTC says you’ll still be able to receive calls, texts and emails meaning it could be a great feature to eke out that last bit of battery life before a meeting, or for a day where you forgot to charge your phone the other night.
We’ll be sure to test the veracity of HTC’s battery life claims in our upcoming full review.
The HTC One (M8) might not be the greatest innovation ever to grace a smartphone users hands, but it takes an already great experience with the original HTC One (M7) and turns it up a few notches. Stay tuned for our upcoming review, where we’ll put the HTC One (M8) through its paces to find out if it can take on the juggernaut that is the Samsung Galaxy S5, and the Sony Xperia Z2.