HTC One (M8) Android Smartphone Review

Design, Build Quality, and User Experience

The HTC One M8's hardware is top notch. The 5.0-inch 1080p display is marginally larger than the 4.7-inch panel from the 2013 edition of the One. Yes, the resolution is the same, but the slight bump in size brings it more in line with the general sweet spot between phone and phablet. At 5.64 ounces, it’s slightly heavier than the 2013 One as well, but the casing is also made of more metal and less plastic, and the battery size has been increased by 300mAh to 2,600mAh.

The 2014 One looks mighty similar to last year’s model, albeit slightly taller and with more metal. It’s an exquisite device from all angles. It simply oozes class from edge to edge, and it both looks and feels great. The premium fit and finish is undeniable. It’s rigid, dense, and solid too. The design team here deserves a ton of credit. Whereas Samsung threw a plethora of plastic on the Galaxy S5, HTC has moved in the opposite direction. We honestly prefer HTC’s approach — this is a top-tier product that looks and feels the part in every way.

The phone is solid without feeling uncomfortable, but there’s no question that the rear of it is very slick. HTC produces its own flip-style case, and we would absolutely recommend picking it up. It adds more texture to the rear (better for not losing grip while in use), and the perforated cover keeps the gorgeous display safe from dangerous objects. Plus, the phone is smart enough to know when this particular case is in use, so it flicks the display off when the lid closes, and a unique lock screen shows the time and weather through the perforations. Nifty!

Turning to specifics, the top lip of the One has a power button. The left edge is home to a microSD card slot, while the right edge houses a volume rocker and a nano-SIM card slot. The bottom edge is where you’ll find the micro-USB charging/syncing port as well as a 3.5mm headphone port. The phone’s front has a 5MP front-facing camera, two lines of speakers, no hardware buttons at all, and a subtle HTC logo. The backside of the phone is home to a two-stage LED flash, a 4MP UltraPixel camera sensor, and a small depth sensor known as the “Duo Camera.” (The camera arrangement on this product is highly unique, so we’ll touch on that on a future page.)

As far as the UI goes, there’s Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) running the show. At this point, anyone in the market understands what Android is and what Android isn’t. What’s unique to the HTC One is the 6.0 edition of Sense as well as the BlinkFeed system. The latter is the most noticeable, showing up by default as the Home pane.

In essence, it’s a collection of information from news feeds and social networks that you subscribe to. Think of it as a Flipboard-style home screen, where the latest information that you care about is neatly listed in a scrollable format. It’s great for ingesting a lot of information at a glance, but it’s also incredibly easy to remove if you’d prefer a more standard home screen.

Sense has grown more subtle, and that’s for the best. The Android pull-down menu is highly customizable, enabling users to select their favorite settings shortcuts for quick access. What’s most impressive is just how fast we were able to navigate the OS and apps given the horsepower within. Without a doubt, this is the fastest we’ve ever felt an Android phone run, and it’s refreshing.

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