Hey gang, Valkor here. HTC is showing that they have the stuff to hang tight with the likes of Samsung and Apple in th erace for the best smartphone on the market; their first outing in the house of TOV – the HTC One (m7) impressed my main man Alacran who basically had this to say about the smartphone – “In my book, the HTC One is a winner! Size is sleek and thin, fits great in my pocket and it's the perfect travel companion. But the gang at HTC hasn’t been sitting on their butts, riding the wave of popularity the m7 has been getting. They’ve been tinkering and improving the smartphone as well as listening to how they can improve their device and the end result is now in the hands of yours truly. Introducing the HTC One (m8) and it shows that the folks behind it have been listening.
Normally the outer shell isn’t always worth talking about and I usually dive right into the outer features. However with the M8, it’s certainly worth mentioning its complete brushed aluminum gunmetal grey gun chassis; it adds a little weight to the device, but it looks amazing and feels cool to the touch. The front face of the M8 features a 5” LCD full HD display (1920 x 1080), which is slightly larger than the M7. On top and bottom of the face you have your BoomSound stereo speakers, and to complete it all you have your 2MP front facing camera. On the left side is a slot for your SIM card, on the right is a slot for the MicroSD card and below that is your volume control. At the top is your power/standby button, on the bottom is your MicroUSB port for charging/syncing and next to that is your headphone slot. Internally, the M8 hits the ground running with a Snapdragon quad core 800 running at 2.3GHz backing that up with 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 330 GPU, all of which helps power Android KitKat 4.4.2.
At the rear of the device is another unique feature of the smartphone – 4 MP Ultrapixel (4 Megapixel) dual camera with flash. Why the two cameras you might ask? Having the two cams allows one to take great depth of fields shots – so you can place more focus on the foreground while blurring out the background (more on that in just a bit). There are plenty of apps that can perform such a feat, but having a hardware solution works even better. Leave us not forget that the camera comes with a plethora of features to give your images that professional look such as panorama, dual camera, HDR and a selfie mode, plus tons of filters and options to tool around with your images. Finally if you’re a fan of the ZOE engine from the M7, welp it’s here as well. And if you’re unfamiliar with this mode, essentially it takes all of your images and turns it into a cool looking slideshow.
We’ve covered the ins and outs of the M8, but what about feature? Let’s take a look at a few shall we:
BlinkFeed - Once you’ve entered the main screen, a quick swipe to the left will bring up BlinkFeed, which pulls articles from popular news, information and social media sites, bringing it to you in cascading windows. The effect is so smooth that if you gave it a quick swipe upwards, the screen will go rolling by. Plus it gives you information on local time, weather. But it makes for some good reading on the go, allow you to catch up on current events as well as entertainment, news, etc.,
ZOE – Brought over from the previous phone, the ZOE engine is a great little multimedia tool that allows you to create dynamic slideshows from your images applying themes and music. It's a great way to show off those vacation shots without appearing too boring.
UFocus – Another cool tool that allows you to switch your point of focus in an image on a selected target, adding a cool bokeh (blur) type effect.
Motion Launch – allowing you to do more without having to do more; my personal favorite is “tap to awake”, which you just give the screen a double tap to bring you to the main screen. This effect also works with the Dot Matrix cover, if all you want to do is check the time real quick. And if you turn the M8 on its side while holding the volume rocker, it’ll do a quick turn for the camera. The act “can” look pretty cool if you can pull it off on the first try – practice makes perfect. You also get a some swipe controls when the phone is on standby so you don’t have to reach for the power button to wake up the device, the first being the aforementioned BlinkFeed swipe left, but you can also swipe right to bring up the widget screen, and swipe down to kickstart voice controls.
During my downtime from TOV, I spent some quality time with the M8 and while it’s not chockfull of features, it does take simple to a whole new level. And coming from a guy who loves the simplicity of life, this should be the perfect phone for me or anyone else right?
Correct! The HTC One M8 is very simple, but that also means you’re not gonna spend a day or two learning an endless number of features you may or may not use in the long run. First up, what I love about the M8 is the gunmetal grey back, which isn’t as slippery as I thought it would be plus it’s cool to the touch. Visually, the M8 has a decent display, clear, easy to read even the smallest of fonts plus excellent clarity on images and videos; I didn’t run into any issues when watching a movie or reading a comic, which a huge plus goes to how smooth navigation is – smooth like butter, baby! What about this BoomSound? I wasn’t sold on it right away since most of the time I’ve got headphones plugged into the device; however when sharing a video with friends, it literally blows the water off of other phones making it easy to hear what’s being played to anyone within earshot. Beautiful! And speaking of beautiful, the camera, while low on MP, does a damn good job of taking pics, giving you strong colors and sharp images along with a wide array of options to choose from, giving your pics a professional look without having to spend a buttload of cash on expensive equipment. Finally the battery life is solid on the M8; and while you can't replace the battery as I've grown accustomed to, you can at least be assured you're gonna get the most out of it when it's in use thanks to the M8’s power save options. They've even implemented "Extreme Power Save", which turns off a host of functions on the device allowing your phone to last longer during the day so you won't have to run for the charger. Ultimately In the end, the HTC One M8 is a solid phone with a great design and with just enough going for it to make it a worthy contender in the smartphone race to be one of the best of the best.
My main issue with the M8 is the image quality; I know I said above that the quality was decent and that still holds true, however when put up against the likes of say the Galaxy Note 3 (which was released last year), the M8 doesn’t stand a chance; again on its own it still looks great, but if you're looking for bolder colors and sharper image quality, then the Note 3 shines above it.
The HTC One M8 is available now and you certainly can’t go wrong with this one; with that cool, metallic gunmetal grey backside, a handful of very useful features and a dual camera that will have you taking pics like a pro, makes this one smartphone hard not to fall in love with. And out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving the HTC One M8 a solid 4 and it’s been Valkor tested, TOV Approved.