It was my pleasure to step inside a Verizon store yesterday and get a first-hand look at the HTC One M8 before the device went on sale. It took about 30 seconds before I experienced some serious phone envy. Honestly, when you hold the M8 in your hands, it quickly becomes clear that you're holding the future of mobile devices in your hands. From the clean and modern case (carved from a single block of aluminum), to the amazing display, to the silky smoothness of Sense 6 — it all comes together to form one of the slickest device to date.
The specs of the M8 aren't shabby, but they're not particularly phenomenal:
- Quad-core CPU at 2.3 GHz
- 32 GB onboard memory
- 2 GB RAM
- Support for up to 128 GB microSD card
- 2600 mAh battery
- Usage up to 12 hours
- Standby up 12.2 days
As you can see, there's nothing truly special there. So, what is it that makes this such a game changer? What about the impeccable, clean lines (Figure A)?
The Verizon-branded HTC One M8.
Or how about the amazingly clear five inches of full HD screen (Figure B)?
The HTC One M8 has a gorgeous display.
As for multimedia, no other phone can best the M8 when it comes to camera and sound. Let's take a close look at these two stellar features.
The first thing I did when I had the M8 in my hand was fire up the camera app and see what was so special. After I picked myself up off the floor, I continued on with my exploration. Instead of boring you with the specs of the camera, let me just explain what it can do:
- UFocus: Bring photos into focus after they've been taken
- Zoe highlights: Capture stills and video with one click
- Dual capture: Take single picture using both cameras (rear-facing camera adds a picture in picture)
- Pan 360 photos: Take amazing panoramic photos with ease
Each of the above features not only work, but they work astoundingly well. This is the first smartphone camera that delivers 100% on the promises it made.
I consider myself an audiophile. No smartphone sound can compare to the rich quality of wood cabinet speakers — like the difference between analog and digital (if you understand the difference, there’s no comparison). So, reading that the M8 sound is heads above the competition had me skeptical. For a simple test, I fired up a YouTube Iron Man premiere video.
Words cannot actually described how surprised I was at the quality of sound this device pumped out. Using what HTC calls Boomsound and two front-facing speakers, you won't find another mobile device with audio nearly as good.
The sound is delivered with the help of a .85cc top speaker chamber, a .80cc bottom speaker chamber, and a special speaker membrane capable of boosting bass without distortion. The end result is a rich sound that in no way can be described with the usual descriptors for smartphones (tinny, hollow, or thin).
Blinkfeed and Sense 6
If you’re looking for an alternative to Google Now’s Card system, Blinkfeed might be it. It’s a proprietary app that brings together your social feeds, sports scores, breaking news, and much more. There are over 10,000 sources that can be added to your Blinkfeed.
HTC Sense 5 was already an impressive interface. The biggest improvement with Sense 6 and the M8 is the inclusion of the iR Blaster remote that works with Sense to create Sense TV. This is a graphic UI you use as a television/DVR remote and a program recommendation solution.
Here’s where things get really interesting, especially for those who intend on using the HTC One M8 as their business phone. Any new HTC One M8 phone that's purchased now will be automatically enrolled in the HTC Advantage program. With this, you get:
- Free cracked screen replacement
- Free 25 GB additional Google Drive space for two years
- Settings backed up in the cloud (in the event anything should happen to your phone)
- Hands-on help via live chat or phone
That alone is worth the price of admission.
Who needs such a device?
Outside of anyone who wants the sexiest mobile device around, if you’re looking for a smartphone that will deliver the richest multimedia experience and has the most flexible mobile camera system on the market, the HTC One M8 is for you.
The HTC One M8 is now available for purchase. Will you jump on the HTC bandwagon? What aspect, if any, of the M8 appeals to you the most? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.