Sunday, April 6, 2014

HTC One M8 Review (from a Samsung Galaxy S4 user)

The HTC One M8 was recently released on March 25, 2014. The HTC One M8 is continuing where the HTC One left off as HTC's flagship device for 2014. Below is a quick review on the HTC One M8 with my impressions. Several pictures of the device (and pictures captured from the camera) are below. Enjoy!


I will skip most of the detailed technical specifications and list what matters to most people:

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
Display: 5.0" 1080p, "Super LCD 3" with RGB matrix (441 ppi) - Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Camera: 4.0 MP, f/2.0, Dual-LED flash, 28 mm lens, 2.0 MP depth of field sensor
Memory: 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM

Build Quality and Performance

Coming from a Samsung Galaxy S4, the premium unibody aluminum frame and brushed metal backing is a welcome upgrade. HTC does not skimp when it comes to materials, and the HTC One M8 certainly feels like a premium product in my hands compared to the Galaxy S4. Granted, it is prone to slipping because of the ultra-smooth aluminum finish, but I am very happy with the build quality.

The HTC One M8 has a more pronounced curve throughout the phone as compared to the previous HTC One. Additionally, the back of the phone has been streamlined and looks cleaner than the previous HTC One in my opinion.

The phone is utilizing the fastest Qualcomm Snapdragon processor as of April 2014, the Snapdragon 801. Needless to say, it does not slow down during any task--which is expected from a flagship device like the HTC One M8. Previously, my Galaxy S4 did slow down when launching and exiting applications--and although it was a very slight slowdown (1 second or so), it was noticeable. I am happy to say that every application opens with no slowdown on the HTC One M8.

I think a large part of the speed differential is not only the processor but the User Interface. HTC's Sense 6.0 is clean and lean, and definitely faster than TouchWiz (Samsung's UI). I tried out my brother's iPhone 5S and the HTC One M8 kept pace and sometimes outperformed in opening and exiting applications. The time differences are in the milliseconds so it is difficult to judge which phone is faster from a practical standpoint.

There will certainly be benchmark reports coming out that show phone performance speeds and top contenders. But from a practical standpoint, nearly all flagship devices today have indistinguishable speeds when performing everyday tasks (e-mail, music, web browsing).

Key Features

The HTC One M8 comes with the latest version of Android as of April 2014 (4.4 - KitKat), so all of the features included in Android 4.4 KitKat come with the phone. Apart from KitKat, the biggest key feature that I saw in the HTC One M8 is the dual camera and "UFocus" feature. This feature allows the user to change depth/focus after taking a shot. The result is quite staggering, many photos look as if they were taken by a DSLR. Here is a quick example of a picture I took of a lock:

Original / UFocus on Foreground (Lock)

Original / UFocus on Background

Another great feature of the HTC One M8 is Launch Gestures. Launch Gestures allow you to simply double tap on your phone to turn it on, or swipe in multiple different directions to do different things (enter Voice Commands by swiping down, Sense Feed by swiping left, etc.)

The M8 also contains a plethora of filters and editing capabilities, as do most other phones. I found the included filters to be of rather good quality and not as gimmicky as most other phone filters.

HTC One M8 Example Pictures

Original (Left) / "Satura" Filter (Right)

Original (Left) / UFocus on Foreground/Wallet (Right)

There are many other features of the phone, but I thought these two features stood out the most to me.


I was ultimately very impressed by the HTC One M8. Everything from the build quality, performance, and unique features of the phone made me enjoy the phone from the start. I will definitely be using my phone's camera more often to get that delicious bokeh that most phones can't produce, but the HTC One M8 can via UFocus.

Coming from a Samsung Galaxy S4, I love the HTC One M8. Unless you are a die hard Samsung fan and utilize everything from the multi-window capabilities to Samsung applications, I think you would be hard-pressed to not like the HTC One M8 after trying it out. And to all Apple users, what is taking you so long to come over to Android? You're missing out!

Additional Pictures