The HTC One (M8) Review

by Anand Lal Shimpi & Joshua Ho on 3/26/2014 7:00 PM EST
POST A COMMENT

220 Comments

Back to Article

  • Grooveriding - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    The best just got better!

    Only on page 2 so far, but it's looking excellent.
    Reply
  • dylan522p - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    While it's got flaws, all around best phone IMO. One weird thing is that even though HTC didn't advertise it, the One has passed water proofness tests in a sink for 2 hours.. Reply
  • fokka - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    i almost couldn't watch it... air slowly escaping out of the headphone port, like a fish slowly drowning. (wait a minute...) Reply
  • blanarahul - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Disappointed in the camera department. The camera is the single most important factor for me when buying a smartphone, so the One is a no go. Reply
  • blanarahul - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Btw, I am referring to the rear camera.

    HTC did a really awesome job by putting the power button on the top on a phone this tall.

    They should have gone with capacitive buttons IMO. Atleast you wouldn't have to stare at the logo.

    The S5 is the only remaining good phone for me (I have bad experiences with Sony's quality control, so Z2 is a no go). I just have to find a good back cover for it.
    Reply
  • Cptn_Slo - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    actually, I think HTC is one of the few smart phone manufacturers to invest in specs that will actually make a difference rather than to impress idiots. Reply
  • shaolin95 - Tuesday, April 01, 2014 - link

    Or fool idiots that think they are too smart... Reply
  • theduckofdeath - Tuesday, April 01, 2014 - link

    The reality is, HTC cuts back on the internals simply to make up for the cost of vanity. Calling that "specs that makes sense" is a poor excuse, I think. :) Reply
  • jonup - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Can we turn off the broken record!? Listen, consumer does not need 8+MP camera other than for bragging rights. I bet you we can show a daylight picture taken on a One and S5 to 95% of the people on the street on a ~5" display and they will not tell which is higher resolution. Then we can do the same with a low light picture. You see what I did there!? ;) All I hear about every review out there is "oh the camera is only 4MP", especially the once paid off by Samsung. And all the people like you repeat it all day long. I have someone with an HTC M7 in the office along with iPnone 5s and my Nokia 925 and N5. Side by side shots with all 4 of them look pleasing to the eye. If you are into photography that you care so much about picture detail, you won't be using you phone to take pictures. You can overanalyze the picture quality but It's a mute, geeky point that makes for great marketing. When in reality, the way most of us use their phone camera, the HTC setup is the best camera setup out there. (obviously exaggerating a bit but you get the point) At the end of the day as Anand said it will end up compressed on social media and most likely will be displayed on a phone. Reply
  • ShieTar - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    I think if you compare a 2MP and a 8+MP picture by looking at it on a 2MP-5" screen, about 100% of the people will not be able to tell which one has the better resolution.

    But I agree with your general comment, people complaining endlessly about the photographing qualities of a device that can't be connected to a good objective anyways is just weird.
    Reply
  • Braumin - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Sorry I don't agree with you. 4MP is lots for twitter and facebook, but you can't crop the image at all. Plus 4MP doesn't allow 4k recording.

    Also they took out the OIS. The camera is fine in the One, but it's a regression from last year's model. That's why it's getting knocked. People had issues with the camera last year, and now they've actually gone back a step rather than address the issues.

    Don't forget you're not talking about a Lumia 520 here, or even a Moto X. This is a full flagship phone, with the price to match. They needed to put a larger physical sensor in this year. If they had done 6-8 MP with the "ultrapixels" that would be one of the best camera's on a phone. Instead they regressed. That's never what you want to see in a flagship and they've been rightfully called out on it.
    Reply
  • darkich - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Don't you ever, like, zoom in the photos?
    For, you know, seeing the finer detail?
    Reply
  • sevenmack - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Depends. While I do a lot of cropping of my photos, I usually use Photoshop for that purpose. Does the job better than most mobile apps (including those that come with the phone itself). But for the average person, cropping is a rare event. In fact, you would be lucky to talk to someone who regularly crops smartphone camera photos for detail purposes.

    So Jonup does have a point. Doesn't mean that the M8 suits your needs; to each their own on that one. But for most folks -- including many professional photographers such as Mahmoud Mfinanga of EmmazedPhotog.com, and Colby Brown -- the M8 (and the M7 before it) more than does the job.
    Reply
  • Scootiep7 - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    You do realize that most of the actual, professional photography work that Mahmoud Mfinanga and Colby Brown do uses either film or high end DSLR's cameras right? I mean it's literally on their websites. And no, the M8 and M7 would not cut it for them. Reply
  • doosh bag - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    They didn't say they used the phone camera, they simply endorsed it. Have it a thumbs up, if you will. Reply
  • CoryWeston101 - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    I know a few that would disagree. And believe the M8 and M7 have great camera's for smartphones. Reply
  • sephirotic - Sunday, March 30, 2014 - link

    Finer detail, on 16mpx 1/3" sensor? Good joke, sir. Reply
  • CoryWeston101 - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    No. That's stupid. Reply
  • jond11 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Maybe you should do better research. The camera improved from last year's model even with them removing ois. Not one tech site yet said picture quality is worse on the M8 compared to the M7. Actually, anyone who reviews the 2 phones all agree it takes better pictures. It's funny how the HTC ONE 2014 performed better than any phone on the plantet, but it wasn't worthy because it had a 4 ultra pixel camera. Yet the Note2, Note3, and S4 don't perform half as smoothly as the ONE and was considered great phones. So Iguess iit's ok now to make flagship phones buggy and filled with lag as long as it carries a 8 megapixel camera or better, lol. Reply
  • jonup - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    My point exactly! I was not arguing that the One has the best or better camera than the other flagships. All I said is that people a bashing the phone over a camera that is good enough (ok if you wish) in the day light but it (the phone) is exceptional in any other way (save for the wasted real estate by the logo). I would give up 600mah of battery to get rid of the black stripe underneath the display. Which brings me to the other Samsung sponsored reviewers argument - on screen keys vs capacitive key. On-screen keys is the Google way. Not the iOS Samsung copy cat way. I wish there is more custom-ability in the GEL and in the OEM laucher to set height of the nav bar, the width of the buttons, and the choice of buttons. As usual my two cents. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Sunday, March 30, 2014 - link

    It doesn't take steady video, which is where it's more important. All the regular photos in this article were still shots, except for the video demonstrating the difference between the M7 and the M8. Reply
  • sephirotic - Sunday, March 30, 2014 - link

    4k recording is worse than gimmick on any 1/3" sensor. Compression efficiency on smartphones is very low and unoptimized for video, there is simply no way to retain actual 1080p motion resolution with currect processors and pixel pitch of 1/3 sensors. Z2 samples makes this obvious, Actual true resolution on Z2 is worse than a semi-professional 720p video on a 2010's GH1. I'd rather have a more efficient 1080p compression and slow motion than 4k. EVEN IF there was actualy improvement from 1080p videos on 4k recorded from smartphone, 99% of regular costumers woudn´t even have a 4k screen to display it. Using for mastering casual videos? Even less likely.
    4k video on smartphone is just plain idiotic.

    However I do agree 4mp is a little on the low side even for 1/3" sensor but no doubt pushing anything beyond 8mp is pure gimmick. it's a shame that sony kept pushing the megapixel race for so long even after the other manufactures stoped with this nonsense and now this is back on Smartphones and Video.
    I do agree removing OIS is sad drawback.
    Reply
  • CoryWeston101 - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    Let's get some facts straight. NO ONE NEEDS 4K recording on a smartphone or period. Less than 1 percent of the poulation has 4K TVS or monitors making 4K recording a useless gimmick. You need it that badly go by an actually 4K camera from Sony or Cannon or someone. It will do a better job. But 4K recording is a stupid useless gimmick

    They took OIS out because of the 2 camera set up. And also with a 2 camera set up YOU DON'T NEED OIS as it essentially does the same thing only better. The camera is a giant leap forward And no that's not why it is getting knocked. It is getting knocked because of the uneducated people out their like.

    You bring the Moto X up? The Moto X camera sucks. The M8 camera makes the X camera look like a childs toy.

    The M8 has one of the best cameras on a smartphone. They did not regress. They progressed. You are just to daft to understand.
    Reply
  • CalaverasGrande - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    4k recording on your smartphone?
    What phone DOES do that now.
    Reply
  • Anand R - Tuesday, April 01, 2014 - link

    You want 4K recording? What for? Do you have a 4K screen? Besides, even if you do, why not use an actual camera for 4K recording (which would be better in every way) rather than use a phone camera? Reply
  • purerice - Saturday, April 12, 2014 - link

    Complaining about lack of recording 4K... on a cellphone... with 16GB total storage...
    Please tell me you forgot the "/sarcasm" tag.

    Few cell phone cameras can compare to even a low end PaS camera in good light. Reduce the light level, increase the distance, add some motion, and the point&shoot wins by leaps and bounds. Olympus and Panasonic make decent all-weather cameras that fit in your pocket for 1/2 the price of a flagship cellphone.

    If the phone has a good enough camera for video calling and quick snaps, it's good enough for me. I would no more replace a real camera with a cellphone because the cellphone can remedially take photos, than I would replace a computer with a cellphone because my cellphone can remedially edit spreadsheets.
    Reply
  • doosh bag - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    I totally agree. The camera is more than capable enough in the opinion of professional photographers, but these nudniks out here, these spec snobs can't seem to find anything better to do than regurgitate the same tired, flimsy rhetoric, they read from some meshuggah reviewer, again and again. Far as I can gather from the comments on this first page, none of these yentas even own a M7 or a M8. It's all third person narrative. I own the M7 and let me tell you something, that camera is boss. For example, I was driving down the interstate in the desert, around 70 mph, driving into a beautiful sunset. I held the phone up to the side window and held the shutter button for a few seconds. Got about 20 shots. In one shot there was a semi truck going by, in the opposite direction, in the farthest lane away from me, traveling roughly the same speed, about 200 feet away, in failing light. So, combined speed between the two of us, about 130 mph. I snapped these photos in portrait mode. The picture looked as if everything were perfectly still. The detail so sharp that, without zooming the photo at all or flipping it to landscape view, I can clearly see and count all the lug nuts on the front wheel of that truck. There is nothing wrong with that camera. That camera does everything it's supposed to do and it does it exceptionally well. It's every bit as good as most, and almost as good as some. Comparison after comparison has proven it to be more than adequate. Someone mentioned 4K recording. Let me explain something to you people. 4K is a gimmick. It's a joke. 4K went be commercially viable for another 5 years, if then. They don't even have proper codecs to deal with it. Still using HD codecs to render Ultra HD source code. No phone can render the 4K video it shoots. Televisions and monitors are extremely expensive. Reply
  • puremind - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    I also totally agree. The M7 convinced me more in terms of shooting clean blur free, fast focused pictures. Other phones have let me down big time. MP give you sharper pictures if you are lucky... That's 30% of the time. I have regretted not being able to crop but I liked thetrade off of faster shooting. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    "If you are into photography that you care so much about picture detail, you won't be using you phone to take pictures."
    That is such a stupid argument. Considering that smartphones are alround devices capable of many things, you can say that just about every feature;
    - if you care about high speed browsing, you will use a laptop/desktop
    - if you care about listening to music, you will use headphones/DAC/dedicated mobile players
    - if you care about video chat, you will use a 4k camera and a high end beamer
    That do a lot and thus nothing really spectacularly. But that's not the point here, is it?
    Reply
  • berantle - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    @Death666Angel, it is not a stupid argument. It is a rational reasonable argument.

    Fundamentally, it is a phone first and whatever else second. Yes, it is capable of other things but it cannot fully replace what other purpose-specific devices do better. Taking into account the size, form factor and the practical realities of smartphones, it is actually pretty foolish to expect that these fully replace the proper devices for it.

    The main point about the camera as stated ad nauseum is the camera's resolution is sufficient for what many people use the photos taken from it - i.e. post onto social websites and blogs, and view them on their 1080p (1920x1080) Full HD TV. The 4MP resolution of the HTC One (both M7 and M8) camera equates to 2688 x 1520 images at 16:9 ratio. This size provides more than enough detail for 1080p Full HD TVs that are very common nowadays. Posting on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, etc, the image sizes shown on screen rarely, if ever, go as large as 1920x1080.

    Good photos are rarely just about how detailed it shots. It's about picture composition/framing, quality of lenses and proper focusing, and a basic understanding and proper use of photography technicalities. If you're a crap photographer, having a higher number of pixels only means you're likely to be taking crap photos that have more detail.

    That all said, personally, 4MP (2688x1520) pictures are at the lower end of my requirements. It would be nice to have a sensor of more 2-micrometer pixels than 4MP. As it is, the 4MP picture resolution of the HTC One camera is adequate for my needs.
    Reply
  • Thermalzeal - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    I don't think it's a broken record. While photo's look similar on a phone's display, they certainly differ in quality when viewed on a higher DPI display. You are right that there is a small audience that appreciates this, but this is a high end product to top off the premium tier of HTC phones. I like the concept of the dual camera, but it would have been nice to get at least a 12MP sensor since they are not really cost prohibitive.

    Also in the end, you can always down sample a photo, but in the future where bazillionK resolution is the standard, these photo's will look like your mom and dad's black and whites.
    Reply
  • evonitzer - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    "I like the concept of the dual camera, but it would have been nice to get at least a 12MP sensor since they are not really cost prohibitive."

    But at what cost in performance? Low light performance will suffer. I do not understand people's difficulty in this minor complexity. The resolution is good enough, and enables greater performance in low light. Daylight shots will lack resolution. We do not need to boil it down any further to "this camera is crap" or "this camera is great". This camera does exactly what it is designed to do and it is up to shoppers to decide if it is right for them.
    Reply
  • dimsum888 - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    compared to other flagship phones it doesn't perform well. at its price point it is expected all features are comparable to other high end phones. Reply
  • jospoortvliet - Sunday, March 30, 2014 - link

    No, compared to other phones it does worse at still pictures with outside day light and better at moving picks and at night. So there is a choice: if you want to take pics inside orat night or of moving objects, the HTC one is best. If you take pics of static objects in good lightning conditions, buy another phone. I know why I prefer my HTC, which makes the better pics in 90% of relevant (for me) circumstances but ymmv. Reply
  • notposting - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    Or get one of the Lumia's which take better pics both outdoors, indoors, good light, no light, have OIS, have the resolution to allow cropping, some allow for saving a copy in RAW.

    Between the Note 3, S4/S5, iPhone 5S, Lumia 92x/1020, LG G2, and the Sony lineup, there is basically little reason to choose the HTC if the camera is at all important to you.
    Reply
  • augustofretes - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    The resolution isn't good enough. The detail capture is obscenely poor. People zoom-in their images to see their friends and stuffs in the picture you know? While I agree that 12MP is not really necessary, 8MP + OIS are way a better choice than the nonsense of 4MP + secondary sensor for gimmicky procedures. Reply
  • Blown503 - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    5 megapixels is an 8x10 picture on paper, 8 megapixels is a 16x20 picture on printed paper. The are printed @ 300 dpi. Reply
  • Chaser - Thursday, April 10, 2014 - link

    I've owned the HTC One M7 and if its one area I was disappointed in was its versatility as a point and shoot. Yes the low light level is very good but with larger scale more distance "scenic" outdoor photos there is a difference with the high pixel phone cams. So yes, while a photo of a flower pot on a table may not look "noticeably different" the quality of even smartphone cams vary. I know because I go through flagship smartphones at least once a year sometimes sooner and I use their cameras frequently as I have no desire to carry around an extra camera.

    Let me make another distinction. If you do take a photo and later desire to crop and resize that photo (and post it on social media for example) the higher pixel cameras won't lose detail like the lower pixels cameras such as my former HTC One would. So enough with the "broken record" about pixels not mattering. I can assure you they do. Even smart phone camera image quality and versatility has improved significantly since two years ago. I sold my HTC One because I was disappointed with it's overall camera quality. I am much happier with my new LG G2's higher pixel camera.
    Reply
  • perpetualdark - Wednesday, April 02, 2014 - link

    While I agree that the HTC One camera is good enough and even better than other phones in certain situations (ie low light), the megapixel argument does hold water. Unless every picture you take is at standard zoom, the number of pixels in a smartphone is very important. This is NOT a camera with a physical zoom lens on it, so zoom is purely a factor of megapixels. The more pixels you have, the more you can zoom in.

    Keep in mind, every other camera on smartphones has a smaller lens aperture though, so while you can zoom way in with higher megapixels, you have to have longer exposure to get the same amount of light to the sensor to get the same picture quality, and again the lower the ambient light, the worse the picture. In well lit scenes that are fairly static, an 8 or 16 megapixel camera will be able to zoom way in and get a great picture that is still high resolution even on a 1080p television or monitor. The 4mp might be better in low light and might take great pictures at no zoom, but it cannot touch the zoom capabilities of the higher megapixel cameras. Not without a physical zoom lense, and you aren't going to find that in a smartphone.

    Bottom line is that if you like to take a lot of pictures where you need to zoom in, and don't want to always be carrying around a professional grade camera, this isn't the phone for you. And for crying out loud, if you are going to make an argument, at least make a valid one..
    Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    I'm dying at the mustachioed Anand and the punk hat. Reply
  • bj_murphy - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Yeah me too, that was my favourite part of the review, hands down! Reply
  • tzhu07 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    HTC has a real-time 3D model of the M8. Pretty cool.
    https://skfb.ly/yvMN
    Reply
  • skingtech - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

    This article helps convince me to go Samsung Galaxy S5 for sure. The M8 has a nice feature set - better built in sound and nicer look but, Samsung has better display, better camera, and comparable if not faster everything else (I don't know about you but, I put a case on my phone - the look of the device should be the LAST thing focus'd on for crying out loud. Reply
  • dylan522p - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    I think those selfies may be the greatest thing ever! Reply
  • KPOM - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Nice review, as usual. I wonder if 5" is where phone manufacturers finally "stop" in terms of the "standard" phone size. Above that, and a small tablet paired with a 4-5" phone really is a better solution.

    If I were to get an Android phone, it would be an HTC. They should lobby hard to get a Nexus phone. With Google subsidies that might be what kicks their sales efforts into gear. Otherwise, I see the new HTC One in much the same light as the old HTC One: the best Android phone out there in terms of build quality and style, and one of the best in terms of performance, but a distant also-ran behind Samsung in terms of sales.
    Reply
  • fokka - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    i don't think we reached the end of increasing screen sizes yet. the one just hit 5", in a relatively big body though, the s5 jumped to 5,1", also by increasing body size. the z2 is at 5,2" and the only phones seemingly at least trying to offset the big screen with small bezels are the g2 and note3.

    the next note will be 5,9-6" and the next round of flagships will be in the 5,5" ballpark.

    we can only hope for devices like the z1 compact to make top notch hardware available in more pocketable form factors.
    Reply
  • Honest Accounting - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Moto X: optimal form factor and minimal bezels.
    I think we'll end up with 3 'standard' sizes. 4.7", 5.5", and 6.3"
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Yeah, Moto X is the right size.

    2.6mm shorter and 2.6mm narrower than my Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD. (Although the Moto X is thicker with a lot less battery!).

    I still think if I had to pick any phone available, I'd stick with the one I have. The new DROID MAXX is closest to what I'd want, but it has no microSD slot or HDMI out, which the HD has both of.
    Reply
  • Jeffrey Bosboom - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Can we get some remarks about audio quality? I use my phone for two things: taking pictures of whiteboards and listening to music. Given that my old EVO 3D's camera (and heavy JPEG compression) takes acceptable pictures, I think the ultrapixel camera will suffice. So if it also offers decent audio quality, I'll probably get one. Reply
  • Jeffrey Bosboom - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    I guess I should clarify: that means headphones, not speakers. (I share an office.) Reply
  • jk1 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    i'd like to second this. i know htc is making a big deal out of its double camera, but we get endless details about the camera, special effects, humorous overlays and on and on. but we get nothing in any of these reviews about the quality of the dac for headphone use, or the quality of the sound of an incoming voice call or how you sound making a call using the phone. Reply
  • djvita - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    from gsmarena:

    "The HTC One (M8) audio quality is by far the best we've seen a mobile device produce so far - and that's including tablets. Even its impressive predecessor pales in comparison with the latest HTC flagship, which is not only the loudest around, but also delivers perfectly clean output.
    The HTC One (M8) did perfectly in the active external amplifier part of the test, posting great scores all over the field. In addition it had volume levels higher than every other mobile device on the market right now.
    More impressively, there's virtually no degradation when you plug in a pair of headphones. The stereo crosstalk rises so little that it remains better than what some smartphones deliver without headphones. The rest of the readings remain perfect too, while the volume is as high as they come. What do you know - dropping the Beats logo actually led to even more spectacular performance by the HTC flagship."

    http://www.gsmarena.com/htc_one_m8-review-1062p7.p...
    Reply
  • dylan522p - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    The One was great for audio after you disabled beats EQ, so I'd expect the same. Reply
  • CoryWeston101 - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    Amazing. Best audio experience headphones or no headphones on a smartphone. Reply
  • RaistlinZ - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    The lack of OIS really sucks. The difference is just painful to watch. Reply
  • fokka - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    but at least we can add bad looking "bokeh" to our shots...

    really, going for the second camera, which adds cost, requires space and is just plain ugly to look at, all while dropping an important feature for true photography has been a big mistake, if you ask me.
    Reply
  • CoryWeston101 - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    There is not difference. The duo camera does OIS but in a better way. With the second camera it doesn't need OIS because the second camera acts in the same way but better. Reply
  • Samuel Lord - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    @CoryWeston101:
    A nice theory, utterly untrue with the M8. No, it needs OIS for decent video but HTC punted, end of story.
    Reply
  • Fergy - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    I love my HTC One. It feels great. Has great sound. A great screen. Good battery life.
    What I wanted improved: better camera and smaller. If they could just make the 4.7inch screen borderless and integrate the HTC bar buttons in the screen it would be the perfect size for me.

    Instead it is larger in every way and even heavier! And the camera is the same...

    The HTC One m8 is still the phone I would recommend to people but for me I have to keep on the lookout for a phone I can use with one hand.
    Reply
  • fokka - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    same here. i had hoped they keep it the same size and the bigger screen will be compensated by the on screen buttons. but seeing this huge black bar with the htc logo under the screen just about puts me off considering the new one is almost 1cm taller than the old.

    the problem is now that the m8 is here i would also feel dumb for buying an m7, the battery and sd slot alone are big selling points for me. but man is this thing big...
    Reply
  • madwolfa - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Remaining happy camper with my M7.. M8 is not a worthy upgrade for me.. Guess shoulda wait for M9. I have another year of contract anyway. Reply
  • hangfirew8 - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    My feelings as well, the M8 is a good fast phone, but I'm happy with my fast-enough M7. I still wish for a better still camera but the video is indeed good and it looks like we'll have to wait for the M9 to get the 6-8MP we need to make UltraPixel both sensitive and detailed. Reply
  • puremind - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    Take the new HTC One Mini. It will probably fit thebill Reply
  • hangfirew8 - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    Considering how much less the original Mini was compared to the M7, I doubt the new Mini will be better than my M7- which would make it better than the One M8. Reply
  • UltraWide - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    HTC needs to make sure to follow up with prompt Android updates and not drop support for phones like the ONE X+, etc.
    At the end of the day, I will probably check out the HTC One M8, praise it for all the great points highlighted in this article and just buy the Galaxy S5 because it makes less sacrifices in the name of design.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    They did really well with 2013 One updates, I don't know as much about the One X but I think that got pretty good update speeds too. Reply
  • sigmatau - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    "HTC clearly saw design where others were more focused on cost optimization."

    Not sure if that matters when "cost optimization" is not passed on to the customer. When they came out, the Galaxy S4 cost more than the HTC One.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    That's almost solely a function of hype/demand. After the great success of the Galaxy S2, Samsung had its bed made and simply needed to offer the new phone with everything a bit improved. Because of HTCs horrible marketing and naming scheme, they didn't have the same level of branding, so their new releases aren't nearly as covered, hyped and sought after.
    But as I said in my own comment, now the HTC M7 is the priciest of the former flagship phones, coming in at 410€ for the 32GB version, with the other brands bein 300 to 330€ for their 16GB versions. If you compare like to like, it is a bit closer.
    Reply
  • hangfirew8 - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    Savings from the cost optimization goes into Marketing. Reply
  • secretmanofagent - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Does the new Sense UI allow you to see emails on the lock screen? They took that away from the One Mini in the 4.3 update. They also moved the widgets to a painful swipe to the left, was hoping they fixed that too. Reply
  • gg555 - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    No review of the noise cancellation? Sigh. I've come to count on AnandTech as the only site that takes this seriously. But it seems to be getting passed over in recent reviews. Reply
  • hangfirew8 - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    Love Love Love the noise cancellation on my M7. Thank you for reminding me of that.

    Yes we need to keep on top of that.
    Reply
  • varad - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Neat review but seriously, where is Brian Klug? Reply
  • yelped - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Great question! Seriously, this review wouldn't have been missing an analysis on the audio quality, and the network connectivity (WiFi, Bluetooth..). Also, can you explain what the Sprint version is using instead of the QFE1000?

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • jasonelmore - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    something is definitely up. Anand staff have been dodging questions about the whereabouts of Brian Klug for several days, so me thinks Anand and Brian had some kind of "falling out". Whether it was over Pay, or internal beef, it definitely makes you wonder. For example, he did not attend Nvidia's conference, nor was he part of a Major Android flagship review. Reply
  • Blairh - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Anand admitted in private to Brian that he loves SD cards in phones and that was that. Reply
  • yelped - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Lol. Though I am wondering what's going on.. Also, any word why Sprint has different front ends and why? Reply
  • asaini007 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Haha Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    There's no falling out, I just had dinner with Brian :) Can't talk about much more for now, sorry :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • nerdstalker - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    It could have been a good move by Brian if he updated his info on Twitter, LinkedIn etc, to reflect any changes (if there is) to his affiliation with AnandTech. A short "thank you, good luck and btw we left in good terms" confirmation tweet from Anand (similar to his post above) would clear most questions. Just my 2 cents. :) Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    All in due time, privacy is an important thing :) Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Audio quality is coming, just didn't have the time to get the review unit out to Chris. Similarly time constrained on network connectivity, I plan on grabbing the data when I'm back in NC this weekend. Reply
  • yelped - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Ok. Thanks for the clarification. Reply
  • George Carlin Jr. - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Only a 4MP camera? WTF? Why can't just ONE single phone maker make a phone with the best of everything? They always skimp or screw up at least one thing. Why is that? Reply
  • madwolfa - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Never needed more than 4 megapixels for sharing pics on Facebook (which is what 99% people are doing with their phones). For anything else, I have my DSLR. Reply
  • Blairh - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Total BS. Reply
  • Egg - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Read the 2013 HTC One review to understand this design choice... Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    4MP made great sense a couple years ago, but now days more people are getting higher res screens. 30"ers are 4.1MP, and some new tablets and laptops are also in the territory. I think ~2x the screen res is a good amount for the sensor, so that pixel averaging works well for the final product. I think they should have gone with 6-8MP, same pixel size, and with optical stabilization. Reply
  • asaini007 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    I feel like they could've if they would've. Perhaps such components don't exist, are far too expensive, or would not meet design constraints. They did they best with what they could I assume.

    And I actually think the secondary camera is kinda neat for fun effects, which will appeal to the mass market which HTC desperately needs.
    Reply
  • doosh bag - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    In order for HTC to build this phone with the "6-8 megapixel" people keep screaming they can't live without, they would've had to raise the price considerably to make the phone profitable. Don't forget HTC's revenues were down almost 50% in Q4 2013 from Q4 2012. It's quite easy for people to sit around in the comment box of someone else's blog and wax intellectual about how to spend HTC's money. If this phone sells like the M7, we may not see a M9. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    Lose the second camera, lose the expensive all metal unibody, which obviously people don't need (look at other top selling smartphones) and give me the 6-8MP Ultrapixel sensor for the same price. There, I solved your problem. Now HTC has just done "more of the same" while giving us "less of some stuff". Of a phone that probably wasn't a big hit, or else they would be doing better. I don't understand their strategy at all. Reply
  • evonitzer - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    Heck, lose the 801 (who needs that performance anyway), lose the Wifi AC (impossible to find in the wild), cut the screen resolution (nobody needs more than qHD say I) ... what else can I cut and still have a phone? LTE! Get rid of it.

    Seriously, what's the point of innovating or trying. Just be boring and people will buy it.
    Reply
  • jospoortvliet - Sunday, March 30, 2014 - link

    I sure as he'll wouldn't have bought it if it was another plasticy piece of crap like the Samsung's... Their strategy is fine, they just need more/better priced midrange phones. Reply
  • hero4hire - Sunday, March 30, 2014 - link

    Exactly. It's not like the consumer is footing the bill for the all metal vs plastic. If there was a tradeoff for metal & 4mp or vs plastic 16mp "ultra" it would be worth a discussion. Maybe they could make that phone too. I d bet we find s5 and one (2014) for the same USA subsidy price as is. Reply
  • CoryWeston101 - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    Cut the metal unibody? You are a daft one. Reply
  • LAWSON72 - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    S5 for water proof and less to worry about since it is plastic, or this for the beautiful metal design, and touchscreen nav buttons. A tough decision, I just know I am getting bored with my S4 and the Nexus 5 sadly is not ever going to be on Verizon, so it is a choice between these two. Reply
  • antef - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Curious why you're "happy to see a move to nano sim as well." What difference or advantage does it make for the consumer? They can be harder to find on pre-paid carriers. Seems like it only exists due to Apple's relentless desire to always be using something different from everyone else. Reply
  • Braumin - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Simple. Nano sim in this case made room for dual sim on some models, and likely freed up space for micro SD, although making the body taller likely helped too.

    Plus the nano sim was made a standard so why not? You can make the argument it's the wrong standard, but it won out.
    Reply
  • antef - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    I don't think "micro SIM being too big" was ever a reason for excluding things like micro SD slots, that decision is mostly made for other reasons and HTC probably just included it this time to try to differentiate some. I'm okay with a new standard if it's universally available, but until recently and maybe even now that hasn't been the case (again regarding pre-paid carriers). Reply
  • althaz - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Why are the OLED screens not listed in the brightness for black and contrast tables? Yes, they have zero black levels and infinite contrast, but that's the level LCDs should be aspiring to and it's worth comparing them, IMO.

    There's a reason most people go for OLED screens (despite almost every reviewer preferring LCDs), they have MUCH better contrast. IMO this is a serious flaw of all LCD phones and should be mentioned. Sure, the tradeoffs may well be worth the relatively poor contrast, but that's something each user has to decide for themselves.
    Reply
  • Braumin - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    There's not enough horizontal pixels to graph infinity. Reply
  • evonitzer - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    True, but it still seems like there should be some mention of that, or just putting them at the top a bit above the leader. When I was looking at HDTV's some years ago, black levels were of very high priority, hence me getting a plasma. To think we would have perfect blacks on phones and people would shrug just a few short years later ... Reply
  • hangfirew8 - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Great review, not enough reason to trade-up from my M7, especially given the OIS video difference.

    I'll repeat my request to review the matching car dock and car mode/launcher with each review. With so many places passing hands-off laws for drivers, this mode is more and more important, and is obviously not given enough attention by either OEM's or reviewers.

    Besides car dock mode, I really think a BT test such be conducted against, say, a Pioneer, a Kenwood and some select factory auto receivers. Complaints about niggling sync or lag or other bugs are common, but if no one is reviewing these combinations systematically, the manufacturers of both the phones and the car audio systems are not going to do anything about it.

    Think of it this way- many phones spend most of their screen-on operating time docked in a car dock or holder of some kind, and BT synced with the receiver. It is the second most common operating usage after sitting beside us on our desk or armchair.
    Reply
  • SorryItsAThrowAway - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    I disagree that Sense UI is the best experience "bar none." If you've only compared it to Samsung or LG - then, sure. That would be an obviously true statement. However other manufacturers have arguably far more usable designs. If we stay with the Western audience as this article so clearly does then the best examples would be Motorola recently and even more especially Sony.

    Even if these still somehow came up short to Sense (debatable) they are certainly not so far away from the strong wording this review claims.
    Reply
  • dylan522p - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Moto isn't classified as a skin and Sony adds VERY VERY little features and a lot of pointless changes. Reply
  • SorryItsAThrowAway - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    I disagree. If it isn't stock then it's a skin. Moto is very minimal. Sony as well but they also have an entire theme system to change things like the appearance of the on-screen interface buttons. So, Sony can go either way with that in mind (good or bad). Reply
  • rxzlmn - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    That's wrong. Sony keeps the main UI elements all the same, but does add many little helpful things. But they don't change how things behave and look in terms of usability compared to stock (different from HTC, LG or Samsung). Reply
  • CoryWeston101 - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    No. Sense is the best user experience and best UI. No other Android OEM comes close. Motorola's UI is just stock with some added stuff. And Sony has a good UI but it isn't better than Sense. Reply
  • icwhatudidthere - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Actually that photo of you in the bar is how normal bokeh would look as well. Everything in your plane should be in focus, in this case, the second sensor is doing its job correctly and rendering a more realistic bokeh instead of a software-only solution.

    There is one artifact though on the wall paneling close to the table. I guess they're not actually assigning depth values to individual pixels but grids instead for faster processing.
    Reply
  • justaname - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    Now all they need to make is the new One mini, which would be the old One(M7) with the new 801 SoC. And maybe the microSD. Reply
  • number58 - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    This might just be my next phone. I'm beyond tired of my galaxy nexus. So where's Brian? Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    Yeah, but it was a great phone, wasn't it? :D Reply
  • iwod - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    I mean if you are an Android user, why would anyone choose Samsung over this? This is quite possibly one of the best designed phone out there. Reply
  • Blairh - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    The camera. Reply
  • asaini007 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    The heart-rate sensor

    (sarcasm)
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    Because I stuff my phone in a cheap case and look at its screen, not everything but the screen?

    If you like it and it hits your button, great. But why does everyone have to conform to your ideals of a top android smartphone?
    Reply
  • batongxue - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    "haven’t changed compared to M7: there’s still 1080p30 (20Mbps High Profile H.264), 1080p60 (also 20Mbps High Profile), slow motion (720p) pand HDR video."

    The 2013 One doesn't do 1080p60 and the slowmo is relative low res instead of 720p.
    Something's wrong with the description here.
    Reply
  • rxzlmn - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - link

    I wish you would review the Z2. You didn't review the Z1, please do review the Z2 this time. Reply
  • Vaibhav Sharma - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Me 2. Please review the z2. Sony is bigger than lg or htc here in India. More content for global audience? :) Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Agreed. Z2 is the real Android flagship. Reply
  • Blairh - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Very odd that not a single word was written about BoomSound.

    M8 is a big let down IMO. I would recommend it, but personally I find it too tall and heavy this round. A hypothetical 5" screen on the same footprint as the M7 would have been superior. Poor camera, ugly bezel, too tall. I hope HTC comes back stronger next year.
    Reply
  • flashbacck - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    I've been say'n, if they're going to cheat on performance benchmarks, you should use those same benchmarks to measure battery life! Reply
  • flashbacck - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Hmm. The low light seems ok, but it's not dramatically better than anything else. Reply
  • bhupatib - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Disappointed that Anand didn't do any audio quality test. GSMArena's analysis suggests impeccable audio output but I really doubt their testing methodology. But I'm happy HTC gave us bottom headphone jacks! Don't troll me on that, but I just think USB and headphone jack belong at the bottom. I know G2 does that too but going by AT's audio benchmark, it has less than stellar audio quality.
    Someone posted about the next One mini being the more reasonable buy and I agree (unless the next Moto X beats it to it). We won't get SD801, but if it looks just as good with the same port placement, audio quality and battery life, great ! Paying extra for that gimmicky dual camera to get the kind of effects I was doing when I first learnt Photoshop - bad, amateurish, no thank you! I'm not averse to camera features on a phone, I just think HTC missed an opportunity to implement something awesome instead of creating another fancy name (UltraPixel).
    My take? A single, large sensor (at least 1/2.3", ideally 1") camera optimized primarily for shooting 4K videos. Why? A frame grab from a 4K video with well implemented codec has just as much detail as any good 8MP still shot - so 4K gets you the eyeballs and without any further effort you get decent stills quality. SD801 is capable enough, HTC just needed to add improved optical stabilization and at least 50mbps H.264 profile. That, along with 1080p60 and 720p120, would have been much more logical.
    Pretty certain iPhone 6 will have some advanced OIS and the fusion of videography and photography is the way to go in the 4K era.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Audio quality testing happens out of a physically different location, we're working on it next though :) Reply
  • Laxaa - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Does it still have the "HDR Mics" as the M7 had? The one's that doesn't distort loud noises? Reply
  • Biln3 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    i know the screen in the new one is .3" bigger but aren't they effectively the same size since the new one has screen shrinking onscreen buttons? Reply
  • hughlle - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Rather what i was thinking. They removed the old buttons, but maintained the black bar. It all seems rather counter productive. Reply
  • TrackSmart - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    BINGO! This *really* annoys me the One M8! The new display makes the phone larger, but doesn't provide extra screen real estate. It's a lose-lose situation.

    Sure, the on-screen buttons are more versatile and can be updated with the software, but lost screen real estate is a painful compromise. Especially, when you the phone doesn't get any smaller for the loss of capacitive buttons. The Moto X is probably the only flagship device that actually used on-screen buttons as a way to reduce phone size. Almost every other implementation was a lost opportunity.
    Reply
  • Mugur - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    What I hate about the onscreen buttons is when you are using the phone in landscape mode and they take a lot of real estate of the screen... So I think I will stay another year with my "old" One (M7) - unless they cannot replace/repair under warranty my broken focus of the camera... Reply
  • martinpetrov1568 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Anand u say it is difficult and takes multiple exposures to create a photo such as the duo camera, but it is not. A normal photo with no blur from the depth of field simply needs a gaussian blur filter along with a soft brush in photoshop. I can do it, along with anyone else in this planet in 3 minutes tops. I'm sure there is a mobile application for this too Reply
  • sevenmack - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    But most people don't have Photoshop, Martin, and many of the photo apps out there focus on other kinds of filter (including ones that change colors) instead of Gaussian blur. So Anand is correct that it can be hard for the average person without graphic design software to do. Reply
  • NesuD - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Double tap will put the screen back to sleep but only when the phone is in a locked state. Reply
  • NesuD - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Been using mine for a day and a half now and everything about it has impressed me so far. Reply
  • djw39 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Reading this review on chrome for Android and the aspect ratio of the still pictures is off Reply
  • willis936 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    It looks quite nice but aside from the bump in screen size, battery and CPU I don't see much in the way of improvements. There are small things like faster radios and of course everything software related and that rather interesting dual camera trick, but for the most part it's just the generational gimmicks. All of this is well and good but the unnoticed significant regression in display quality and loss of OIS is crucial. OIS in particular. That's one of the best things you can put on a phone camera and just disappeared from the nicest looking android. Reply
  • marcn404 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Using a pair of stereo images, a depth map can be created. UFocus probably uses this depth map to blur part of an image which is at a certain depth. That's why in the picture above, the table is in focus as well as the main subject, since both are at the same depth. That's how it should be with a real camera, so this shouldn't be regarded as a limitation. Reply
  • ccd2 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    My best guess is that the market is going to move away from "kitchen sink" phones like the S5 or even this phone. I think market, particularly for premium phones, will start to break into niches. Some people like larger phones, others may place a premium on the camera, still others may want a business orientation to their phone or want the phone to emphasize entertainment. As an example, as a Note 3 owner, I could care less about the S5. But this is my second Note phone and am leaning towards getting another Note when the time comes. Reply
  • chang3d - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Your cellular band support chart on the front page for Sprint is missing some information. Sprint's model does support the same GSM/WCDMA bands that the Verizon model has. Reply
  • Gam3sTr - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Htc m8 in Asia will be equipped with the ac version of snapdragon 801... Reply
  • geniekid - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    They should've dropped their logo from the front since they're using on screen buttons now. That would've reduced the height close to the M7. Reply
  • asaini007 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    They would if they could. Why does nobody realize that? There exists such a thing as physical size constraints. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    But only because of their internal space arrangement, maybe even the secondary camera. There are enough phones out there with minimal bezel that your statement is a bit weird. Reply
  • asaini007 - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    You're ignoring the boomsound speakers. Those take space. If you remove those (and add a little to make room for the front facing camera and other sensors) then the One would have relatively thin bezels. People like the boomsound and then complain about bezels. Honestly it's one or the other. Reply
  • LifeEngineer - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    @Anand
    I trust all your reviews and you are THE best reviewer ever!
    In one word, "LG G2" or "HTC M8"?
    Thanks.
    Reply
  • Human Bass - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    I would go for the g2, i find a 4MP camera unacceptable. Reply
  • jospoortvliet - Sunday, March 30, 2014 - link

    I'd go for the HTC, most pictures are made under mediocre light circumstances and the HTC will thus usually beat the crap out of the g2 in terms of image quality... Reply
  • pjcamp - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    I had such hopes for this one. Unfortunately, a solid camera is a core function of a smartphone, second only to phone calls. Often, it is the only camera we have with us. This one is clearly intended for nothing but snapshots for text messages and maybe web posting. For those of us with large displays or who, god forbid, still print the occasional picture and hang it on our walls, it is crap. The photos I saw here were somewhat desaturated colors with blown highlights and would be pixellated to death if printed at any reasonable resolution. Comedy effects are not an adequate substitute and would not be used after the novelty wears off (though you really should cultivate an actual Simon Legree mustache). On my last vacation, I forgot my usual camera so the phone was all I had with me to take pictures of the visit to Mount St. Helens. God forbid that phone was the One.

    It continues to baffle me why no Android manufacturer seems inclined to create an "absolute best." It might add an extra $50 to the phone, but many of us would pay that. If Samsung gave up their addiction to butt ugly polycarbonate pincushions, they'd have it. If HTC offered a version with a 13, or even 8, mp camera, they'd have it. Oddball cost cutting doesn't make any sense to me. If they expect me to plunk down $600+ for a phone, there had better be no compromises.

    The One is not that phone. I need a new device, but I fear I'm going to get into the summer having my choice of a plastic Galaxy, a One with no usable camera, and a G3 with no sd card slot. Android manufacturers, pay attention! Fix any one of these problems and you will have hit it out of the park.
    Reply
  • Blairh - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    I find it odd that you forgot your 'usual camera' for a vacation. Who forgets their camera in such a scenario?

    After handling the M8 I went ahead and purchased a Nexus 5 online. The quality of the camera appears to be fine for moments where I don't have my dedicated shooter. It's really a shame that an Android device with the camera of the Nokia 1020 does not exist. The G3 isn't coming until this fall I believe. If you must have an SD card slot and hate Samsung phones you might be SOL right now. (Or maybe the Sony Z2?)
    Reply
  • HangFire - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    The problem with creating an "absolute best" (in all respects) phone is time-to-market; by the time you get all the top-of-the-line components sorted out, it's obsolete in some way, a competitor just bested one aspect or another. Reply
  • deskjob - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    I agree that the M8's camera is less than ideal. I personally would've taken OIS over the second sensor. If I had my pick - a 8MP @ 2um with OIS, and they can throw in the second sensor if there's room.

    That being said, I think you have to keep in mind, a big chunk of photos taken with phones are strictly shared digitally, and most likely via social networking sites. I have never printed out a photo taken with my phone. I make sure to have a "real" camera, whether a decent pocket or DSLR, for those situations where photo quality really matters.

    Of course it all boils down to each person's unique priorities. And again, I agree they should have gone up to a 8MP main shooter @ 2um. The current 4MP doesn't not leave much spatial resolution for down-sampling.
    Reply
  • HangFire - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    Thinking about it, 8MP @ 2uM might require more focal length and glass then the phone's profile would allow, and I don't want to carry one of those big ugly phone/cam hybrids like Samsung and Sony have made. Nokia has shown us how it's done. I don't care exactly what the MegalPixel count or sensor size is. I just want a cam that takes a really good pic within 1/4 second of being triggered, on a flagship phone. Reply
  • itsthesun - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    OK guys whatever about this phone... Where is Brian Reply
  • kevith - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Great review!

    One question: Is the camera lens still covered with a soft plastic, that will scratch very easiy?
    Reply
  • Taracta - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Anand,
    How about a running (side) list of the cellular bands that carriers support, not just what the phones support, in each of your reviews?

    We would like to see the bands that the carriers uses and whether they support carrier aggregation (CA) where applicable and compare that to what the phones actually support and whether all feature of the carriers are implemented or just some. There could also be times where carriers add additional bands which could make a difference in buying decisions.
    Reply
  • jk1 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    people have different priorities in choosing a device. for me, i care about call quality both incoming and outgoing [not addressed], sound quality as a music player to headphones- choice of dac, fidelity of output [not addressed]. and i'd prefer a replaceable battery and the ability to use a micro sd card. [specified in the review]. then comes input options: ocr for documents or for handwriting for a note-type device.

    the review seemed to be mostly about the camera and - essentially- the phone's ability to play games. and of course, it's ability to make android users look almost as fashionable as apple users.

    when i care about pictures i use a real camera- it produces better output than any phone camera. i don't play games. and i don't think of my phone as a fashion statement. thus the review left out the content that would have been most valuable to me.
    Reply
  • JacksonSparks - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    This is a depressing comment. In summary, booooo. Reply
  • evonitzer - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    God I wish there was upvoting on Anandtech comments. +1

    I leave my phone in my pocket, get dirt in my pocket, and then have to meticulously clean my phone off, none of which was addressed in this review. Why do I even go on living?
    Reply
  • sevenmack - Wednesday, April 02, 2014 - link

    I understand your point, jk1. From where I sit, camera and build quality are both important. But not so important that other matters -- including call quality, and sound quality as a music player -- are rendered unimportant. A top-notch review should cover all of those issues, and this one doesn't; I would also say the same for reviews of the M8 by Anandtech's competing sites.

    Based on my own handling of the M8, the phone actually does well on all those counts. The call quality is actually quite solid, and the sound quality is more than good enough for audiophiles; like the M7, the M8 can also play lossless audio such as FLAC and does so well. The BoomSound speakers do the job and this generation's version is louder than that on the M7. But put in your Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headsets and the sound is sublime, as good as you can get on a smartphone.

    The camera? Not perfect, but it is also better than most reviewers will admit; the big problem has more to do with the inability of many users to do something as simple as adjust settings than with pixel counts. If pro shutterbugs such as Colby Brown think the M8 is good enough for their work, then the rest of us should stop carping. And the phone is definitely nice to hold; even though it is longer than the M7, it is still easy to handle with one hand. You don't need to worry much about getting it dirty or scratched.
    Reply
  • hangfirew8 - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    In summary, many of these items were addressed in past reviews, but were not in this review... and THAT is depressing.

    Hopefully this is just a transitional issue and AT will cover more technical detail again in the future. This is still one of the best M8 reviews on the Web, but sadly that is not a high bar.
    Reply
  • Human Bass - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    The cel seems great...but 4MP Camera is way too low. Camera sensors already evolved enough to perform quite good with 8MP with very little noise. And it seems they forgot that when you have more MPs, you can actually chose to go lower. Im sure the Galaxy 5 camera will perform incredbly well at 8 or 4MP if I am in an enviroment that noise worries me more than resolution. Reply
  • deskjob - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Great review. It was surprisingly to see the significant improvement in battery life between the S600 and S801, or even the the S800 and the S801. Now imagine if HTC bucked its trend of putting smaller than average batteries in its flagship! Come to think of it, the Butterfly S is probably just as tall as the M8, and it packs a 3200mah cell. That would be yummy.

    M9 wishlist - 3200mah+ battery cell, 8MP ultrapixel rear shooter with Nokia level OIS, S805 (or whatever comes after that), even louder and better stereo speakers and DACs for headphones. Keep the microSD!

    Bonus material - somehow fit all that in the OG One's dimension! Water/dust resistant would also be cool and actually useful.

    In the mean time, I will continue to rock the OG One...
    Reply
  • asaini007 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    I notice that it says the M8 has DDR3 RAM here (LPDDR3). But every single other site I've read claims it has DDR2 (for example http://goo.gl/JeDTgQ) Am I missing something? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    HTC's original reviewer's guide incorrectly stated DDR2, they updated it to DDR3, but there's LPDDR3 inside. Reply
  • JacksonSparks - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Hey Anand, your old pal Jackson here. Spot on review: I just got a sweet 2 for 1 deal from Verizon with $100 bill credit. Bottomline, that's two of these beauties for $160 and a 2 year contract. I don't see anyone beating out Verizon's coverage and reliability anytime soon, I am happy with my first smartphone purchase ever. Reply
  • asaini007 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    As usual, love the detail of the AnandTech review... However, I'm wondering why things such as radio performance/call quality and speaker (BoomSound) performance are not analyzed? Reply
  • asaini007 - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Never mind, after reading the comments I've seen this question has been addressed. But I'm still wondering about the RAM - is it DDR2 or the faster DDR3? Reply
  • sferrin - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Please God, tell me they ditched the abominable Blink Feed. I went from an EVO with 7-screens and multiple scenes to 5 screens with one unusable due to Blink Feed. Reply
  • thedenti5t - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Blinkfeed is there but you can remove that garbage Reply
  • thedenti5t - Thursday, March 27, 2014 - link

    Got this phone today and absolutley love it. It is the best phone Ive ever used hands down. To answer 2 questions I keep seeing. 1) It does have blinkfeed but you can remove it from you screens. 2) The 3 buttons have been moved to the screen but dissapear when actually using an app or watching a movie. I dont care about the camera as much as others, but it does take nice pictures. You can also crop which is another point I keep seeing people make. Reply
  • vv007420 - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    Ok I have HTC One (M7) which is around 9 months old.....its still fast and zippy but do you guys think it will be a worthy upgrade to M8...(mind you Im in India and there are no contracts here...we have to pay full price for the phone downright) Reply
  • HangFire - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    I'm sticking with my M7. It gets down to, is there feature of the M8 you can't live without? Reply
  • asaini007 - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    I wouldn't say it's worth the upgrade. Wait till the M9 imo Reply
  • synaesthetic - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    I'm going to reserve judgment until iFixit posts a teardown. The last HTC One was virtually impossible to disassemble without destroying it. I realize I probably sound silly, but I don't buy anything I can't repair myself.

    I feel very strongly about our electronic waste problem and I believe a good way to help reduce e-waste is to encourage manufacturers to make things that can be (relatively) easy to take apart and repair. Unfortunately this flies in the face of "planned obsolescence," so it'll take a lot of people to actually make it happen... :/
    Reply
  • HangFire - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    Do you rebuild your own automatic transmissions? Just curious. Reply
  • synaesthetic - Tuesday, April 01, 2014 - link

    I don't own a car. :P When I did own a car, I had a manual and yes, I either did the work on it myself or had someone else repair it for the stuff I couldn't fix. Cars are still something of a durable good (less so than they used to be, though) and aren't nearly as steeped in planned obsolescence as consumer electronics...

    Anyway it's just a personal preference, especially since I tend to keep the same phone for two years on average. It's nice to be able to, at the end of those two years, clean everything up, replace the battery, wipe the device and sell it to someone. Keeps the device out of a landfill for a while longer and helps me pay for a new one. :)
    Reply
  • Alexey291 - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    I am really confused.

    When sammy (we all dislike sammy so fair play i suppose) makes a rehash - its boring and crap and so on.

    When HTC essentially makes a larger, less comfortable version (top button? really?) of last years phone (which didn't sell) - it's doing things to design that nobody else does! It's great and amazing! Righto.

    And if one remembers that last year's One (m7 or whatever) scratched off the metal finish and turned ugly in literally a month... Yeah design...

    Essentially: Camera's meh. Screen's pretty standard, battery pretty normal for the recent crop of devices. Benchmarks are "optimised". Ergonomics are worse. This is going to be a boring year for droid smartphones....

    And I love a bit of anecdotal evidence at the end. Very fitting for a serious review. /s
    Reply
  • HangFire - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    You're wrong about the "metal finish". You must be thinking of one of the One variants, because the One doesn't have a finish to be scratched off, it's solid metal (over a plastic sandwich), anyone who read the M7 review knows that. I've had mine for over 3 months and it still looks new.

    Personally I prefer a top button, I can silence a ringing phone in my breast pocket without even looking at it, my pen prevents me from doing that with a side button, but I realize this is a matter of personal preference.
    Reply
  • Alexey291 - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    My mate's one was black (you know the usual anodized bs) and yup it scratched off in literally 2 or 3 weeks.

    And yeah I agree the silver-metallic version is certainly difficult to scratch (well at least not via rubbing it lol) but I personally would have gone for the black one. If I was going to support a dying company that is :)

    As for the top button well that really is a matter of preference naturally. Except ofc after however many years of using a side power button one gets used to it. (And that's aside from having to really REACH for it whenever u want to shut the screen off.)

    Either way. Not enticing. Neither is S5. Z2 looks ok but is likely meh too. Good thing I still have a year on my contract xD
    Reply
  • hangfirew8 - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    OK I will admit I'm not familiar with the black model. I do know something about anodization. Properly done, it penetrates into the metal and light scratches still display the same color. Deep scratches of course still show the base metal color. But I have no idea how deep HTC's anodization went, or how deep you're mate's scratches or rubbings went. Reply
  • Scootiep7 - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    GAH! So close. This phone is everything I want with the exception of the camera. And the sad part for me is that the camera is so important it trumps all the other outstanding features this phone has. I love everything HTC is doing and the smartphone industry needs them to continue innovating in this direction. But until they can bump the camera up to the S4/iP5s level, I just can't make the switch.

    HTC, why must you torment me so!
    Reply
  • alain2 - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    Too much useless talk about the camera ! Since last year m7 all comments is about the camera ! But why ! My question is : how many users do actually know how to use the camera ? Even me I don t know how to properly use it. ! So what's the point of all this rubbish comments about the use of ultra pixel camera ! Aside from that HTC proved again that they are the best ! In term of quality and reliability and innovations they are on top ! Reply
  • archa1c - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    Regarding your UFocus comment:

    "Here I’m clearly separated from the background. You can see some of the limitations of UFocus here as I’m not the only subject in focus."

    Technically, if that table was at the same depth/distance from the sensor as you were, it should be in focus. UFocus isn't going for a subject-specific focus effect. It is applying a depth-of-field effect.

    With that said, it appears to be very unreliable, and I don't think it is truly able to capture accurate depth information. I've already seen many sample images in good conditions where part of the in-focus subject has been blurred out of focus with the background.
    Reply
  • Demi9OD - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    Are there any new cell phones with manufacturer car docks? My Atrix HD comes up for upgrade soon, but these universal docks with no built in charging are a pain. Need more real solutions like the one I currently have.

    http://www.amazon.com/Motorola-Vehicle-Navigation-...
    Reply
  • liteon163 - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    I understand it has front facing speakers, but you can't tell me there's no way to reduce the bottom bezel, even if it increases thickness. Integrate the "htc" logo into the bottom speaker grille and get rid of the black stripe. If this increases thickness, add a larger battery, too. Reply
  • kg2128 - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    wow so much HTC praise on the first page, I was kind of expecting it after last year's extremely biased review but not to this extent. The One still has the best design but does nothing else that sets it apart, and in one respect stayed the same/got worse (camera) and this review is glowing with praise. So disappointing... Reply
  • tytung - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    It's not just Anandtech. Virtually all of the critics on the internet praised HTC One 2013 and it was named the best phone of the year by GSM. Reply
  • hangfirew8 - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    Not just that but Anandtech INVENTED an award for the M7. Maybe "the best design" is more important than "does nothing else". Maybe all those reviewers were really, really tired of seeing the same things from the other players. Maybe this thing called "design" really matters? Reply
  • NicoleMWilson - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    It continues to baffle me why no Android manufacturer seems inclined to create an "absolute best." It might add an extra $50 to the phone, but many of us would pay that. If Samsung gave up their addiction to butt ugly polycarbonate pincushions, they'd have it. If HTC offered a version with a 13, or even 8, mp camera, they'd have it. Oddball cost cutting doesn't make any sense to me. If they expect me to plunk down $600+ for a phone, there had better be no compromises. http://num.to/2688-3989-2477 Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Sunday, March 30, 2014 - link

    Because there is no such thing as an absolute phone - everyone has different preferences and the market reflects that. I much prefer Samsung's lighter and durable plastic construction which can hold up to daily use and allows a removable battery rather than HTC's heavier metal cases which if used without a case easily pick up scuffs and scratches making them look decidedly second hand within a matter of months. Reply
  • w2aith - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    Fantastic phone. Good weight, great hand feel. Faster than I expected. Camera is unimpressive, but that is not what i look for in a phone. Sound quality from the speakers on the phone is the best I've heard. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    "There’s nothing more to say other than I’m disappointed."
    Golden! Is it wrong that I read that in my head in Jon Stewart's Jewish Mother voice? :D
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    Just finished reading your review.
    Feeling kinda underwhelmed by the M8. First off, I don't really care about the all metal design of a phone. I can appreciate that for all of 2 seconds before I put a plastic case on it and never see the body again unless it is for cleaning. So that advantage is lost for me. I want to like the camera and I kinda do. But 4MP is too low for me. Decrease pixel size, increase the sensor size a bit and give me 6 or 8. I don't need 13MP at 1.12 (?) um, but 4MP@2um is just not good enough, especially as a follow up to that same camera. I don't do that much low-light photography either, but I've used my SGS2 as a camera on holidays when my point and shoot was low on batteries, so outdoor pictures are very important. Losing OIS is an astonishing move and puzzles me greatly. The 801 is looking pretty cool, the mSD card helps, but those aren't unique features. For the price, the display needs to be calibrated better (although I also don't care much about that). I don't really care about the sound of a phone because my usage model does not involve playing anything without headphones plugged in.
    The old M7 is still ~70 to 120€ more expensive than any of its competitors phones (Nexus 5, LG G2, SGS4, Xperia Z, not comparing the same capacities, because I am fine with 16GB on my phone), so I don't think the new M8 will be a price competitive offering. I don't see myself being impressed by the SGS5 either. Note 4 maybe? Haven't heard too much about it. But any smartphone that costs over 400€ needs to offer some serious advantages to get me to consider it instead of a Nexus.
    If Nexus 5.2 gets a bigger battery, marginally faster SoC at better power characteristics and a better performing camera (1.4 - 1.7 um with 6 or 8MP image and OIS and a 4 or 5MP front facing camera), I'll be a happy boy and upgrade from my Galaxy Nexus.
    Reply
  • tvandegr - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    Do we know if the Developer edition or the unlocked edition support carrier aggregation? They seem to be based off of the ATT model from what I have seen other places. Reply
  • skylinkdave - Friday, March 28, 2014 - link

    You know what's even more fun than a fiddly phone camera? A real camera that's able to do all of this in-camera without all the post. Reply
  • ol1bit - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    As always, Anandtech is spot on with the review. Good Job! Just read some of the other reviews for comparison. Reply
  • pdc200 - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    Hmmmm so what happened to reviewing things like Call Quality, Boomsound Quality and loudness? Quality of Audio from the Headphone jack? Reply
  • ghm3 - Saturday, March 29, 2014 - link

    I've been eagerly awaiting the Sony Xperia Z2 ever since MWC, and this review doesn't change that at all, but at this is clearly my next choice. The addition of a micro SD slot makes this far more appealing to me now.

    Either way I'm so done with Samsung's cheap garbage loaded with shitware you can't remove without cracking the phone. Beyond the hardware with the Z2 I'm really looking forward to the mostly un-molested Android build on it. Can anyone provide insight into how HTC is in this department?
    Reply
  • thisiskicker - Sunday, March 30, 2014 - link

    Awesome It has a micro SD card expansion. This is what phones are now a days are missing. Reply
  • LongTimePCUser - Sunday, March 30, 2014 - link

    Reliable Android blogsphere sources have reported that Android 4.4 disables micro SD cards. Reply
  • MrSmartyAss - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    Say what? Reply
  • blzd - Sunday, March 30, 2014 - link

    Nohing about the speakers or audio quality? Seems like one of the selling points. Reply
  • Blown503 - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    Can you take the battery out? (slowly evolving to Iphone) Reply
  • 1bbcd5 - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    nice article. i love it Reply
  • augustofretes - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    They manage to screw up the camera even more than the last time. The only good thing about their "Ultrapixel" camera was OIS, which meant you could take pretty good shots on low light and enjoy stabilized video. Now you have a gimmick and no OIS, and the same crappy sensor.

    The detail captured by this camera is insultingly bad for 2014 standards, come on.
    Reply
  • goats - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    While Apple released their latest iPhone 5s and 5c and Samsung with their Galaxy S5, HTC threaten these two big men with the release of their HTC M8. For a week now, this smartphone has been the talk of the town and they continue to be. Reply
  • omaudio - Monday, March 31, 2014 - link

    I am interested in this review (and all phone reviews) to know if the GPS will operate in airplane mode (ie with all radios off or in area with no service). I have an HTC Amaze 4G that took me a long time to research and buy because I go camping and need GPS to operate when in areas with no service. I love this phone but would like to upgrade and keep the 4G as a backup. (I also LOVE removable batteries and keep extras on hand)

    If possible could you please put this phone in airplane mode and see if GPS works? I use Trimble Outdoors Navigator Pro with offline maps but you could test with Google Maps etc. thanks.
    Reply
  • shaolin95 - Tuesday, April 01, 2014 - link

    "With the premium smartphone market dominated by Apple and Samsung, and the rest of the world headed to lower cost devices, it was a risky proposition."

    Really...ever heard of Sony and their high end, premium build Xperia phones?
    Reply
  • cj100570 - Wednesday, April 02, 2014 - link

    The M8 will suffer a similar fate to the M7. It can get all the accolades reviewers can throw at it for its metal construction. But at the end of the day its shortcomings, the camera being #1, will be the reason people buy something else. Mega-pixels do matter. And no matter what anyone says to the contrary, that is a fact. They aren't the most important factor but they are damn high on the list. Had HTC fitted this phone with an 8 mega-pixel camera it would have had a home run and a true contender for the title of Best Phone Of 2014. Instead they'll have to hope for 2nd. And when one takes into account what Sony and LG have in the pipeline HTC is going to need a hope and a prayer! The M8 being made of aluminium isn't going to save them.... Reply
  • cgramer - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Could you post a photo of the new One in its included case (and a photo of the included case by itself)? You mentioned it in the "what's in the box" section, but I'd love to see it. :) Thanks! Reply
  • cgramer - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Never mind, I hadn't checked the gallery yet. D'oh! Reply
  • Jodiuh - Monday, April 07, 2014 - link

    I want to print this out on all 60 pages or whatever and take it to the pool w/ some green tea and have my AT time, but I'm afraid I will ruin something if I read about it before experiencing it. Maybe I'll just look @ the pictures? :D Reply
  • thekeelo_g - Thursday, April 10, 2014 - link

    I'm curious which carrier model was tested. I've checked out a couple unboxing videos in anticipation of picking either this or the GS5 up tomorrow, and I'm not seeing the case or headphones mentioned in this review with the T-Mobile variant. Are they exclusive to getting the phone directly from HTC? If so, that's garbage. Reply
  • purerice - Saturday, April 12, 2014 - link

    So I am rather behind the times in reading this article but it is a hoot to see 20 pages of comments virtually obsessed with... not the screen quality, not the performance, not the interface, not the feel, not the size, not the battery life, nor anything else... but the STEEEENKIN KAMERRRRAAAAA

    The review is great and I enjoyed the various shades of Anand as well as the detail here.
    I haven't been in the smartphone market for a while, but these types of reviews keep me in the loop for when I will be in the market. As such I appreciate them, even if most comments are single-minded.
    Reply
  • elotrolado - Saturday, April 12, 2014 - link

    This phone looks great. However, it is simply too large and heavy for optimal ergonomic utilization in my hands and comfortable pocketability for my pants (I have average male hands and don't wear skinny jeans). Shrink it to the phone and screen dimensions of the Moto X (perfect!), slightly improve the camera and keep everything else and it will be, by far, the best phone for most people. Reply
  • petar_b - Friday, April 18, 2014 - link

    One reason I won't buy this phone again - is camera. When I zoom-in and crop photo to see desired subject better - I see pixels - I don't like it. Samsung galaxy doesn't have this problem. Regarding water proof tests - is it like rain proof or it's really water proof, or it can take photos in the sea... Reply
  • eagle_eye - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    Could you please write a review on the Sony Xperia Z2? Thanks. Reply
  • mchart - Thursday, April 24, 2014 - link

    FYI, I bought this at T-Mobile yesterday and their version of the phone does not come with earbuds or a case.

    Also, mine appears to have a slight bend in the ring near the screen where the SIM card goes. I bent it back to straight a little, but there is still a gap.

    This is my first Android phone and it was the phone that compelled me to switch from the iPhone. That being said.. I'm missing a few things about the iPhone, and it's frustrating as all hell trying to figure out a new OS.
    Reply
  • WiredTech - Friday, May 23, 2014 - link

    I have the M8 and several others. Folks the M8 build makes the iPhone 5S a bit jealous. The camera is weak. Didn't stop me from buying it as I have other options and I love *everything* else about the M8.

    As so many like to point out, the camera isn't just about megapixels. The iPhone 5S has 8 and is very good. The Lumia 1520/Icon down-sample a 19MP image to 5 megapixels and the images are great (at only 5).

    Are the M8's 4 megapixel images good? Not compared to my other devices mentioned above. I think there is no dynamic range and lots of CA.
    Reply
  • albielin - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    You say "with the AT&T model locking out UMTS band 4 to discourage movement to T-Mobile."

    Do you know if the hardware lacks UMTS band 4 or is it just a software thing? If it's a software thing, do you know if rooting it can enable usage of that band?
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now