HTC One (M8) launches in Singapore, available from 5 April at $998

A year on from the HTC One M7, HTC seems to be learning from their gravest mistake with the device – poor marketing. Holding a huge bash with accompanying act Scarlet Avenue yesterday night for their launch event, HTC seems to have got off on the right footing with the M8. Read on to know what we think of it.

Specs

  HTC One M8 LG G Pro 2 Xperia Z2 Galaxy S5
Display 5”, 1080p SLCD3 display 5.9” 1080p IPS LCD display 5.2” 1080p IPS LCD display 5.1″ 1080p Super AMOLED display
Camera Dual cameras, 4 MP UltraPixel, 1/3 inch sensor 13 MP, 1/3 inch sensor, OIS 20.7 MP, 1/2.3 inch sensor 16 MP, 1/2.5 inch sensor
Video Recording 1080p/FHD 2160p/4K 2160p/4K 2160p/4K
Processor 2.5 GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.3 GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.3 GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.5 GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
RAM 2 GB 3 GB 3 GB 2 GB
Storage 16/32 GB, micro-SD expandable 32 GB, micro-SD expandable 16 GB, micro-SD expandable 16/32 GB, micro-SD expandable
Battery 2600 mAh 3200 mAh 3200 mAh 2800 mAh
Other BoomSound front-facing speakers KnockCODE IP58 rating, front-facing “S-Force Front Surround” speakers IP67 rating, fingerprint and hearbeat sensor

Design

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The M8 has improved upon the award-winning design of the M7, and as a result have created – personally speaking – the best looking device on the market right now (sorry Sony).

The haptic navigation buttons on the front of the M7 now appear on-screen, and in the way that Google wants them to. The back now also sports dual-camera lenses and a dual-LED flash, which make it distinct from the M7 there.

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Compared to the 70% metal composition of the M7, the M8 is now 90% metal, and – impossible as it might have seemed – this has greatly improved the feel of the device.

The M8 is actually a thicker device at 9.3 mm than the Xperia Z1 and Nexus 5, although the ergonomics hardly betray the added thickness.

Storage

M8 launch

The M8 will also come with expandable storage, unlike the M7. This will be on top of the 16/32 GB available as internal storage.

UI

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The M8 will be launching with the all-new version of their UI, Sense version 6. According to them, it is “cleaner” and has more “vibrant colours”.

They also have included the double-tap to wake feature we all so loved in the LG G2.

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While at first glance it might seem that HTC, like Sony, have simply copied LG’s KnockON unlocking method, they have included a few tweaks. After double-tapping to wake the display, swiping left will launch BlinkFeed and swiping right would take you to your homescreen.

Talking about BlinkFeed, HTC has definitely won over many supporters with their new content-delivery system.

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HTC has now opened up the BlinkFeed SDK (software development kit) to AOSP developers as well, meaning that anyone can have their content on BlinkFeed. This is a very positive move by HTC, indicating that they are willing to join forces with the bigger Android community to develop their software.

Camera

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A much talked-about feature in the M8, HTC is the first smartphone manufacturer to have included not one, but two cameras in their device. This gives the ability to adjust focus post-capture, but rather than utilising digital assistance, HTC has gone the hardware route.

To be honest, this has disappointed us. The plain fact is that after the novelty dies off, this feature will eventually be relegated to a party-trick. It is nothing more than a gimmick which hides under the pretence of practicality.

The issue is further compounded when you realise that the camera sensor size and resolution has remained the same (1/3 inch and 4 MP), and that OIS from the M7 has been removed.

Still, the camera has seen improvements in the software side of things. The improvements are detailed as follows:

  • 1 second to launch the camera
  • 0.3 seconds to focus (equalling the S5)
  • 11 FPS burst shots
  • Zero lag shutter speed

However, there is still a silver lining to the duo-camera.

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Just like BlinkFeed, HTC is now sharing the Duo Camera SDK with the world, so we might be seeing further creative usage of the two cameras in the M8.

Dot View Case

While it was all well and good as to see the M8’s features and specs, we couldn’t help but feel wanting something new. Thankfully, we were soon rewarded.

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Highlighting the requirement to flip open a flip cover in order to answer a call or view the time, HTC introduced us to the Dot View cover. This is truly an innovate feature. Now, to answer a call or view the time/calendar, you can simply swipe accordingly on the cover itself.

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As someone who always disliked flip covers due to this shortcoming, the Dot View case has got me interested. Gone is the hassle of having to flip open the cover – I’ll answer the call directly, thank you very much.

Pricing and Availability

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HTC Singapore today announced that the 16GB model will be available for purchase from April 5 at S$998. It will be available at all three telcos and authorized retailers.

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The 16GB M8 will come in two colours: Gunmetal Grey and Glacier Silver. The Amber Gold variant will not be available at launch. Currently, there is no word on the availability of the 32GB model.

The Dot View Case is priced at $59, however it will not be available at launch.

The M8 will go up against the Sony Xperia Z2 (16GB), which is also available on the same day at the same price. The S$1,068 Samsung Galaxy S5 (32GB) is up for pre-order and is expected to be launched on April 11.

What do you think of the M8? Will this be your next device? Leave your comments below!

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