HTC One M8: Here’s to the champion

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While the HTC One was taking home award after award last year (see the list here: HTC Blog), HTC was busy designing their next champion smartphone. Taking what was so popular in the 2013 HTC One, along with some things that were not as popular, HTC has released what should be the 2014 champion of smartphones. By now there are many great reviews of the HTC One M8 and things are looking very positive for their latest flagship device.

The amazing zero gap metal design of the 2013 HTC One couldn’t possibly have gotten better on the M8, right? It has. The innovative look and feel not only carried over to the M8, but it’s even better. Up from 70% metal to 90%, the casing is both amazing to look at and feels amazing in your hands. There were gripes last year about gaps found on the HTC One between the metal and the plastic siding and top, but that is not an issue on the M8. This design that HTC introduced last year is really nothing new to HTC. Just look back at the HTC Flyer tablet

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The HTC tablet was like a hybrid between the white polycarbonate casings of the 2012 HTC One X and the HTC One (m7). The superior design of HTC products go back even further.

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Boomsound with 2 very powerful front facing speakers are improved on the M8. Beats Audio is no longer included. While the Beats brand is cool and trendy, we all knew it could be duplicated without having to pay for the name. HTC is not out of the woods financially so this was a wise decision. Where Beats audio was once located in the settings, it has been replaced simply with “Boomsound”. The IR blaster has returned as well. The headphone jack has moved to the bottom of the device so HTC must be copying Apple now right?

People loved what HTC did with Sense 5 last year. Adding features and functionality to Android that didn’t make it messy or bloated. Sense 6 or “sixth sense” continues this trend. While other manufacturers are adding gimmicky features most consumers will never use, HTC has focused on the user experience and adding useful features. Yeah, I would include Blinkfeed as one of them. I was not a huge fan of Blinkfeed last year, but it’s grown. More partners and more sources have made Blinkfeed more useful. It has also been re-designed and is visually pleasing with the Kit Kat transparent notification bar and several other tweaks. If it just isn’t for you, you can disable it.

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Last year HTC introduced the Ultrapixel with mixed reviews. It was bold. It did not hurt the HTC One and its sales, but it was scrutinized. One of the best cameras on a smartphone I have ever used was the 8MP shooter on the HTC One X. Amazing camera. So I was surprised to see the switch to the Ultrapixel. What I have found with both the M7 and the M8, is that the Ultrapixel is really dependent on the HTC software. The best example would be the Ultrapixel camera on the HTC One Google Play Edition I used prior to getting the M8. Without the HTC software features, the camera was not very impressive.

I found the HTC One camera more than sufficient for what we do with our smartphones but the features on the M8 are really impressive. When the leaks started coming out prior to the official announcement and there were 2 cameras on the back of the M8…I got scared. I had memories of the EVO 3D and that failure. HTC thankfully was not going that route. The Duo Camera creates some great edits such as UFocus, Foreground, and Dimension Plus. The 5MP front facing selfie camera is by far the best front facing camera you will find. We are all guilty of a selfie here and there.

The common gripe about the M8 is the camera just as it was with the M7 last year. I am no photographer. My smartphone is my primary camera. What do I do with the pictures I take? I post to Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Twitter. Am I printing them out on 8”x10” prints? No. Are you? I will end this with some sample photos I took with the M8. I will not side by side compare them to the iPhone camera or the Samsung Galaxy S5. Take a look at the pictures and decide if they would be sufficient for what you do with a smartphone camera.

And of course, as the HTC One M8 commercial says…Blah blah blah blah blah…choose for yourself.