25
Mar
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Forget everything you've seen or heard about HTC's M8 until today. That's the only way you'll learn much of anything new from today's announcement. The M8, officially known as the HTC One M8, was officially unveiled today in New York City. We may have already seen the phone from a distance (several times), and learned its specs by heart, but the device is official now, and we got the chance to go hands on with it at HTC's event. Check out our video below, and continue scrolling for more photos and information.

The Specs

First, let's talk specs. We knew many of these already, but now that things are official, let's take another quick look.

  • 5" Super LCD3 display at 1080x1920
  • 5MP front facing camera and Ultrapixel rear cameras (more on this later)
  • 2GB RAM
  • Snapdragon 801 processor at 2.3GHz
  • 2600 mAh battery
  • 32GB Internal storage with microSD slot
  • Android 4.4.2

What it Looks Like

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Seen at bottom is the Best Buy gold version

This, too, is a question we already had the answer to. The new One looks pretty much how it's looked since the deluge of leaks began, but here are some photos of it. If you have any specific questions related to the form factor, feel free to ask below and I'll answer as best I can.

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The front of the device looks much like the original One, though HTC has opted for broader, softer curves this time around. Chamfered details around the edge and camera lenses. The device is dominated by its 5" display and surrounding black border (capacitive keys are gone but the bezel remains), blocked on top and bottom with HTC's now signature Boomsound speakers.

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The back is more interesting. The curve across the back of the device also seems a bit softer, and the metal has a "gunmetal hairline" finish that makes it pretty comfortable to hold. Peter Chou explained (and Jonah Becker emphasized) during the event that achieving this finish wasn't easy on a curved surface, and that HTC went through a lot of failed finishes before getting it right, but it seems the manufacturer pulled it off just fine. The metal also wraps up the sides to the glass, though the top retains a wedge of plastic that hides the IR blaster.

The most noticeable element of the back side is the two cameras up top. Despite everything, the specifics of these cameras eluded leakers and the press entirely until today.

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So, what's the real story with the cameras?

Duo Camera and Gallery

In Rogers' accidental product listing yesterday, the array was called Duo Camera, but aside from choosing the emphasis of a shot post-capture, it wasn't clear how exactly they worked.

For the first time, Chou says, the dual camera captures "true depth information." HTC opted to solve a problem they perceived at the hardware level rather than using software processing. That problem was the ability to choose focus after the fact.

The camera array does that by dedicating one sensor to capturing depth information according to HTC. It was explained as "understanding" whether an object or person is in the foreground or background, and blurring accordingly.

Presumably, this involves capturing multiple images at once and storing the information for later processing. In our hands-on time with the phone though, it seemed to cut off focus in definable blocks, with contiguous objects getting suddenly blurred at a sharp line.

This effect was less noticeable on more dynamic scenes with more subjects or background objects, though in a photo during the presentation, half a distant mountain was blurred while the rest was sharp.

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The camera also boasts 300 millisecond focus time, a new camera "switcher" interface for switching shooting modes (including program or "custom" modes), the ability to pause while recording videos (for multiple cuts in the same file), and an enhanced Zoe UI making it easier to capture Zoes.

What's more, Zoe is getting a new web counterpart for accessing, editing, and remixing Zoes, allowing friends to add videos, photos, and music for further mashing. This feature is expected "this summer."

The new Gallery has a pinch-to-sort feature allowing for sorting by day, month, or year, and new "image match" for finding more images of people and making automatic albums of them.

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HTC Software

Of course with a new handset comes a new version of HTC's Sense overlay. We'll dive into the software aspect of the M8 fully in our review, but there are a few quick things to note here first.

Sense 6.0 according to Lead Designer Jonah Becker is "different than any other phone," emphasizing Blinkfeed's updates including a "spacious, clean, and colorful" layout while the service allows users to create custom feeds on any topic. Blinkfeed, according to Becker, will be opened up to developers to integrate their own content, with the SDK launching today.

Blinkfeed's new partners already include Foursquare and FitBit, which can show activity milestones and achievements directly in your feed.

Sense TV has also gotten an update, with expanded features for "the ten most popular sports," and further social integration. The IR blaster this app makes use of is actually concealed behind the black plastic on top of the phone.

For those wondering, Sense 6 will be coming to other members of the One family (One, One Max, One Mini) but details won't be coming until later this Spring.

BoomSound

Another one of the HTC One's big features that's getting updated in the M8 is BoomSound. HTC touted during its presentation redesigned speaker chambers accommodating speakers that are 25% louder, powered by a multi-band amplifier.

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HTC also worked specifically with several manufacturers of audio equipment to make sure wireless playback was seamless. A simple three finger gesture allows users to fling audio to DLNA, Bluetooth, or Miracast devices, and the gesture works in "all" audio apps according to an HTC rep. The connectivity should theoretically work with any audio equipment capable of receiving it, but HTC does not guarantee the same seamless experience on output devices made by those outside HTC's testing partnerships.

Motion Launch

HTC wants to let you avoid the power button with the M8. Its sensors evidently measure things constantly, "anticipating" what you want to do. It has gesture support with the screen off allowing you to get to your recent app or other apps with a swipe back and forth in the appropriate direction.

Taking a photo is as easy as turning the phone and pressing volume down. Press again to snap a photo.

The M8 also answers calls automatically when you lift the phone to your ear, and calls can be answered through HTC's dot view case which we'll discuss in a moment.

Extreme Power Saving Mode

The M8's battery, according to HTC, has a 40% longer life than its predecessor. The phone of course has a normal power saver mode, but it carries an extreme power saving mode as well, which changes the phone's interface forcing users to manually check for calls messages and email, with up to two weeks standby time. The new interface is essentially a set of tiles for phone, email, messages, calculator, etc.

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Dot View Case

If there's such a thing as a flagship accessory, this is it for HTC's M8. The dot view cover is a case with a TPU cover around front made up of holes that come very close to poking all the way through. With a double tap, the phone will show a pixelated layout that appears on the cover as a "dot matrix" view of the time, weather, or notifications. If you're receiving a call you can answer it by swiping the cover, after it shows you who is calling.

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The dot view case will be available in a variety of colors, including blue, orange, black, purple, and teal.

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Final Thoughts

In my mind, while the M8 had very few surprises left by the time it was announced, it's still a fairly promising phone. The dual camera doesn't exactly seem to pan out from what I saw, but the photos themselves (without blur effects applied) looked pretty decent. There are certain to be more quirks, features, and information that will come out of the woodwork during our full review but at first blush the M8 seems to be a step in the right direction.

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Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • fraserb64

    Just seen another Tech site say - The new HTC One is "no longer a game changer"

    Is any phone a game changer?
    How much is left to put on one device?

    The only options are what Asus are already doing but there's too much Brand Snobbery even from the Tech Sites.

    The M8 is a very good evolution of the M7 - like the S5 over the S4 etc...

    Still I am Waiting for the M9 clocked higher like the Chinese M8
    Better camera and bigger screen in the same footprint and slightly bigger battery (I wish)

    For those complaining about size and weight by an iPhone or Man up!

    • Chris

      Game changer doesn't necessarily have to be what's inside the phone.

      I am going to use the Nexus lineup as an example. I am not saying this phone is the all glory end all of all phones (even though I like to think it is) but when in terms of design, look at the evolution of each successor.

      With every new version of the Nexus, it's overall look has evolved into what the consumers wanted and expected. Now, I am not saying the Nexus design is perfect (even though I like to think it is) but you can see the drastic changes that where done to make this phone as popular as it is today, with little to no marketing.

      That is what people mean by game changer. The difference between the S3 and the S5 are almost negligible. Aside from screen size and guts, nothing has changed. It's still what it was 2 years ago.

      /endrant

      • fraserb64

        Fair point, my comment was more about the fact that there inst much that will make something that much more intriguing or unique so why suggest that HTC really haven't done anything, i think the M8 is a good evolution of the M7.

        As far as game changers:
        Save for Asus's attempt at an all one phone/tablet device (that said once again Motorola already did that), what real scope is there?

        Motorola did fingerprint tech ages ago and didnt really get credit (if tech magazines were more on board when Motorola brought out the Atrix maybe things would be different), it's the same curse that seems to hit HTC,
        Motorola did carbon fibre if I remember rightly.

        My point is exactly what does the tech industry think is game changing given where the smartphone development is.

        Vendors are jumping on smart watches - so the phone is taking a slight step back.

        However inn0vative doesnt always reflect at the tills he Nexus range by volume hasn't either (despite it's low price). It fits a certain niche, just like the GPE and Developer versions. HTC have done their fair bit over the years and still not been that successful.

        I hope the M8 might have landed at a good time for HTC.unlike the M7.

        I wish them well

    • miri

      You're missing the point. Game-changing is about influencing perception, usability and development of future technologies; in which case, there is always room for a phone to be a game-changer(GC).

    • tim242

      The camera is still the shitty shooter of the M7...without the OIS!!! The screen is still the same, as the buttons take up usable screen space most of the time.

      • SuyashSrijan

        OIS is no longer required because it takes 0.3 secs to shoot a photo, hence eliminating the need of image stabilization.

        • tim242

          Your hand can shake in that .3 seconds. Regardless, removing a feature is silly.

        • Cael

          Video reviews are in, they are most definitely shaky compared to the M7/

    • didibus

      I think you can easily do Game Changers. Not in the sense that they will reinvent the concept of a smartphone, and everyone will change the way they use their phone. Instead, you can be a game changer in the sense that, you release a very good phone which will sell well and change the landscape of dominant phones.

      And this phone will not be the miracle game changing phone that will do it for HTC.

      I'm surprised what companies spend time with now, all seems like gimmicks. Answer by putting phone on ear, gesture when screen is off, those things are doomed to not work half the time. The first one is prone to accidental phone answering, and to missed calls cause it didn't answer even if I put it to my face. The second one doesn't make any sense as soon as you add a lock pattern, password, etc.

      I would have rather something like 3 gig of RAM, a true improved camera like PureView, a slimmer bezel, a front facing shooter as good as the rear one, a self healing material that doesn't require any cover, touch controls that work with gloves, a screen whose picture can remain on while taking no power if not changing image, an exceptional microphone, a dedicated picture taking button, an iris recognition, etc.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Project tango and Ara are the game changers

  • dogulas

    Why do all manufacturers insist on putting the camera glass so close to the surface? That thing is going to be scuffed in no time.

    • TY

      It looks slightly indented.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Both cameras have very small chamfered accents around them so they aren't ON the surface, but they are very close indeed.

      • Bob G

        Why do they look like the metal surrounding it isn't properly finished?

    • tim242

      My S4 has never been in a case. My camera lens in still in perfect condition after 11 months.

  • Christian Morales

    Now everyone has tap to turn on...I'm surprised samsung didn't put it on the s5 as well

    • dogulas

      I'm surprised HTC didn't do water resistance or always-on listening. I guess you can never win in every category. The super-useful features of the Moto x still make it my favorite smartphone to date, despite the fact that its hardware isn't top notch. I wonder if Motorola will release a new smartphone lineup this year.

      • Bob G

        They will. And if Moto X (2014) is water/dust resistance....... OMG!

      • Calvin Jed Serrano

        There's a video on youtube showing the M8 under water for 2 hours. Still turned on and works.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhwvXTVQoPM

      • TY

        Membranes has to be put in openings if you want (rated) water resistance, i.e. much worse sound coming from the speakers. It's a necessary trade off I believe.

    • Ashish

      If Samsung did put it the world would be saying "gimmick", since hitting the home button is much faster than tapping twice.

  • http://farukahmet.blogspot.com/ Faruk Ahmet

    Wired today wrote this: «But when you open the case, it doesn’t fold completely back on itself. That makes it awkward in a way I could forgive on a $10 or $20 case. But at $50, that shouldn’t be happening.»

    In your video though, it doesn't seem like you had a hard time with it. Does it really feel awkward? Would you buy it? I normally hate cases and never used one with my M7 but this looks interesting.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      If I had the One M8 I would definitely buy the case. It's not awkward at all, in my opinion. Plus it's not a typical case, it actually has some functionality with the phone, which in my mind is a bonus.

  • x3haloed

    "X mAh"?

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Sorry about that, it's fixed now.

  • TY

    Liam, if you put the phone face down, will the screen touch the surface? It looks like that there are slightly raised lips around the front.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      The very edges are ever so slightly raised but only enough to be noticed by the finger. I don't think that it has any meaningful impact on putting the phone upside down.

  • MrFer

    As an M7 owner I'd choose M8 instead of the S5. This one is Pure Metal (in every aspects). Even I had to send my M7 to repair because of the purple camera thing the best phone I've ever had (starting with alcatel one touch club or whatever). And yes, I (and all my friends and famiy) like the Ultrapixel thing so I'd be amazed with this Dual sh.t as well.

    • TynanDeRosa

      If the M8 is 4 MP like the M7, I will be skipping it. Low light is great, but the quality of the pictures is just shit if viewing on anything but my phone.

      • Bob G

        It is.

      • Mattie

        So right. It'ultimately why I ditched my M7. Unfortunately the Note 3 camera sucks balls as well.

    • tim242

      Terrible camera. No go.

    • Somedude

      This htc is a great phone. The only phone better than this one is of course, the iPhone.

    • Jake Owens

      I need your help guys. I am very bothered by the m8's triple bottom bezel. http://www.change.org/petitions/htc-add-pie-controls-to-htc-one-m8-sense-ui

      • Mike

        Why is this even a petition...

      • Mattie

        If this is a joke then Bravo sir, I love it!

    • LeChuck

      Not fan of asymmetric bezel. Landscape video and gaming would be a pain.
      Symmetrical bezel is the best, regardless it's thin or thick.

      And remove that HTC logo please.

  • Mystery Man

    There is that 2 hour water dunk video. That seems like a feature even if not IP rated?

  • Leif Sikorski

    The dot view cover reminds me on a flyswatter...

    • Bob G

      I bet you can make your own dot view cover by using a crab smashing mallet to any TPU cover case.

  • Android Developer

    Isn't it a bad design for the cover to also cover the camera while you try to take a picture?

  • didibus

    I feel like phone hardware has stopped impressing me. What really changes a phone for the better is new Android Updates. My Nexus 4 is still a perfect phone. Stuff like Sense 4 are simple cosmetic and slapped on apps. Only true android increment bring in new possibilities and use cases for my phone. The only improvement hardware must focus on now is quality of camera, processor, graphics card, ram amount, quality of screen, storage amount and speed, connection options, slimness and weight, etc. That should be the only focus.

    • ANex

      tbh the only thing everyone need is battery life. Hardware has evolved a lot, but battery hasn't. We are still waiting for another evolution.

    • Roh_Mish

      I have the nexus 4 and except the z2, no phone is worth upgrading to for me. Even the nexus 5 is stake.

  • lmao

    are all you trolls complaining about the camera professional photographers or something? is samsung paying you to complain? of course nobody wants to take bad awful pictures but yall are making the camera seem way worse than it actually is.

  • iupac

    I'm not impressed. It has decent(flagship phone) specs, but the back of it just looks so ugly!

    TBH the only flagship that I've seen recently that really looks worth my money is the Sony Z2.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      For me the main issue with the back is carrier branding. One of the things that always draws me to the Nexus line is the utter lack of carrier branding and the very subtle manufacturer branding.

      • [S]unjay Burn[s] Red

        That's why I always go with the International model!

  • Stanley Chan

    Damn ugly bezel on boton, why? Cmoan no more stupid bezels...

    • nebs

      Its like they insist on enlarging the bezels while keeping the display (practically) the same, One m7 is bigger than One X, One m8 bigger than m7 but due to software buttons display is still 4.7 inch most of the time :|

    • Dario

      There is an actual hardware reason for this. The HTC site has a video of how it is made. Makes senses when you watch it.

      • exhtcfan

        Should have kept the capivative button rather than on screen then. No wasted screen real estate.

        Fail.

        • Thomas Cai Jinzhan

          i could've swear that i read comment last year complaining about the capacitive buttons and yearning for on-screen buttons.
          I guess you can never win them all.

          • maziar esfandiarpoor

            people always find something to complain about.

          • Spoot

            It's called different people having different opinions.

            Although to be honest I have no idea why people always comment that on threads about devices that have capacitive buttons. They're better in every way.

  • Grayson

    I seriously can't believe they added gimmicky features to the camera without improving the sensor, optics, or upping the megapixel count at all. I'm sorry, but 4MP is not enough for anything but a phone screen. I couldn't even set pictures taken with my HTC One as my desktop background on my computer because they were blurry when blown up that big. Plus, cropping is out of the question with 4MP images, and with no optical zoom, if you can't get there with your feet, you just aren't getting the shot. Looks like I'm sticking with the Nexus 5 until the Nexus 6 comes out. I had such high hopes for the S5 and M8, and neither has me excited now that they've been announced. Maybe time to start looking forward to the Lumia 930.

    • maziar esfandiarpoor

      I have a mac book retina and as you know it has a high pixel density and when I set pictures taken with my M7 it's not blurry at all. however when you want to crop something in the pictures it gets a little blurry.

    • TylerChappell

      lol, 4MP isn't good enough for viewing on anything other than a phone screen? Unless you are using a 4K monitor, multiple monitors, a 2560x1440 screen, which is pretty much the maximum most people bother buying, is still only 3,648,400 pixels....soo less than 4 million.
      And if you can afford an expensive enough monitor, or multiple monitors that exceed that many MP, then you can afford a damn 24MP DSLR and take photos the proper way and easily have enough resolution to span 3 monitors. And you do realize that more MP in these tiny smartphone sensors is irrelevant, right? But I am guessing you don't really understand how cameras work. Should they have at least bumped it up to 6MP or 8MP? Yeah, but only to get people like you to shut up about it. DSLR's used to not have many MP, but the clarity of photos they took were still as good as modern DSLR's.
      Lastly, you say "Looks like I am sticking with the Nexus 5" Seriously, you make it seem like the N5 isn't a good enough phone for you. Really need to get off your high horse and get over yourself, buddy.

  • tbealmear

    Quick question. Does the M8 have a notification LED? I haven't seen that mentioned anywhere. I doubt I would get the Dot View case so I'd like to see if I have notifications without turning the phone on. My One XL has one, but its so friggen tiny and recessed in the speaker grill that its completely useless.

    • Scott Kaforey

      I would like to know this as well

  • naturecannon

    It Looks like the Camera sucks once again!!! Makes my decision easier!

  • TK

    2014 seems to be the year of minor upgrades. Gotta see what LG has to offer.

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  • FlexPlexico

    Nice phone, but from the wrong company. Why is it that Samsung could figure out to deliver updates to the S3 but HTC decided not to support the One X for more than 6 months.

  • Jason Bourne

    Is that power slot NOT centered? Pass...

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