Video: HTC One M8 Hands-On Preview
This week, HTC unveiled its long-awaited follow up to its cellular success of last year, the HTC One smartphone. With this year’s model, now dubbed the HTC One M8, the company hopes to fix some of the glaring issues of the 2013 HTC One, while mixing in some additional innovation.
Now, without further ado, let’s look at how this bad boy is built.
The new One includes a full 1920×1080 hi-res LCD touch-screen with a wide viewing angle. It’s protected by a shield of touchable Corning Gorilla Glass. Powering it is a 2600 mAh battery for more than a day’s worth of battery life, approximately 40% more than last year’s model, HTC touts. There’s also a built-in power-saving mode that turns off everything but calls, text, and manual email refreshing to save you even more battery in charger-less situations.
The processor running the phone is Qualcomm’s popular Snapdragon 901 quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM. It’s all encased in a brushed metal casing that’s 0.37 inches thick. On the outside of the case are dual stereo “boomsound” speakers that crank out full and loud audio, upwards of 95 decibels at the loudest setting. It uses bass-to-treble balancing software to, at least in theory, keep the distortion-low, sound clear, and speaker damage due to factors like temperature to a minimum.
The One M8 also includes a 4megapixel camera, like last year’s model.
Though, perhaps the most notable improvement is the phone’s software capabilities for taking and manipulating photos. Specifically, the One includes the ability to take full panorama shots (by automatically stitching photos together), a feature that lets you take better pictures in low-light situations using larger pixels that capture 300% more light, and new image focusing, filter, and animation options to bring your photos more to life.
In terms of software, the HTC One M8 runs the latest available distribution of Android, but with a manufacturer’s normal user-experience overlay. For HTC, this overlay is called BlinkFeed. Its focus is on instant notifications for the news and services you care about: sports, posts from your friends and family, breaking news, twitter mentions, and more, all in one endlessly-scrolling feed. It’s customizable to a tee, and even syncs up with apps you love, like Fitbit.
One of the biggest new trends in Android hardware is the inclusion of TV features like IR blasters and channel guide support. HTC isn’t planning to leap off that wagon with the One M8, as it’s made the IR blaster wider across the top (for controlling your TV and cable box). It also generates an image-focused channel guide for finding your shows quickly, updates to its “intelligent remote” software, enhanced sports support with streaming of stats and scores, and social integration by showing posts from other friends who are watching the same program.
With HTC’s Sense TV, the One M8 might entirely replace your proprietary remote control. That is, if you have a relatively modern television (which if you’re reading and watching content like this about the latest Android phones, you likely do).
Finally, and perhaps the most far-out optional feature of the HTC One is how it makes use of its not-included flip-cover accessory. This dot-view case allows you to check the time and weather from your phone by taking it out of your pocket and double tapping on the exterior. Lite-brite style dots pop up indicating important info, and you can even answer calls from it with an upswipe. Again, it’s not included, but it’s still pretty cool.
HTC Sense, the company’s label for gesture-based functions has been improved with the M8. Namely, you can swipe the screen and raise the phone to eye level to take a photo, flip your phone over to mute it, and make calls with just voice commands.
And since the M8 runs Android underneath all of HTC’s flattened UI, Google Now is also at your fingertips.
The HTC One M8 will launch starting at $199 by April 10 across 6 North American carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Rogers, T-Mobile, Bell, and Tellus. However, the phone is actually available as we speak in the stores and websites of the top 3 nationwide carries: AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. If you’re in Canada and want one ASAP, you can go online or visit your local Rogers, Bell or Tellus to get your hands on one.
The HTC One, that is.
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