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HTC One (M8) launches internationally. We go hands-on

So here we are once again, one year on with another One to put to the test. One could say one is very excited to trial the all-new HTC One (M8).

Arguably the most leaked handset of 2014 (and perhaps recent memory), the HTC One Plus, One Up, One Two or whatever you’ve been calling it, has now gone official and it’s called the HTC One, nothing more, nothing less. Well, technically it’s called the HTC One (M8), but don’t worry about that. The company’s new flagship is here and it’s taking no prisoners with top-notch hardware and a shiny new design.

HTC decided upon a simultaneous launch in both New York and London, but despite our love for The Big Apple, we tripped it along to the launch event in London’s Olympia instead (it was closer to the office), where Phil Blair, HTC’s president of EMEA and Cher Wang, HTC’s chairwoman pulled the wraps off of the new device.

First impressions are good, very good. In almost every aspect, HTC has tuned and tightened everything up. Notice the wording there, the M8 builds on key principles of last year’s award-winning handset, without rocking an completely alien design. It uses a similar layout, complete with bigger, more powerful BoomSound speakers on the front.

HTC One (M8) frontHTC One (M8)

The injected plastic which ran down the sides of the 2013 One (aka the M7), is no longer needed as the single block of aluminium which makes up the M8’s body has been milled to wrap around the sides of the phone. It feels thinner and in fact lighter than last year’s model (despite being 17 grams heavier), if a little bit slicker in the hand.

Our first encounter took the form of the Gunmetal Gray version (that’s ‘Grey’ to you and me). It features a heavily brushed aesthetic and a dark metallic finish, upping the premium feel over the M7 in both a visual and tactile manner. At launch there will also be two alternative colour options, a lighter Glacial Silver version, and an Amber Gold model, both of which adopt a bead-blasted finished like last year’s phone as opposed to the brushed bodywork you see in these photos.

HTC One (M8) Dual-cameraHTC One (M8) Gunmetal Gray brushed backHTC One (M8) ports

On the inside we have the silicon of choice for Android flagships right now; the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core SoC, clocked at 2.3GHz and paired to 2GB of RAM. It’s the same processor as the new Samsung Galaxy S5 and the forthcoming Sony Xperia Z2, so we’re expecting some interesting comparisons come review time.

Storage in the M7 was limited to internal and the cloud only. Depending on the market, the HTC One (M8) will appear with 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, plus the addition of a microSD card slot in the right-hand side now giving rise to 128GB expandability on top, not to mention HTC has swapped out its partnership with Dropbox for a pairing directly with Google Drive, which endows the new One (M8) with a further 65GB of cloud storage, so if you do max out the phone, it suggests, to us at least, that you might have a problem, rather than too many files in your pocket.

HTC One (M7) & HTC One (M8) 1HTC One (M7) & HTC One (M8) 2

The camera has been one of the most discussed elements of the new HTC One and in practice it’s an intriguing addition. The front-facing camera has a new, higher resolution 5-megapixel sensor than last year’s model, whilst the back technically uses a lower resolution 4-megapixel sensor, but before you reel back in disgust, understand that as with the M7, the rear camera uses HTC’s UltraPixel sensor technology and it’s more than just marketing jargon (camera samples will follow soon, don’t worry).

To the side of that 4-UltraPixel camera lives a two-tone dual LED flash, akin to the iPhone 5S, which should make for more natural looking skin tones and exposure in a myriad of shooting conditions.

HTC One (M8) in-hand

So now onto the kicker: the M8’s Duo camera setup. HTC told us that although it technically uses a 2-megapixel sensor, the point of a secondary module is to perceive depth and judge distance, working in conjunction with the main camera like a pair of human eyes does. Taking a snap lets you overlay sudo-3D elements to parts of your shots, so you can ‘look around’ flat objects or refocus after the photo’s been taken.

Want to find out about pricing and availability in the UK? Read more about the HTC One (M8) and check back for more soon.


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