HTC One M8 officially unveiled

Written by Edward Chester

March 25, 2014 | 16:01

Tags: #android #microsd

Companies: #htc

HTC has officially unveiled its latest flagship smartphone the HTC One M8, which replaces last year's HTC One.

The new phone sports a very similar design to its predecessor but includes plenty of tweaks throughout.

Firstly, the new phone has a new look. Although still largely similar to before, with the premium allure of metal leading the charge, the edges of this phone have been rounded off a little while the touch buttons underneath the screen of the HTC One have been removed.

The finish of the metal back is also new, at least on one of the available colours, with a brushed pattern adorning the darker 'metal grey' colour. More conventional anodised silver and gold versions will also be available.

The key new features of this phone are its dual camera and the addition of a microSD slot.

The new camera uses a secondary lens to pick up depth information, which can then be used by the phone to automatically pick out objects in the picture for applying effects. The most obvious application of this will be to create a false bokeh (blurred background) effect for better bringing out the subject of a photo, though other effects such as making the rest of the image black and white will also be available.

The main camera sensor is the same 4-megapixel 'Ultrapixel' camera of the HTC One. The rational for this relatively low resolution is that the larger pixels it allows for (2.0 microns compared to 1.1 for most smartphone cameras) allows for better colour accuracy and dynamic range, particuarly in low light conditions.

Its benefits were debatable in last year's phone - it was slightly better in low light but was outclassed in most other scenarios - so it's surprising to see HTC stick to such a low resolution when the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 are nearing 20-megapixels.

As for the addition of a microSD card, this will provide a way of quickly and easily transporting data to and from the phone as well as a low cost way to boost its overall storage. The onboard storage is variable but is likely to be 16GB in most shops.

Elsewhere the HTC One M8 is a steady step up from last year's model with a faster Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU and 2GB RAM. That CPU is a quad core model running at a hefty 2.3GHz.

The display has also increased very slightly in size, from 4.7in to 5in, but its resolution remains at 1080p. It's an SLCD model so won't have quite the black level performance of the AMOLEDs used by Samsung but should be better in brighter conditions.

HTC Sense makes a return on the software side of things, though HTC has further reduced its impact on the overall experience. BlinkFeed is now less obtrusive while the Gallery and Camera apps are now kept separate from the main system, which should make for fewer delays in the release of system updates.

The final main improvemnt of the HTC One M8 over the HTC One is a larger battery, with it increasing from 2,300mAh to 2,600mAh. This still trails the Galaxy S5, at 2,800mAh, and Sony Xperia Z2, at 3,000mAh, though.

The HTC One M8 release date and price are yet to be confirmed but expect it to arrive soon and be pricey.
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