We love the HTC One (M8), but what do the experts on the eForum think? They've just received one each on loan, so it's time to get their first impressions.
If you take the time to rise up the ranks on the Vodafone eForum, you’ll garner the title of Community Champion, and that’ll get you a host of rewards – including being able to borrow brand new phones like the HTC One (M8).
Community Champions Tim, Jeff and Nabs have just received their HTC One (M8)s on loan, and they’ll be reporting back in due course with their final verdicts and top tips. For now though, we thought we’d ask them for their initial impressions on HTC’s latest flagship. Is it a big step in the right direction? Read on to find out…
You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but what about a phone? Tim’s a big fan of the One (M8)’s slinky industrial design: “The HTC One (M8)‘s grey polished brushed aluminium screams quality,” he says, “and the build quality is the first thing you notice. Then there’s the 5-inch, super sharp HD screen and the front facing BoomSound speakers, which immediately give you assurance that sound quality will be nothing but exceptional.
“Button placement for me is perfect too, and the SIM tray and micro SD-card trays are metal and not the usual flimsy plastic, which is a quality touch by HTC.”
That praise extends to the back too, where HTC’s placed two different cameras:
“The Duo Camera on the M8 is one of my favourite things about the phone, and HTC has included some very capable and quick features which will turn anyone into a great photographer. But the more accomplished enthusiast hasn’t been forgotten either – there are some very nice manual settings to get stuck into. I’m looking forward to reporting back with a more in depth look at all the fantastic features of the M8’s cameras.”
Likewise, Tim’s taken with Sense 6 – the UI ‘skin’ that HTC’s lovingly layered over the Android operating system:
“HTC’s 6th Sense is exactly that! The ‘tap to view’ gestures quickly become second nature, while Blinkfeed – the magazine-style news feed – has become the thing I use most on a daily basis. Once you configure the content you want shown, it becomes a very useful tool. I can even have the Vodafone Social blog as one of my custom feeds, so that I can keep up to date with all of Vodafone’s latest news. Usually a manufacturer’s skin can detract from Android, but in my opinion HTC has successfully enhanced it and the user experience.
“I’m yet to find anything I don’t like about the HTC One M8,” Tim adds. “For anyone thinking about a new phone, this is definitely one for the top of your list.”
So far so good, but what does Nabs, a Nexus fan and Android purist, think of the One (M8)? “Having not looked at HTC for a couple of years, I was very interested to see how things had changed,” he says. “And I have to start off by saying I haven’t been disappointed! To start with, the HTC One (M8) is such a good looking phone it’s difficult to not immediately like it. The phone is made from a single block of aluminium, and finished with a beautifully curved design that sits perfectly in the hand.
“On the front you immediately notice the nice large, bright screen…”
“On the front you immediately notice the nice large, bright screen, its larger than usual camera and its dual-speaker arrangement. HTC has managed to cram two speakers onto the front of the phone, which allows the sound to be blasted straight at you. It avoids the age old problem of muffled sound from speakers placed where your hands are.
“And once you couple the speakers with HTC’s audio processing software you get a fantastically clear and very loud sound from the device – my music has noticeably better clarity that you get on other phones. The audio from video playback is just as good, too,” adds Nabs, “making the HTC One (M8) a good choice for watching HD films on the go.”
Like Tim and Nabs, Jeff only has praise for the One’s eye-catching looks: “The new HTC One (M8) can be described in one word: gorgeous. Like its predecessor last year, the M8 is a lovely looking device, and there’s no doubt in my mind that this is the best looking smartphone on the market. The other standout hardware feature of the M8 is its speakers. They produce an amazing sound, whether it’s a playlist of my favourite tracks or just a simple notification noise.
“But it isn’t just lovely to look at,” Jeff adds. “It’s also lovely to use. The implementation of Android isn’t ‘vanilla’ in the same way as a Google Nexus device, but at the same time HTC hasn’t modified the operating system to the same extent that some other manufacturers do. HTC Sense 6 is easy to use, and none of the settings are overwhelming or complicated.”
And on first impressions, Jeff’s also impressed with the all-important battery:
“One of the main things I try and keep a careful eye on when I’m using a new phone is battery life. Smartphones with large vibrant screens can have a poor battery life – or at least poorer than we’d like – but the HTC One (M8) seems to be doing well on that front as well. Overall, the first few days with the M8 has pushed it to the top of my favourite smartphones list, and I’m thoroughly enjoying getting to know it.
“I think it’ll take a very special phone to replace it at the moment.”
The one for you? Our Community Champions definitely seem smitten with the HTC One (M8)’s design, power and software, but have they convinced you to make it your next phone? Let us know below. You can order yours from Vodafone UK here.