The Vodafone eForum Community Champions have been using the HTC One (M8) for a few weeks now, so we've caught up with them to find out their verdict...
One of the big perks of being a Community Champion on the Vodafone eForum is getting the chance to enter into the Vodafone device loan programme, which allows our CCs to borrow the latest and best phones like the HTC One (M8), to put them through their paces.
Community Champs Nabs and JeffKinn have each had their M8s for a good while now, and they’ve both been using it as their main day to day phone. So how does it stand up after several weeks of use? That’s precisely what we’ve asked them to find out…
“After using the HTC M8 as my main phone for a few weeks it’s easy to see why people love it,” says Nabs. He goes on to explain that there are a few things about his time with the One (M8) that he really loves. First up: the personalised news app that HTC calls Blinkfeed: “HTC has replaced the traditional homescreen with its ‘Blinkfeed’ feature,” he says, “and while initially I didn’t think very positively about this, it’s now something I use multiple times a day.
It’s great for catching up on all kinds of news. Once it’s been customised to include only the sources you want, it provides a great portal into the goings on in your world.
“I’ve got all my social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn all being piped into my news feed so I never miss important or interesting posts from friends and family. Likewise I have a few news channels included, which ensures I’m up to day with all the latest local and global goings on. Previously I’d have had to look through about six independent apps to get the same information. Blinkfeed has saved me a huge amount of time and effort, I love it.”
The camera is the next thing that Nabs likes, having had a good chance to road test it in challenging conditions…
“I was lucky enough to get a ticket to Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Glasgow, so I got the opportunity to properly test the HTC One (M8)’s camera in a range of different conditions, courtesy of the great Scottish weather. I honestly can’t fault a single aspect of the camera itself. The quality of stills is great, the colour and detail it captures in both low and bright light is impressive.
“Videos taken on the HTC are very clear with great colour capture.”
“HTC seem to be going the right way with a huge physical sensor rather than ramping up the megapixels like other manufacturers have done. And as expected, video recording has also benefitted from that increased camera quality. Videos taken on the HTC in 1080p are very clear with great colour capture.
“The thing that impressed me most about the video recordings, though, was the sound quality. Live music is, in my experience, very difficult to record clearly, but the HTC manages it fantastically. Rather than just recording a wall of very loud noise, the videos are quite clear and you can easily make out the song that’s playing. There’s still some background noise but you’re never going to escape that in that situation.
“There are a few other features that have made the phone just that little bit nicer to live with and help give the phone a slight edge over similar rivals,” Nabs adds. “The big one of these for me is the Motion Launch gestures, and the most useful of these is the double tap or swipe up, which will wake the phone from sleep.
“SmartDial is helpful when trying to find and call a contact quickly as it displays contacts directly in the dialler, saving you the additional steps of opening the People app and scrolling through a potentially huge list of people to find the one you want. Lifting the phone to your ear to answer a call is useful as well – once again, it removes the additional action of swiping the screen before holding the phone up. There are numerous time saving gestures like these, and it’s all these subtle features that make the phone stand out.”
“Having not used an HTC for a long time, I feared the company may have been left behind in the smartphone market,” Nabs says in closing, “but I have been proven wrong by this handset. I truly feel that the HTC One (M8) is the best handset I have used to date, and potentially the best on the market today.”
Jeff has been equally blown away by the HTC One (M8), and he says that the company has come an awfully long way. “HTC has been a common name in the mobile phone market place for quite some time,” he says. “Some years ago I had an HTC TyTN II running Pocket PC. Nowadays HTC is making high end Android phones, and they don’t get any higher than the HTC One M8.
“The M8 is the successor to the most highly praised smartphone of 2013, the M7 (AKA The One), and a worthy successor it is. The only word you can use to sum up the M8 is ‘gorgeous’. In my opinion, this is the best looking smartphone on the market and possibly the best looking smartphone ever. It’s rightly had praise heaped upon it from all corners of the world; its one piece metal body and large screen is very pretty as well as functional.”
“The phone is just as good to use as it is to look at though, and the HTC implementation of Android is very good – the Sense 6 launcher is responsive and easy to customise. For me, there are two features that make the phone very easy to use and that I would miss if they weren’t there. The first is the ability to be able to wake the phone up with a double tap instead of pressing a button – the so-called ‘knock-knock’ feature. The other is called ‘motion launch’ and this enables you to answer an incoming call by simply lifting the phone to your ear. These may sound like simple features, but they make a real difference to the usability of the phone.
“The phone is just as good to use as it is to look at…”
“The camera on the M8 is somewhat controversial as it uses Ultrapixel technology, which uses larger pixels to give better photos – especially in low light conditions. I haven’t used it too extensively yet, but I’ve been very impressed with the camera and the quality of the photos it has produced.”
And after you’ve taken your snaps, the One (M8) provides plenty of ways to make them shine:
“The HTC software allows you to perform quite a lot of photo editing on the phone,” Jeff explains, “and there are some novel features. The ‘Ufocus’ feature, for instance, allows the user to change the point of focus in the photo after the fact, thanks to the depth information given by the One (M8)’s dual lenses.
“Unlike most other manufacturers, HTC doesn’t have a huge eco-system to try and hook their customers in to. For my part, this is good news: I’m not about to start buying loads of music or films or books from a new source. Instead, HTC has concentrated on design, the user interface and general quality of the look, use and feel.
“For me, this is a terrific phone.”