HTC One (M8) evaluate: Shifting on with all the pieces besides the {hardware}

TeaThe most effective half in regards to the HTC One (M8) is that it has nothing to do with the cellphone.

Whereas the {hardware} is nice, it isn’t an enormous leap ahead over the unique HTC One. It has a much bigger display screen and sooner processor, and whereas its dual-lens digicam is typically helpful, there is not a single {hardware} development that ought to propel the business.

As a substitute, an important options of the brand new HTC One are the guarantees the corporate made to its customers: HTC says it would preserve the cellphone up to date with the newest model of Android for 2 years after launch, which can also be assured by Google. is extra. For Nexus telephones. And if you happen to crack your display screen inside the first six months of possession, HTC will restore it at no cost. These perks, and others I am going to clarify later, make up for the shortage of further “wow” issue within the {hardware}.

Aesthetically, I nonetheless favor the design of the unique HTC One, a beautiful cellphone with a slab of silver metallic lining a layer of white trim. On the brand new one, a bit of brushed aluminum wraps across the again and sides of the cellphone, so as a substitute of seeing nothing however glass on the show, you get a metallic lip across the whole cellphone. The 5-inch display screen can also be bigger than final yr’s 4.7-inch panel, and contains on-screen buttons for Residence, Again, and Current Apps. Nonetheless, HTC has positioned the black emblem bar on the backside of the display screen the place the Residence and Again buttons was, making the brand new one a lot taller than its predecessor.

The facelift is extra industrial than elegant, nevertheless it has some sensible factors in its favor: The rounded edges are extra snug to carry, and HTC has managed to squeeze in a microSD card slot this time round. And whereas the lengthy “chin” below the display screen is much less enticing, it does make the cellphone simpler to make use of with one hand. The larger chassis additionally leaves room for a much bigger battery; I’ve by no means had an issue with lengthy days of heavy utilization.

Many different technical specs of the 2014 HTC One are just like final yr’s mannequin. The processor, a 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, is a smidge sooner, however the RAM is unchanged at 2GB. (The cellphone felt sooner to me, however that could possibly be resulting from software program, or the truth that my unique One is slowed down by extra apps and media.) Constructed-in storage continues to be an additional beneficiant 32GB on the US model. , and the display screen decision continues to be 1080p. The good “BoomSound” front-facing audio system are again, however whereas HTC says they’re louder than final yr’s audio system, they are not as wealthy for me. (I ponder if the disappearance of Beats Audio has something to do with it.)

HTC bumps up the front-facing digicam to five megapixels, however the 4 megapixel rear digicam is basically unchanged from final yr’s one. HTC argues that extra pixels is just not higher, and that its “UltraPixel” expertise helps let in additional mild, however over the previous yr, different high-end telephones have been ready to usher in their very own low-light efficiency with out sacrificing particulars. have managed to enhance. The brand new One nonetheless has a terrific digicam, able to taking a number of nice images in dimly lit rooms, nevertheless it’s now not ready to take action.

To compensate for the shortage of core digicam enhancements, HTC has positioned a further lens on the again of the cellphone. It will not make the unique photograph look any higher, nevertheless it does permit for some spectacular focus-based results. For instance, you possibly can blur the foreground or background of a simulated depth-of-field photograph, or tilt the cellphone to barely change your perspective on the topic.

These options do not all the time work flawlessly. With the depth-of-field impact, it’s possible you’ll discover some blurring across the edges of your topic, or you’ll have hassle masking your whole topic within the foreground. With the Perspective Shift impact, photos might be distorted at sure angles. However general, the dual-lens system works nicely sufficient to beat gimmick standing, particularly as a result of you possibly can apply results to images you have already taken. You need not activate these options prematurely, as you do with single-lens telephones that declare to supply comparable options.

In lieu of every other main {hardware} change, HTC has elevated its give attention to software program. The BlinkFeed information ticker is again on the house display screen, with a sleeker design and extra sources of content material. The Sense TV app nonetheless means that you can management your leisure heart through the One’s IR blaster, nevertheless it now contains social feeds and sports activities stats. HTC has additionally revamped its e mail and calendar apps.

Like all non-stock Android cellphone, some issues work higher than others. I like that HTC features a scheduled “Do Not Disturb” function, and you’ll leap proper into your 4 favourite apps from the lock display screen. I am much less enthusiastic about “Movement Launch,” which helps you to activate the display screen by swiping in from both edge or double-tapping on the glass. It’s extremely straightforward to by accident make a name, and you would be higher off simply disabling the person gestures with out turning this function off completely. However general, the software program feels cleaner, sooner, and fewer obtrusive than something HTC shipped earlier than.

And now there is a distinction: HTC has moved all of its apps and companies to the Google Play Retailer, the place customers can obtain updates straight. This principally permits HTC to roll out new options for apps like BlinkFeed with out going by means of a prolonged service approval course of, which may put main software program updates on maintain for months. Google already makes use of the same technique for main Android apps like Gmail and Maps, and it is gone a great distance towards curbing Android’s fragmentation drawback. In concept, HTC’s use of Google Play ought to end in higher built-in apps and companies, and that is one other method HTC is being extra progressive in its method to Android. (Motorola, owned by Google, has taken the identical method for its software program.)

To be clear, the HTC One (M8) is a superb piece of {hardware}. It has a pointy show, a pretty design, and nice audio system, and whereas the digicam is not the perfect in its class, it nonetheless rounds out primary shooters on low-cost telephones.

But when something, the shortage of huge {hardware} enhancements solely underscores the significance of software program and companies, and that is the place HTC made its largest leap ahead. Although the {hardware} stays caught in time, the promise with the brand new HTC One is that the cellphone will preserve getting higher.

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