The HTC One M8, or as I like to call it: “Iron Phone” is truly gorgeous, it has a better feel in the hand than any other device this size. The only design choice I don’t agree with is the thick bezel at the bottom of the screen, if HTC left this thing here for the sole purpose of having their brand visible on the face of the device, that would make them the Verizon of manufacturers. What do you think RDJ?

Notable features about this phone are; the on-screen navigation bar instead of soft keys below the screen, the presence of a MicroSD tray and the funny dual cameras on the rear.

Hardware

The one great thing I can say about this device is that, aside from the HTC bezel beneath the screen, the design of this device is amazing. The back looks like a slightly thinner, more rounded, taller version of the M7, graced with parallel black accent lines running left/right directly before the curved corners.

A quarter inch below the top accent line is the lackluster 4 megapixel sensor with a dual LED flash to it’s left. The second camera sensor sits directly atop the same line. Following that train downward brings you to the HTC symbol dead center and the Verizon 4G LTE badge toward the lower accent mark.

On the front of the device something just doesn’t feel right. That’s because the screen is offset a couple centimeters upwards by the giant needless black bezel with “HTC” on it beneath. Directly below that is the metal speaker grate balancing the top, slightly smaller speaker on the other end.

There is a small notification LED in the top speaker grate and directly to the right of the speaker are the proximity sensor and the 5 MP front facing camera. (Why a 5 megapixel front cam but only 4 on the back? Our own Hunter Stephenson sheds some light on that here)

The left side of the device is clean but for the SIM tray toward the top, directly accross from the MicroSD tray on the right hand side. Below the memory card slot is the volume rocker. At the top of the phone, to the right is the “sleep/wake” and directly beneath on the botom are the 3.5 mm headphone jack to the right of the MicroUSB charging port. If you’d like to check out the full specifications of the M8 check out the entry here on GSMArena.

Software

The lightly skinned Sense 6 UI still suffers from the innate “not AOSP” feel that I dislike. The status bar is slightly tinted rather than the full-transparency introduced in KitKat. The app drawer is vertically paginated, and even with somewhat generous screen real-estate they managed to only fit 12 icons per page, 3 columns by 4 rows, it looks really silly.

Swiping to the left from the default home-screen activates Blinkfeed, which, although hideous, is one of the best attempts at putting all of the content from your social networks into one place. However it’s becoming obsolete for progressive networks such as Google+ where a large number of the posts in my feed are posted to communities and not posts from friends, but HTC will almost certainly have something to accommodate that soon.

HTC implemented sweep-to-wake for the M8, and while this feature has its charms, it’s far more irritating in use than you might expect. Every time your finger rubs the screen, it turns on. Depending on which direction you swipe it may activate the M8’s voice dialer, not even the full-featured Google Now voice search, it’s a mess.

I should preface my next note by reminding you that this is the Verizon variant, so it may not be entirely HTC’s fault, but I know I’ve only installed ~100 apps. When I enabled developer options and switched the M8 from dalvik over to ART, the device took 37 minutes to fully reboot and said it was optimizing 345 apps!

There’s no reason for bloat like that. In storage, the apps take up 4 GB of the M8’s 32 GB of on-board storage and over 8 GB is devoted to the very descriptive category “Other” which I can only guess is the top-heavy operating system, leaving just about 20 GB for you to use.

HTC M8 ART

This device is alright. If you want top-notch build quality and don’t mind lackluster software, I would highly recommend you check out this device.

Website: HTC One M8

About the author

Tony McAfee

1,101 Comments

  • This review is terrible. Nobody cares about a bezel, or the screen being offset up a couple of centimeters. The app page only holds 12 icons? How bout actually learning how to operate the device and figuring out you can change the grid size to 4 X 5 to accommodate 20 icons which is probably pretty standard, albeit, something else typical users don’t fret over. The blink feed you can get rid off altogether if you so choose. If your going to review a phone my friend, really dive into it and reveal the features of it before you bark about it.Dont just take it out of the box, scroll through a few screens and simply state first look impression. You muttered a snippet on megapixels but failed to mention any of the many creative and advanced editing techniques such as Zoe technology that the HtC one M8 has to offer. I could go on and on ripping your very in-extensive review of this phone but i think I will end this by saying this: The HTC One M8 will not hop out of the box and conquer all of your smart phone techie desires in the push of one icon. However, with a little of preferred personalization, and with the help of some legit reviews/tutorials, there is little downside to this do-all machine.

    • Thanks for the comment! Yes, you CAN change most anything about any Android, and that’s why things like the ridiculous HTC bezel, the off-center display, and the crappy camera take center stage in my review. I assume that my readers know you can download a third party launcher if they want.

      If I owned the phone, those things you say no one cares about would be the main problems, because I’d have replaced the horrible firmware and customized everything to my liking. The hardware, however, can’t be fixed as easily. The device is a good quarter inch taller than it needs to be, that’s a serious issue in my opinion.

      With how customizable Android is, the only stock part of the device you’re actually forced to interact with is the settings menu, everything else can be replaced. Therefore hardware trumps software, and since HTC hasn’t done anything noteworthy with the software, hardware takes precedence for this particular article.

  • At the end of the day It all comes down to what a specific user prefers. For me its a no. The aluminium construction of the HTC One M8 while being highly impressive makes the device slippery and prone to scratches. Another hiccup for me is the speaker grill over the Boom sound speaker which will eventually get covered with dust and on the last note, compared to every other flagship device the competition has to offer HTC probably has the worst camera.