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The HTC One M8 (T-Mobile) [My Review]

After reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S5, I decided to try its direct competition - the HTC One M8.

Using these devices back-to-back allowed me to understand and appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of both devices.

Here we go!

The HTC One M8 (referred to as the M8), is an extremely well built device that feels great in the hand. Despite being a bit taller than the S5, the curved edges make it feel nice in the hand. What I appreciate is that the M8 is narrower than the S5, so typing on the keyboard with one hand is easier. The screen is also gorgeous. It’s not using Samsung’s Super AMOLED display technology, so colors are not overly saturated and vibrant, they’re more natural and clear in my eyes. The screen is arguably more visible under direct sunlight than the S5, but it doesn’t dim as much as the S5 for use in dark rooms. It dims to about the same as the iPhone 5s. It’s worth noting that like the iPhone, the M8’s auto brightness settings are well calibrated and do a better job of adapting compared to the S5.

Other aspects of the phone are good too. The Boom Sound speakers give my 15” Retina MacBook Pro a run for its money in terms of frequency response and is certainly leaps and bounds louder than any smartphone I’ve ever used. It even makes me wish I had ring tones for every little notification because it sounds so good.

Despite having a smaller battery than the S5, the phone lasted longer throughout my days of testing and the phone also recharged quicker on less powerful chargers. Something I mentioned during my S5 review was how the S5 would cause some chargers that I had to overheat and would generally charge very slowly unless you used a tablet charger or the charger and charging cable that Samsung provides. Even with extremely heavy use, I could get a full 12 hours out of the M8. This is better than the S5 and iPhone 5s for my typical usage patterns.

So what about the Duo Camera? I really wanted to like it but it sucks. I’m not sure if hardware or software is to blame, but it’s no good. It brings me back to the days of the Samsung Nexus S…you just cannot rely on it to get you a quick shot that’s clear and well balanced. You really can get some decent results using manual modes or some of the other effects within the camera. The one mode that really disappointed me was HDR. HTC’s implementation of HDR creates photos that are just blown out/overexposed. This is the only thing negative I have to say about this phone. The depth camera works when it says it will work and the effects are usually ok. I expect some bugs/glitches from a new type of technology, but the main camera sensor is really sub-par. The front-facing camera, although 5 megapixels, also disappoints. I truly think it’s a case of shoving too many pixels into a super compact sensor which results in poor quality images that are just large in resolution and file size.

What about the software? HTC Sense 6 is the cleanest version of Sense that I’ve used to date - granted there are a ton more features than the versions from a few years ago, but it still looks great and is very fluid and smooth; better than Samsung’s latest version of TouchWiz on the S5. I still believe that skins are no longer necessary, but HTC does include value-add features, especially to those transitioning from an iPhone and who still use a Mac. HTC has a dedicated app and software for data migration (Samsung has this too), but they have software to help you keep your phone backed up to either HTC’s cloud and/or your local computer, and synced with your iTunes library. Just like with the S5 and the 5s, the M8 does have glitches, but overall it’s better than the S5 and on-par with the 5s during my testing. My biggest gripe is that Apps on Android are still 2nd class when compared with their iOS counterparts.


At the end of two weeks of phone testing, I am sticking with the iPhone 5s. I already miss the larger screens but the physical size, weight, and camera capabilities of the 5s make it the best all-around device that suits my needs the most. iOS is also more conducive to my line of work, which frequently requires quick and clear access to calendars and multiple exchange inbox management. In many ways the M8 and S5 are crippled by their respective skins from HTC and Samsung.

This question has been asked of me by many, “If you HAD to pick between the two, which one would you keep?” My response is the HTC One M8…but I’d go with the Google Play Edition because a skin is not necessary anymore. If Samsung offered the S5 with plain Android, then I might say that’s the better device because I did appreciate the fact that it is water and dust resistant as well as had a fairly good camera module.

What do you think?

Filed under htc one m8 HTC

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HTC One Phones Will Get Jelly Bean

Aside from the One V, HTC says they will upgrade the other phones in the One series. I don’t see why the V can’t run Jelly Bean since the older Nexus S runs it well - perhaps it’s a Sense thing. 

So now that we know those phones will be getting JB, how long will it take for HTC to actually push the update out to their customers?

Filed under HTC Jelly Bean

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Nokia's 41MP Camera Phone vs. iPhone 4s & HTC One X

CNet did some testing with Nokia’s latest camera phone - 808 PureView. The sensor is 41 megapixels but it basically uses those pixels to oversample an image and will take the best pixels to combine them into what is essentially a “perfect” 5MP photo. It is technology that does work. I’m surprised and also not surprised at the poor image quality of the One X. Ever since I tested the HTC Amaze 4G, I noticed the software does way too much post-processing that the image just looks fake and a lot of details are lost. The iPhone 4s still has a good camera. And if you think about the size difference between the 808 and 4s, the 4s is superior in terms of looks and pocket-ability. 

Filed under HTC Apple Nokia

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HTC Smartphone Delays

HTC is running into some troubles when it comes to importing some of their devices into the USA because of a patent infringement suit brought on my Apple. Read more at the source. 

Filed under HTC

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Customer Preference: Thinner Phones > Battery Life [HTC]

Seriously? Who did they poll? Hipsters with super skinny and circulation cutting jeans is my best guess. 

Perhaps the survey was misleading and did not specify how thin is thin. All consumers would like a thin device with good battery life, and I think OEMs have the ability to make it happen - Droid Razr Maxx anyone? 

What do you think? 

Filed under HTC

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HTC Trophy Software Update [VZW]

The one and only Windows Phone on Big Red finally gets an important software update that improves the user experience and performance. Most notably, it fixes the issue of the randomly disappearing keyboard. If you’ve got a Trophy, hook it up to your Zune or Windows Phone Connector software to get the update. 

Filed under Windows Phone Verizon HTC

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It’s been about 2 years since the original EVO launched on Sprint. There have been other versions of the EVO since the launch of the first device, but they’ve been unsuccessful. It looks like Sprint and HTC have been working hard to save the EVO branding and this new device does indeed include 2012 hardware. 

The most interesting feature that hasn’t been available on a cellphone is HD Voice. According to Sprint, people do still make phone calls and they believe this new technology will make a difference. Essentially, it uses dual mics, some network hardware and some cleaver software to let users with compatible devices speak with each other in incredible clarity with almost no background noise to be heard. This is perfect for those situations where you’re outside or in a loud area and need to get in touch with someone. 

Time will tell if this phone is worth the money. 

More on HD Voice: 

Filed under Sprint HTC HTC EVO 4G LTE

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HTC Vivid Gets ICS!

Don’t have an HTC Vivid? No one really does…but if you know someone who has the Vivid, let them know they can get Google’s latest flavor of Android for their device via a software update.

Looks like HTC is keeping with their ICS rollout promises. 

Filed under HTC

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HTC Shares "Beats" API

Essentially HTC is sharing a tool that lets developers utilize the Beats sound profile on HTC devices. This further proves that “Beats” enabled phones don’t have special audio hardware. 

HTC is also releasing other tools to developers so they can integrate better with their Sense UI.

Filed under HTC Android

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New Windows Phones from HTC - Later This Year

Just about every OEM has been very quiet about Windows Phones at this years Mobile World Congress in Spain. As you might have guessed, Nokia is the only handset manufacturer that is really pushing the OS. I think after MSFT invested time and money into Nokia, other OEMs have not been happy.

Luckily, it seems that HTC will be releasing one or more handsets this year after MSFT releases it’s next major OS update “Apollo”. Though most of us WP owners are still waiting for the Tango update, which is supposed to be released in April of this year. 

Filed under HTC Windows Phone

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This looks to be HTC’s more entry level phone. But I question if the internals can run ICS and Sense 4.0 efficiently, or if they’re going to disable certain features to make things flow better. 

One thing to note is the HTC iconic “chin” is back on this model. 

Filed under HTC One V