So far, HTC's One M8 has won me over

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| March 28, 2014

It's hard to believe that it's already been a few days since HTC officially unveiled the One M8, but here we are. Unlike a lot of phone launches in the past, though, a lot of folks out there who really wanted to get their hands on the newest flagship from HTC probably already do. HTC was bold enough to make the device available on the same day they announced it, so there's a good chance a lot of people already have the phone in their hands.

I've been taking the new One for a spin, and while I'm sure I'll have a 30-day challenge with the device soon, I just wanted to sit down with the handset and work out a few initial thoughts about the latest high-end device to make an impact. Now that the clamor has calmed, and the excitement of all the new things HTC has done and launched, it's time to actually inspect the device, and put it through the paces.

The One M8 has a lot of improvements over the last device, the One M7 (talk about a retcon), and you can see it right from the start. HTC has managed to make the One M8 stand out on its own, while still being slightly understated from its predecessor. The One M8 has a distinct look all its own, and yet you can tell a lot of the design inspiration came from the device before it. This isn't a bad thing, because the places where HTC improved, like the overall build quality and the feel of the handset in your hand, are all top notch.

The 5-inch display, while a little bit in my personal opinion, is still beautiful to look at. With a pixel per inch count above 400, and with a 1080p resolution, the colors have fantastic reproduction and everything is crystal clear. Couple that with the front-facing speakers, which are indeed quite loud, and you get an experience that's been missing from way too many other smartphones (and tablets) out there.

In the new Sense, Sense 6 or the Sixth Sense, HTC managed to fix a lot of the annoyances from the previous version, too. And, to be frank, this is one of the biggest grievances I had with the original One. The fact that I can now move an application icon out of the bottom dock, put it on a home page, and not have some ridiculous duplicate waiting for me back in the dock is amazing. (This is one of those things that never should have happened in the first place, but I'm still happy it got fixed. Eventually.)

The new BlinkFeed is still somewhat of a conundrum to me, especially with the HTC marketing that I still see about "not digging through stuff," or endless scrolling through your news feeds or social media apps. It's great that BlinkFeed exists, and I wish it existed as a standalone app on the One M8 as it will on other handsets (including non-HTC devices), and not as an extra home screen. It is nice that HTC doesn't make it the standard home screen now, so there's the silver lining, I guess. As far as functionality goes, it loads a lot faster than the original version of the feature, the tiles are bigger (in some cases) and easier to read, and opening up a story is faster than ever. So, all in all, the changes that HTC made to the software are welcomed.

As I sit here and look at the device, I'll tell you something that annoys me quite a bit. It's the HTC logo on the front, for one, but it's also the bezel that comes along with it. It feels like it's about half-an-inch (I hope it's not that big), and that's completely unnecessary. It stands out now, just like it did with the original One, but in a worse way. Why? Because there are no capacitive buttons flanking the logo this time around, which actually made the bezel make sense -- if it had to make sense at all. Now, though, it's just there to house that logo, and then there are software buttons above that, and it's just ridiculous. I know the logo has to exist, I get that, but the bezel is too big. It's just that simple.

I haven't had a lot of time with the camera(s) on the One M8, so I'm not going to go into depth here. However, the few shots that I have taken inside, with not a lot of lighting to go around, haven't left me wanting. I'll make sure to put the camera through its own tests with time, and we'll see how well it does with the 4-megapixel UltraPixel shooter. The 5MP front-facing camera has worked quite impressively, too, for what it's worth.

Right now, the One M8 is making me just as happy as the original One did right when I took it out of the box. HTC has done another amazing job in creating a beautiful, comfortable handset, and the One M8 stands out in all the right ways. As it stands, in my initial impressions, HTC has another hit on their hands.

What would you like to see me test out on the new One M8? Are you waiting to buy it until you get to try it out yourself? Or have you already pulled the trigger, and have one in your hand now, or will soon? Let me know!

Products mentioned