For the longest time, I have harped on the fact that no single smartphone has it all. Even the best and most highly-rated phones are missing something important or have a certain feature that could be much better. There is always that one feature that keeps it from being what could have been the perfect device.
According to the rumor mill, the HTC M7 will be the apex of all modern smartphones. It's said to be showing its face – finally in an official capacity – in New York City on February 19, just one week before Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. And it's rumored to have the best of just about everything on board.
If the rumors hold true, the HTC M7 will ship with a 4.7-inch 1,920 by 1080p pixel resolution display (likely of the S-LCD3 variation), which would give it the highest-density smartphone display to date, either a 4.3-Ultrapixel or 13-megapixel camera, 2GB RAM, 32GB of built-in storage and a quad-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm APQ8064 processor. Even for a self-proclaimed skeptic, I'm intrigued … and impressed.
That said, there are a few details that have me on the fence about this device.
HTC is notorious for jumping around with specifications and catering to every desire of specific carriers. Case in point: in 2012, Verizon got the DROID DNA, AT&T got the One X, One X+ and One VX, Sprint got the EVO 4G LTE and T-Mobile got the One S. All of these devices only shared a few, minor details. Design and hardware were topnotch in all the devices. Specifications, however, varied between device.
The problem for the M7 is that, unlike its greatest competition, the yet-to-be-announced Samsung Galaxy S IV, HTC rarely releases two of the exact same Android phones on one carrier. The rumor mill suggests HTC will be changing up its game plan in 2013 and that the M7 will make its way to all major U.S. carriers.
I will believe that when I see it. One thing is certain, though. HTC will release a flagship on all carriers. The problems is that if it isn't the M7 – and instead only a M7-like device – specifications will be hit or miss. The M7 on AT&T might have 32GB of storage and a 2,300mAh battery, while the DROID DNA 2 (or whatever the M7-like device may be) has 16GB or 64GB and a 2,100mAh battery.
It seems the configuration never directly translates. Every carrier wants something different. This is more of HTC's fatal flaw than the M7, but it will still affect the reception of the device. It's hard to compare the performance of several similar HTC devices – that are all billed as separate devices – to the likes of a single device that stretches across the globe, such as the Galaxy S III or upcoming Galaxy S IV.
In light of 1080p resolution displays, I have lamented over onboard storage for the better part of the last year.
There is no acceptable reason that we are still dabbling in 8GB or 16GB. Incredibly detailed graphics in applications and games and full HD movies require a ton of storage space. If no microSD card slots is the future, no phone should ship with less than 32GB of built-in storage. Plain and simple. Fortunately, the M7 addresses that concern and is said to ship with 32GB of inbuilt storage.
The other half of that argument is that battery life is the longest running issue with modern smartphones. At best, the average smartphone struggles to keep a charge an entire day. But the fairly recent trend of 3,000mAh (or more) batteries seems to suppress that complaint, too. Unfortunately, battery life has been one of HTC's absolute worst features. The DROID DNA, for example, comes with a paltry 2,020mAh battery. And the One X+ has a 2,100mAh cell powering it. Only when I left the phone on standby for the majority of the day did the DROID DNA last all day without supplementary charges. Most days, I found myself relying on the myCharge Peak 6000 to give the phone a midday boost.
Some rumors suggest the M7 will come with a 2,300mAh battery. It's definitely a step in the right direction. But even the low power-consumption of the S-LCD3 display and other "power saving" features, I fear the M7 will suffer from the exact same issue as the rest of HTC's flagships of recent years, stamina.
The one feature HTC needs to drive this device home is a 3,000mAh battery. A much-improved camera would do, especially if the 4.3-Ultrapixel camera is a great as it sounds. (Seriously, don't wince at 4.3-megapixels. The output is high enough for prints and sharing to your favorite social media accounts, it just won't be 8-megapixels of terrible quality.)
I have my fingers crossed for HTC and the M7. They both have more potential than HTC knows. Now HTC just needs to worry about finding the correct pieces to complete the puzzle: solve battery life issues, deliver on a fantastic camera, boost marketing and focus on cross-carrier branding or launching a single device across multiple carriers. If they can get this right, the HTC M7 might be the hottest phone since the Nexus One.
… Just maybe.
What say you, readers? Will the HTC M7 be the bee's knees? Or will it suffer from a fatal flaw? If so, what will that flaw be? Be sure to take part in the poll below, and feel free to discuss the HTC M7 in the comments below!