HTC has finally made the HTC One M8 official, and yes, that really is the name it has chosen. Despite the device being steadily and comprehensively leaked over the past few months, HTC did manage to hold back a few details to surprise us with on the big day. The question is: Does the all-new HTC One have what it takes to win people’s hearts and wallets this time around, helping to return the company to former glories. Or will it suffer at the hands of Samsung and the Galaxy S5? Let’s find out with a close look at the all the official details.
Updated on 04-24-2014 by Andy Boxall: Reports of a software update being pushed to the HTC One M8 are starting to spread. It contains several improvements, and adds the Extreme Power Saving Mode.
Where can you buy One, and how much will it cost?
HTC says the One M8 will be the single largest product launch in its history, and will be sold on 230 networks globally. Before the end of April, it will be released in America, UK, Germany, France, China, Australia, and Taiwan. An exact date wasn’t provided, but HTC said “most will have the phone in-store before April 10.”
Sure enough, sales are already underway:
- AT&T: Starting at AT&T, the One M8 will cost $200 with a two-year contract, or $32 per month on Next 12. Off-contract, it’s priced at $640.
- Verizon: Head over to Verizon and the phone is also $200 with a two-year contract, or $25.22 per month with Verizon Edge. It’s a little cheaper off-contract too, and costs $600 exactly. Verizon also has a limited time buy-one-get-one-free offer running with the One M8, provided you sign a pair of two-year contracts.
- T-Mobile: At T-Mobile, the One M8 has a full price of $636 with nothing up front, then 24 monthly payments of $26.50, plus your standard bill.
- Sprint: Finally, Sprint has the HTC One M8 for $200 on a two-year plan, or can offer the phone contract free for $650. There’s also the option to pay nothing up front, then $27.09 per month for the next two-years.
However, if you’d rather do your shopping on Amazon.com, and are thinking of getting an HTC One M8 connected to Verizon or Sprint, then make sure you check the site first. At the time of writing, both these networks have the phone priced at $150 with a two-year contract on Amazon, saving you $50 over buying one direct. Amazon, and all the networks, list the HTC One M8 as being in stock and ready for delivery now.
Software update adds Extreme Power Saving mode
Although HTC has optimized the battery performance of the One M8 to provide 40 percent more battery life than the original One, it has still added an “Extreme Power Saving” mode, which works like a turbocharged version of Samsung’s Ultra Power Saver Mode on the Galaxy S5. Like the Samsung tool, it strips away all the garnish, provides a simple interface, and only lets you access basic features.
However, the feature wasn’t included with all HTC One M8 phones at launch, due to it needing to pass regulation tests ensuring emergency calls could still be made with it switched on. Apparently, it passed with flying colors. Owners have started to report the feature’s arrival inside a software update for the phone. Listed as version 1.55.631.4, the 150MB update also contains unspecified improvements to the Duo Camera and the gallery.
According to HTC, a fully charged One M8 in Extreme Power Saver mode will last for up to two weeks without needing a recharge. If your One M8 is missing the Extreme Power Saving mode, then check Software Updates on the device to see if it’s ready to go.
Hardware will sound familiar
If all you worry about is specs, then the HTC One M8 won’t capture your attention for long, as not only is it fairly similar to last year’s HTC One, but it’s also identical to many other high-end smartphones on the market today. For example, the screen measures 5-inches, is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, and has a 1080p resolution.
HTC has chosen the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor running at 2.3GHz to power the phone, and paired it with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage memory. A welcome addition is a MicroSD card slot, which can bump this figure by a huge 128GB, if you don’t mind spending some cash on the card itself. A 16GB version of the One M8 will also be produced, but potentially only sold in Europe.
A pair of BoomSound speakers are mounted on the front panel, and the amp is supposed to be 25 percent louder than before, but there’s no Beats Audio branding or software included this time around. Above the screen is a 5-megapixel camera with a wide-angle lens, and HTC has tweaked the rear 4-megapixel UltraPixel camera to work with the Snapdragon 801 processor, which results in a 0.3 second focus time, and better quality images.
Duo Camera looks cool
The many leaks told us the HTC One M8 would have a dual-lens camera, but short of saying it would be to mess around with the depth of field, they didn’t go into much detail. We now know HTC is calling the new setup a Duo Camera, plus that it offers one-touch refocus, which it calls UFocus.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen such technology on a smartphone. Most of this year’s flagship phones offer something similar, such as Nokia’s ReFocus app, and Magic Focus on the LG G Pro 2. The difference here is instead of being a software-driven system which takes several photos in quick succession to produce the desired effect, the Duo Camera includes all the depth information in one shot. It’s the second lens, which is actually a sensor, that collects all that detail.
HTC says the Duo Camera captures “true depth information in your photos,” meaning it understands which objects in your photo are close to you, and which are further away. This will allow users to add the blurred-background “bokeh” effect instantly, with a tap of the screen. This is all done in the regular camera mode, so there’s no need to remember a setting or run a separate app, and there a various modes to help you implement the feature.
Additionally, the camera now has a dual-LED, dual-color flash, complete with different color modes for improved color reproduction. There’s no optical image stabilization, only digital, but there is a selection of editing tools, and cool effects – including an unusual 3D look – to apply to your pictures. In the summer, HTC will release a new version of its Zoe video tool. This will make those short videos easier to produce, and also upload them into the cloud, ready for friends to re-edit and create their own versions.
Gorgeous metal bodywork
One aspect of the original HTC One which didn’t need fixing is the design, and HTC has stuck with the same formula for the One M8. The metal unibody now covers 90 percent of the chassis, compared to 70 percent on the previous model, and it measures 9.3mm thick. The polished metal finish has a feathered, brushed design, described as an effect which is more at home on jewelry than a smartphone. If you’ve decided on a gold version of the One M8, you need to know it doesn’t have the same brushed effect as the other models, and is apparently noticeably smoother to the touch.
Unlike several of its competitors, the HTC One M8 isn’t waterproof. Or is it? HTC certainly hasn’t said anything about it, but a video has been uncovered, which apparently shows the new phone working away happily, despite being underwater. It’s not been in the drink for five seconds either, but 90 minutes, if the video is to be believed. We would suggest putting this to the test with your new M8, but it may provide some evidence the phone will resist the odd splash without dying on the spot.
HTC’s Online Global Communications Manager, Jeff Gordon, has spoken out about the One M8’s resistance to water. He tweeted the phone is rated IPx3, which means it’s able to be used in rainy or damp conditions without issue.
Gordon also cleared up another mystery. If you were wondering about the large black section beneath the screen, which only seems to be there to make the HTC logo stand out, there is actually a point to it. Gordon’s tweet says the area isn’t empty space, but hides “a huge amount of circuitry and antennae.” It’s necessary to the HTC One M8’s operation then, and not just the bit where the capacitive keys once were, which they didn’t know what to do with.
New, Improved “Sixth Sense” software experience
Android 4.4 KitKat is installed on the One M8, and HTC has covered it in Sense 6.0, its revised and rebuilt user interface. BlinkFeed has been improved too. It’s now one, long scrolling list, and draws from a list of 10,000 content providers. Those familiar with BlinkFeed will spot new animations, the introduction of larger images, new animations, and an easier way of adding additional content.
Other alterations inside Sense 6.0 include redesigned icons, more minimalist fonts, a wide range of themes, and several newly refreshed apps. For example, Sense TV is designed to replace your TV remote control, and comes with built-in social networking features, plus a dedicated sports section.
HTC has made BlinkFeed, the Gallery app and others available through Google Play, which will allow them to be updated without the need for an over-the-air update to be approved and sent out. It’s a big step forward to keeping these apps fresh with new features. Also, HTC has opened BlinkFeed, Zoe, and UFocus up to developers, so they can be incorporated into third party apps.
Among the first partners to integrate into BlinkFeed are Foursquare, so check-ins and other news will be added to your feed, plus FitBit. This, combined with the One M8’s sensors, turn it into a FitBit activity tracker, but without the wristband. It’s also worth noting the One M8 has onscreen Android buttons, and not separate ones as with the original model.
Ignore the sleep/wake key, use gesture controls instead
HTC has added a selection of gesture controls called Motion Launch. These are accessed through a dedicated menu, and they’re all designed to stop you from pressing the sleep/wake key, and to be used when the screen is off. For example, a double tap will wake up the screen, lifting the phone to your ear will answer it, while turning the device sideways and hitting the volume button will activate the camera.
Extreme power saving could be great
HTC has optimized the battery performance of the One M8 to provide 40 percent more battery life than the original One. An “extreme” battery-saving mode has also been added, which works like a turbocharged version of Samsung’s Ultra Power Saver Mode on the Galaxy S5. Like the Samsung tool, it strips away all the garnish, provides a simple interface, and only lets you access basic features. According to HTC, a fully charged One M8 in Extreme Power Saver mode will last for up to two weeks without needing a recharge. That’s one feature we want to test.
Google Play Edition incoming
HTC has also revealed a One M8 without all its Sense 6.0 user interface, or the accompanying software, as a Google Play Edition. However, it’s not running a completely standard build of Android 4.4 KitKat. Don’t worry though, the alterations are made so owners get to enjoy the Duo Camera, which requires certain tweaks and additional settings. Otherwise, the specification is exactly the same. It’s available for pre-order now, and costs $700.
Wide range of accessories available at launch
In addition to One M8 specific versions of HTC’s Double Dip and Flip cases, HTC has also launched the Fetch and the Mini+ accessories for the new phone. The Fetch is a keyring which helps locate a misplaced phone, and the Mini+ is a strange phone-for-your-phone device. The Dot View case is the only really new accessory. It’s a flip front case which displays notifications, the weather, and the time in a retro dot-matrix look style.
Let us know if HTC has done enough with the One M8 to persuade you it’s the phone to buy, or will you be going for one of its competitors?
Updated on 04-11-2014 by Andy Boxall: The HTC One M8 is now available through most networks in America, but the best deal – if you’re after a contract – comes from Amazon. We’ve added in all the prices and conditions you need to know about the new HTC flagship phone, so you can easily find the right deal.
Updated on 04-03-2014 by Andy Boxall: Added in and explanation of the black space beneath the One M8’s screen, provided by HTC, plus details on the Google Play Edition, the first HTC One M8 advert, and a hint the phone may not be too scared of water.
Updated on 03-25-2014 by Andy Boxall: All the official information on the HTC One M8 has been added to the article below, while all the many, many rumors from our roundup can still be found on page two.
NEXT PAGE: EVERYTHING WE HEARD ABOUT THE HTC ONE M8 BEFORE ITS LAUNCH
For its high-end smartphones over the past year, HTC has stuck to a fairly rigid formula. It has repeated the style introduced with the HTC One, but with larger and smaller aluminum phones like the HTC One Mini and HTC One Max. We’d complain, but the One happens to be the best looking smartphone design out there. For whatever reason though, the HTC One hasn’t ascended to the same heights as Samsung’s more popular Galaxy S4, and it must now compete with the high-spec Galaxy S5 and Sony’s Xperia Z2. So what is HTC going to do for the sequel?
First, the rumors gathering around a device codename the HTC M8, but as the launch draws near, it looks like the firm has settled on the “All New HTC One” name for its 2014 flagship Android smartphone. Here’s everything we think we know about it, so far.
Updated on 03-25-2014 by Andy: It’s launch day for the All New HTC One, but there’s still time for a few last minute rumors. The Google Play Edition has been accidentally confirmed, plus another hands-on video has been published. Another rumor has also been added in, suggesting HTC may have its own Android Wear smartwatch to announce.
All New HTC One will launch on March 25
HTC has confirmed it’ll hold a special event on March 25 2014, where it says the “best will get better.” Although it hasn’t confirmed its arrival, it’s almost certain the new HTC One will be unveiled. As expected, HTC will hold simultaneous launch events in New York and London, plus for those unable to attend, it’ll live stream the proceedings on its own website.
Another leak also told us to look out for a Google Play Edition of the All New HTC One, something which HTC went on to accidentally confirm itself, in a listing for a new HTC Gallery app on the Google Play store. HTC supplied the One without its HTC Sense user interface before, making a sequel with stock Android 4.4 installed highly likely anyway.
HTC smartwatch with Android Wear could also be announced
HTC is confirmed as one of Google’s hardware partners for Android Wear, the new wearables-only operating system, but has yet to announce a supporting device. Could that change at today’s All New HTC One launch? That’s certainly the opinion of SmarterWatching.com, where it’s speculated HTC may at least hint at a forthcoming device, if only to discourage potential buyers from grabbing the Moto 360 or LG G Watch when the time comes. It’s certainly possible, but given the amount of leaks regarding the All New One, we have a feeling something would have slipped out about a watch too, should one be on the cards for today. We won’t mind if we’re proven wrong though.
All New One available to buy on March 25, but only from certain stores
Amazingly, even though the phone hasn’t been announced yet, some retailers are already telling eager customers they’ll be stocking the device. In the UK, phone retailer Carphone Warehouse confirmed to Pocket-Lint.com it’ll have the All New HTC One on sale right after it’s launch on March 25. It’ll be in stock at six London-based shops, and available to order over the phone.
When it arrives in America, a tip said the phone will find a home on all four major U.S. carriers. A more recent FCC filing has shown six different versions have been submitted for approval, and four of them are compatible with all the U.S. networks, so the new HTC One should be widely available. However, there’s a chance Verizon has negotiated a short period of exclusivity with HTC, and like Carphone Warehouse, will offer the phone immediately after launch. This hasn’t been confirmed, but according to the rumor, the exclusivity will last for “a couple of weeks.”
If you’re already poised to buy an HTC One, and would like it in gold, then you may need to visit Best Buy, as a tweet from @evleaks says the model will be exclusive to the store. Expect to pay $600 for the phone off-contract, or $200 if you sign-up for two years. To help build anticipation, last week AT&T held a competition to give away a new HTC One each day until the launch event. You’ve still got time to enter too.
It will probably look like the 2013 HTC One
A press-style image leaked by the @evleaks Twitter account, gave us a clear look at what HTC may have in store for us with the new One smartphone. Resplendent in gold, the phone is more rounded than its predecessor, and sports what appears to be dual camera lenses and a dual-LED flash on the back. Around the front we can see twin BoomSound speakers, plus a front facing camera and an unknown sensor next to it. This may house the proximity and ambient light sensor, but could also be for something else entirely. The screen’s bezel is slimmer, and Android’s command keys are now part of the display, making it look longer and more modern.
The look is similar to an earlier leaked image, which was published by an HTC-focused Twitter account. In that image, the flash units were separate rather than joined together, but the dual-lens setup is the same. It still looks odd though, almost like the upper lens is an afterthought. Before this, a set of leaked pictures allegedly showed the rear of the phone – then known as the HTC M8, with three different cutouts.
At the beginning of 2014, several cases supposedly made for the M8/One Two/One+ showed up online, complete with a cutout on the rear which could fit the holes seen in the casing above. It’s by no means conclusive, as the manufacturer may have been basing the design on the leaked prototype shots.
Staying on the subject of HTC One 2014 cases, an image of a funky case showed up at the beginning of March. It’s a flip-style case, with a perforated front cover which will show the time, weather, and we’d presume, notifications at all times. The tightly fitting rear cover has cutouts for the dual camera lenses, and dual-LED flash.
Video leak causes controversy
Manufacturers tend not to like leaks, unless they’ve orchestrated them, as evidenced by the uproar caused by the following video, which was not-so-anonymously published on YouTube. The 12-minute video gives us a look at the HTC M8, which is regarded as the codename for the One’s sequel, including close-ups of the new dual-camera lens setup, the software, and the phone’s overall design. It looks identical to the phone in the image above.
So why the controversy? It’s thanks to HTC’s Online Communications Manager Jeff Gordon, who tweeted the person responsible for the extensive leak, saying “It’s going to be a bad week for you, my friend.” He then added HTC knew the IMEI number of the phone, and where it came from. “We’ll be in touch,” added Gordon. A subsequent tweet from the leaker’s account indicated the phone came from his parents, who have lost their jobs at HTC due to the leak. This hasn’t been confirmed, but doesn’t sound unlikely. Naturally, the video was removed, but this being the Internet, not before it was downloaded and re-uploaded. You can take a look here if you’re interested.
Subsequently, and just before the phone is made official, another, even better video of the All New HTC One was leaked. The German language, 1080p video quality provided our clearest look at the new phone yet. It was quickly removed after a copyright claim was filed, but another video, this time in English, has taken its place. We’ve embedded it below, but there’s no telling if it’ll be removed in the final hours before HTC reveals the device.
The naming problem
Calling something the “One” presents a problem for the sequel. What will HTC call the final version of the M8? Initially referred to as the HTC One Two – a clumsy, and rather silly name – a subsequent and comprehensive leak of the phone’s potential features included the suggestion it will be called the HTC One+.
While neatly sidestepping the ridiculous One Two name, this also ties in with HTC sequels of old. For example, the One X was followed up by the One X+ back in late 2012. The problem with adding a “plus” symbol is the phone sounds like a refresh rather than a true sequel. Will that be the case?
An @evleaks tweet has given us another hint at the name, and HTC may chose the Apple route for its next phone. The filing refers to the phone as the All New One, which is a bit of a cop-out, but reminds us of Apple’s use of “new” when it launched the third-generation iPad. Leaked promo material from Verizon also call the phone the All New HTC One, but interestingly also add the M8 codename in brackets afterwards. Does HTC believe the codename has become so well-known, it needs to capitalize on it to differentiate the phone? Maybe, but to us, it just highlights the company’s inability to come up with a better name.
Qualcomm has also got involved, sending out a tweet teasing the phone’s impending arrival. It says a new Snapdragon powered phone will be out this week, and asks if we’re “Ready to OneUp our mobile experience.” The OneUp is hashtagged, suggesting HTC may use it to promote the phone following the announcement. Or is it going to be called the HTC One Up?
Specs and a dual-lens camera
Early leaks, primarily from @evleaks, gave us a general idea of the HTC M8’s specifications. It didn’t hold any surprises. Both a 5-inch 1080p screen and a Snapdragon 800 processor were listed as distinct possibilities, while a later @evleaks tweet added a few more details, including 2GB of RAM, a 2.1-megapixel video call camera, and an UltraPixel rear camera. Leaks have suggested the camera will receive a bump to 6 or 8-megapixels, while a source speaking to Phone Arena says HTC will be sticking with the 4-megapixel UltraPixel camera on the One+.
In a Bloomberg leak, the camera is described as having twin-sensors for better focus and image quality. No megapixels are mentioned, but it’s said the UltraPixel camera will be an, “Improved version.” Leaked packaging shots name HTC’s new camera as a Duos UltraPixel, and one main feature of the dual-lens setup is adjusting the depth of field after taking a picture.
Cameras with this feature were one of the big trends at Mobile World Congress, with software-driven systems being installed on both the LG G Pro 2 and the Galaxy S5. Recently, other Lytro-like cameras, such as DigitalOptics’ module, Toshiba’s dual-lens setup, and the software-driven Nokia Refocus app, have captured headlines. However, we’ve yet to see the technology capture the buying public’s attention.
A benchmark test for a device called the HTC OP6B120, which could potentially be the M8, indicates it’ll contain a fast processor, with the results matching those of the LG G2 and the Sony Xperia Z1. Some rumors are pointing to it being a new Snapdragon 805, but this seems unlikely due to Qualcomm giving its latest chip a mid-2014 release window, which is sometime after the One+ is expected to launch.
According to the leaked packaging images, the new HTC One will use the Snapdragon 801 processor, which is the same chip found inside the Sony Xperia Z2 and the Galaxy S5. The new processor has a 2.5GHz clock speed, faster digital imaging processing, improved power efficiency, and support for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 system.
Android 4.4 KitKat should be the phone’s operating system, and in a different leak, @evleaks stated the M8 would be HTC’s first phone to feature Sense 6.0. Because a new version of Sense usually comes with a new version of Android, this indicates the M8 will also be HTC’s first phone to run Android 4.4 as standard.
There are a few other rumors of which to be aware, including the phone potentially coming with 3GB of RAM, a MicroSD card slot, NFC, and a 2900mAh battery.
At the moment, the majority of the above is based on speculation and unofficial leaks. It may all change by the time the All New One is revealed, and we’ll keep you up to date with any changes as they happen.
Updated on 03-24-2014 by Andy: We’re a day away from the official launch of the All New HTC One. We’ve added in the final round of rumors about the phone. These include a new video, the latest images, more naming talk, an HTC case, and some details on the phone’s availability following the announcement.
Updated on 03-04-2014 by Andy: The phone previously known as the M8/HTC One Two/One+ may actually be named the All New HTC One, plus a developer unit gets leaked on video, much to HTC’s annoyance.
Updated on 02-19-2014 by Andy: HTC has announced an event for March 25, and a new picture was leaked, giving us our best look at the new HTC One yet.
Updated on 02-05-2014 by Andy: Added a newly leaked image of the next HTC One, which possibly confirms the inclusion of a dual-lens camera.
Updated on 02-03-2014 by Andy: A leak has suggested the HTC One sequel won’t be seen at MWC, but launched at an event in New York at the end of March.
Updated on 01-20-2014 by Andy: Added in all-new rumors on the phone’s name – it could be the One+ – along with more details on the specs and further hints on the device’s design.
Article originally published 12/04/2013