It is considered poor form to begin a review with the conclusion, but there’s really no reason to drag this out: the HTC One (M8) is the best Android phone the world has ever seen. Period. Full stop. Of this, there is no doubt. In many ways, in fact, it is the bestsmartphone the world has ever seen. From the design of the device to the power of its components and everything in between, HTC’s new One better than its predecessor. And its predecessor, as you might recall, was the best all-around Android phone the world had ever seen last year.
Actually, it might still have been the best all-around Android phone in the world until about 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday.
With all that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the new HTC One (M8) smartphone to find out exactly what makes it the best Android phone in the world. And just as important, of course, is the question of whether or not being the best will draw away enough Samsung and Apple customers to finally help HTC get back on track.
First things first: What, exactly, is the name of this fantastic new phone?
On the packaging, HTC’s brand new flagship smartphone is called the “HTC One.” Of course, there is already an HTC One and for the time being, it’s still available on store shelves. Awkward indeed.
To differentiate the new One from the old One, HTC is referring to the just-announced model as the all new HTC One or the HTC One (M8). M8, by the way, might refer to the fact that this is the eight flagship smartphone that HTC has launched. Last year’s HTC One model, as you might have guessed, has been referred to as the M7.
It’s all a bit confusing and weird, especially to someone with a marketing background like myself. But over time it shouldn’t matter as long as HTC picks one single name to brand the device with and remains consistent across all marketing and advertising.
There will undoubtedly be an initial chorus of whiny blog posts complaining about the confusion surrounding the phone’s name, and some of them will make good points. But in the long run, it really won’t matter much.
Now, one of the most important things to be aware of from the get-go with the new HTC One is that looks can be deceiving.
From afar, the M8 looks very similar to last year’s One. Having the same name certainly doesn’t help matters either. But the new HTC One is not a minor, iterative update. It’s not a bunch of newer components stuffed into the same case. It is a brand new smartphone from top to bottom, inside and out.
Starting with the housing, HTC completely redesigned the device’s case. It looks similar from afar but I assure you, there are plenty of important differences.
First, there is much more metal. Last year’s HTC One case was 70% metal, with plastic around the outer edges of the device and on the back where the antennas were. This year’s model, however, is 90% metal.
The aluminum on the back of the new HTC One wraps around to the sides and bottom now, with the only remaining plastic found in inserts on the back and top of the phone. The face of the phone is mostly glass, as it was before, but it’s actually quite different on the M8 compared to the M7.
My favorite little design element from last year’s One — the glass display cover that spilled over the sides of the phone and blended in with the chamfered bezel — is gone on the new model. At first, I was a bit sad to lose this fantastic detail. The new design is still quite slick though, with a raised perimeter around the glass and metal inserts that transitions down into a narrower chamfered bezel that is still polished.
It’s not quite as sleek as the old design, but the removal of the plastic surrounding the case makes up for it.
The display itself is fantastic, as was the case with the original HTC One.
HTC’s M8 uses a Super LCD 3 panel that is slightly larger than the screen on last year’s model, having been bumped up to 5 inches from 4.7 inches. It’s still the same 1080p full HD resolution so the pixels are a bit more spread out, but the difference really isn’t discernible to the naked eye. Text and graphics are smooth, colors are rich and the contrast is impressive.
The new HTC One’s display can go toe to toe with any other smartphone on the market.
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