HTC One M8 review: Still worth buying in 2017?

£530
Price when reviewed

BlinkFeed itself has been updated so as to scroll continuously, rather than a page at a time. Blocks of colour now space out the items and give it a more airy feel, and it’s possible to search through feed items by keyword.

There are also now two power-saving modes: a standard one and an “extreme” one, which shuts down all but the essential apps and limits CPU speed, brightness and non-essential features. In this mode, you can access only one screen, which displays the time and shortcuts to the phone, SMS, email, calendar and calculator apps.

HTC One M8: Core hardware and specification

The M8 sports the very latest in mobile-processing grunt: a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC, clocked at 2.3GHz, backed by 2GB of RAM. It’s blazingly fast, scoring 2,849 in the multicore Geekbench 3 CPU test and 29fps in the GFXBench T-Rex HD gaming test. These scores are slightly quicker than the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, and a good distance ahead of our A-List smartphone, the Nexus 5. In practice, they indicate ultra-responsive performance all round, and super-smooth gaming.

HTC One M8

HTC has also significantly boosted performance in the audio department, redesigning the forward-facing speaker chambers to produce even more volume than before – and it’s still distortion-free. Call quality is equally good, and wireless communications are comprehensive, including 4G, NFC and 802.11ac. The infrared transmitter remains in place from the previous model, so you can still use this phone to control your TV and set-top box.

HTC One M8: Display and battery life

The M8’s 5in display is not only bigger than the screen in the original One, it’s also punchier, with a contrast ratio of 1,687:1 compared with 1,202:1. It’s just as bright as before, making it a fantastic display that’s perfectly readable outside and inside.

The HTC One M8 also has a bigger battery, benefitting from a 300mAh boost, going from 2,300mAh to 2,600mAh. HTC claims that this, combined with improved component efficiency and the new battery’saver mode, can deliver a “40% increase” in overall battery performance.

That’s a little optimistic, but the M8 did perform well in our tests. While playing a 720p video with the screen set to 120cd/m[sup]2[/sup] (slightly below mid-brightness), capacity fell at a rate of 6.5% per hour. Streaming audio over 3G used up 3.8% per hour. Leaving the phone overnight in standby – but still syncing several accounts – consumed a miserly 0.3% per hour.

HTC One M8

Those results place it only fractionally behind the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, and with moderate use, employing the extreme power saving mode for the last 12% of capacity we were able to extract a full two days of use out of the M8.

You’ll need to watch your gaming habit, though. In the gaming portion of our battery test, at mid-brightness, the M8 chomped through a frightening 42.3% per hour.

HTC One M8: Verdict

The HTC One M8 is a better smartphone than last year’s One. It has improved cameras and software, the display is superb and the design is the best we’ve seen from a smartphone this year. At the moment, this is the best Android smartphone money can buy.

There are two key sticking points, however. The first is that its big rival, the Samsung Galaxy S5, will soon bring even more significant changes, including a new autofocus system for its camera, water- and dust-resistance and an even bigger battery, plus fingerprint and heart-rate sensors.

The second is that the Nexus 5 – although not as impressive across the board – costs a significant £230 less, SIM free, than the £530 M8. The HTC One M8 is a cracking smartphone, and is packed with useful and clever features, but if you’re on any sort of budget, it isn’t revolutionary enough to justify that £230 premium.

Second Opinion: Barry Collins on the HTC One M8

Forget the souped-up specs, the bizarre double camera and the rounded edges: as an owner of the original HTC One, the thing that really has me jealously eyeing up the M8 is that Dot View case. Since I don’t wear a watch, the ability to quickly tap on the phone’s case and see the time is surprisingly handy – as is the option to answer calls without flipping the case open.

Otherwise, I find the false depth-of-field effects produced by the new camera gimmicky, and having tried out the phone for myself I’ve noticed little difference in day-to-day performance – the original HTC One hardly wants for power, after all. Battery life does seem to be significantly better, though: after two-and-a-half days of admittedly light usage, the M8 is still just about clinging to life. I’ve never got my HTC One past a day and a half.

Details

Cheapest price on contract£79
Contract monthly charge£38.00
Contract period24 months
Contract providerVodafone

Battery Life

Talk time, quoted20hrs
Standby, quoted2 days, 16hrs

Physical

Dimensions70 x 9.8 x 146mm (WDH)
Weight156g
Touchscreenyes

Core Specifications

RAM capacity2MB
Camera megapixel rating4.1mp
Front-facing camera?yes
Video capture?yes

Display

Screen size5.0in
Resolution1080 x 1920
Landscape mode?yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth supportyes
Integrated GPSyes

Software

OS familyAndroid

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos