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Review HTC One M8 Smartphone

Florian Wimmer (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 04/29/2014

One for the road. It is once again time for new high-end smartphones and we start with the review of the HTC One M8 with the brand-new Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC. We could read many things before the launch: Sturdy unibody chassis, low-resolution Duo camera, cheating during benchmarks. Read the whole truth in our in-depth review.

In Review: HTC One M8. Review unit courtesy of HTC Germany.

For the original German review, see here.

HTC started its business with smartphones and managed to get some breathing room in the crisis with the high-end device HTC One in 2013. With stereo speakers at the front and the cooperation with Beats, the HTC One was an excellent smartphone for music enthusiasts.

Now they launch the second generation, and this time HTC has a slightly different focus: The cameras at the back are now the main attraction. Cameras? Yes, there are actually two lenses at the back of the metal case: One module takes the pictures, while the other one provides a fast focus and captures depth information of the picture. With this information you can edit single objects, shift the focus and use other features.

The two cameras are an innovative feature, but the high-end market demands a lot from a smartphone. HTC integrates the new SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC to provide sufficient performance. Some showing-off is certainly necessary since the device has to compete with high-end rivals like the Apple iPhone 5SGoogle Nexus 5Sony Xperia Z1Samsung Galaxy S4 or LG Optimus G Pro, all of which offer some high-tech features. Nokia also has a high-end smartphone with the Lumia 1020 that is equipped with an extremely high-resolution 40 MP camera and numerous features.

Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2, two devices from the new generation of high-tech smartphones, are in our editorial office as well, so we will compare these three devices in an article soon.

Case

Ergonomically shaped, sturdy and made of metal: The case.
Ergonomically shaped, sturdy and made of metal: The case.

We reviewed the predecessor more than one year ago: We really liked the aluminum case, but it consisted of two parts. HTC improved this detail on the new One M8 and now uses a real unibody case, which accommodates the SoC, the display and all the other parts (glued into the case).

The predecessor was not famous for its excellent maintainability since you could not replace the battery and probably damaged the back cover when you tried to remove it. iFixit dismantled the new HTC One M8 as well, but the situation did not really improve: A damaged display, for instance, can only be repaired after you remove almost every other component…

And the One M8 is not even particularly thin: At 9.35 millimeters (~0.37 in), it is significantly thicker than the iPhone 5SGoogle Nexus 5 or the Sony Xperia Z1, and even slightly thicker than the predecessor. Weighing 160 grams (~0.35 pounds), it is also slightly heavier than the HTC One from last year and significantly heavier than the Apple iPhone 5SGoogle’s Nexus 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S4.

However, this does not mean that the HTC One M8 does not feel good when you hold it – quite the opposite: Contrary to the HTC One M7, the manufacturer decided to use a curved back that provides comfortable haptics. The larger dimensions of the smartphone compared to the predecessor are therefore hardly noticeable.

The very sturdy metal case cannot be twisted at all and looks very nice. HTC offers the One M8 in three colors, although only silver and the darker gray are available at launch; the golden version should follow soon.

The design of the HTC One M8 with the brushed aluminum, the rounded edges and the curved back is very appealing. HTC really did a good job, and in combination with the good haptics and the high stability, you really have the feeling you are using a high-end smartphone.

The unibody case accommodates the glued components. (Picture: iFixit)
The unibody case accommodates the glued components. (Picture: iFixit)
It is once again no pleasure to dismantle the HTC One M8. (Picture: iFixit)
It is once again no pleasure to dismantle the HTC One M8. (Picture: iFixit)

Features

HTC improved the connectivity compared to the One M7: The storage can now be expanded via a micro SD card slot. However, the internal storage was reduced to 16 GB in return, but a version with 32 GB will be launched soon.

Both the volume rocker and the power button have been completely reworked and leave a higher quality impression. At the top is a dark plastic cover for the infrared sensor that can be used to control your multimedia devices at home.

The USB port at the bottom can be used to charge the battery, transfer data and thanks to the MHL support, attach external displays.

Top: IR sensor, power button
Top: IR sensor, power button
Bottom: Micro USB with MHL, stereo jack
Bottom: Micro USB with MHL, stereo jack
Right side: Volume rocker, nano SIM slot
Right side: Volume rocker, nano SIM slot
Left side: micro SD slot
Left side: micro SD slot
Blinkfeed: The news app has several new functions.
Blinkfeed: The news app has several new functions.
The Zoe app is not finished.
The Zoe app is not finished.

Software

As expected for a high-end smartphone, you get the latest version of the operating system: Android 4.4 KitKat. HTC uses its Sense 6 user interface, which is simpler than the predecessor. It is now also easier to update it because HTC shifted some important features to the apps Blinkfeed and Zoe.

Color markings in apps and menus from HTC are also supposed to help the user navigate through the system. All messaging services, for example, have the same color scheme. In addition, you can define your own color schemes similar to Windows Phone, which changes the background image and the contrast color in the menus. 

Blinkfeed was improved as well and got some new features. The app for social media content, news and tutorials for the phone now learns better and also gives information based on your location, for instance, restaurants nearby that could please the user.

A new feature is the gesture control, which can be used to unlock the smartphone with a swipe of a finger or launch the camera app if you hold the HTC One M8 at eye level.

Annoying: We repeatedly got a window after the installation of an app with the question, if we wanted to save the data via HTC Backup. Even if we selected that we did not want to see the message again, it still popped up every time.

The GPS is accurate down to ten meters indoors.
The GPS is accurate down to ten meters indoors.
Outdoors down to five meters and less.
Outdoors down to five meters and less.

Communication & GPS 

You rightly expect support for all current communication standards when you spend more than 600 Euros (~$832) for a smartphone. The HTC One M8 does not disappoint. All WLAN standards, including the super fast 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC as well as quad-band for GSM, UMTS with HSPA+ and LTE are available.

The signal quality was also decent; the LTE speeds were usually close to the maximum transfer speed of our SIM card (50 Mbps) in the metropolitan area. It is the similar situation with the WLAN module: We still had a strong signal with a distance of 10 meters (~33 feet) from the router and through three walls; it only dropped to three out of four bars occasionally. Another wall and three more meters (total ~43 feet) resulted in three of four bars.

The GPS module also supports the Russian Glonass system and manages an accuracy down to ten meters indoors. The accuracy is increased down to five meters (~16 feet) outdoors, and it is even better in the open country. We took the HTC One M8 on a bicycle ride and compared it with the professional navigation device Garmin Edge 500. The HTC One M8 does not really have any problems in the forest section, but the GPS sensor got a bit confused at the bridge. The overall track length of the smartphone was around 400 meters (~0.25 miles) shorter compared to the navigation device.

Complete HTC One M8
Complete HTC One M8
Bridge HTC One M8
Bridge HTC One M8
Forest HTC One M8
Forest HTC One M8
Complete Garmin Edge 500
Complete Garmin Edge 500
Bridge Garmin Edge 500
Bridge Garmin Edge 500
Forest Garmin Edge 500
Forest Garmin Edge 500

Telephone Functions and Voice Quality

HTC reworked the phone app as well. The numeric buttons are now slightly smaller, but still easy to hit. We really like the possibility to type in a name and directly access the corresponding contact. Groups and favorites can also be created and there is a voice control via Google Now

The excellent speaker at the top of the front is also used as the earpiece during calls, so the voice quality is accordingly very good: The other person is very clear, easy to understand and easy to hear in loud environments. The same applies for the other end of the line. Using the integrated hands-free feature is a joy to use as well because the excellent speakers produce very clear voices.

Original picture...
Original picture...
... and refocussed with UFocus.
... and refocussed with UFocus.
The HTC One M8 lightens up dark surfaces pretty well, but has a hard time focusing on objects in the foreground.
The HTC One M8 lightens up dark surfaces pretty well, but has a hard time focusing on objects in the foreground.
Compared to the Galaxy S5 we like the nice blur effect and the sharper foreground.
Compared to the Galaxy S5 we like the nice blur effect and the sharper foreground.

Cameras & Multimedia

We already mentioned that HTC designed something special for the camera at the back. But one thing at a time: At a first look, the camera on the back does not seem very up to date with a resolution of just 4 MP. The predecessor, the One M7, also had a 4 MP camera at the back, and it is actually the same sensor – the One M8 even lost the image stabilization. This seems to be a step in the wrong direction.  

Nokia set the bar very high with the 40 MP camera of the Lumia 1020, admittedly with a very bulky case in return. The upcoming Nokia Lumia 930 uses a 20 megapixels camera and devices from last year, for example the Google Nexus 5 or the iPhone 5S have at least 8 MP sensors. HTC says that larger pixels can capture more light and therefore improve the picture quality.

This might be correct, but when you look at the details of the pictures, you can see that the Apple iPhone 5 with an 8 MP camera, for instance, creates much sharper detail, for example the sticker of the bananas of the fruit picture: The text is easier to read compared to the picture of the HTC One M8. Brighter areas are also not as sharp compared to other cameras. All in all the picture quality is okay, but more pixels would not have hurt the quality. At least you get, similar to the predecessorgood pictures in low-light situations.

HTC integrates a second lens at the back, which not only improve the focus, but also enables cool effects. This second lens captures, calculates and stores depth information of the picture, which means you can shift the focus very precisely after you take the picture. You can also select faces in pictures and shift layers to create the popular parallax effect. This could be a reason for the low-resolution sensor: The processing required for these effects may have been too consuming for a smartphone with a higher megapixel camera.

All these effects are nice, but the results really depend on the picture: The selection of people only works reliably on a plain background and 3D movements around objects are also imprecise for smaller objects. UFocus, the dynamic shifting of the sharpness, only works with good pictures that have a lot of depth to start with and where objects are clearly set apart from each other. If you look at the plant in front of the small balcony fence, you can see that the blurring effect only works on a part of the fence.

It is unfortunate that the new version of the Zoe app is not ready for the launch. Users will have to wait until summer of 2014 before they can create albums with automatic effects.

It is interesting that the front camera actually has a higher resolution of 5 megapixels, which is most likely due to the selfie trend. The picture quality with normal lighting conditions is similar to the camera at the back, but significantly worse in dark environments.

The overall camera features of the HTC One M8 are okay if you just want to make a quick picture for Facebook or Instagram and use some cool effects. The Duo camera at the back saves a lot of time and the inaccuracies are not really a problem. However, we cannot recommend the HTC One M8 if you expect sharp and high-resolution pictures from a smartphone.

HTC One M8 Fruit
HTC One M8 Fruit
HTC One M8 Scene
HTC One M8 Scene
HTC One M8 Environment
HTC One M8 Environment
Apple iPhone 5 Fruit
Apple iPhone 5 Fruit
Apple iPhone 5 Scene
Apple iPhone 5 Scene
Apple iPhone 5 Environment
Apple iPhone 5 Environment
Nokia Lumia 1020 Fruit
Nokia Lumia 1020 Fruit
Nokia Lumia 1020 Scene
Nokia Lumia 1020 Scene
Nokia Lumia 1020 Environment
Nokia Lumia 1020 Environment
Samsung Galaxy S4 Fruit
Samsung Galaxy S4 Fruit
Samsung Galaxy S4 Scene
Samsung Galaxy S4 Scene
Samsung Galaxy S4 Environment
Samsung Galaxy S4 Environment
Sony A57 Fruit
Sony A57 Fruit
Sony A57 Scene
Sony A57 Scene
Sony A57 Environment
Sony A57 Environment

Accessories

HTC ships the HTC One M8 with several accessories: A wired headset, a tool to remove the SIM card, a micro USB cable, a power adaptor, a quick start guide and a silicone cover. 

If that is not sufficient, you can get several optional accessories as well. We like the DotView cover in particular. First of all, if you like it more colorful, you can equip the HTC One M8 with a blue, green, red or orange cover. It also has dozens of small holes at the front. But why is that so great? The smartphone can show basic information in a large font size thanks to these holes, and you can even control the device to a certain extent without opening the cover. Incoming calls, for instance, are displayed by number or name and can be accepted with a swipe over the front. However, the covers are not cheap at 39.90 Euros (~$55). 

HTC Fetch is coupled with the smartphone and triggers the ringtone if you misplaced your smartphone. It also gives a warning if you forgot your smartphone and can transmit the last known position when you lost the smartphone or the Fetch. The small helper is available for 15 Euros (~$21). 

HTC Mini+ is a remote control that lets you accept calls while you can continue web browsing on your smartphone. Furthermore, you can receive text messages and much more. However, the little device is rather expensive at 113.99 Euros (~$158).

Finally, there is a portable speaker with an integrated smartphone stand, a wireless speaker and HTC Media Link HD, which allows you to send data from your smartphone to your TV, similar to Google’s Chromecast.

Warranty

The warranty period is 24 months, but HTC does not offer an extension.

HTC DotView Cover
HTC DotView Cover
HTC Fetch
HTC Fetch
HTC Mini+
HTC Mini+
HTC BoomBass speaker
HTC BoomBass speaker

Input Devices and Handling

We really liked the very precise control right away: The capacitive touchscreen is very precise, even in the peripheral areas, and reacts very quickly. The smartphone can handle up to ten inputs simultaneously. It is also convenient that both the touchscreen and the back of the smartphone hardly attract any fingerprints.

Motion Launch allows you to unlock the device with a swipe across the screen, depending on the direction you get to the menu or to your widgets. Push the volume rocker in landscape mode and you activate the camera. This obviously only works if you are not using an unlock code.  

Contrary to the predecessor, you just get software buttons this time, so you do not benefit from the slightly larger screen in many applications – the three buttons at the bottom have to be displayed as well. The HTC One M8 does however have three buttons in return (BackMenuApps), whereas the HTC One M7 only had two.

The standard Google keyboard has been replaced by an HTC version. HTC Sense Input requires less space in portrait mode than the stock Android version in general, but there are no word suggestions right away. 

The keyboard layout can be adjusted for many languages with a button. This might be handy for many users, but it occupies space on the somewhat crowded keyboard for users who just use one language. Switching between the languages also does not work perfectly: Although we selected the German layout, the Y was in the first row, similar to the English layout. 

HTC Sense Input especially appears overcrowded because of the double occupation of the letter keys with symbols and numbers. The operation is also not consistent: Usually you swipe to the top if you want to select an alternative allocation. This does not work for the comma key, which also works as the options key, you just have to hold it down and release it to get to the options. 

Otherwise, the keyboard allows quick inputs and the keys are sufficiently sized. Furthermore, the keyboard supports numerous options from dictation to swipe inputs or arrow keys that can be displayed. You can obviously search the Play Store if you prefer a simpler keyboard; several versions are available.

Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard landscape mode
Keyboard landscape mode

Display

The HTC One M8 has a 5-inch display with 1920x1080 pixels, which results in a pixel density of 440 ppi. The resolution did not change compared to the predecessor, which means that the pixel density is slightly lower due to the larger screen. However, this is not really a problem with such a high resolution: The picture is still very sharp and you cannot see individual pixels of fonts or curvatures with the human eye. 

Similar to the predecessor, HTC uses an SLCD screen, which is supposed to compete with AMOLEDs in terms of luminance, color presentation and brilliance. The display of the HTC One M7 could convince us with high brightness, wide viewing angles and a very low black value. The HTC One M8 is actually similarly bright with an average luminance of 486 cd/m². The black value on the other hand is considerably higher with 0.54 cd/m², so dark surfaces can appear slightly gray.

479
cd/m²
470
cd/m²
476
cd/m²
501
cd/m²
474
cd/m²
491
cd/m²
508
cd/m²
479
cd/m²
493
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 508 cd/m²
Average: 485.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 93 %
Center on Battery: 474 cd/m²
Black: 0.54 cd/m²
Contrast: 878:1

Because of the higher black value and the slightly lower brightness, the contrast is also lower at 878:1. This is still a very good result and superior to many high-end devices, but a significant deterioration compared to the predecessor nonetheless. 

Subjectively, we like the colors and the details on the screen, but the colors of the predecessor were a bit crisper. Still, this is complaining on a high level. If you prefer vivid colors you will be better suited with an AMOLED screen of a Samsung Galaxy device since the colors of the HTC One M8 are more subdued, but also more natural in return. 

We use the software CalMAN and a colorimeter to get objective results for the picture quality. One thing that attracts our attention right away: HTC reduced the blue parts from the picture, most likely to avoid the typical blue cast of LCD panels. This works pretty well, only very bright shades of gray show a slight deviation towards blue compared to the reference value.

CalMAN Color Management
CalMAN Color Management
CalMAN ColorChecker (SRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (SRGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Adobe RGB)
CalMAN ColorChecker (Adobe RGB)
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps

Thanks to the high brightness, you can use the HTC One M8 outdoors without problems. The glossy screen only limits the visibility under direct sunlight. The display of the predecessor was better in those situations because of the higher contrast. There are obviously no problems in the shade or indoors. Another positive aspect is that white surfaces do not dazzle, even with the highest brightness setting.

The viewing angle stability is very good, even very wide viewing angles do not affect the readability of the display content. Slight brightness reductions are visible, and AMLOEDs (for example, in the new Galaxy S5) still have a small advantage. However, this should not really be a problem in practice since the brightness changes are only visible from very extreme angles.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Outdoor use
Outdoor use

Performance

Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC, this is the designation of the SoC inside the HTC One M8. As the name already suggests, the Snapdragon 801 is slightly faster than the Snapdragon 800-series. The heart of the SoC is a quad-core CPU with four Krait 400 cores and a clock of up to 2.3 GHz. The Snapdragon 801 is currently one of the most powerful mobile CPUs.

This means the HTC One M8 provides a lot of performance, the Google Nexus 5, for instance, clearly falls behind (but is also much cheaper). However, none of the devices within the comparison can compete with the CPU performance of the iPhone 5S, not even the One M8.

HTC optimized the firmware of the HTC One M8, so that the smartphone manages higher results in benchmarks. Futuremark, for example, already banned the One M8 from the leaderboards of 3DMark. The results are therefore less meaningful. However, the SoC of the HTC One M8 is still powerful enough to run most of the apps from the Play Store without problems, but you should be careful when you compare the One M8 with other smartphones.

According to our colleagues from AnandTech, you can solve the problem when you rename the installation files of the benchmarks. The HTC One M8 does not recognize the benchmarks anymore and does not activate the turbo. The 3DMark result actually drops from 20,535 points to 13,856 points, almost 30%! AnTuTu 4 also shows a significantly lower performance after the renaming (30,486 -> 19,844). We did not expect big performance jumps from the new SoC, but it is still surprising that the One M8 is behind the Google Nexus 5 in AnTuTu 4 without the manipulation. However, it is just one benchmark where the smartphone falls behind this clearly.

AnTuTu Benchmark v4 - Total Score (sort by value)
HTC One M8
19844 Points ∼46%
HTC One M8
30486 Points ∼71% +54%
Google Nexus 5
22379 Points ∼52% +13%
Sony Xperia Z1
31914 Points ∼74% +61%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
27593 Points ∼64% +39%
Samsung Galaxy S5
37353 Points ∼87% +88%
Linpack for Android
Single Thread (sort by value)
HTC One M8
337.474 MFLOPS ∼44%
Apple iPhone 5S
518.44 MFLOPS ∼67% +54%
Google Nexus 5
95.049 MFLOPS ∼12% -72%
Sony Xperia Z1
445.922 MFLOPS ∼58% +32%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
301.559 MFLOPS ∼39% -11%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
304.848 MFLOPS ∼40% -10%
Samsung Galaxy S5
355 MFLOPS ∼46% +5%
Multi Thread (sort by value)
HTC One M8
575.654 MFLOPS ∼40%
Apple iPhone 5S
931.38 MFLOPS ∼65% +62%
Google Nexus 5
273.81 MFLOPS ∼19% -52%
Sony Xperia Z1
963.81 MFLOPS ∼67% +67%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
702.778 MFLOPS ∼49% +22%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
617.879 MFLOPS ∼43% +7%
Samsung Galaxy S5
678 MFLOPS ∼47% +18%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
HTC One M8
957 Points ∼27%
Apple iPhone 5S
1368 Points ∼39% +43%
Google Nexus 5
521 Points ∼15% -46%
Sony Xperia Z1
912 Points ∼26% -5%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
679 Points ∼19% -29%
Samsung Galaxy S5
941 Points ∼27% -2%
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
HTC One M8
2785 Points ∼22%
Apple iPhone 5S
2449 Points ∼19% -12%
Google Nexus 5
1613 Points ∼13% -42%
Sony Xperia Z1
2817 Points ∼22% +1%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
1889 Points ∼15% -32%
Samsung Galaxy S5
2885 Points ∼22% +4%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1
System (sort by value)
HTC One M8
4433 Points ∼71%
Apple iPhone 5S
5339 Points ∼85% +20%
Google Nexus 5
2984 Points ∼47% -33%
Sony Xperia Z1
4442 Points ∼71% 0%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
2965 Points ∼47% -33%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
3430 Points ∼55% -23%
Samsung Galaxy S5
4158 Points ∼66% -6%
CPU Tests (sort by value)
HTC One M8
17999 Points ∼40%
Apple iPhone 5S
35778 Points ∼80% +99%
Google Nexus 5
9380 Points ∼21% -48%
Sony Xperia Z1
15383 Points ∼35% -15%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
10550 Points ∼24% -41%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
14415 Points ∼32% -20%
Samsung Galaxy S5
17472 Points ∼39% -3%
Quadrant Standard Edition 2.0 - --- (sort by value)
HTC One M8
24045 points ∼100%
Sony Xperia Z1
17729 points ∼74% -26%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
8738 points ∼36% -64%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
12566 points ∼52% -48%
Samsung Galaxy S5
23083 points ∼96% -4%
MobileXPRT 2013
UX Tests (sort by value)
HTC One M8
89 Points ∼31%
Performance Tests (sort by value)
HTC One M8
172 Points ∼62%
Samsung Galaxy S5
220 Points ∼79% +28%

Legend

 
HTC One M8 Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AB, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
HTC One M8 Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Apple iPhone 5S Apple A7, PowerVR G6430, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Google Nexus 5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Sony Xperia Z1 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Nokia Lumia 1020 Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8960, Qualcomm Adreno 225, 32 GB SSD
 
LG Optimus G Pro E986 Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB SSD
 
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505 Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash

The Adreno 330, which handles the graphics, is already familiar from other devices, for example the Sony Xperia Z1 or Google Nexus 5. Thanks to its clock of 575 MHz and the large memory bandwidth, it is currently one of the fastest mobile GPUs on the market.

However, the 3DMark results without the manipulation hardly show a higher performance compared to the last generation of high-end smartphones. Sony's Xperia Z1 is actually ahead.

3DMark (2013)
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
HTC One M8
13856 Points ∼10%
HTC One M8
20535 Points ∼14% +48%
Apple iPhone 5S
14012 Points ∼10% +1%
Apple iPhone 5S
14012 Points ∼10% +1%
Sony Xperia Z1
17053 Points ∼12% +23%
Samsung Galaxy S5
18367 Points ∼13% +33%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
HTC One M8
15928 Points ∼6%
HTC One M8
22684 Points ∼8% +42%
Apple iPhone 5S
17861 Points ∼6% +12%
Apple iPhone 5S
17861 Points ∼6% +12%
Sony Xperia Z1
17966 Points ∼6% +13%
Samsung Galaxy S5
19530 Points ∼7% +23%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
HTC One M8
9521 Points ∼19%
HTC One M8
13250 Points ∼26% +39%
Apple iPhone 5S
7987 Points ∼16% -16%
Apple iPhone 5S
7987 Points ∼16% -16%
Sony Xperia Z1
14477 Points ∼28% +52%
Samsung Galaxy S5
15198 Points ∼30% +60%
NenaMark2 - --- (sort by value)
HTC One M8
59.9 fps ∼89%
Google Nexus 5
59.7 fps ∼89% 0%
Sony Xperia Z1
60 fps ∼89% 0%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
59.7 fps ∼89% 0%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
60.2 fps ∼89% +1%
Basemark X 1.1
Medium Quality (sort by value)
HTC One M8
17913 Points ∼49%
Samsung Galaxy S5
23999 Points ∼66% +34%
High Quality (sort by value)
HTC One M8
10191 Points ∼35%
Samsung Galaxy S5
11990 Points ∼42% +18%
Epic Citadel
High Performance (sort by value)
HTC One M8
56.4 fps ∼93%
Google Nexus 5
56.3 fps ∼93% 0%
Sony Xperia Z1
59.8 fps ∼98% +6%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
57.2 fps ∼94% +1%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
59 fps ∼97% +5%
Samsung Galaxy S5
57.2 fps ∼94% +1%
High Quality (sort by value)
HTC One M8
55.2 fps ∼91%
Google Nexus 5
55.2 fps ∼91% 0%
Sony Xperia Z1
59.6 fps ∼98% +8%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
55.3 fps ∼91% 0%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
58.7 fps ∼96% +6%
Samsung Galaxy S5
55.7 fps ∼91% +1%
Ultra High Quality (sort by value)
HTC One M8
52.3 fps ∼87%
Google Nexus 5
49 fps ∼82% -6%
Sony Xperia Z1
55.2 fps ∼92% +6%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
29 fps ∼48% -45%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
36.9 fps ∼62% -29%
Samsung Galaxy S5
51.2 fps ∼86% -2%
GFXBench 3.0
on screen Manhattan Onscreen (sort by value)
HTC One M8
11.2 fps ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy S5
11.7 fps ∼1% +4%
off screen Manhattan Offscreen (sort by value)
HTC One M8
10.5 fps ∼0%
Samsung Galaxy S5
11.8 fps ∼1% +12%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
HTC One M8
28.1 fps ∼4%
Apple iPhone 5S
25 fps ∼4% -11%
Google Nexus 5
21 fps ∼3% -25%
Sony Xperia Z1
23 fps ∼4% -18%
Nokia Lumia 1020
3.1 fps ∼0% -89%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
11 fps ∼2% -61%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
15 fps ∼2% -47%
Samsung Galaxy S5
27.7 fps ∼4% -1%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
HTC One M8
30.2 fps ∼50%
Apple iPhone 5S
37 fps ∼62% +23%
Google Nexus 5
23 fps ∼38% -24%
Sony Xperia Z1
24 fps ∼40% -21%
Nokia Lumia 1020
5.9 fps ∼10% -80%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
11 fps ∼18% -64%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
15 fps ∼25% -50%
Samsung Galaxy S5
27.8 fps ∼46% -8%

Fast web browsing is obviously another basic requirement for satisfied customers of a high-end smartphone, and the HTC One M8 does not disappoint: Both the benchmark results and the subjective performance are very good. No stuttering, fast loading of websites and the stable signal of the WLAN module and mobile Internet support this impression.

Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
HTC One M8
3131 Points ∼13%
Samsung Galaxy S5 (1.6.28)
3875 Points ∼16% +24%
Vellamo Mobile Benchmark 2.0
Metal (sort by value)
HTC One M8
1242 Points ∼70%
Google Nexus 5
1092 Points ∼61% -12%
Sony Xperia Z1
1134 Points ∼63% -9%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
669 Points ∼37% -46%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
835 Points ∼47% -33%
Samsung Galaxy S5
1199 Points ∼67% -3%
HTML5 (sort by value)
HTC One M8
1740 Points ∼56%
Google Nexus 5
1274 Points ∼41% -27%
Sony Xperia Z1
2929 Points ∼94% +68%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
2392 Points ∼77% +37%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
2105 Points ∼68% +21%
Samsung Galaxy S5
1618 Points ∼52% -7%
Peacekeeper - --- (sort by value)
HTC One M8
1164 Points ∼19%
Apple iPhone 5S
1775 Points ∼29% +52%
Google Nexus 5
835 Points ∼13% -28%
Sony Xperia Z1
869 Points ∼14% -25%
Nokia Lumia 1020
331 Points ∼5% -72%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
580 Points ∼9% -50%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
555 Points ∼9% -52%
Samsung Galaxy S5 (29)
712 Points ∼11% -39%
Browsermark - --- (sort by value)
HTC One M8
2653 points ∼37%
Apple iPhone 5S
3365 points ∼47% +27%
Google Nexus 5
2803 points ∼39% +6%
Sony Xperia Z1
2980 points ∼41% +12%
Nokia Lumia 1020
597 points ∼8% -77%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
2065 points ∼29% -22%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
2502 points ∼35% -6%
Samsung Galaxy S5 (1.6.28)
3487 points ∼49% +31%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
HTC One M8
8990.4 ms * ∼15%
Apple iPhone 5S
5995.9 ms * ∼10% +33%
Google Nexus 5
7852.3 ms * ∼13% +13%
Sony Xperia Z1
10492.3 ms * ∼18% -17%
Nokia Lumia 1020
45455.8 ms * ∼76% -406%
LG Optimus G Pro E986 (29.0.1547.72)
12637.8 ms * ∼21% -41%
Samsung Galaxy S5 (1.6.28)
6302 ms * ∼11% +30%
Sunspider - --- (sort by value)
HTC One M8
594.2 ms * ∼15%
Apple iPhone 5S
413.1 ms * ∼10% +30%
Google Nexus 5
716.3 ms * ∼18% -21%
Sony Xperia Z1
720.5 ms * ∼18% -21%
Nokia Lumia 1020
905.9 ms * ∼22% -52%
LG Optimus G Pro E986 (29.0.1547.72)
1408.3 ms * ∼35% -137%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
1168.2 ms * ∼29% -97%
Samsung Galaxy S5 (1.6.28)
408.7 ms * ∼10% +31%

* ... smaller is better

The performance of the internal storage is satisfying as well, and the HTC One M8 can even take the top spot with sequential transfers (read and write). This could also be a result of the fast SoC, which has an eMMC 5.0 interface for the storage. There is still no storage that could use the full performance of the interface, but you can at least make sure that the full performance of the module is utilized.

AndroBench 3
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
HTC One M8
88.41 MB/s ∼53%
Google Nexus 5
74.9 MB/s ∼45% -15%
Sony Xperia Z1
72.02 MB/s ∼43% -19%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
69.47 MB/s ∼41% -21%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
75.1 MB/s ∼45% -15%
Samsung Galaxy S5
83.53 MB/s ∼50% -6%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
HTC One M8
19.51 MB/s ∼34%
Google Nexus 5
15.52 MB/s ∼27% -20%
Sony Xperia Z1
19.42 MB/s ∼34% 0%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
11.48 MB/s ∼20% -41%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
13.11 MB/s ∼23% -33%
Samsung Galaxy S5
19.05 MB/s ∼33% -2%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
HTC One M8
10.53 MB/s ∼50%
Google Nexus 5
9.88 MB/s ∼47% -6%
Sony Xperia Z1
12.76 MB/s ∼61% +21%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
13.31 MB/s ∼63% +26%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
12.28 MB/s ∼59% +17%
Samsung Galaxy S5
8.5 MB/s ∼41% -19%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
HTC One M8
0.88 MB/s ∼30%
Google Nexus 5
0.84 MB/s ∼29% -5%
Sony Xperia Z1
1.69 MB/s ∼58% +92%
LG Optimus G Pro E986
1.15 MB/s ∼39% +31%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
1.13 MB/s ∼39% +28%
Samsung Galaxy S5
1 MB/s ∼34% +14%

Games

The HTC One M8 certainly has sufficient performance for games: It does not matter if you play casual games with 2D graphics like Angry Birds: Star Wars 2, the 3D game Iron Man 3 or a soccer match in FIFA 14. All games that we tested on the One M8 convinced us with short loading times and completely smooth gameplay. 

The good impression is also supported by the very precise touchscreen and the very exact position sensor. Gaming on a smartphone really benefits from accurate input devices.

Iron Man,...
Iron Man,...
... Sonic and pretty much every other current game is no problem for the HTC One M8.
... Sonic and pretty much every other current game is no problem for the HTC One M8.

Emissions

Temperature

Because of the metal case, you can feel more of the heat from the HTC One M8 compared to smartphones with plastic cases like the Samsung Galaxy S4. However, there is not much to feel in the first place. We can measure a maximum temperature of 39.2 °C (102.6 °F) at the front of the One M8 in the area of the camera. This is perceptible, but the smartphone still feels comfortable in the hand under maximum load.

You can hardly notice the warming of the case during idle: Up to 33.9 °C (93.0 °F), once again around the front camera and up to 30 °C (86 °F) at the back.

Max. Load
 34.4 °C36.5 °C38 °C 
 34.8 °C36.8 °C39.2 °C 
 34.3 °C35.6 °C37 °C 
Maximum: 39.2 °C
Average: 36.3 °C
37.7 °C38.6 °C36.2 °C
37.7 °C39 °C36.1 °C
37.8 °C38.5 °C35.6 °C
Maximum: 39 °C
Average: 37.5 °C
Power Supply (max.)  41.6 °C | Room Temperature 21.5 °C | Voltcraft IR-350

Speakers

Stereo speakers with a large chassis...
Stereo speakers with a large chassis...
...at the top and bottom of the front.
...at the top and bottom of the front.

The HTC One M7 already had excellent speakers: Located at the front and supported by Beats Audio, we called them “the currently best smartphone speakers”. The One M8 obviously had to improve that, but without the cooperation of Beats

The new BoomSound system also consists of two speakers at the front with an impressive maximum volume of 95 dB(A) according to HTC. It is actually loud enough to listen to music in the next room, a very impressive performance for a smartphone.

The sound quality itself is very good: High and medium tones are well defined and we cannot hear any distortions, even at high volumes. Thanks to the two speakers at the opposite sides of the case you can also hear a slight stereo effect. Bass is present, but obviously limited due to the size of the case. 

HTC managed to reserve comparatively large spaces for the two speakers: 0.85 cm³ (~0.052 cu in) at the top and 0.80 cm³ (~0.049 cu in) at the bottom. The Taiwanese also included a software control that protects the speakers against critical volumes and possible damage. 

The equalizer settings are no longer available in the menu, you can only deactivate the BoomSound, and this only works if headphones or external speakers are attached.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The HTC One M8 is not an especially frugal device: An average idle consumption of 1.4 Watts is clearly higher than the iPhone 5S or Google Nexus 5. The same applies for the maximum consumption of 5.7 Watts, which is much higher than many rivals. The standby consumption is okay with 0.2 Watts, and the smartphone does not consume any power when you turn it off.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.0 / 0.2 Watt
Idle 0.3 / 1.4 / 1.6 Watt
Load 3.9 / 5.7 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

HTC equipped the One M8 with a powerful battery with almost 10 Wh. This is an increase of around 12% compared to the HTC One M7. However, due to the mentioned higher power consumption, the battery runtimes are not overwhelming: We determined 7:33 hours in our realistic WLAN test. This result is comparable to the LG Optimus G Pro. Many other high-end smartphones manage 10 hours and more. Overall, the battery runtimes are lower than the HTC One M7, but still competitive. 

Our colleagues of AnandTech also determined the battery runtimes of the HTC One M8 with several benchmarks. Their results showed a higher runtime of the One M8 compared to the predecessor with a runtime of around 9 hours in their web-browsing test.

HTC equipped the One M8 with an additional feature: The Extreme Power Saving Mode, which is similar to the energy-saving mode of Windows Phone 8. However, HTC’s version is even more radical: You can access some features with a special menu and only refresh your mails manually. We managed a runtime of around 5 hours with 10% battery and occasional use. This results in a bonus for the battery rating.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
14h 23min
WiFi Surfing
7h 33min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
6h 25min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 42min

Verdict

Fans of the old HTC One M7 will be very satisfied with the new generation: Finally expandable storage, finally a unibody case, finally a higher-resolution camera – although at the front. The camera at the back still just uses a 4 MP sensor. We can understand that the manufacturer does not want to follow the MP race, but the pictures would definitely benefit from some more pixels. HTC includes a second camera at the back in return that helps with quick focusing and enables cool effects. Picture enthusiasts, however, will not be satisfied. 

The speakers are now even better than before: Very loud, very well defined and clear. They also improve the voice quality: Both persons on the call can easily understand each other. The display is similar to the predecessor, but the battery runtimes are shorter, at least if you do not use HTC’s Extreme Power Saving Mode, which is a very useful feature.

All necessary communication modules are integrated and work very well. The touchscreen is very precise and cool accessories like the DotView cover expand the features.

The HTC One M8 is a very good smartphone with a lot of performance and an appealing design. However, you should look for another device if you want a very good camera. If a jukebox is more important for you, then the M8, once again, offers the currently best smartphone speakers. We also add one percent point for the great accessories that expand the features and the good software equipment, but deduct one point for the manipulation of benchmark results and the missing Zoe app.

We are eager to see how the HTC One M8 holds up against the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Sony Xperia Z2 that we are going to review in the next couple of days and weeks.

In Review: HTC One M8. Review unit courtesy of HTC Germany.
In Review: HTC One M8. Review unit courtesy of HTC Germany.

Comment this article:

In Review: HTC One M8. Review unit courtesy of HTC Germany.
In Review: HTC One M8. Review unit courtesy of HTC Germany.

Specifications

HTC One M8

:: Processor
:: Memory
2048 MB
:: Graphics adapter
Qualcomm Adreno 330, Core: 575 MHz
:: Display
5.0 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, capacitive touchscreen, SLCD, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
16 GB iNAND Flash, 16 GB , 12 GB free
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm stereo jack, Card Reader: micro SD up to 128 GB, Sensors: Position sensor, Brightness sensor, Proximity sensor, Compass, Barometer, NFC, MHL, Infrared sensor
:: Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a b g n ac), 4.0 Bluetooth, Quad-band GSM, Quad-band 3G with HSPA+, Quad-band LTE
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9.35 x 146.36 x 70.6
:: Weight
0.16 kg Power Supply: 0.048 kg
:: Battery
9.9 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 2600 mAh, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 20 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 496 h
:: Price
700 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.4 KitKat
:: Additional features
Webcam: Back: 4 megapixels HTC UltraPixel camera, BSI sensor, pixel size 2.0 µm, sensor size 1/3”, f/2.0, 28 mm lens HTC ImageChip 2. 1080p Full HD video recording mit HDR video Secondary camera: capture depth information, front: 5 megapixels, , Speakers: Dual frontal stereo speakers, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, HTC Sense, BlinkFeed, 24 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
HTC consistently developed its One.
HTC consistently developed its One.
You still get great speakers.
You still get great speakers.
There are two of them at the front.
There are two of them at the front.
The case is also great: Unibody, metal and ergonomic shape.
The case is also great: Unibody, metal and ergonomic shape.
Neither the front nor the back are susceptible to fingerprints.
Neither the front nor the back are susceptible to fingerprints.
However, the case is not as thin as other high-end smartphones due to the curved case.
However, the case is not as thin as other high-end smartphones due to the curved case.
The camera at the front has a high resolution of 5 MP.
The camera at the front has a high resolution of 5 MP.
This is even superior to the main camera with 4 MP.
This is even superior to the main camera with 4 MP.
Wait a minute, isn't there a second lens?
Wait a minute, isn't there a second lens?
Correct, HTC integrates two cameras at the back, the second sensor helps to focus and captures depth information.
Correct, HTC integrates two cameras at the back, the second sensor helps to focus and captures depth information.
You can create numerous funny effects with the pictures, but the M8 is not the right choice for serious photographers.
You can create numerous funny effects with the pictures, but the M8 is not the right choice for serious photographers.
The front camera creates cool selfies.
The front camera creates cool selfies.
The design of the smartphone is very appealing.
The design of the smartphone is very appealing.
Almost too good for a cover.
Almost too good for a cover.
But what is that? We can see information through the cover...
But what is that? We can see information through the cover...
You can even operate the smartphone through the cover, at least to a certain extent.
You can even operate the smartphone through the cover, at least to a certain extent.
The display creates a nice picture.
The display creates a nice picture.
However, if you are looking for strong colors, you should get a smartphone with an AMOLED display.
However, if you are looking for strong colors, you should get a smartphone with an AMOLED display.
Here you get a more natural picture.
Here you get a more natural picture.
An Infrared sensor is at the top and can be used to control TVs and other devices.
An Infrared sensor is at the top and can be used to control TVs and other devices.
It is a bold move from HTC to resist the MP race.
It is a bold move from HTC to resist the MP race.
And the camera is more than sufficient for users that primarily take pictures for their social media sites.
And the camera is more than sufficient for users that primarily take pictures for their social media sites.
The metal chassis of the HTC One M8 creates a convenient haptics.
The metal chassis of the HTC One M8 creates a convenient haptics.
The silhouette is also very thin thanks to the curved shape.
The silhouette is also very thin thanks to the curved shape.
UFocus is HTC's application to control the focus in pictures of the main camera.
UFocus is HTC's application to control the focus in pictures of the main camera.
HTC's Blinkfeed can be customized and also learns.
HTC's Blinkfeed can be customized and also learns.
It can show news, social media messages as well as tips and tricks.
It can show news, social media messages as well as tips and tricks.
Annoying, this message appeared after every app installation. Resistance useless.
Annoying, this message appeared after every app installation. Resistance useless.
The energy-saving mode is a good feature and HTC even goes one step further if you want to.
The energy-saving mode is a good feature and HTC even goes one step further if you want to.
The extreme power-saver mode only activates the basic features. The result is long battery runtimes, even with a low battery charge.
The extreme power-saver mode only activates the basic features. The result is long battery runtimes, even with a low battery charge.
The current Android version is preloaded.
The current Android version is preloaded.
The WLAN module not only has a good signal, but can also use the full speed of an 8 Mbps connection.
The WLAN module not only has a good signal, but can also use the full speed of an 8 Mbps connection.
Some apps for mail, tasks and calendar are also provided by HTC.
Some apps for mail, tasks and calendar are also provided by HTC.
HTC also included a music app. A good way to test the speakers.
HTC also included a music app. A good way to test the speakers.
Unfortunately, the Zoe app is not yet finished.
Unfortunately, the Zoe app is not yet finished.
You can get to the home screen with a tap via Motion Launch.
You can get to the home screen with a tap via Motion Launch.
The rivals are already available.
The rivals are already available.
Samsung's Galaxy S5 is already in our editorial office.
Samsung's Galaxy S5 is already in our editorial office.
A first comparison of the two high-end smartphones.
A first comparison of the two high-end smartphones.
A comparison between the HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z will follow as well.
A comparison between the HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z will follow as well.

Similar Devices

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» Review Google Nexus 5 Smartphone
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» Review Sony Xperia Z1 Smartphone
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Devices with the same GPU

» Motorola Moto X (2014) Smartphone Review
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» Sony Xperia Z3 Smartphone Review
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» Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Smartphone Review
Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC, 4.6", 0.129 kg
» LG G3 Smartphone and LG G Watch Review
Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC, 5.5", 0.149 kg

Links

Compare Prices

Pro

+Great design
+Very sturdy metal chassis
+Ergonomic shape
+Excellent speakers
+High-resolution front camera
+Very good signal quality
+Clear voice quality
+Very cool accessories
+Good screen
+High performance
+Very precise touchscreen
+Innovative Duo camera...
 

Cons

-...with a low resolution
-Picture effects really depend on the picture
-Zoe app not yet finished
-Overloaded keyboard
-Cheating during benchmarks

Shortcut

What we like

The consistent development compared to the predecessor.

What we miss

Not everybody will be satisfied with the camera.

What surprises us

That HTC did not manage to finish its software for the launch...

The competition

Apple iPhone 5S, Google Nexus 5, Sony Xperia Z1, Samsung Galaxy S4, LG Optimus G Pro, Nokia Lumia 1020

Rating

HTC One M8
04/29/2014 v4
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
94%
Keyboard
69 / 75 → 92%
Pointing Device
97%
Connectivity
54 / 60 → 90%
Weight
91%
Battery
89%
Display
86%
Games Performance
64 / 75 → 85%
Application Performance
51 / 65 → 78%
Temperature
84%
Noise
100%
Audio
82 / 91 → 90%
Camera
83%
Add Points
+1%
Average
75%
89%
Smartphone *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review HTC One M8 Smartphone
Author: Florian Wimmer, 2014-04-29 (Update: 2014-04-30)