DPReview smartphone reviews are written with the needs of photographers in mind. We focus on camera features, performance, and image quality.

Introduction

The One M8 is HTC's latest flagship smartphone and competing with the Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2, Nokia Lumia 930, LG G2 and Apple' iPhone 5s for the affection of mobile photographers and other smartphone users alike.

While HTC has stuck with the design language of the original One, the new model is slightly larger and comes with the usual upgrades, such as faster processor, more RAM, bigger screen and new software functions. The most talked about new feature comes in the camera though. Like its predecessor the One M8 records image information on a 1/3-inch 4MP CMOS sensor but on the new model the main sensor is assisted by a secondary chip which captures depth information. 

This is meant to mimic the stereoscopic view of human eyes and allows the camera to distinguish between objects in the foreground of the image and the background. The One M8 then uses this information to apply blur to the background in an attempt to simulate the narrow depth-of-field of large sensor/fast lens combinations on digital SLRs and mirrorless system cameras. There is also a refocus feature that lets you select the focus point in an image after it has been taken, a little like using a Lytro light field camera (although in the HTC, the effect is achieved by shooting a very rapid burst of focus-bracketed images and then essentially just choosing between them).

Unfortunately the secondary sensor is not compatible with optical image stabilization which means the One's optical system has been replaced with a "Smart Stabilization" software solution of which HTC claims it is as good as the optical variant in the One. We'll find out if this is true in our comprehensive review on the following pages. We'll also have a close look at the Duo Cam features and perform an in-depth analysis of the One M8's image quality. So read on to find out if the HTC One M8 should be the new smartphone of choice for mobile photographers.

Key Photographic/Video Specification:

  • 4MP 1/3-inch CMOS sensor, 2.0 um pixel pitch
  • F2.0 aperture
  • 28mm equivalent focal length
  • 1080p video
  • Slow-motion video
  • 5MP, F2.0 front camera

Other Specifications:

  • 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-Core CPU
  • Android 4.4 with HTC Sense 6
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16 or 32GB storage
  • microSD card up to 128GB
  • 5.0-inch, 1080p display (441 ppi)
  • 2600 mAh battery

Our nine-page review

We've considered every aspect of the HTC One M8, with the photographer in mind. We examined the user interface of the native camera app and its special features. We experimented with the camera's performance when taking stills and video. Click any of the links below for more information of specific functions and continue to our conclusion for a final summary of our findings.