Design & Hardware

In terms of internal components the HTC One M8 offers some of the best you can find in a smartphone at this moment in time. A Snapdragon 801 SoC and 2GB of RAM power the Android 4.4. OS and images can be viewed and composed on a 5-inch 1080p screen. 16 or 32GB storage can be expanded with MicroSD cards of up to 128GB, so it should take some time before you run out of space for your images and videos. The 2600mAh battery provides enough juice to get you through the day.

The M8's camera module comes with a 4MP 1/3-inch CMOS sensor that is combined with a fast F2.0 aperture and an 28mm equivalent focal length. The big difference to last year's model is the secondary sensor that captures depth information and allows for software-based narrow depth-of-field effects and refocusing after an image has been captures. Unfortunately it also means the M8 had to lose the One's optical image stabilization system. 

The 5-inch display is flanked by the front-facing stereo speakers.
The One M8's brushed metal back feels pleasant in your hand and looks the part.

The One M8's exterior matches the interior's high-end components. The One M8's design leans heavily on the original One but the device is now larger and the plastic edges of the latter have been replaced with metal, so that 90% of the M8's shell is now made from that material. The brushed aluminium surfaces make the M8 look like a premium device and the phone's rounded back feels comfortable in the hand . Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but it's fair to say that in our opinion the new HTC is a good looking phone.

Like most recent Android phones the HTC One M8 does not have any physical front controls.  The Android home, back and recent apps buttons are displayed as soft buttons at the bottom of the 5-inch screen. Above and below the screen you'll find the front-facing stereo speakers. Like on previous HTCs the power button on the top and the volume rocker on the right are the only external controls. The volume down button doubles as a shutter button if configured in the camera app menu. 

The volume rocker can be configured to work as a shutter button.
On the back you find the main camera lens and the dual-LED flash unit. The secondary camera is located further up.

Both camera lenses are located at the top-center on the back of the device. The main camera is located far enough from the top edge to not inadvertently cover it with your finger while shooting. However, the secondary camera is placed right where my left index finger instinctively goes. Fortunately the camera app pops-up a warning message if the lens is covered and you can still take an image if that happens. You just won't be able to apply any of the M8's depth-of-field effects to it. 

Our test device also came with HTC's quite unique Dot View case. With its rear plastic shell and rubber front cover it protects the One M8 very well but its USP are the retro style dot matrix patterns you can see through the tiny holes on its front.  You get the time and weather/temperature by pressing the power button but you can also use a couple of gestures on the cover. A double-tap has the same effect as a press of the power button and a swipe down gesture starts voice dial. While the dot matrix view is kind of neat the cover itself is not particularly nice looking and makes the phone even bulkier. With the cover open It also makes the phone a little awkward to hold when taking pictures in landscape orientation, so I'd think twice before shelling out the $50 that HTC is asking for it.

With the Dot View case you can view time and weather in retro style without opening the cover.
The back is made from a slightly cheap feeling plastic. There are openings for both camera lenses and the flash.