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HTC M8 Stuck In Dock Mode

Have you ever had your HTC M8 get stuck in Dock Mode? Even after restart, you see it send you randomly into Dock Mode or Car Mode…  After this happened to me recently, I spent some time looking around and troubleshooting on two different devices and found a few easy things to try.

First off – DON’T RESET YOUR DEVICE (yet)…

The first things to ask yourself if this has just started happening to you:

  • Have you installed any apps recently?
  • Have you been near a pool, the beach, snowboarding or maybe dropped the phone in some dirt?

 

Test #1:

Clean your USB Port… If you are the type of person that puts your phone through intense usage or really exposes your phone to the elements, this is where you should start. The first time I noticed this issue I had been at the beach taking some photos, and about 45 minutes later the HTC M8 went crazy. A few days later I decided to take an older HTC M7 and do a quick test. I dropped it into the sand (dumb, I know), but guess what? It started the Dock Mode almost instantly.

Test #2:

Do you have a Dot View case? Have you had any magnets around your phone? What I have noticed, and others around the web-based on a quick Google search, is since HTC has a magnet sensor in the device, it may go into Car/Dock Mode in some cases where magnets are nearby.

Test #3:

Look at all recently added apps (ones you have downloaded in the last 24 hours or so. Remove them. Some people have also found relief in simply Disabling the Dock app. Personally I would rather know what was causing the issue instead of just turning off notifications. But if determined to do it – Go into the App Manager, not the app drawer. Settings>App Manager> it will open to “Downloaded” apps. Change downloaded to “All” by swiping left. Find the app “Dock”. Click “Disable”. Then reboot. Ideally, you should not see Dock to show up again.

 

 

 

If none of these troubleshooting methods work for you, I recommend restarting your device in Safe Mode to see if it continues. If so, you probably have a hardware issue (similar to what I mentioned in Test #1). If you don’t have the issue anymore while in Safe Mode, you have a software issue. 

 

iPhone 6 vs HTC One (M8) First Look

With the launch of the iPhone 6 recently, I thought it would be good for some to look at the differences and similarities of two of the best smartphones on the market at the moment.

 

Let’s jump right into the iPhone 6 vs HTC One (M8) First Look comparison.

 


If box is in green, this indicates an advanage

htc-one-m8-vs-iphone6

Feature iPhone 6 HTC One (M8) Thoughts
Material: Aluminum Aluminum Tie. They are both very nice looking. They both are strong with their metal construction. Neither look plastic and cheaply made, such as the Samsung lineup.
For the most part though users are going to cover these amazing looking phones with a protector.

Size: 67mm wide
138mm tall
71mm wide
146mm tall
HTC One (M8) is larger, but not by much. I do believe there is a “too-big” of a smartphone. Keeping that in mind, I do not think either are too big or small. I like to take the few extra mm’s to get the larger screen. 71mm to 67mm is 4mm, right? That’s 0.1575 inches! You get the idea…

Screen Size: 4.7″ 5″ The .3inch here makes a huge difference. One thing some worry about is the HTC One having the buttons integrated into the screen, but what a lot of people do not realize is, most apps let those icons hide while you are using the apps, so you get the full 5″ screen

Resolution: 326ppi
1334 x 750
441ppi
1920 x 1080
Reall Apple? Your fancy Retina was once a great feature, but with so many smartphones running 1920×1080, I am not really impressed with Apple’s decision here.

Battery: 1810mAh 2,600mAh Apple went from a 1560 to 1810mAh from iPhone 5s to iPhone 6, but it really isn’t that impressive.
HTC One (M8) has a great battery life. I personally run multiple Google accounts on my phone, use apps throughout the day, and still have a charge in the evening.
*If you play Ingress, carry a charger, no matter your phone

RAM /
Storage:
1GB RAM / 16GB, 64GB, 128GB
No MicroSD card
2GB RAM /
16GB, 32GB On-board
MicroSD card
Although Apple does offer the 128GB version, I can’t justify the price increase from 64GB to 128GB. Instead, if you were interested in space, but don’t know how much, maybe consider getting 32GB and get a SD Card for a few bucks

Processor: Apple A8, 64-bit dual core (speed not released by Apple, some say 1.2GHz) Snapdragon 801 32-bit quad-core (2.3GHz) Although Apple did step up with their A8, 64-bit dual core, the benchmarks at the point of publishing this review, the Snapdragon quad-core is much more powerful to run your apps.
If you are not running powerful apps and just checking emails, social media, and making calls – this is irrelevant.

Camera Details: 8MP rear
1.2 MP front
4UltraPixels rear
5MP front
To get really detailed, the M8 has larger pixel size making it capture more light, thus working better, in dark settings. Even so, iPhone did get larger pixel size than most any other smartphone as well this time around.
They both use bright LED Flashes, which always screw up photos (IMO).
Neither have Image Stabilization, while there are other phones out there who offer this abilityThe M8 aperture, or amount of XXX, is better than iPhone at f/2.0 vs f/2.2
The HTC One M8 added a new Depth Sensor (a second camera) in the rear to allow for effects you may find in pricy DSLR cameras.I prefer the HTC One (M8) for my needs, but this is a push because of too many factors.

NFC Abilities: Yes Yes Although most people are still not using this technology in the US, it is becoming more and more relevant for payments in the Europe and the rest of the world.

NFC Payments: Apple Pay Google Wallet &
Softcard (before ISIS)
This is the first phone Apple will offer NFC technology and Apple Pay, and with the newly branded Softcard which was poorly named “ISIS” earlier, the technology of NFC has a long way to go in the US.

Speakers: 1 in the rear 2 in the front The sound quality of the speakers by far cannot be matched to the HTC One (M7 or M8). HTC has this by a long shot.
Some people don’t care about sound quality of music or video coming from their phone because they had headphones on all the time. Personally, I find it helpful when I am riding on my bike, I can put my music on without wearing headphones.

Colors: Gold
Silver
Gray
Gun Metal
Gold
Silver
Red
As I mentioned under the material section of this review, who gives a crap about the color of your phone since you are likely to cover it with a protector anyway. But if you don’t care what happens to your phone if you drop it, then the HTC One (M8) has the same colors, plus red, as the iPhone 6.

Unique Differences between the two phones

Feature iPhone 6 HTC One (M8) Winner
Fingerprint abilities: yes iPhone 6 has a pretty cool sensor, I still find facial recognition just as nice
Motion Launch: yes Comes in handy, and will “wake” your device quickly to get to your apps
Extreme Power Saving Mode: yes Not only does the HTC One (M8) have a better battery, it also have added functions to make the battery last so much longer than most any other stock smartphone battery
Infrared: yes This is a silly feature, but I’ll admit I have messed around with turning tv’s on/off a few times, and done a few party tricks here and there.

 



*Image from Business Insider

HTC One M8 Tips and Tricks

As with my previous articles about the HTC One flagship, if you own the HTC One M8 I wanted to give you some new tips and tricks.

If you own the original HTC One M7 / 2013, you can read about it here:
HTC One Tips, Tricks and Secrets
HTC One = More Secrets, Tricks and Tips

HTC One M8 – Flagship device is by far one of the best smartphones on the market today. Not just cosmetically, but strong processor and software to boot. If you are new user, or moving from a different OS, you may find the HTC One M8 a little scary at first. But I promise you after learning a few of these tricks you will be an expert user in no time and will realize how much better it is to other Android brands, and other OS smartphones out there today.  So let’s get started with a few new tricks this device has to offer.

I also have a few other reviews of the HTC One M8 here:
The Normal Guy HTC One M8 and Camera Review


*Jump straight to some camera tips*

Motion Gestures

There are lots fun tricks you can also do with gestures.  Instead of me trying to explain them all, here is a great video from CNET that demonstrates some gestures.

Hide annoying/pointless applications and bloatware

2014-05-28-18.16.02HTC has done a decent job of keeping bloatware applications to a minimum on the One M8, but most carriers like to still junk up your phone. Luckily, there is a very easy way to get rid of some of the more annoying programs in your app drawer.

In the app drawer, tap the three dot icon in the top-right corner of the display and then select Hide/Unhide apps. Tick the ones you want to remove from view and you’ll be on your way to a less cluttered phone.

Disable BlinkFeed

2014-05-28-18.42.35HTC loves their BlinkFeed feature to combine your social networks, TV listings, restaurant recommendations and more into one convenient feed. It’s okay for me, but I don’t need it really in my face too much, so the default works for me. By default, the HTC One M8 and its Sense 6.0 software place BlinkFeed to the left of your home screen, accessible with just a swipe.

But if you hate it and don’t want it anymore, you can now get rid of it unlike the original HTC One.

Press and hold on any screen, and you will see all of your pages.

Go to settings for home pages, and then tap and hold on the BlinkFeed icon. Once it lifts up, you’ll notice a remove icon at the top of the screen. Drag it over to the icon, and once it turns red, let go. BlinkFeed will then disappear from your device. Adding BlinkFeed back to your device is as simple as tapping on the placeholder icon on this same page.

Camera Goodies

2014-05-28-18.32.21So many people ask me about tips for the HTC One M8 camera, I just figured I would put all of them in one place.

Complete HTC One M8 camera guide.

Fast Access to Camera

Although I just covered Motion Gestures, this is one I use a bit, so it’s worth mentioning separately.
If you need to get access to the camera quickly, pick up the phone and press the volume up button. This will launch the camera with whatever setting you last used.

Selfies… Yes, I am going there 🙁

I hate them, but so many people like them I figured it would be good to at least give a tip or two.

HTC has included a “Selfie” shooting mode in the One M8’s camera app. Simply tap the Shot Type icon in the bottom-right corner of the camera application and select Selfie, and the front-facing camera will be ready for your moment of vain, self-indulgent glory.

Create an animated GIF from a Zoe clip

HTC’s Zoe shooting mode complies a video from a set of images, and is a great way to share precious moments with others. It’s even easier to exchange these memories thanks to the option to transform a segment of a Zoe clip into an animated GIF file, which can be viewed on most phones, tablets and computers. Simply select the Zoe clip, tap “Edit” and then select “GIF Creator”.

Save photos to SD card

2014-05-29-18.33.31One of the biggest complaints with the original HTC One, was there was no SD slot.  This time around, the addition of a microSD slot is present. You will need to make some adjustments once you have installed a card to get the most out of your expandable storage, and one of the areas it will benefit you the most is when it comes to storing photos and videos.

The first time you launch the Camera app after installing a memory card, the camera will prompt you if you want to store photos and videos on the card. If you are like me and by accident skipped it, there is another way to do it.

Launch the Camera app, tap on “the three dots”, the Settings >> Storage >> SD Card.

Save custom camera settings

There are tons of features for camera settings that desire an entire article just for all the features, and lucky for you I have already created it, so I recommend reading it here.

By customizing exposure, ISO, white balance, and more, you can enhance the photos captured by your phone. Instead of constantly having to remember what settings you used to capture a brilliant low light shot, you can save the settings and access it with just a few taps the next time you need it.

Start by adjusting the capture settings and getting them just where you want. After everything is set, tap on the menu icon followed by the Settings cog. Scroll to the bottom of the settings list, and select Save Camera. You’ll then be prompted to name your camera settings.

To access your new camera settings, tap on the same button you use to switch camera modes (from photo to video or Zoe, for example) and scroll down until you find the new camera mode you created.

Facebook cover photo

2014-05-28-18.48.29One of the hidden features in the camera app makes it possible to turn your favorite shot(s) into a Facebook cover photo.

When viewing a photo you’d like to turn into your Facebook cover, tap on the Edit button followed by Tools, then Crop. Scroll to the right through the list of preset crop ratios until you get to the Facebook Cover option. Reposition and resize as needed, save, and then upload to Facebook.

Secure the HTC One M8

The HTC One M8 does not prompt users to set a lock screen during setup, so it is a good idea to turn this on soon after you get up and running. While there is no fingerprint reader there are multiple lock screen security options including face recognition and a pattern.

Go to Settings >> Security >> Screen lock.

Note: If you mess up more than 10 times in a row, your phone will be completely erased for security. Unless you are James Bond, be careful…

Enable faster typing

Trace-to-type has been available on Android for ages thanks to the availability of the Swype keyboards, but many handset makers are now baking it into the firmware – and HTC is no exception. When the keyboard is open, long-press the key with the “cog” icon to access the keyboard settings menu. Make sure “Trace keyboard” is ticked and you’re away.

Add Lock Screen Widgets

If you want fast access to tweets, Google Now and other information you can add lock screen widgets to the HTC One M8.

Settings >> Security >> Enable lock screen widgets.

Next you need to slide to the screen to the right of your main lock screen by swiping from the upper right corner where you should see a few arrows. You can then tap the plus sign and add a new widget.

Customize Lock Screen Notifications

2014-05-29-18.21.59Once you set up a lock screen you can dive into the settings and turn off certain lock screen notifications to keep your information private.

Go to Settings >> Security >> Notification settings >> Uncheck what you want to keep private.

This is a simple way to prevent a room-mate or someone who picks up your phone from snooping without knowing your pass code.

Make the HTC One M8 keyboard even better

Although the HTC One M8 keyboard is nice right out of the box with auto suggest and usually accurate fixes for many typos, you can still do some other things to make the keyboard even better.

  • Turn on Trace – This is a Swype-style typing experience.
  • Turn on Arrow keys – for easier cursor movement.

Re-Calibrate – If you are not typing accurately, calibrate the keyboard again in the advanced keyboard settings to dramatically improve the typing.

Switch from iPhone or Samsung to HTC One M8  /  Transfer data from your old phone

2014-05-29-18.22.18If this is not your first smart phone there is an easy way to bring most of your contacts and content over to the HTC One M8. While moving from one Android phone to another is fairly easy because of the great connection with Google, it can sometimes be harder to move from another phone, let’s say Apple. HTC has your back though and has included a transfer option which allows you to port a surprisingly large amount of content and data over from your previous device. The amount of data you can transfer depends on the phone you used before buying the HTC One M8.

Go To Settings >> Get content from another phone >> pick your previous phone and the method you want to use.

This is great for pulling over data from an iPhone or an older Android phone. The iPhone switch is best when done on a computer with an iTunes backup.

Grid size

One annoyance with Sense 6.0 is the way it lays out app icons in your app drawer. Besides the fact HTC forces you to scroll through apps vertically, the default grid size is 3×4. With this setting, you’re going to spend a lot more time scrolling to find an app.

I recommend changing the setting by tapping on the menu icon (upper right-hand corner) when viewing the app drawer, and selecting Grid Size. There you’ll find an option to change the grid to a more convenient and respectable 4×5.

HTC One M8 Camera Tips & Guide

The new HTC One M8 camera has great software with so many goodies that it can be a little hard to find things, so I hope this guide will at least help get you started.

 

Tap screen to automatically set focus and exposure

There are some situations when the HTC One (M8) might not set the exposure of your frame the way you would like. So I recommend always tapping the screen on the subject of your framed shot to get the exposure you are looking for, and then taking the photo.

Lock focus and exposure when needed

Holding your finger on the screen will lock the focus and exposure on the point you specify. Then you can compose the frame freely, without that changing the focus and exposure. This trick could be useful in dynamic scenes, or when moving objects might disrupt the camera’s focus.

Disable focus lock in videos

2014-05-29-19.46.42For whatever reason, HTC thought it was a good idea to make video capture to not auto focus while recording, which would mean you would have to click on your subject every time you wanted to refocus the shot. Boo…. If you want the camera to do auto focus, click on your three dots Speaking of focusing, the HTC One (M8) locks the focus in videos by default. In other words, continuous auto-focus is disabled so you have to tap on the screen each time you need to refocus. When in video mode, tap the three dots and open the settings menu. From there, pick camera options and disable the “Lock focus during recording” option.

There are tons of other options you can do in this area that relate to the camera, as well as the video, process.  I would highly recommend taking some time and getting familiar with this area.

Slow motion & HD Video

The HTC One (M8) can take 60fps 1080p videos, as well as 120fps slow-motion videos. I highly recommend that you use these modes only in broad daylight, or when a strong light source is nearby. Otherwise, good luck with the video as it probably will not turn out the way you would have liked it to…

Change what the volume buttons do while you are in camera mode

This one is pretty straight forward.  While you have the camera app open, hold the power button and press the volume button up/down. You will get a dialog asking what you want to do with the buttons.

Customize it the way you best see fit.2014-05-29 19.55.38

 

 

Get familiar with the icons of the app

Selfie Selfie icon
Camera Camera icon
Dual capture Dual capture icon
Video Video icon
Pan 360 Pan 360 icon
ZoeTM camera Zoe icon

Auto Auto icon
Night Night icon
HDR HDR icon
Sweep panorama Sweep panorama icon
Anti-shake Anti-shake icon
Manual Manual mode icon
Backlight Backlight mode icon
Text Text mode icon
Macro Macro mode icon

 

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One M8 Go Head-to-Head

Recently I was able to compare the Samsung Galaxy S5 to HTC One M8. and here is what I got out of it.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One m8 review

Design

The Galaxy S5 did’t go bold or change much from all before regards to design, but it you will notice sharper corners and a new dimpled plastic for the back and I’m guessing it’s for extra grip.

The Galaxy S5 is dust and water resistant up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. Kind of nice around pools, the beach, or kids. The Home now integrates a fingerprint sensor, while on the back there’s a heart rate monitor right below the camera, next to the flash.

HTC One M8 is definitely a reminiscent of the HTC One from 2013, but the new handset ditches the buttons and have added them as part of the software. The HTC One M8 also has rounder corners, and it’s taller and wider than its predecessor, mostly because it has to accommodate a bigger display. No buttons + larger screen makes for a lot of landscape.

HTC One M8 might not be water and dust resistant like the Galaxy S5, might not sport a fingerprint sensor nor a heart rate monitor, but includes a dual lense camera on the rear of the phone.

Without a doubt, the HTC One M8 is the best looking smartphone in town, and wins the Design section.

HTC One (m8) vs Samsung S5

Display

There were rumors going around that both manufacturers might advance their screens to Quad HD technology, but the Full HD resolution ended up being the final choice for both, and quite frankly that’s good enough for any phone.

Samsung Galaxy S5 packs their 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screen Gorilla Glass 3 protection with 1080 x 1920 resolution, 432 ppi pixel density, while HTC One M8 sports a 5.0-inch Super LCD3 screen with Gorilla Glass 3 protective layer has the same 1080 x 1920 resolution but a slightly higher pixel density of 441 ppi.

Because both come with great contrast and brightness on both the S5 and the M8 have similar sized screens, this section ends as tie.

Dimensions

HTC’s One M8 measures 146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4 mm and has a weigh of 160 grams while the Galaxy S5 is 142 mm tall, 72.5 mm wide, 8.1 mm thin, and weighs 145 grams.

The metal body of the One M8 increases the weigh of the smartphone and the curved back makes it thicker. The Galaxy S5 is more compact and lighter than the HTC One

Samsung Galaxy S5 wins the Dimensions section.

Connectivity

The Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat4, 50 Mbps UL, 150 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, IR blaster, and microUSB 3.0, USB On-the-go, USB Host.

The HTC One M8 sports HSDPA, 42 Mbps (21 Mbps – AT&T), HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat4, 50 Mbps UL, 150 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, IR blaster, and microUSB 2.0, USB On-the-go, USB Host.

I don’t know what all of that mess means, its just in the specs and for the most part they are identical.

The biggest thing I have found is the S5 is using Bluetooth 4.0 and microUSB 3.0, compared to M8 which has standard BT 4.0 and microUSB 2.0.

I’ll say Samsung wins the Connectivity section, but not sure if it is really that much of a “win.”

Memory

If you like multitasking or like having media (music, videos, or whatever) on your smartphone, Android phones are the best bet for this, but you need to make sure you have RAM and storage.

Both the Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 comes with either 16 or 32 GB of storage and support for microSD cards up to 128 GB. Both handsets arrive with 2 GB of RAM so the multitasking experience will be similar.

The Memory section comes out as a tie.

Processor

The HTC One M8 boasting a Qualcomm MSM8974AB Snapdragon 801 SoC with four Krait 400 cores clocked at 2.3 GHz and quad-core Adreno 330 GPU, while the Samsung Galaxy S5 with a Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801 chipset with quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400 CPU and quad-core Adreno 330 GPU.

The 200 MHz higher clock speed of S5′s CPU is not enough to tell any difference when I opened up different apps or loading multiple different things, so I’m saying the Processor section is a tie as well.

Battery Life

HTC One M8 packs a non-removable Li-Po 2,600 mAh battery, which performed fairly good when I tested. The HTC One M8 would last more than 36 hours from one charge.

The Galaxy S5 comes with a removable Li-Ion 2,800 mAh battery that should be capable of getting the handset through about 48 hours of usage. Based on this, I was able to estimate about 48 hours on one charge, but was not able to completely try this since I was not able to hold the S5 for 2 days. When I was able to test the S4 it would get about 36 hours, so I’m guessing the new OS and processor, the new battery should get some more time.

Because of this and the fact the S5 has a removable battery, the S5 wins the Battery section.

Operating System

Both smartphones I tested ran Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box, but man the UI is going to be much different due to the skins the two manufacturers applied over the base Android OS.

HTC One M8 comes with Sense 6.0 UI on top of it. HTC kept BlinkFeed, the aggregator introduced with the original HTC One but now supports more sources and is not as front and center as before. One really cool software feature of HTC One M8 is Motion Launch, which is actually package of gestures that allow you to quickly wake up your device. For example if you double tap on the screen while it’s off, the device will wake up to show you notifications. Swipe to the left to unlock, to the right to bring up BlinkFeed, or hold the device in portrait mode and press the Volume buttons to launch the camera app. Although these shortcuts I have found so far, there may be more, and will take a little bit of time to remember each of them. You can also use “Extreme Power Saver” to turn off all types of apps and UI features to make your battery last a ridiculous amount of time; just do not plan on watching streaming video or something like that when you have this mode set.

The Galaxy S5 has the latest version of TouchWiz UI installed on top of Android 4.4.2 which brings all the software features of its predecessors and several more. The handset is now capable to re-focus after a picture was taken with Selective Focus, to turn the display black and white and shut down unnecessary processes to drastically improve battery life courtesy of Ultra Power Saving Mode, similar to the feature HTC One M8 has.

The Galaxy S5 has far more software features, I find the S5 software bloated and the One M8′s Motion Launch more useful for my daily use. 

That being said HTC One M8 wins this section.

Camera

As a hobbyist photographer, and not able to carry my DSLR with me every where, I have come to appreciate a nice camera built into a smartphone.

The Galaxy S5 features a 16 MP primary camera LED flash, Dual Shot, Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, HDR, and support for 4K@30fps and 1080p@60fps video recording. After some research, I was able to find the specs for the sensor size which is 1/2.6” sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size.

The critized 4 MP UltraPixel camera HTC One M8 has continued to use is now a Dual lense. The sensor size here is  a  1/3” sensor size, 2µm pixel size which is larger that the S5 making it as good (if not better than a 16 MP sensor Samsung uses. The HTC One M8 camera also has autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash,automatic simultaneous video and image recording, geo-tagging, face and smile detection, HDR, panorama, and 1080p@60fps video recording capabilities, while the UFocus feature allows the user to choose the focus point in a picture after it was taken. The HTC One M8 is going to produce much better photos in dark or poorly lit situations and offers lots of features for situations S5 just can’t control enough.

Both are going to out perform any iPhone and all other Android devices out there, so you will not go wrong with either.

I will say the HTC One gets the Camera section, but depending on the photos you are planning to take keep in mind these are both great cameras.

Conclusions

With the HTC One M8 have an amazing metallic design verses a plastic finish Samsung’s, and HTC One’s cleaner/less bloated Sense 6.0 skin, HTC One has some major advantages. The S5 will be lighter and more compact and an excellent battery, with the ability to pop a new one in if needed, may be deal breakers for some. The HTC One’s camera is more diverse and works best for my situations, but some may find the S5 okay for their use.

There were many sections Display, Connectivity, Processor, Price, and Memory, because the two handsets have similar sized displays, almost identical connectivity features, using the latest and greatest Quaclcomm chipsets, are similarly priced, and have the same amount of RAM and storage.

In my past experiences, I personally find HTC develops great hardware from the HTC Hero and HTC Evo, both at their time were well ahead of their time. Last year when they rolled out the HTC One and now the HTC One M8, they are worth looking at for your next phone.  The problem for HTC though is people who buy their phones do not feel the need to upgrade every 6-12 months because their phone is too slow, as with most Samsung users I know, so the numbers of Samsung units sold is higher.

Agree or disagree with my thoughts, let me know.  I’m open to feedback.

The Normal Guy HTC One M8 and Camera Review

When the HTC One was released last year (2013) as HTC’s latest flagship phone it took much of the Android photo industry by surprise. Some complained about the “4 UltraPixel” design instead of a big number like “13 MegaPixel” thought.  But most photographers already know that “MegaPixels” is just a marketing ploy anyway, so the number isn’t that important…It’s the quality of the camera and it’s output.  So let’s go into it.

Over the last few years, the Android OS has caught up and exceeded IOS in terms of features and functionality, the HTC One was the first device where Android manufacturer had released a phone that went toe to toe with Apple’s revered iPhone in terms of build quality and design. Of course with HTC’s design using a metal body and awesome display, those things didn’t hurt the phone either. Some may say “well, Samsung sold more so it has to be the best phone.” That’s okay if that’s your opinion. It may have sold the most in units, but ask 20 Samsung Galaxy S4 owners and get their personal thoughts on the phone.  Heck, I only needed to ask 5 long-time Android users and when 2 of the 5 got so pissed with their Samsung S4 they ended up going to the iPhone, I knew the Samsung product line had still not stepped up to the plate.

Specs

  • CPU – Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core (2.3Ghz in US/EU and 2.5Ghz in Asia & China)
  • Memory – 2GB DDR2
  • Storage – 16gb/32gb w/ expandable storage up to 128gb
  • Display – 5.0″ full HD (1080p) with Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Camera – Duo Camera – HTC UltraPixel 4.0mp f2.0 at 28mm
  • Android – 4.4 with HTC Sense 6
  • Sim Card – NanoSIM
  • Battery – 2600 mAh
  • Sensors – Gyro sensor, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
  • Sound – HTC Boomsound w/ dual front facing stereo speakers
  • Network – GSM, WCDMA, HSPA, LTE
  • Available Colors – Gunmetal Gray, Glacial Silver, Amber Gold
  • Bluetooth – 4.0 compliant
  • Size – 146.36mm x 70.6mm x 9.35mm
  • Weight – 160g

Quality

HTC One M8 BodyThe first thing you will notice once you get your hands on the M8 is you will see HTC kept that sleek look and stylish design from the original. After you grab a HTC One (M7 or M8), you will think all the phones fill like flimsy plastic toys. It’s now 90% metal; what other phone can boast that? There are some changes that are worth noting. It is heavier than before, it has a larger display, the home and back buttons are implemented in the screen itself instead of being next to the HTC logo, and finally the HTC One (M8) has some new curves on its body. Some people will tell you it feels smoother, more natural to hold, and maybe even more comfortable (even though being larger); others will tell you it is too slick and you feel like it will slide out of your hand right away. I think it’s just right. No, you are not going to be able to put it on your dashboard as-is and expect it to not slide around but I don’t see myself thinking it’s going to just slide out of my hand for being too slick.

Screen

Like I said earlier, the screen is larger now and has gone from 4.7″ to 5.0″ with the home and back button being dropped from the screen make the screen look very large, without making the phone itself not being ridiculously too large.  I don’t want to carry a tablet around in my pocket all day. The new displays still offers a full 1080p viewing experience and depth of colors are great. When watching the NCAA tournament, Netflix or looking at my photos all I see if how amazing right and wonderful things look.  As a hobbyist photographer, if I am going to attempt to use a phone for photographs, this is a great way to see what photos I have taken, and my friends look at my phone and say “wow, those photos really pop.”

Battery

The battery hasn’t improved too much from the original HTC One, but the M8 offers some other interesting technologies. With a 2600mAh battery in the M8 HTC has now included a pretty solid Power Saving Mode that helps you drastically extend the life of your battery from a single charge. HTC claims that the M8 battery itself is 40% better than before. Additionally, the new Extreme Power Save mode will give you up to 2 weeks of standby time while still allowing for manual access to make calls, send emails, texts and other basic functions. This is an impressive statement, and you better believe I will be trying this out more and more, as I have multiple Google Accounts Syncing always, it will be interesting to see how things work for my setup.  I’ve not had a long period to test this yet, so I will need to get back with you on my averages.

Motion Launch

This is a very interesting and surprising feature that I was not at all expecting. For years now, screens would go to sleep automatically, but the only way to get it back on was to find a button somewhere on the phone.  With Motion Launch, you are now able to do things like double-tap the screen anywhere to turn it on, holding the phone up to your ear to answer a phone call, turn your camera on by a click on the volume button instead of finding your app, and many other little tricks. Some may say this is just a gimmick and not that important. For me though, those few seconds of time to unlock and search for my camera app can mean I will miss the photo.

 

The Camera

With new technologies always around the corner, people have become more and more critical and accused to a high quality camera built into their smart phone. There will always be the divde between a professional grade DSLR and a phone, but why not at least have a decent camera on the go, right? For several years the iPhone has pretty much lead the way with regards to how a mobile device should perform but other the last year or so, Android devices have really stepped up. Last years HTC One was good, but the HTC One M8 is great!  The Duo Camera is a great feature.

HTC One M8 Camera Specs

  • BSI sensor
  • Pixel size 2.0 um
  • Sensor size 1/3”
  • f/2.0
  • 28mm lens
  • HTC ImageChip 2
  • 1080p Full HD video recording with HDR video
  • Secondary camera: capture depth information

I’ve said in previous articles about the original HTC One, the camera performs well (HTC One Sample Photos) (HTC One = More Secrets, Tricks and Tips) (iPhone 5s vs HTC One Comparison) (HTC One Android 4.3 update camera fixes), but what’s new this time?

So to hash out a few things before I go further, I must give a quick refresher for those of you may not have purchased the HTC One M7 or forgot some of the lingo.

“Ultra Pixel”

I’ve previously spoke on how HTC chose to go against the normal marketing hype of camera world and instead of going “Bigger is Better” method, they changed up the verbiage from MegaPixel to UltraPixel. When all the HTC One’s competition was going with 10-18 megapixel cameras, HTC opted to get a larger sensor with less megapixels.  It took me a while to get over the deep techy side of things, but basically their larger sensor allowed to capture more light (about 250% more) than most standard 13MP cameras thus bringing some great photos from poor lighting situations. For a better description of UltraPixels, I highly urge you to read up on it Gizmodo because they do the best job explaining it.

Duo Camera

On the back of the phone you will not just find one camera, but actually two.  This allows for the image to have more depth, so after you take a photo you can select if you were focusing on the foreground or background.  I know there are apps out there that will filter your image to blur it in places, but why not have your camera do it a little more organically instead?

 

I’ve not had my hands on this phone very long, so I haven’t been able to get any images or videos uploaded yet, but they are coming!  Be on the lookout.

 

UPDATE: I have done more testing and now have additional thoughts of the HTC One M8 camera.

HTC One M8 Camera Tips & Guide
HTC One M8 Tips and Tricks

HTC One to get KitKat 4.4.2

The HTC One is by far the best smartphone on the market in the U.S. currently, and this week it will only get better.
HTC USA announced last week that the HTC One KitKat update has finalized it’s testing on the four major carriers and is expected to come within the next few days.

With KitKat, expect to have faster multitasking, or just saying “Ok Google” to launch voice search, get driving directions, or even send text messages. You can also expect to see a more refined experience when you are watching a video or listening to music, by hiding everything else. Have what you want to see there, and nothing else.

Ever asked:
How to remove Blinkfeed from the HTC One?
Answer:
KitKat & HTC Sense 5.5

There is also a new smarter caller ID and dialer interfece, that allows for frequent contacts to be easier to access. Heck, if you make a call using your phone and the number is not in your contact list, your phone will “Google it” and see if it can find it online (think about restaurants and businesses nearby).

One thing I am also excited about is all messaging will be in one place. So if you are using Hangouts, SMS, and MMS messages will all be in one place. You will be able to send your location also.

And, do you like to print things? If you have a connected Google Cloud printer, just press a few buttons and you are printing from your phone or tablet.

These are the features that I am aware of, but I am sure there will be more.

iPhone 5s vs HTC One Comparison

What are the major differences between these phones? After hearing so many people talk about it, I knew it was time for a true “real-world” iPhone 5s vs HTC One comparison in the same environment to find out for myself. So I put them side-by-side and see what I’ve noticed right off, although I am sure there are plenty other differences. I wanted to do a hands on comparison for myself, in a real world environment.

The first time one of my friends saw the HTC One, I actually heard “Wow cool, it looks like an iPhone.” Yea, I guess they were right considering they both are made of glass and metal, they both have apps, and they both are smartphones.  Otherwise, I didn’t see or feel any other similarities.

iphone-htcone

Design

So let’s pick them both up. In the hand, they couldn’t feel more different. The HTC One is a taller and wider than the iPhone. Simply put, a much bigger phone, with its 4.7-inch display dwarfing the iPhone’s 4-inch screen.

Apple has always been very proud of their artistic designs and simplistic approach to design.  I normally would agree, but the iPhone hasn’t had a facelift in a while. The guys over at HTC had some great ideas though. There is a stark difference in feel because of the sloping sides the HTC One offers to the holder of this phone. It’s not the first time HTC has used this small, yet very noticeable idea.  The HTC 8X and Windows Phone and Droid DNA had similar sloping edges. The HTC One battery has been placed the middle of the body, instead of placing it on the outside of all of the innards, making for a nice teardrop shape. So instead of feeling like you are holding a huge phone, which is what it is, it fits nicely into place. The iPhone though = feels like a box.

 

Color

Since some people get all excited over the variety of phone colors, I have added this section. iPhone wins here because they have 5 colors for the 5c and another 3 for 5s!  Yes, I said that right – 8 whole colors!!!! At the time of writing this article, HTC One has not stepped up to the plate. With only 4 different colors, depending on carrier, I guess they don’t cut it.  On the other hand, if you are in the 95% of all smartphone folks, you put a case on it anyways so basically nobody cares what color your phone is. People stop making this a color issue.

 

Weight

The iPhone takes this category, as it is lighter. Not getting too nit-picky, but the iPhone has smaller screen and body, so should this be a surprise?

 

Fun Factor

Of course everybody on the corner probably has an iPhone now, probably even your parents or grandparents. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great phone with a very stable OS.  It’s very simple and straight forward to use.  Heck, it came from the iPod Touch, so they have the media functions down pretty well also.  But come on, one speaker on the back of a phone vs two front-facing speakers found on the HTC One are simply amazing.  Apple’s always been able to eke out decent sound from the smallest of devices, but there’s really no comparison to the front-facing stereo speakers on the HTC One, which are as stylish as they are functional. Heck, when I first got my HTC One, I remembering tweeting HTC if the speakers blew up because of how loud they were, would they replace them.  I thought the whole Beats Audio thing was a marketing gimmick, but I admit now I was wrong on this topic.

 

All in all, the similarities stop after the sentence “they’re both made of metal.”

The iPhone = iPhone and iOS system
The HTC One = HTC One and Android system

I prefer the HTC One for phone, audio, camera/video, and screen over the iPhone 5s, but if you want simple as possible – the iPhone is probably your best bet.

I have a complete review of the HTC One found here.

Other HTC One topics:

HTC One Tips, Tricks and Secrets
HTC One Android 4.3 update camera fixes
HTC One 4.3 Update: What’s New?
HTC One Sample Photos
Even More HTC One Secrets & Tricks

Using NFC on your HTC One

Can I use NFC on my HTC One?

What is NFC technology, and why would I use it?  Some people ask me these questions from time to time, and I thought it was worth addressing concerns, if you are also interested.

This tutorial will help answer a number of questions for you regarding these questions, and you may be surprised at how quick and to the point the answers are.

 

What is NFC technology?

NFC stands for “Near Field Communication” and is supported by Android smartphones, and a few Windows 8 phones. Of course, iPhone didn’t get on board with the technology because they decided to create their own concept. As the name suggestions, NFC enables short range communication between compatible devices. So you need a transmitting device and another to get the signal.

Passive, or sending, NFC devices include come as small transmitters (usually referred as “tags”, that can send information to other NFC devices without the need for a power source of their own. Passive devices don’t process any information nor cannot connect to other passive components.  They just have the information to be gathered.  You can find these more and more on advertisements, gas stations, and signs.  I tend to explain them as how QR codes work, except they do more actions than just open up a web browser.

Active devices can actually send and receive data.  They can also communicate with other active devices and passive devices alike. 99% of active devices are smartphones right now, but you can also find them in other items like loyalty cards and toll locations.

 

Can I use it on my HTC One?

Of course you can use this technology, because the HTC One is awesome.  This is not activated by default, so many people do not know how to even use it.  The 3 steps are pretty easy and straight forward.

Step #1 – Go to Settings
step1
Step #2 – Click on “More”
step2
Step #3 – Make sure NFC is clicked
step3
That’s it. NFC is setup on your phone and you are ready to get and send information.

Examples of what to do with NFC

Some ideas you could do around the house, office, or in your car could include any of the following:

  • When you enter your living room, your remote app on your phone pops up and you are ready to go
  • When you lay down for bed, your phone automatically sets your alarm for the next day
  • Automatically check you in to Foursquare or Facebook just by walking into a place
  • Get in your car, and phone goes into car mode automatically
  • One day soon, replace carrying around your wallet
  • Heck, you can even scan a tombstone and read about the deceased member of your family… Umm, this is not a joke.

 

HTC One vs HTC One Max: Comparsion

So, do you already have a HTC One? Love it? If you don’t already have the One – you still should read this. The Korean *Taiwanese company, HTC, has done it again. If you are in the tech world or have been in the market for a new device, you probably have heard HTC One, HTC mini, and HTC One Max are all out. The HTC Max is the third phone in the One series, and for the most part might look visually sister phones, apart from the size, from a distance.  I am sure you can to read this to learn answers to the questions: (a) What really makes the One Max’s different? (b) Does it have a few surprises hidden inside its aluminum unibody? Guess what, not to let you down, I’m here to give you some insight.

How does it look?

It looks like a bigger HTC One when first looking at it. Already a pretty awesome thing within itself, since the HTC One is the best looking smartphone you can buy at the moment. So if you want and need a massive phone, then might as well get the most attractive and awesome aluminum body; large awesomeness.
Although at first glance the HTC One Max does look the same at first, there has made some changes to the body, This model has added a removable rear panel so you can use/upgrade the MicroSD card which lots of users had hoped for with the original One. HTC also moved the Max power button to the side instead of the top.  I personally am still happy with the top location, since I do use the TV Remote app lots.

Although it only one millimeter thicker than it’s sister HTC One, it’s 10 millimeters longer than the Samsung Galaxy Note 3! Of course, with all of that extra length the Max is going to weight more than 45 grams more than the Galaxy Note 3, and about 5 grams more than the Sony Xperia Z Ultra. Personally, I don’t mind the extra weight for the length, but that has to be your decision. Sure, it is going to be hard to blow off of your desk, unless you are listening to music with our BoomSound speakers or maybe in a hurricane, but you won’t have a problem doing productive things on this device.

How about the geeky tech specs?

Here comes the nerd stuff

  • 5.9-inch Super LCD touchscreen with full 1080p resolution, giving a pixel density of 373ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, 1.7GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM
  • UltraPixel camera on the rear, 2.1-megapixel above the screen
  • 16GB or 32GB of internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 65GB free Google Drive storage for two years
  • 3G HSPA+, 4G LTE connectivity (4G LTE will still be great due to the internal antenna, on most carriers)
  • BoomSound stereo speakers
  • Expect Android 4.3 with HTC Sense 5.5 (see below)
  • Fingerprint sensor below the camera lens on the rear of the phone
  • Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA
  • Bluetooth 4.0, FM radio, GPS
  • A 3300mAh battery, which should be something like having talk time up to 25 hours for WCDMA / 28 hours for CDMA. Also standby time should be around: Up to 575 hours for WCDMA / 393 hours for CDMA

The fingerprint sensor is a new feature for the HTC One series and is going to be a highlight feature. Sure, the iPhone 5S just came out with a new device, and neither the 5S or the Max are the first phones to offer this sensor, but it’s a nice little feature to mention. By the way, if you would be interested in my review between iPhone 5s vs HTC One, I have one. The fingerprint scanner is mounted on the rear of the phone, just below the camera lens, which seems to be a better location for my preference than the 5S. It also has stronger security from the 5S though and HTC offers users the chance to assign three different apps to three other fingers, allowing you to automatically activate them when you unlock the phone.
The HTC One Max will store fingerprint date in local memory and is encrypted/stored in the system partition. Unlike some other devices, the fingerprint will not be stored as a picture, but the actual characteristics that have been identified by a proprietary algorithm. HTC does not have access to the information and the fingerprint cannot be used by a third party.  Not sure what the NSA has access to, so I cannot comment on this.

With Android 4.3 comes HTC Sense 5.5

It’s good to see HTC use the very latest version of Android onboard the One Max, and a new version of its Sense user interface. And with the announcement HTC will be rolling out Android 4.4 to all of the One customers very soon, things will only get better for your device. With the new 4.3 version, there are a few changes if you still use 4.2 on your other HTC One devices. BlinkFeed can now be turned off entirely, or if you’re a fan, you can add your own custom categories, Instagram or Google+ feeds, and a reading list. HTC also has worked on the camera software as well by adding an animated GIF maker into HTC Zoe and more themes for Zoe.

But I need to customize my HTC One Max – how about an accessory for my device?

If your new 3300mAh battery isn’t enough for your hardcore usage (see specs), you can now have some options. Maybe you want to get the new Power Flip Case, which has a built-in 1200mAh battery and can protect the body from scratches or your toddler dropping it on concrete. But “I don’t want a case,” you may say. HTC also makes a standard Flip Case with a built-in stand. Both are listed on HTC’s website with prices.  There are many more accessories I recommend looking at, like BoomBass and Battery Bar, and others.  HTC’s Accessory Site.

When, where, and how much?

As for the US, HTC has confirmed the phone will be coming to Sprint and Verizon during, “The holiday season,” so the wait should be short if you’re already set on buying an HTC One Max.

 

You can read some of my other articles for reviews and tips about the original HTC One:

HTC One Review – Worth the wait?
HTC One Tips, Tricks and Secrets
HTC One Sample Photos
HTC One 4.3 Update: What’s New
HTC One Android 4.3 update camera fixes
HTC One = More Secrets, Tricks and Tips

 

*Special thanks goes to Darth_Warrior for my typo with HTC’s ownership.