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Hi, I'mKevin Shoffner

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

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