Your new best m8

The HTC One was one of our favourite gad­gets of 2013. What’s in store for the se­quel? Evo­lu­tion not revo­lu­tion…

Australian T3 - - MOST WANTED SPECIAL -

THE MOST STYLISH SMART­PHONE out­side of Cu­per­tino, the HTC One had aes­thet­ics at its core and, un­sur­pris­ingly, they’re key to its suc­ces­sor, too. There’s no rear dim­ples, faux leather or water­proof­ing here, just an oil-treated, finely brushed alu­minium uni­body wrap­ping right the way around the hand­set. So you might not want to drop it in the sink, but you’ll place it on a ta­ble with pride.

Flip­ping the de­vice over re­veals a new depth sen­sor placed above the cam­era lens. By map­ping info from the two in­puts, the One M8 can tri­an­gu­late how far away an ob­ject is. This hands you the abil­ity to fo­cus on spe­cific ob­jects, or dis­tin­guish be­tween the fore­ground and back­ground when ap­ply­ing fil­ters. You can also re­fo­cus your shots, much like a Lytro, or add a par­al­lax ef­fect sim­i­lar to the iOS 7 home screen. HTC has also rather bravely con­tin­ued with its “less is more” pix­els ap­proach, boast­ing a four “ul­trapixel” sen­sor and 1080p record­ing. While this means no 4K at your fin­ger­tips, it plays nice when shoot­ing in low light.

The pop­u­lar dual front-fac­ing speak­ers have been re­tained and bol­stered with a new in­ter­nal dig­i­tal sig­nal pro­cess­ing chip of­fer­ing a wider fre­quency range. Claims of a 25 per cent in­crease in vol­ume are good, but please don’t test that on pub­lic trans­port, thanks.

In­side, the One M8 re­mains a for­mi­da­ble An­droid de­vice, with Qual­comm’s Snap­dragon 801 pro­ces­sor run­ning the show, ac­com­pa­nied by the lat­est ver­sion of An­droid, KitKat, and Sense 6.0 adding ex­tra in­ter­face flair. The sixth it­er­a­tion of this cus­tom op­er­at­ing sys­tem skin builds on the ex­cel­lent Blinkfeed, HTC’s so­cial me­dia-and-news ag­gre­ga­tor, with a nice paint job where you can se­lect var­i­ous colours to de­fine your dif­fer­ent feeds. HTC has, how­ever, sidestepped 2014’s big­gest trend/fad with no fin­ger­print scan­ner in sight. In­stead, it’s added the abil­ity to un­lock your phone with a swipe or check the time with a screen dou­ble-tap.

Com­ing in the clas­sic One sil­ver hue, a very “on trend” gold, plus a buffed and beau­ti­ful gun metal num­ber (pic­tured), the One M8 is un­doubt­edly one of the finest look­ing phones around. Whether its clas­sic yet ca­sual-friendly ap­proach can take on Sam­sung’s newly tricked-out Galaxy S5 re­mains to be seen.

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