Ever since the first HTC One came out in 2013, there have been rumors of HTC putting out a Windows Phone version of the device, but it never came to pass. Only after Microsoft lifted some of the requirements for psychical keys could HTC finally bring this product to market with the HTC One M8 for Windows. It was a long wait but was it worth it? In a word...yes. Want details? Read on.
The HTC One M8 for Windows is psychically the same as its Android brother both inside and out. This is a very good thing for a number a reasons and not so good for only one, but let's do a quick review on the specs off this device before getting any further.
- Five inch 1080p display
- 2.3 Ghz Quad Core Processor
- 2Gb of RAM
- 32GB of internal storage
- Micro SD card expandable
- 4MP Ultra Pixel Camera
- 5mp front facing wide angle camera
- 160 grams
- HTC Boom Sound Speakers
As far as hardware goes you know the story by now, this a beautiful piece of kit. I will not spend too much time on this area as it has been discussed countless times before in reviews covering the Android sibling. The device is solid and just feels right in the hand, even with my smallish hand I can easily use this device one handed.
The only knocks I can find with this device hardware wise is that the metal body is a bit slippery and the power button is too flush to the surface of the hardware, which makes it hard to find quickly. This has been an issue with HTC for years now and is a common gripe in most One M8 reviews. If you have ever used an HTC smartphone before, it's something you will have to get used to.
This is a mixed bag. While the Ultra Pixel Camera lets in plenty of light during indoor situations, it can tend to let in too much light in others. Otherwise the camera does a great job bringing out detail in everyday situations and it can really shine in the right situation, check out this pre-dawn picture I took with it for an example.
This camera will have its limitations by being only a 4MP shooter. You will not be able to zoom and crop at will without getting a lot of noise in your pictures. However for the average consumer it should do just fine.
This device is running Windows Phone 8.1 and sans a few camera apps there is not many HTC goodies that make it stand out from any other Windows Phone device (one touch refocus, Dimension Plus, etc.). However, it should be noted that this device does support the HTC Dot View case and it does come with double tap to wake.
As you would expect, the operating system runs like butter on the quad core processor and 2GB of RAM and if you are upgrading from an older Windows Phone device you will definitely notice the difference.
Odds and Ends:
There is good and bad here. Let’s start with bad... the trade off with the hardware without physical buttons is that you lose some functionally. Even after two weeks of use I still find myself struggling to find the search "button" to launch Cortana, and what should be very quick process sometimes ends up taking too long. Also, when you have a button-less device you lose the shutter button which means very little on an Android device, but on a Windows Phone handset this means that you lose the ability to "Quick Launch" your camera from sleeping by simply holding down on the shutter button for two seconds.
The good is very good. The screen is very impressive and crisp, especially when you are viewing it for a long periods of time (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) it shines the most. Also to go along with the screen performance, the "BoomSound speakers" are some of the best I have ever heard on any mobile product. While watching something they are clear and loud, while listening to music they will do the job better than anything else out there. I only hooked up this device to a Bluetooth speaker once simply to test over a two week period, but it's simply not needed thanks to the BoomSound’s. The battery seems like it lasts for ages on this smartphone; if it was fully charged in the morning I could run all day long and not even once think about where the nearest outlet is.
The HTC One M8 is almost the perfect marriage of hardware and software that would make any first time Windows Phone user feel right at home coming from an Android device. Does this mean I can fully recommend it to everyone? No, simply for the camera. While the UltraPixel does take some nice pictures, there are so many better options when it comes to Windows Phone devices.
That being said I love the way the device feels in hand, I love the fact that it's a 5 inch screen yet I can still use it one handed. So if you can overlook the average camera on the rear and a few missing Nokia exclusive apps, this device is worthy of your consideration. Overall it's 9.1 out of 10.