HTC finally brought its highly-anticipated, sexy new HTC One (M8) flagship smartphone to Malaysian shores, having only been available in selected markets worldwide since its launch in New York and London. The evolution to last year’s award-winning HTC One (M7), the HTC One (M8) according to HTC, is the best-received model in its history based on positive reviews from the media and praise from industry experts and consumers.
Thankfully, Malaysian consumers didn’t have to wait too long for the new One as it launched with much fanfare at Damansara Perdana Arts Centre (DPAC) in Petaling Jaya last week. Gracing the launch event was SK Wong, Country Manager of HTC Malaysia, Sirpa Ikola, Senior Marketing Director of HTC South Asia, Justin Zhang, Head of Product Portfolio of HTC South Asia and Kid Chan, international celebrity photographer who shared his experience using the HTC One (M8). Is HTC back to rule the Android world?
Attention to detail
There is no denying that HTC makes beautiful phones. And with the HTC One (M8), the signature design, build and material quality remains. Available in Gunmetal Gray and Glacial Silver, the phone’s highly durable metal unibody as beautiful to look at as it is to touch. Its body tapers towards the edges, with softer curves for a more natural, assuring grip. Build quality is top notch, as you would expect from the Taiwanese phone maker.
Performance to boot
Not unlike its predecessors, the HTC One (M8) isn’t just about hot looks. Performance is just as scorching, with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor flying at 2.5Ghz from its quad-core Krait CPUS and integrated 4G LTE. Packing 2GB RAM, the device runs Android 4.4 KitKat and features the all-new HTC Sense 6 UI. And for the first time, HTC has added a microSD slot for expandability (up to 128GB). Win.
HTC Sense 6 is completely redesigned – cleaner, bolder visual style with customisable colour themes which deliver a more intuitive, personalised user experience.
Imaging has been a key strength of the HTC One series, backed by its UltraPixel technology, producing incredible images even in low-light conditions. With the HTC One (M8), it gets even better.
During the launch, there was a showcase of images shot by professional photographer Kid Chan using just the HTC One (M8), and they were stunning.
The HTC One (M8) is the world’s first smartphone with a unique Duo Camera that features the UltraPixel module, dual colour flash and Full HD video recording capabilities.
The Duo Camera packs a depth sensor to complement the main HTC UltraPixel module, thus capturing detailed depth information from a scene to enable consumers to do more with their images.
HTC buffet of imaging apps including UFocus, Foregrounder, Copy & Paste and Dimension Plus lets consumers do creative, fun things with their photos.
The Duo Camera isn’t just great at capturing quality images, it’s also super-fast. The camera autofocus operates at 300ms, perfect for capturing split-second action.
Its intelligent LED Dual Flash automatically adjusts its colour tone and light intensity depending on the environment, for more natural skin tones and professional looking shots.
The new HTC One (M8) now has an integrated Slow Motion mode – perfect for adding some drama to your HD video.
Zoe, now in the cloud
HTC Zoe has been a surprisingly fun way of combining short clips of video, images and music into short momento reels. HTC has now made Zoe a cloud-based service where users can upload their Zoe videos to share with friends and family. The new Zoe app will be available through Google Play in summer.
Look ma, no hands (sort of)
The new HTC Sense 6 introduces Motion Launch, a ‘sixth sense’ feature if you will, where you can interact with the phone using gestures without turning on the screen. A simple swipe can activate the device, Auto Answer enables a user to answer a call by simply putting the phone to their ear without touching the screen. Double tapping turns the lock screen on or off.
HTC Dot View – retro protection
One of the coolest, and most unique features of the HTC One (M8) is the HTC Dot View case, which extends the Motion Launch functionality even further. The case protects the screen, while letting the user check time, weather, new messages, emails and calls, without needing to touch the screen. Notifications and interactions are presented in a retro, dot-matrix style. Extremely cool.
Battery longevity has been a much-loved trait in my experience with the previous generation HTC One (M7). I thought it had outstanding battery life despite a relatively average sized battery, thanks to the ‘lightness’ of HTC Sense 5 and clever power management. I never did have to bring out an external powerbank. With the HTC One (M8), it gets even better.
The HTC One (M8) has an integrated 2,600mAh li-polymer battery, not the biggest mind you but again, thanks to its superior power management, gives users up to 20 hours of 3G talktime.
With an added Extreme power saving mode, at full charge, it can deliver 14 days’ worth of battery power, while still retains the ability to receive calls, texts and emails. It can deliver 60 hours of extra standby time at 20% power, 30 hours at 10% power and 15 hours at 5%.
That’s simply outstanding.
Blink… and catch-up
HTC BlinkFeed gets better, more intuitive and features infinite scrolling. HTC recently introduced a new SDK to allow partners to integrate their own content, so users can find more content, more easily. Catching up on news and updates will never be this easy. Or fluid.
For a fitter you
Riding on the fitness and data-tracking bandwagon, HTC One (M8) comes pre-loaded with the Fitbit app. Track your sleep, activities, set goals and see yourself get fitter, right on your HTC Blinkfeed home screen.
The Desire is back
HTC also unwrapped the HTC Desire 816 an HTC Desire 610, feature-packed mid-range phones for the budget-conscious consumers.
Pricing and availability
The HTC One (M8) is available in Gunmetal Gray and Glacial Silver at retail price of RM2,399 (SRP), exclusively under Maxis and HTC authorised resellers.
So is this one The Best One?
It’s beautiful, it’s desirable, it’s one of the best Androids out there, if not the best. It’s every bit of a flagship device, and it’s every bit a worthy HTC One successor.
Perhaps importantly for HTC, I’m not the only one who thinks so. Early consumer reviews have lauded the device in looks and performance, and also ranks highly in the battery life department. Some top reviewers call it “the best smartphone of 2014” (as did the M7).
The device has apparently flown off the shelves in Australia and Singapore.
I’ll be getting a review unit very soon, and will certainly post my thoughts.
Here’s what Global HTC brand ambassador, the awesome Robert Downey Jr had to say, “I’m in business with HTC because they do one thing, and are perceived as the best at doing it. HTC is beyond compare when it comes to design. Look at the reviews; sometimes they aren’t so important for movies, sometimes they define status, but in the tech world they’re everything.”