HTC One M8 review - the best looking Android phone?

Aside from the dual camera it's largely a by-the-numbers update, but the design alone is still enough to turn heads

18 Dec 2014
Our Rating 
5/5
Price when reviewed 
530
inc VAT
Buy it now for 

Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 2.3Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Screen size: 5in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080, Rear camera: 4-Ultrapixel, Storage: 16/32GB, Wireless data: 4G, Size: 146.4x70.6x9.4 mm, Weight: 160g

The original HTC One was such a design statement that the company has decided not to mess with the formula for its successor. With an all-metal design, faster internals and a larger screen, you could easily mistake the new handset for the original - until you turn it over and spot the unique dual camera.

As one of the few Android phones to truly compete with Apple in terms of design, the HTC One M8 is a beautiful handset. The M8 is almost 90% metal, with the few slivers of plastic left only being used to ensure the best possible reception for the internal antennae. The curved back fits your hand comfortably and the brushed metal finish on our metal grey review unit glints in the light, making no mistake that the phone is made from metal rather than plastic. The M8 is also available in gold, silver and red colours, with the Carphone Warehouse having additional exclusive blue and pink models, but these have a more subtle matte finish. 

With such a premium chassis on offer, prices were originally quite high for the One M8, but now the phone's been on sale for almost a year, the cost of a SIM-free handset has dropped by almost £100, with prices for gunmetal grey models starting from £440. This is a fraction cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S5, which currently stands at around £475 SIM-free. Contract prices for the One M8 have also come down since launch, with Carphone Warehouse's price starting at around £26.50 per month for 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of 3G data, while Three offer 1GB of data and the same number of calls and texts for £28 a month with an additional upfront cost of £49. This brings the One M8 more in line with current Galaxy S5 prices, but prices are likely to drop even further in early 2015 as both companies prepare to make way for each phone's successor.

The HTC One M8 is slightly larger than the original HTC One, to make room for the bigger 5in LCD display. Both phones have the same 1,920x,1,080 resolution, which means pixel density has dropped from 469ppi on the 4.7in original to 441ppi here, but in practice it's still impossible to see individual pixels. The M8 looks incredibly sharp; even the tiniest of fonts are still legible and images are incredibly detailed. Image quality is fantastic, with natural colours and pure bright whites, along with impressively deep blacks for an LCD panel. With a peak brightness of 491cd/m2 and an sRGB colour spectrum coverage of 93.7%, the M8 is among the best LCD screens we've seen in a smartphone, rivalling the iPhone 5s in terms of brightness and contrast.

HTC One (m8)

HTC's front-facing BoomSound speakers are a great match to the beautiful display, and make watching YouTube videos a joy; they are impressively loud, but also very clear, with no signs of distortion or clipping when pushed to their limits. There's even a small amount of bass, so you won't instantly need to reach for a pair of headphones when someone sends you the latest viral video.

HTC One (m8)

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