HTC One M8 review: Not worth it in 2018

Alan Martin Tom Morgan
22 Jan 2018
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Aside from the dual camera it's largely a by-the-numbers update, but the design alone is still enough to turn heads


HTC One M8 review: Camera

It's at the back where you'll find the biggest change though; the Duo Camera is such an important feature that it almost deserves a review in itself. It uses the same 4-megapixel 'Ultrapixel' main sensor as the original HTC One, which has an oversized 1/3in sensor and larger 2.0um pixels to capture more light information than its competitors.

However, this time it's paired with a second, depth-sensing camera. Used together, they let you choose the point of focus in an image even after you've pressed the shutter button, or add stylish bokeh effects to your images. Sadly optical image stabilisation has been cut to make room for this feature.

HTC One (m8)

Because it uses hardware, rather than software calculations to assign depth values to your images, the M8 is much faster than competing smartphone's efforts. Samsung's Galaxy S5 and the LG G Pro 2 both take five shots at once then stitch them together, giving you five possible points of focus but taking several seconds per shot.

With the HTC we could take three or four different shots in the same amount of time. In practice, the effects make portraits and macro shots stand out, but sometimes refocusing an image would blur areas we wanted to keep in focus; there's no way to select the strength of the effect, so you're stuck with what the phone chooses for you.

In terms of picture quality, we were worried that by sticking with the same sensor as last year's model the M8 would suffer from the same issues - namely a lack of detail when taking wider landscapes and a lot of noise.

In our outdoor test shots, the M8 captured plenty of detail in the foreground and middle distance, but objects in the far distance weren't nearly as well defined. Zooming in revealed smudgy details and a fair amount of pixellation. We also noticed a tendency for the sensor to over-expose scenes, with light sources bleeding into an image leaving unwanted bright spots.

If you're more of a night person, however, you'll love the M8's low-light abilities. Moving inside, it captured plenty of facial detail when shooting portraits; it was also quick to focus and quick to save each shot, which could make it the perfect nightclub companion.

It also has a True Tone flash, which automatically adjusts the intensity and colour of the twin LEDs to produce more accurate low-light images. In our still life tests, it helped create a more even colour balance than other smartphones.

HTC One (m8) U Focus

U Focus lets you selectively blur parts of an image

HTC One (m8) U Focus

^ Tapping anywhere on screen will refocus the image, in less than a second

HTC One (m8) Outdoor

Outdoors, the M8 captures plenty of detail in the foreground, although colours are muted

Nokia Lumia 1020 comparison

In comparison, Nokia's Lumia 1020 takes more vibrant photos

HTC One (m8) HDR

High Dynamic Range (HDR) effects are very strong, with no way to tone them down. You also lose refocusing abilities when using any mode other than Auto

HTC One (m8) indoor

In low light, the M8 did a great job at preserving details, although noise is still visible once you zoom in

You can control white balance, ISO and shutter speed to negate some of this effect, saving your settings as a specific 'lens' that can be called up from the menus at any time. There are also a huge number of filters, effects and tools to choose from once you've taken a snap too, including the clever Dimensionalise mode which uses the depth data to add a 3D effect, where tilting the phone moves the image around. It's impossible to share these images online and preserve the effect, but it's a nice touch that can add a bit more interest to your photos. HTC's custom Camera app is sensibly laid out and very responsive, making it ideal for spur of the moment photography.

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  • HTC One M7 (2013) review

    HTC One
    inc VAT

    It might have been superced by the m8, but the HTC One M7 is still a beautiful handset with an amazing screen and innovative camera

    17 Oct 2014
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