The New HTC One (M8) Focuses On Design, Battery Life & Ease Of Use

March 25, 2014  |  

The new flagship HTC device, the HTC One (M8), was launched today with a big New York City event for media and a roll out online that will get the device in the hands of users as early as tomorrow, depending on your shipping choice.

“I love this phone,” said Peter Chao, CEO of HTC. (Of course, he’s biased.) Speaking to the aesthetics of the device, he called it “authentic” and “beautiful” on a number of occasions, emphasizing the thought that went into the look and feel of it. Sized somewhere between the Samsung Galaxy and the iPhone, it’s made to contour to the palm of your hand (it has a five-inch display), is thin on the ends and slightly thicker in the middle, made to fit into the depression in the palm of your hand.

Chao also talked up the fact that the HTC One (M8) is made out of metal rather than plastic. “Polished metal… brushed to a hairline texture,” to be exact, said designer Jonah Becker.

“The result is more akin to jewelry than you’d see on a phone,” he added.

More than just design, the phone was made with our obsession for pictures in mind. The Duo camera has different settings, bells and whistles to make picture-taking more interesting. A “bouquet” feature allows you to, for instance, bring your kids into focus while creating a blur or haze effect on objects or scenery of lesser significance.

“The key to better pictures isn’t more pixels, but better pixels. Your phone can understand objects in physical space,” Becker added, calling the function “depth information.”

The phone definitely has a lot going on, but, actually, the idea is to highlight ease of use. Most of the functions on the phone — whether it’s tapping the face of it to see about messages or flipping quickly to snap a picture during a celebrity sighting — is intended to be done quickly and without too much hassle, with Becker at one point highlighting the fact that one-handed activation of the device is a feature and benefit.

Also drawing applause from the audience was the new, longer battery life, which has been extended 40 percent. After the launch is complete, there will also be an “extreme power saver mode” that will allow the phone to last up to two weeks when it’s put to full use.

And if you buy one and accidentally crack the screen within the first six months, they’ll fix it for free.

The HTC One (M8) will be available far and wide during the first part of April, “many before April 10,” according to president of the Americas, Jason Mackenzie. A quick scan of what’s being said on Twitter shows that the reviews are favorable for the new device. CNet calls it a “stunning sequel” with the fact that the device isn’t water resistant and lacks a removable battery as a couple of lowlights. And Mashable says the HTC One “got a big refresh.” BGR opens its review by saying the device is “the best Android phone the world has ever seen. Period. Full stop. Of this, there is no doubt.”

We asked one of the HTC reps who was walking around the demonstration floor for some more of the practical stuff. Can we drop it on the floor and not destroy it? Can we whip it out quickly to catch that celebrity sighting and tweet it/Instagram it within moments. Answers: Yes, they dropped it repeatedly to test its resilience. And with a layout that’s both standard to what we’re used to seeing on an Android, but integrated into HTC’s BlinkFeed, you won’t miss a beat.

[Above: Jason Mackenzie, president of Americas, and Peter Chao, HTC CEO, on stage at today’s event with the HTC One (M8)]

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