HTC's One (M8) And (E8): Two Strong Contenders; One At A Low Price
Let's Start With the HTC One (M8):
When HTC introduced the original One in 2013, I think it caught a lot of folks off-guard. They weren't expecting it to be as good as it turned out to be. Still, the company needed a game-changer. Something to thrust it back into the spotlight, making HTC a relevant name again. Sporting a beautiful metal chassis, sleek lines, and the Ultrapixel camera, its One (M7) did everything right. That phone was certainly one of the best (if not the best) all-around Android-based devices when it launched.
A year later, the One (M8) landed to greater expectations. And this is in a playing field filled with much more advanced competition. Enthusiasts who counted on being blown away by the One (M8) might be feeling a little underwhelmed. In truth, the most significant changes from last generation are a dual-camera system for depth-of-field adjustments, a slightly quicker SoC, and a nifty case that delivers information through its perforated cover. You wouldn't be out of line to call those gimmicky. If you wanted a game-changer, the One (M8) is not it.
But to be fair, the One (M7) was already an elegant piece of hardware. The updated model carries over that top-tier, modern pedigree. HTC tweaked it with one of the most powerful chipsets available, a longer-lasting battery, a larger screen, and even more metal in that attractive shell. It feels natural in your hand. It's not light to the point of feeling cheap. It's not heavy to the point where you find it bulky. It's just right. This phone might not be revolutionary, but HTC's One (M8) is the sort of evolution we're happy to accept.
Now, What About the HTC One (E8)?
Imagine this: you hand over your HTC One (M8), a device you're pleased to own. I pop out the second camera and its UFocus feature (which I'm not even in love with anyway) and swap in an admittedly slower 13 MP sensor. The IR blaster has to go, too. Sorry about that. Are you offended yet? Gee, we hope not.
Here's where you might get your feelings hurt, though. I also pull 16 GB of on-board flash, leaving you with just 16 GB of capacity, peel off the metal case, and replace it with a polycarbonate one. I hand the phone back...
...and you find that it's comfortably lighter, but still sturdy. You remember the microSD slot and add in your own card to replace the missing capacity. You're not positive you like the compromises, but then you get cash back as well (almost half the price you paid for the M8). Suddenly, the changes are easier to swallow. Congratulations, you're now the owner of HTC's One (E8).
That's essentially the story you get in the markets allowed to carry HTC's more value-oriented effort. The price to performance ratio is compelling, and our main complaint has to be a lack of availability in North America. Where it is available, HTC's One (E8) seems like a smarter choice than the M8, unless you really want that metallic chassis and Ultrapixel camera. Shoot, even the Dot View case is available for both phones, so you can hide the polycarbonate body if it bothers you.