Design, Look, And Feel
As mentioned, the HTC One (M8)'s body is almost completely made of metal (about 90%, in fact). That leaves about 10% plastic, which is necessary in places where metal doesn't work, like the rings housing the antennas.
The premium M8 model is available in three colors with different finishes. Grey sports a brushed metal texture, while silver and gold are accompanied by an anodized look.
HTC's polycarbonate E8, on the other hand, ships in a variety of colors: Maldives Blue, Electric Crimson, Misty Gray, and Polar White.
It's naturally easy to spot the differences between the M8 and E8, then. Aside from their colors and finishes, the M8 has that dual-camera system on the back, while the E8's single sensor is apparent, along with screen glass that partially wraps around the side of the phone body.
The power button is up top, where I prefer to see it, but in a slightly different location on each model. The M8's button is on the right-hand side of that upper edge, leaving room for a hidden IR emitter to enable TV remote functionality. You don't get that feature on the E8, so its power button is centered up top.
On the right edge of both phones you find the volume rocker and nano-SIM tray. Last year's HTC One (M7) employed a micro-SIM tray, so if you're upgrading, you also need a new card. The microSD slot is on the opposite side of the device, also toward the top.
On the front of the phone, you'll find speakers at the top and bottom. There's a front-facing 5 MP sensor at the top-right edge of both models, and a microphone down below. HTC's One (M8) and (E8) do not expose hardware-based navigation buttons like the previous One, but instead rely on Android's software controls.
Other than the relocated power button, controls and trays are identical on HTC's One (E8). Its back side is naturally different due to the M8's two cameras and dual-LED flash versus the E8's single camera. Moreover, the E8's microphone is on the right side of the image sensor, whereas the M8 has a mic on the left.
The bottom of both models hosts a microUSB port and headphone jack.
Compared to Nokia's Lumia Icon/930, the One (M8) is slightly longer, but also thinner and lighter. For a phone that weighs 160 grams with a 5" screen, HTC's One still surprises me every time I pick it up. It just doesn't convey bulkiness. Rather, the phone is svelte and nimble in my hand, despite sizable dimensions. Of the smartphones out there with 5" screens, HTC's One (M8) is one of my favorites because I never feel encumbered by it.
For as pleasant as I find the M8, HTC's One (E8) sheds even more weight. Its 145 grams will undoubtedly appeal to folks looking to lighten their pockets. As a comparison point, Google's Nexus 5 is specified at 130 grams. The Nexus should also be a proof point that whittling away bulk doesn't necessarily compromise sturdiness. The One (E8)'s polycarbonate chassis doesn't feel cheap. To the contrary, it actually imparts an impression of quality.