HTC One (M8) And One (E8) Review: A Flagship And Its Sidekick

Android KitKat And HTC Sense 6 Software Tour

Whereas last year's HTC One (M7) utilized Android 4.3 Jellybean with Sense 5 (HTC's custom interface), the M8 and E8 are both equipped with Android 4.4 KitKat and Sense 6. The updates are iterative, including a handful of tweaks, and nothing game-changing.

Android has never been as intuitive as it is now. In my opinion, it continues trailing iOS 7 and even Windows Phone 8.1 in an assessment of cohesiveness. However, it keeps getting better. Consistent white text and less fragmentation of the home screen improve useability, while the status bar and navigation buttons now hide in certain apps, easily retrievable with a finger swipe.

In addition, KitKat drops the Android messaging app in favor of Google Hangouts, which makes sense. 

Most of the optimizations are under the hood, though. Android 4.4 is now able to run on devices with just 512 MB of RAM and has better memory management capabilities. The Caller ID feature is improved, prioritizing contacts based on usage. It can also link numbers to maps. Tighter integration with cloud storage services (like Google Drive) makes important information more easily accessible. To that end, the ability to open remote files without first saving a copy locally first was much needed. There's a new counter for pedometer apps, and KitKat also features support for Google's Cloud Print feature, which allows you to send documents directly to compatible wireless printers. 

Of course, HTC differentiates its own products with the company's Sense interface, now at version 6 on HTC's One (M8) and (E8). You might notice subtle tweaks, such as a vertically-scrolling apps menu. However, Sense isn't a radical departure from "pure" Android.

Blinkfeed, a news and social media aggregator, is HTC's showcase app for Sense. You choose the type of content you want to see, and the software automatically populates the scrollable widget. This is somewhat like a robust Windows Phone 8 live Tile screen.

Exclusive to the One (M8), and not included with HTC's E8, is an IR blaster, which allows the smartphone to serve as a remote controller for televisions and set-top boxes. The Sense TV app also displays available local TV channels and operates your PVR. The functionality is convenient. As far as value-adds go, this is one of the more useful inclusions I've seen.

There's plenty more bundled software, include Zoodles' excellent Kid Mode utility for defining restrictions based on profiles, HTC's Music app for playing back locally-stored tracks, and Fitbit activity-tracking fitness software that makes use of the One's built-in pedometer.

Of course, one of Android's strengths is a colossal library of available apps. So, regardless of what comes installed on the One, you should have little trouble satisfying your mobile software needs with Google's Play store.

  • Heironious
    The pricing says 1,309.00 for it on Amazon? May as well buy it straight from an authorized dealer for half that. It's a gorgeous phone and I don't regret picking it up over the Samsung S5 (mostly because of the cheap plastic of Samsung).
  • LordConrad
    I love my M8 except for that stupid depth-camera, they should remove it and bring back OIS.
  • blackmagnum
    HTC M8 versus Samsung S5. No contest!
    Just stop comparing to the iPhone 5s until a comparable 64-bit chip is released and implemented into Android phones. Until then, the iPhone 5s "appears to be faster" (only on benchmarks) but as many of us know, it justifies buying an iPhone for most users, even though a 64-bit processor in a mobile phone may be pointless (for now).
  • kevith
    What is the price of E8? All over the article it says 699$, more than the M8 at 659.
  • CaedenV
    If I were the android type I would get this phone hands-down. If they released a WP version then I would jump all over it over the stuff Nokia has been pushing out in 2014 so far.

    The only 'complaints' that I have are the lack of wireless charging (impossible due to the metal back plate right?), and the lack of a sort of Nokia Glance screen (though other android devices are picking up similar features). The cover seems to bring that Glance functionality... but I really don't like that cover and would rather not. The thing is that with my lowly 920 I have built myself an upright wireless charging stand, and with glance screen enabled whenever the device has access to power, it makes a most excellent clock/notification center. With my 920 approaching 2 years old I am starting to look for a replacement, and as of the moment I am not finding one. WP has seemingly abandoned the high end devices, I am not apple compatible, and Android devices have a lot of really neat features... but then you deal with non-standard UIs and gimmickey software. I really hope something really good comes out before Christmas because the 920 is not getting any younger.
  • stevessvt
    Wow, these benchmarks are, by far, the lowest I have seen for the M8. 27K in Antutu? Was power saver on?
  • Avus
    Holy!! $1300 for a phone.... I am too cheap for that...

    I am currently using Nexus 5 and happy with it. If I want to buy a phone now, I may want to get an Oneplus One.
  • envy14tpe
    Great phone but that camera is what holds me back from buying it. So Samsung or Google gets my money, although Apple has the best camera. (However, no Apple..screen wayyy to small...Android flagship phones have been over 4" for 2+ years)
  • TeKEffect
    Me and my friend are both having problems with the usb port. They went cheap on the cheapest part. I would google the problem before getting the one.