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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

HTC One M8 officially announced - Here's all you need to know


HTC One M8

Following months of rumors and leaks, HTC finally announced their successor to the HTC One, during a special media event today. The new HTC One M8 features a new design, upgraded hardware, updated software and the much talked about "Duo" (dual) camera.

Hardware

The HTC One M8 comes with an updated design, building on the excellent, sturdy design of the original One. HTC claims that the M8 uses 90% metal material on its casing compared to the 70% on last year's model. The new One will be available in Gunmetal Gray, Glacial Silver and Amber Gold for a total of three color options. It’s almost identical to the original One in terms of design, save for a few changes. The biggest one is that the aluminum body now extends to the sides (while the 2013 HTC One featured plastic side elements), engulfing the whole handset, The strip of plastic at the top of the phone is a new element, which should contribute to the phone’s signal and reception.

In terms of size, the all new HTC One has grown slightly bigger and heavier. The new phone has actually gotten a lot taller, but just a bit wider, and it now weighs 5.64 ounces (160g), which puts it among the heaviest 5-inch devices out there.

On the front of the device are the powerful BoomSound speakers, which HTC claims are 25% more powerful that the original HTC One. The company reveals that it uses a brand new amplifier and software to make sound even cleaner as well.

HTC One M8 colors


Display

The new One has also gotten a larger, 5-inch screen with a resolution of 1080 by 1920 pixels (the original One featured a 4.7 inch 1080p display). HTC has gotten rid of the capacitive navigation buttons and it’s now switched to on-screen buttons.


Camera

The HTC One M8 comes with not one, but two cameras on its rear, which should be the biggest highlight on this device. The familiar big cutout for the UltraPixel (4MP) camera is now complemented by a secondary, depth-capturing camera right above it. This 'Duo' camera system allows for more editing options for your photos.

HTC One M8 "Duo" camera
For example the ‘Duo’ cameras allows you to apply a new UFocus effect to images, which basically uses the depth information from the secondary rear camera, to selectively adjust the focus in images to objects in the foreground or to the background. To do this, you just go into the gallery, select Effects > UFocus, and then tap on the image to adjust the focus. Right below, you can see how changing the focus with UFocus can change the appearance of a picture.

This Duo cameras effect adds nice blurred backgrounds (for a ‘bokeh’ look) to suitable images like portraits, and that’s an effect that’s commonly achieved with larger-sensor cameras like DSLRs. In addition to this effect, you can also transform images with a parallax 3D-like feature that changes the perspective depending on your point of view. Not just that, the camera itself has gotten extremely quick, locking focus in around 0.3 seconds.

The new HTC One doesn't feature optical image stabilization, since the technology is not possible with dual-lens camera systems. HTC claims that its digital Smart Stabilization works just as well, but we will have to test it before we pass any verdict.

There are improvements in the flash too – it features a new duo LED Smart Flash system with two differently colored LEDs, similar to what Apple uses for the iPhone 5s. It illuminates the cool and warm LEDs in one of over a five hundred unique color temperature combinations, for more accurate color reproduction with less “flash color tint”.

Apart from that, the new HTC One has a few fun image effects, but it’s not very different from other cameras. The rear camera is capable of capturing 1080p video with an optional HDR video recording feature. Then, up front, there is a 5-megapixel shooter with wide viewing angles, which is suitable for selfies and video conferencing. The camera interface has been redesigned with large, round buttons that are easy to press, but dig deeper in the menu, and you have some more advanced options for camera enthusiasts.


In terms of other specs, the new HTC One comes with one of the latest and most powerful system chips out there - the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801. The processor runs at up to 2.3GHz, and it comes with 2GB of DDR2 RAM.

The handset will be available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, but good news is that - unlike the original HTC One - it also features expandable storage via a microSD card slot.

In addition to that, the battery on the new One has also grown bigger. The new One now features a 2600mAh battery, up from the 2300mAh one on the 2013 HTC flagship. Battery longevity should not be much longer, but you have a new Extreme Power Saving mode that you can choose to kick off automatically when your phone’s about to die. In this mode, mobile data is disabled, and you can get up to 15 hours from a phone that’s at a 5% charge.

Software

HTC "sixth-sense" Sense 6.0The HTC One M8 comes with HTC Sense 6.0 which HTC is calling its "sixth sense". This new streamlined, flatter version of the Sense UI is built on top of Android 4.4 KitKat.

Probably the biggest new feature in Sense 6.0 are motion gestures, a series of time-saving new shortcuts. First, you now get the double-tap to unlock feature, which we imagine many would use, since the lock key is a bit too far to reach at the top. You can also quickly open BlinkFeed (by holding and doing a right swipe) and widgets (by holding and doing a left swipe) straight from the lock screen. Another useful feature is the quick-start of the camera that you trigger by holding the volume key when the phone is locked in landscape orientation.

In addition, HTC’s BlinkFeed has gotten more intuitive and easier to use in Sense 6.0. With its tile-based interface, BlinkFeed brings together information from your social networks and news channels that you follow.

Apart from that, the actual icons and colors in HTC Sense have not changed all that much. Naturally, the handset also comes with the standard suite of Google and HTC apps.

Accessories

The HTC One M8 will come with a new impressive array of accessories from which to choose. Just like last year, HTC will be offering: the Double Dip case, which will allow you to mix and match case pieces with up to four color combinations; the Flip case, which will offer various color options with the flip cover to protect the screen; the Battery Bar, to allow you to charge the device on the go; the Car Kit, to help you mount your device to your car's dash; the Fetch, which will help you find your phone nearby, or take a remote picture; and the Mini+.

But, there are a couple new additions to the accessory lineup. The most interesting is the new Dot View case, which will show old school style dot notifications for time, weather, and caller ID, even when the case is closed. This means that you can get info without having to unlock your device, or even open the flip cover. The Dot View Case is priced at $49.99. There is also a new BoomBass Bluetooth speaker cube, which is said to be small enough to fit in your hand, and offers NFC tap-to-connect. It should offer somewhere between 6 and 9 hours of music playback between charges.



Release and Pricing

Those living in the US or the UK can get the HTC One M8 starting today and will have three distinct versions to pick from - the standard HTC One M8, a Google Play Edition and a Developer Edition.

Both the standard and Developer versions of the HTC One M8 will cost you $649 without a contract. The Developer Edition can be purchased through HTC.com, while the standard version will be available through Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile in the U.S.

The Google Play edition HTC One 2014 will be available starting today through Google's online store and will cost you $699.

Availability in the US

Verizon is getting a short retail exclusive on the One, and will have the flagship up for grabs starting at 1:00pm on March 25. At virtually the same time, both AT&T and Sprint will simultaneously launch the One for online orders. T-Mobile customers will unfortunately have to wait for another month to get their hands on the device. If you want to visit a retail store to get the device on AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile, you will have to wait until April 11.

Availability in the UK

The UK is also set for a simultaneous launch starting March 25, and will be available through select Phones4u stores in London starting today with the rest of the retailer's stores opening stock tomorrow. The retailer has the One (M8) available in Glacial Silver and Gunmetal Gray from today with the Amber Gold version to be available in the coming weeks. Phones4u offers the device SIM free for £529.95 (16 GB) and for free if you sign a two-year contract. Phones4u offers the device with a promotional BoomBass speaker (otherwise worth £79.95), 25 pounds for Google Play purchases and a free folio case for the One (M8) if you get it from the retailer before April 30.

CarphoneWarehouse also has the device in select London stores and will have the Amber Gold variant on April 7. The One M8 will cost £549.95 (we're guessing 32 GB) without a contract or £42 a month.

The Everything Everywhere joint venture will give you a double data allowance if you purchase the One (M8) with a £37.99 contract (a £29.99 upfront cost) and will even throw in a free return flight ticket on 12 European destinations until April 10. EE will have the smartphone from its online and telesales channels starting tomorrow with retail stores following suit on March 27.


How do you like the new HTC One with its more intense metal look, Duo camera, and upgraded internals? Are you getting one?


source - HTC | GSMArena
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