HTC has just announced its latest Android flagship smartphone, the One (M8), and below we have squared the phone up against its year-old predecessor, the One (M7), to find out if you should upgrade.
Size and Weight
The new phone is larger in every way than last year’s One, but don’t let that put you off, because the phone’s corners are more curved than before, helping it feel more secure in your hand. To the numbers... the One (M7) has a footprint of 137.4mm x 68.2mm, is 9.3mm thick and weighs in at 143g. Meanwhile, the shiny new One (M8) measures 146.4 x 70.6mm, is 9.35mm thick, and weighs 160g.
The new One’s larger overall size and weight is partly due to its display, which is 0.3in bigger than the old model, at 5 inches. The phone’s Full HD resolution remains at 1920 x 1080, meaning the new phone’s pixel density will be fractionally lower, but you’re never going to actually notice this. Safe to say, both phones offer some of the best screens on the market.
Processor, RAM and Storage
Last year’s One (M7) was powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz and paired with 2GB of RAM. The new (M8) makes use of Qualcomm’s brand new and top-of-the-range Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, running at 2.3GHz and also paired with 2GB of RAM.
Storage for the (M7) was fairly generous at 32GB or 64GB depending on your budget, but the phone doesn’t have a microSD card slot to expand on this. Thankfully, HTC has learnt its lesson for the (M8), which - although offering just 16GB or 32GB out of the box - has a card slot to increase this by up to a massive 128GB. The (M8) also comes with two years of free access to 65GB of Google Drive cloud storage.
The One (M7) featured a revolutionary Ultrapixel camera, as HTC argued that a race to offer more megapixels than its rivals wasn’t the answer, and instead fewer but larger pixels are a better solution.
For the (M8), HTC has stuck to its Ultrapixel guns (and to the same resolution of four megapixels), but brings another major camera upgrade to the party. The (M8) is the first smartphone to have two rear cameras, and it uses them to take photos with huge depths of field previously not possible on a phone.
Take a photo, then afterwards you can select to either have the foreground or background in focus. More than that, with the (M8) you can also delete items from the foreground or background, or change their colour. Full HD video recording is possible on both phones and both make use of HTC’s Zoe video editing application.
The (M7)’s front-facing camera is 2.1 megapixels, while the new (M8)’s ups the ante to five megapixels, meaning your selfies will look better than ever. Full HD 1080p video recording is also possible with the (M8)’s front camera.
The One (M8) comes with Android 4.4 KitKat, which the M7 will soon be upgraded to, and the new model gets the company’s newest build of its Sense user interface, version 6.
Both Ones feature HTC’s dual front-facing Boom Sound speakers, but for the new (M8) the company has redesigned the speaker chambers to help increase full volume by 25%, making the (M8) by far the loudest smartphone on sale today - just don’t play your music on the bus.
HTC has also tinkered with the phone’s internal amplification software, tuning it to improve both heavy bass and soft vocal individually to keep both ends of the range in perfect harmony without drowning each other out.
HTC has increased the One’s battery capacity slightly, from 2,300mAh to 2,600mAh, upping 3G talk time from 18 to 20 hours, although as always your mileage will vary with how you use the handset.
Should I upgrade?
The original HTC One was, for our money, an excellent phone that matched Apple’s industrial design and premium sense of quality blow-for-blow, and with the (M8) HTC has improved on this - and that can only be a good thing.
Heavy gamers will notice the performance bump of the new Qualcomm processor, while those with huge media collections will be thankful for the (M8)’s microSD card slot. Having only spent a few hours with the (M8)’s dual camera, we are yet to decide if the new technology is groundbreaking or a bit of a gimmick - but at least it will give the Instagram crowd a new tool for their arsenal.
The new One is the best looking Android phone on the market - to our eyes - and at least on paper it looks to offer a worth upgrade over the M7, which coincidentally will remain on sale at a lower price.
For our money, anyone who loved their original One should definitely consider the new model - which handily went on sale at 4pm, 25 March.