HTC has announced the One (M8) Android smartphone, with dual rear cameras and a focus on design.
The One (M8) replaces the original One, which was launched last year and will continue to be sold under its full name, the HTC One (M7).
Powered by a quad-core, 2.3GHz processor with 2GB of RAM, the One (M8) features a 5-inch screen with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080, an aluminium chassis, and two rear cameras to create photos with depths of field previously impossible with a smartphone.
Storage options are either 16 or 32GB, with a microSD card slot supporting up to an extra 128GB.
But despite the clever camera HTC’s primary focus with the One (M8) is to show off the handset’s industrial design and premium finish. Indeed, the company opted against making the M8 waterproof because this would have added size and weight, along with removeable ports, as seen on the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2.
Instead of making the One (M8) puddle proof, HTC has created a handset that puts design front-and-centre; as proof of this, the company says it has used 120 different oils to lubricate its buffing machine to get the finish just so.
The M8 has a footprint of 146 x 70.6mm, is 9.4mm thick, and tips the scales at 9.35mm.
But it isn’t all about the good looks and premium feel of a Swiss watch - the One (M8)’s twin rear cameras give the handset a photographic prowess not seen on its rivals.
When you tap the new One’s shutter button both rear cameras take a photo at the same time, but focused on different parts of the same scene. This means you can choose to have either the foreground or background of an image in focus, selected after the photo has been taken.
You can also highlight specific objects and change their colour, as well as add effects such as a cartoon-like finish, and cut objects out entirely or move them to another photo.
HTC has also worked its photography magic on the One’s flash, creating what it calls True Tone, which monitors the ambient light before taking a photo, then deploys one of five levels of flash intensity to light the subject as naturally as possible. The company promises this is “just the start” of what it has planned for smartphone camera technology.
Making a return from last year’s One is HTC’s Boom Sound speaker set up, which places a front-facing speaker on either side of the screen. For the M8, HTC has upped the volume by 25% and uses a new amplifier to improve both the highs and lows of music independently, helping to stop heavy bass drowning out lyrics.
The new One has a large 2,600mAh battery which can, according to HTC, power the phone for 20 hours of 3G talk time, or almost 500 hours of 3G standby time.
HTC has also announced a range of cases designed specifically for the One (M8), headed by the Dotview, a front-and-back case which has hole on the front through which the time, date, weather and notifications can be seen. Interestingly, these snippets of information are displayed in an 8-bit style font, reminding us of the early days of computing - unique and easy to read at a glance, we like it. As a bonus, some basic gestures (swiping and tapping) can be made through the case, saving you opening it to cancel an incoming call, for example. To answer, just pick the phone up and hold it to your face - the motion sensors and software work out the rest.
The One (M8) will go on sale in the UK from 4pm today, 25 March.