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HTC One M8s Mid-Range Smartphone Announced: Metal, £379, Android Lollipop

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So this is a surprise; HTC just announced a mid-range member of its One range dubbed the HTC One M8s.

By now you may have had a chance to read one or two reviews of the HTC One M9 flagship, and the general consensus seems to be that it’s good, but not massively different from its predecessor, somewhat lacking in a desired “wow” factor compared to the competition, and definitely pretty damn expensive for close to £600, considering all of the above.

The One M8s looks very similar to 2014’s One M8 flagship in design and build, and that’s a deliberate decision on HTC’s part – the mantra here seems to be quality and design on a budget. It’s still metal, and still features front-facing BoomSound stereo speakers.

“The HTC One M8s combines the quality ergonomics and design of the award-winning HTC One M8 with great sound and photo features to deliver an outstanding user experience at a premium level,” said HTC’s UK VP, Peter Frølund.

Specs wise it is a little different though, instead of last year’s Snapdragon 801 quad-core silicon we’re looking at a new mid-range yet octa-core Snapdragon 615 setup using 2GB of RAM and 64-bit architecture; this may even be an upgrade on the M8, potentially, if things are more efficient. Naturally you’re getting Android Lollipop 5.0 straight out of the box with HTC Sense on top, however, it’s not the new Sense 7, sadly, instead you get Sense 6 as found on the regular One M8. Will this be getting an upgrade? Seems likely, although HTC doesn’t have the best track record for this sort of thing.

The One M8s still packs the One M8s duo-camera setup with a dedicated depth sensor, but before you throw your laptop out the window in a fit of rage, rest assured that this is a 13MP sensor instead of last year’s 4MP “Ultrapixel” tomfoolery. That said, by all accounts HTC didn’t manage to improve things much with its single 20MP sensor on the One M9. So…meh? For what it’s worth it has an f/2.0 aperture and 1080p video capture, while the front-facer is a 5MP setup.

Storage wise you’re stuck with 16GB onboard as your only option, but mercifully there’s a microSD slot for cards up to 128GB. Connectivity includes 4G, DLNA, NFC and Bluetooth, as well as all the usual Wi-Fi stuff.

HTC seems to have a bit of a problem with battery life, but this time round it’s given its ‘mid-range’ offering the same size cell as the M9 flagship – 2,840mAh. Hopefully that’ll keep things ticking over. The One M8s has a 5in 1080p display, although HTC hasn’t detailed the tech used, so we suspect it’s still SLCD3 as that’s what’s aboard both the M8 and M9. It also works with HTC’s Dot View flip cases.

And what of availability and pricing? The One M8s will be available from HTC’s webstore, UK networks, and retailers “from the beginning of April”…so, anytime nowish really? It’ll be in gunmetal grey at first but a gold version is apparently due to follow. It’ll cost £379 SIM-free but you can bet there’ll be deals aplenty for this from networks and the like.

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