UPDATE: The HTC One M9, while not a knock-out success, was still a very solid handset. It was also exceptionally good-looking, as a result of its stunning aluminium unibody design.
Part of the reason it was so unaccessible at launch was due to the fact that it was priced way to high to be competitive.
Was The HTC One M9 Underrated?
Yes and No. Looking back on the handset from the viewpoint of 2017, now that it has had its price cut in half, the HTC One M9 does feel like a lot better value. Especially if you’re the type the goes for price-effective handsets.
As an out-and-out flagship, the HTC One M9 was a bit of a damp squib; it didn’t do anything too flashy, it didn’t really improve on the design and the specs and performance were muddy compared to its peers. Basically, it cost way too much money.
But now that it is A LOT cheaper, the handset has taken on a new lease of life, in my estimation. Had HTC retailed it at this price point when it came out I’d have gone and got myself one. Everything changes when the price drops and the HTC One M9 is a prime example of that now.
If you’re looking for an excellent value phone that looks decent and performs like a champ, do not go with mid-range phones from 2016/17, bag yourself an old flagship – you’re getting way more value.
And that’s exactly what’s happened: you can now pick up the HTC One M9, a flagship-grade handset with impeccable styling for less than $250. That is an amazing price when you consider A) that it runs Android Nougat and B) it cost close to $600 when it first launched.
If you’re savvy and looking for an excellent phone at a great price, it’s hard to fault the HTC One M9 when it costs this much.
Below are some of our picks for the HTC One M9, which is now available for under $250 – a price that makes this handset VERY appealing, indeed.
Once, in a time which now seems a very long time ago, HTC was one of the few companies which made the successful jump from being a Taiwanese phone maker producing devices on behalf of other brands, to a legitimate device maker in its own right. That alone made it a bit of a darling of the Android space, producing competetive handsets as an alternative to Samsung’s offerings.
Aside from the ill-fated HTC Flyer tablet, the company could pretty much do no wrong, as it wowed consumers with the likes of the HTC One X and One S. Sure, HTC wasn’t shifting devices in the same volume as Apple and Samsung, but it was doing well enough and was quite well regarded; things looked positive. Then the HTC One (M7) came along and things shifted up a gear. HTC was now making premium looking phones that gave Apple’s designers a run for their money.
Up next was the HTC One M8, the all-important and infinitely trickier “second album”. HTC made no bones about sticking to the design philosophy it had adapted for the birth of its One range of phones, and most were onboard with this –– if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The CPU was updated, there were some smallish tweaks to the shape and gait of the chassis, and that was about it… but most startlingly HTC, for whatever reason, DIDN’T ditch its grossly underpowered 4MP UltraPixel technology despite a veritable firestorm of criticism. Horror of horrors.
Next came a bunch of redesigned iPhones, in the form of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which sold in frankly incomparable numbers (70+ million in three months, to be exact), who joined already very solid releases from LG, with its awesome G3, and the excellent –– but something of a handful –– Google Nexus 6. But it wasn’t until Q1 2015 that things really began to look a little dicey for HTC, as it appeared mobile’s sleeping dragon (Samsung) had awoken, ditched the hooch and was apparently back, firing on all cylinders with its seriously-well-received Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 EDGE, which completely dominated MWC from start to finish.
Essentially, every man and his dog had come to 2014/15’s market place with a brand new, completely redesigned flagship handset. Even Apple managed it –– and that hardly ever happens. LG too is now building up to its big reveal inside Q2 and all of this could, I fear, put HTC in a potentially vulnerable position. All of the company’s competitors –– Apple, LG, Samsung, Google –– for the first time in as long as I can remember, seem to be really pushing the envelope with their handsets.
This hasn’t happened in a good long while, so one could argue it was a bit naive of HTC to think it could wade into this type of environment with a handset so very similar to last year’s model. It was exceedingly ballsy, sure, staring down such fierce competition, but will it pay off? Do consumers “like” the design of the M8 that much? Possibly. But if they don’t –– also a possibility –– the company stands to lose A LOT of ground in Q1/Q2 2015. Perhaps this is why HTC is already prepping a bigger and better model in the form of the HTC One M9+?
And there is much ground to lose in 2015, too. Samsung is looking to increase its 10-quarter single digit margin slump back pre-2013 levels of profitability, and when you take into account the reviews, hype and 20+ million network orders thus far, it is starting to look very likely the Korean manufacturer will do just that. So, yes, HTC has a lot to prove with the M9. The competition is fiercer than ever and more and more folks are beginning to, once again, look to Samsung for innovation, a first for at least the past 18 months.
Does the M8 have the chops to stand out from the crowd of throughly excellent Android handsets now readily available?
Reports as of May 22 suggest perhaps not, according to DigiTimes‘ anonymous sources HTC has reduced its orders for One M9 components by 30% “due to lower-than-expected sales.” Said sources also alleged the company had experienced “flat” sales apparently due to consumers being dissatisfied with the overly familiar design; which is very similar to the previous-gen One M8. Meanwhile the competitiveness of the spec has also been brought into question by these sources, as well as the threat posed to HTC’s sales by Chinese rivals such as Xiaomi and Oppo.
HTC itself has declined to comment.
HTC One M9 Review: Design
The HTC One M9 is a beautiful looking device, just like its forefathers. Encased in a premium-feeling, two-tone gold and silver chassis, the handset exudes class. It also feels great in the hand with its conservatively-sized 5in display and sleek angular body. And this is all excellent stuff, indeed. Par for the course, when you’re talking about a company like HTC. You do not expect anything less. But the one thing you simply cannot get around, in spite of all this, is just how familiar it is to behold –– the M9 is practically identical to the M8.
HTC have made a few tweaks to the chassis and build materials, however, and the most obvious is the new camera unit on the back, which is now square. However, there are a few very notable tweaks. Firstly HTC has re-contoured the back and edges to be more ergonomic, and secondly there’s a scratch-resistant coating to the phone’s shell. A third change is purely aesthetic; HTC has taken cues from luxury watchmakers by using a two-tone metal design, every handset has its edging picked out in a complimentary colour. HTC also added in microSD support this time around as well, opening the possibility of expanding the handsets storage. Importantly, this is something you can no longer do on the Galaxy S6.
The other BIGGY is the movement of the power/unlock key from the top of the device to the right hand side of the device. At first this seems like a great idea but for some reason HTC decided to place the volume rocker and power/unlock keys really close together AND make them from the same material and more or less the exact same size, which makes finding the unlock key rather tricky without looking first.
You can double-tap the display to wake the M9 mercifully, but in order to do this you must first have the handset in motion (in your hand, for instance) or else it will not work and you’re back to fumbling along its sharp, metallic side for the elusive power/unlock key. Beyond this I cannot fault the industrial engineering and design that has gone into making this handset. HTC talks about it like it’s a piece of jewellery and when you look at the gold trim, sharp, machine-edged accents and the huge price tag, I guess it sort of makes sense.
HTC has paid special attention to the One M9’s audio. The front-facing BoomSound speakers with built-in amplifier have made a return together with some added enhancements in the form of Dolby Audio integration – this also extends to the 3.5mm audio jack for headphones and speakers; so you’ll be getting high quality sound any way you slice it.
But this isn’t a piece of jewellery, nor is it a Porsche; it’s a phone and its job is to reach out to consumers, old and new, and make them want one. Taken at face value, I do think plenty of people will like the look of the HTC One M9; it is a very desirable looking piece of hardware, but so too was its predecessor the M8, and herein lies the elephant in the room. The hype around the HTC One M7 was justified in every regard; the handset was a game changer, both for HTC and the Android space at large. HTC got it right, bang on the money. The M8 was a refinement of the M7’s design, a more polished but somehow less eye-catching handset. And the M9 looks JUST like the M8, which is odd because anybody that’s being paying attention to HTC’s fortunes over the past couple of years knows it needs something BIG like the M7, not more incrementalism.
Looks are great and, I admit, the M9 has them in spades, but a lot has changed in the past 12 months and a simple rehash of last year’s model with a new CPU and camera and not much else comes across as slightly presumptuous. HTC is better than this. And even if it isn’t couldn’t it just have reduced the cost of the device to something more representative like £400-£450?
There is nothing worse than a technology company resting on its laurels. Samsung was dragged over the coals for years for this very reason and, only very recently, began to redeem itself with the excellent Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy Note 4 and Samsung Galaxy S6/Galaxy S6 EDGE. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the HTC One M9, nothing bad about it really. But it does look and feel very, well, last year when you pick it up and switch it on.
Not enough has been changed or developed.
HTC One M9 Review: Display
Nowhere is this more evident than with the M9’s 5in Super LCD3 1080p display. Full HD panels are fine; really they are. But the quality of the panel itself has to be up to scratch and the one inside the HTC One M9 does not feel like a progression from the LCD panel used in last year’s HTC One M8. And in a world of handsets rocking similar specs at lower costs with better, QHD panels this is not something that plays in the HTC One M9’s favour.
Being Full HD, though, the screen itself is more than adequate in terms of sharpness and resolution for everything you’re going to be doing with it –– videos, texting, web browsing, etc. It just doesn’t look quite as good doing it as the Nexus 6, Note 4, iPhone 6 Plus, LG G3 or Samsung Galaxy S6. Personally this isn’t a deal-breaker for me. This is still a 441ppi panel. Plus the M9 is a great looking, well proportioned handset which is a pretty big USP in and of itself these days.
I don’t have any huge reservations about the M9 not using a QHD panel, either. Quite the contrary in fact; this way HTC can produce a handset with a decent, Full HD quality panel without having to make it phablet simply to accommodate a battery large enough to power said QHD display. What I do have issue with is the small fact that A) the battery life does not appear to be any better than last year’s M8 model and B) the One M9 costs £100 more than the Nexus 6 and £80 more than the Galaxy Note 4 while the one thing you spend most time looking at –– the display –– just feels like a refit from last year’s model.
That doesn’t feel like “progress” to me, if I’m honest. Nor would it persuade me away from Samsung, LG or Apple in 2015. All of whom work ceaselessly on their display technology to ensure absolute parity with current top-of-the-line market standards. For me, the verdict here simple: if you’re asking me to pay the best part of £600 (tier one pricing in mobile) for something, I want the one thing I spend most time looking at to be exceptional, not just good –– this goes for phones just as much as it does for tablets, HDTVs and everything else in between.
HTC One M9 Review: Specs
Here’s a full breakdown of the HTC One M9’s specs. For the purpose of those interested, we’ve also included specs for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 EDGE in order to give you an idea of the differences between the two handsets.
HTC One M9
Octacore (quad 2GHz and quad 1.5GHz), Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 SoC
Samsung Galaxy S6
Octacore (quad 2.1GHz and quad 1.5GHz), Samsung Exynos SoC
Samsung Galaxy S6 EDGE
Octacore (quad 2.1GHz and quad 1.5GHz), Samsung Exynos SoC
|RAM||3GB||3GB LPDDR4||3GB LPDDR4|
|Screen resolution||1,080 x 1,920, 441ppi (Gorilla Glass 4)||1,440 x 2560, 576ppi (Gorilla Glass 4)||1,440 x 2560, 576ppi (Gorilla Glass 4)|
|Screen type||Super LCD3 (IPS)||Super AMOLED||Super AMOLED|
|Rear camera||20.7MP (f/2.2)||16MP (f/1.9, phase detect autofocus, OIS)||16MP (f/1.9, phase detect autofocus, OIS)|
|Flash||Dual LED||Dual LED||Dual LED|
|Storage||32GB||64/128GB (UFS 2 flash)||32/64/128GB (UFS 2 flash)|
|Memory card slot (supplied)||MicroSD||No||No|
|Wi-Fi||802.11ac||802.11ac (2×2 MIMO)||802.11ac (2×2 MIMO)|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 4.1, A2DP, apt-X||Bluetooth 4.1 LE, A2DP, apt-X, ANT+||Bluetooth 4.1 LE, A2DP, apt-X, ANT+|
|Wireless data||4G||4G, Cat6 (300Mbits/sec download, 50Mbits/sec upload)||4G, Cat6 (300Mbits/sec download, 50Mbits/sec upload)|
|Size (WDH)||70 x 9.6 x 145mm||71 x 6.8 x 143mm||70 x 7 x 142mm|
|Operating system||Android 5 Lollipop with Sense 7||Android 5 Lollipop|
HTC One M9 Review: Camera
A lot has been said about HTC’s cameras over the years –– most of it bad. But this year saw the company swallow its pride, admit UltraPixels were just marketing-speak for rubbish camera, and re-introduce proper imaging with proper megapixels inside its 2015 flagship.
The HTC One M9 runs a 20.7MP camera backed up by one of the best camera applications in the business. There’s a ton of features as well as old favourites like Zoe opening up thousands of potential editing options. Images are easily shared and, as we’ve come to expect from HTC, the layout, menus and options with the camera application itself are very straightforward and require essentially no time to master.
So what about image quality? Unfortunately it ain’t great –– and there’s no Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS). But it is A LOT better than last year’s model and, when you get it in the right setting, outside with plenty of light, for instance, you can capture some really decent shots. Low-light performance isn’t great; though, again, it is better than last year’s model, which seems to be the only benchmark HTC had in mind when it created this phone.
A lot of the camera’s issues –– colour inconsistency, lack of detail, low-light performance and general inconsistency –– can, I believe, be remedied by software. The only thing that makes me question this is that before I began testing the M9 it was recalled for a software update to fix…. you guessed it, the camera. Still, once the company has more data to work with it will be in a better position to understand what exactly is causing the inconsistent performance of the imaging tech inside the M9.
The camera does show true promise in the right environment and, lack of OIS aside, I do think HTC could make some pretty big improvements to the overall performance of the camera with a few, select software tweaks. Everything is there, it just doesn’t appear to be functioning at 100% efficiency. I don’t want to be too critical of this aspect, however, as we’ve seen handsets released with squiffy cameras in the past only to be remedied by a software patch a few weeks later – this even happened to Sony.
HTC Software Patch Update Incoming To Fix Camera
As you’ve no doubt just read above, the HTC One M9’s camera leaves a little to be desired, but we’ve attributed that to a software-side problem that could be fixed with an update. It seems we were correct in that assessment as HTC has now confirmed it will be issuing a software update to combat the squiffy camera performance.
Following complaints from user on Twitter, HTC USA president Jason Mackenzie posted a response on the social network. “Camera to see improvement w/ sw update coming tomorrow or 17th (next Fri) depending on carrier version,” he said, in a Tweet on April 9. This of course means that initially the software update may only be rolling out in the US between today (April 10) and April 17, with it arriving sooner or later depending on which network you’re with. However, nothing has been said yet about a rollout outside the US. One is sure to be coming, but there’s a question mark hanging over precisely when – we would suspect in the next couple of weeks.
This update has now landed on a few handsets and the results, according to Phandroid, are pretty damn impressive. Every single image snapped by the HTC One M9 with the new software installed is sharper, more detailed and tighter in every regard. The update has yet to hit our HTC One M9, but we will update this review with new images as soon as it does.
“Regardless of these minor inconsistencies, I think it’s fairly obvious to tell that this M9 camera update boasts huge improvements,” Phandroid writes. “I wouldn’t say that this catapults the M9’s camera from terrible to outrageously awesome, but those who decided against the M9 primarily due to the camera should consider giving it a second look.”
HTC Adds Support For RAW Files
HTC has now released another software update for the One M9 to improve camera capabilities. This time the updated camera app adds in support for RAW image files. Essentially this is a boon for more fastidious shutterbugs who can really fine tune shots in this format.
HTC One M9 Review: CPU, RAM + Connectivity
This is where things start to get a little better, as the HTC One M9 absolutely FLIES. Inside you’ll find Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 CPU –– a 64-bit octacore setup with four Cortex-A57 cores operating at speeds of up to 2.1GHz, and four Cortex-53 tuned to 1.5GHz –– running alongside 3GB of RAM. And all of this, of course, translates into silky smooth performance across the board. Nothing crashed or lagged during our two weeks with the handset, 3D games run like a charm and even CPU-intensive tasks like photo and video-editing are taken well in the M9’s stride.
I also didn’t experience any over-heating issues, as some reports have claimed, though the back panel does get a smidge warm after prolonged use with more detailed games like Max Payne or Dead Trigger 2. All in all this thing is an absolute powerhouse of EPIC proportions. But with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 and 3GB of RAM, as well as HTC’s excellent skills with integrating Android with its hardware, we didn’t really expect anything less.
LTE is now pretty well-spread across the UK. Heck, even BT’s back in the game with a selection of ultra-low 4G packages with prices starting at just £5. In order to make the M9 as viable as possible, HTC has upped its LTE band support to 10, meaning the handset should be able to access LTE on all major UK networks as well as the smaller ones like GiffGaff and Tesco Mobile too. You also get Bluetooth 4.1, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, NFC, and MHL for hooking the handset up to an HD display.
HTC One M9 Review: Software
The HTC One M9 is receiving its Android 5.1 Lollipop software update in Europe starting August 4. Graham Wheeler, Product and Service Director at HTC, tweeted the news that M9 owners in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia (EMEA) will soon be getting a notification on their phone that the update is ready for download.
HTC does great software for its Android handsets and, over the years, the Sense UI really has come into its own. The updates and changes the company made to it ahead of the M7 launch were well thought out, seamlessly executed and aesthetically pleasing. Basically, for me, HTC hit the nail on the head back in 2012/13 and has continued to do so ever since. I still prefer a stock setup on Android, however, but if I had to choose one Android overlay to work with it’d almost certainly be Sense –– it wipes the floor with Samsung, Sony and LG’s efforts.
A lot of care, love and attention has gone into building Sense and making it as useful as possible. And for the most part it is all good. The UX itself has never looked better and the added bonus of being able to install custom themes designed by other M8/M9 users is a lovely feature that I think a lot of people will appreciate. Now, there’s nothing necessarily new about a Themes function per se, but HTC has an interesting spin on it because as well as being able to pick and download standard themes you can also create your own using a picture – you can even snap something with the camera and have the app make a Theme from it by analysing the colours. It’ll then apply them to the icons, create a wallpaper, and pick an appropriate font. Far from being stuck with the app’s decisions, you can go in and individually customise things like fonts and icons as you see fit.
HTC has flattened down the design of Sense too, bringing the platform more inline with Google’s modern-looking Android Lollipop update. It’s still a long ways from stock, however, and there is a fair amount of un-removable software –– bloatware –– to contend with. Fortunately, most of it is rather useful. Take Cloudex, for instance, which pulls all your images from Drive, Dropbox, Flickr and Facebook into one easy-to-access folder, complete with thumbnails.
Sense 7 also has Kid Mode, which, as the name suggests, is all about stopping pesky kids from ruining your phone and spending your family fortune on onions for FarmVille, or whatever the hell kids spend their money on these days. In Kid Mode you decide which apps junior gets access too, meaning you don’t end up as the central character in a Mail Online story about the dangers of children and smartphones.
The IR Blaster is still present on the HTC One M9, giving you control of things like your VCR, HDTV and stereo-system. It’s a nice, well thought out feature that I know a lot of people appreciate. In addition, should your TV remote die and you’re fresh out of Duracells, you have a back up option. This for me is where the IR blaster comes into its own, as it’s not something I’d use regularly but, in the event of a Duracell embargo it is certainly a nice feature to have at your disposal.
The Peel Remote App, which you use to access the IR functionality, is also a top notch piece of software. It’s easy to setup, supports a myriad of different types of consumer electronics and it even packs in its own TV guide –– handy for those not using Sky. All in all this is a very well realised little package that has been clearly designed with the user in mind. Like 99.9% of stuff in Sense 7, it doesn’t feel like an after thought.
I still don’t like BlinkFeed. Like, at all. And the new Sense Home, at least in my opinion, is largely useless. Why? Simple: I know what applications I want to use at any given time of day. I do not need them automatically switched around depending on the time and where I am in the world. I sort of understand the logic here, everybody loves a bit of automation or things made easier, but I really do wish HTC has just left this one on the drawing board. No one ever said selecting an application from your homescreen was difficult; in fact, switching out my core apps for a new selection based on something I looked at the previous day ACTUALLY creates more work for me, as I have to go into the apps menu and select an app that would usually already be pinned to homescreen.
Thanks but no thanks, HTC.
Mercifully this feature can be removed with relative ease. Apparently you have to persist with it in order to get the best results. That might be the case, but I don’t want to do this and every single person I asked during my testing period agreed. Having said that, in the spirit of reviewing objectivity I did persist with Sense home for an entire week. The results did begin to improve the longer I used it, but it still kept chucking in weird applications like Yelp, which I literally NEVER use.
Other than these little wobbles, getting reacquainted with Sense aboard the HTC One M9 was like meeting up with an old friend. You just seem to switch back to old habits and everything looks and feels very familiar, almost comforting. Yes, BlinkFeed is annoying as hell, and, yes, Sense Home is largely an exercise in futility on HTC’s part, but aside from this HTC retains its crown as the Number One when it comes to custom Android skins.
HTC One M9 Review: Battery Life
QHD eats up way to much battery power for little overall difference in viewing experience, therefore, the HTC One M9 uses a still very impressive 1080p panel in order to give its users improved battery life –– this is the official line from HTC on why the handset does not use a QHD panel like the Galaxy S6 or Nexus 6 or LG G3. And it’s a good official line, too. But here’s the thing –– it simply isn’t true. The HTC One M9’s battery isn’t good by any stretch of the imagination. Compared to the iPhone 6 Plus, Nokia Lumia 930 and Samsung Galaxy Alpha it, quite literally, pales in comparison. And the worst part is I’m not really sure why this is the case…
Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 810 is more power efficient than its predecessor; HTC opted to use 1080p in favour or the more power-draining QHD resolution; the battery inside the HTC One M9 is bigger than the one inside the HTC One M8 (2,840mAh vs 2,600mAh). With all of these things in place you’d imagine there’d be at least some uplift to battery performance. But there isn’t. In fact, performance is round about the same as last year’s model, which, if you remember correctly, left quite a bit to be desired.
KYM’s battery test is pretty simple and consists of two parts: 1) we use the phone like its our daily driver and see how long it lasts before dying and, 2) once that’s out the way we fully charge the handset and move over to the Django Test.
For the daily driver component of the test, we run the handset on full beans, the display on full brightness and everything switched on and/or turned up to the maximum. We do this every day for a week or so in order to get a mean average for performance. On average, the One M9 made it from 7am in the morning until about 4pm in the afternoon before we needed to switch power saver mode on. From here it only managed another few hours, meaning if you’re using this device heavily during the day and are planning on going out after work you HAVE to recharge it in the afternoon or else you’ll be left hanging with a shiny, golden brick come 9:30/10pm.
In the Django test where we run the entirety of Django Unchained for 2 hours 45 minutes on full brightness and with Wi-Fi and mobile data toggled on, the M9 finished up with 52% battery remaining when the credits rolled. The M8 scored 52% in the same test last year. But this is still a ways behind the usual 60% or so we’ve typically seen from 3,000mAh cells inside rival devices. You can probably expect to get at least 5 hours 30 minutes of video playback from one charge, while more casual use (a spot of social networking, browsing, and the odd call) should net you just about a full working day without needing to plug in.
HTC One M9 Software Update Spanks Battery Charge Time
Well it’s just one thing after another for HTC just lately isn’t it? According to reports the latest software update, version 1.40.401.8, has a nasty little bug in it which causes the undesirable side-effect of slowing the phone’s charge rate right down.
Several users who have installed the update have reportedly complained that their One M9 handsets, which previously charged at a fairly normal rate, now take up to 13 hours to fully juice the 2840mAh battery cell.
Allegedly the One M9’s typical charge time is about 1 hour and 45 minutes or thereabouts.
HTC’ UK Twitter account has posted acknowledgement of the hiccup stating that the firm is “aware” of the issue, but has not said anything about a fix. A temporary solution is apparently to restart the phone before you begin charging it.
HTC One M9 Review: Verdict
As you’ve probably gathered by now, I’m not 100% sold on the HTC One M9. I do like the handset. I love the way it looks and feels and I respect HTC immensely for foregoing a QHD panel in order to free up more battery life. I also really like what HTC has done with Sense, bar the already mentioned goofs. But even with all these things going for it I am still positively torn over this handset and whether it is a solid recommendation for anyone looking to upgrade in the coming months.
Part of me loves it; the way it looks and feels in the hand and the ease and elegance it runs Android Lollipop. But there is another aspect to the HTC One M9 and it is one that all the gold and silver and metal and software tweaks cannot shine over. It is too incremental, and the improvements that are present (the camera, for instance) are so negligible in the grand scheme of things it’s very difficult to stomach the £580 price tag, which is a good deal more than Google’s Nexus 6 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
There are no real killer features, either. Nothing to really get excited about. Yes, it looks beautiful. But so too do a lot of phones these days. In order to stand out from the pack HTC needed to do what it did with the HTC One M7 all over again. But instead it opted to merge the M7 and M8 into one handset and pray to god it could get away with it. And that is a real shame because last year or the year before this would have been perfectly acceptable. But in a world where Samsung is back on form, the LG G4 is just around the corner and Apple is now doing normal-sized handsets, adequate or good just don’t cut it anymore.