HTC_One_M8The HTC One M8 is a stylish, premium smartphone which runs the ‘KitKat’ version of Google’s Android operating system and is available from a number of UK networks, including Three who provided our review phone.

Basics
The phone is 4G-ready so you’ll be able to enjoy faster mobile broadband speeds (subject to network coverage), including when using the phone as a personal hotspot/modem for your tablet or laptop if your tariff allows this.

It comes in both 16GB and 32GB models, neither of which are all that great if you plan to store a lot of music, films or apps on the phone but, unlike Apple’s iPhone, Android phones support the use of external memory cards so you can boost this up to a maximum of 128GB.

Design & Performance
While HTC have gone for one of the most boring names possible, the phone itself is a work of beauty, featuring a curved, brushed aluminium design that’s 90% metal – no silver painted plastic here!

The gorgeous looks continue through to the 5” widescreen display which has the same 1920 x 1080 resolution as the new iPhone 6 Plus but offers 10% more pixels per inch – 441 versus the iPhone’s 401 – so your icons, apps and web pages look crisp and vivid.

Some phones look good but scrimp on the internals, leaving owners with slow, sluggish performance and a frustrating user experience.

Thankfully HTC haven’t cut any corners here, blessing the phone with a powerful 2.3GHz processor and 2GB of RAM to create a speedy, reliable and enjoyable experience.

Both the operating system and apps run without lag, and the phone feels and performs like the premium product HTC market is as.

Battery
HTC is using the same battery as the previous generation HTC One but claims to have delivered better battery efficiency and has introduced a new power saving mode to manage battery use by dimming screens, switching off vibrations and limiting which apps can download data in the background.

Differing usage patterns means it’s near impossible to say whether the battery on any phone is ‘good enough’ – if you opt to watch iPlayer on your morning commute you’re going to use a lot more battery than someone telling their Twitter followers that the trains are delayed.

During my time with the One M8 the battery life was sufficient, by which I mean it was able to cope with a mixture of uses during the day and still have some charge left.

No smartphone is going to last all day on a single charge if you run it at full brightness, constantly connected and/or streaming video and if you’re going to use your phone this way and lack access to a power socket during the day, it’s a good idea to invest in an external battery pack.

Camera
The M8 has the usual front and rear cameras which can be switched between simply by swiping left and right while inside the camera app.

The front 5.0-megapixel camera is intended for video calling, allowing you to treat your friends to highly detailed footage of any facial imperfections, bad hair days or saggy chins.

The rear 4.0-megapixel camera works in tandem with a second 2-megapixel camera which captures depth of field information about the scene your snapping to help create better pictures.

Despite the hype, I wasn’t impressed by the results, especially when viewing pictures on a larger screen where noise and other artefacts were often very noticeable.

If you just want half-decent pictures for uploading to Facebook or Twitter then the M8 is fine, but don’t rely on it – or any camera phone in my opinion – for capturing perfect pictures of a special day or event.

Summary
The HTC One M8 will cost around £449 Pay as you go/contract free and from £28 per month via Three on a two year contract, plus £49 upfront, or from £37 with all you can eat data.

The high quality build means the handset easily last the wear and tear of daily use and see out your contract and the high specs means it should easy cope with the processing demands of any future Android updates.

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