Here’s Why People Are So Excited About the New HTC One (M8) Smartphone
Everybody’s buzzing this week about the new Android smartphone from HTC, called the HTC One (M8). More than one reviewer is calling it the best Android phone ever made. Maybe the best phone ever made.
To assess those rabid claims, you have to ask a few questions before you even open the package. What makes a phone great? What do we expect of it?
Well, it has to be great-looking, of course. These days, a phone is more than a pocket computer. It’s a style statement. For quite a few people, the phone is an important part of their identities and even self-worth. (If you don’t believe me, I’d be happy to share with you some of the hate mail I get whenever I praise or criticize just about any phone.)
It has to have a fantastic screen. A superb camera. Excellent speakers. Terrific battery life. It has to be screaming fast — no lag anywhere. Extra points for removable battery, a removable memory card for storage, and unique time-saving features.
It should also come with a rich, complete ecosystem: apps, a store for music/movies/books, online syncing of our calendar/address book/mail, free online backups, and so on. Here, Android and iPhone are the clear leaders.
OK, there’s your checklist. Let’s open the HTC One box and begin.
It’s a looker
Yes, the new One is great-looking. Holy cow, is it gorgeous. Its back and sides are all metal, like the iPhone’s, not plastic, like the Samsung Galaxy phones. They’re gracefully rounded, even on the edges. This phone is more than comfortable; you actually want to fondle it like one of those worry stones.
It’s available in silver, gold, or gunmetal gray.
It’s also — what’s the technical term? — huge. Isn’t it strange, the way the world has decided that we now want big phones? For years, we longed for the tiny cellphones they have in Japan.
Huge is good when you’re using a cellphone (think about maps, photos, email, and movies).
But huge is bad when you’re just carrying it. The M8, at 6.3 ounces, weighs 26 percent more than the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5, and 57 percent more than the iPhone 5s. It’s one heavy beast.
The iPhone 5s, on the left, compared with the new HTC One (M8).