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Product Reviews by Edgar Dworsky


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HTC One M8 Smartphone

HTC One M8 Among the top tier of Android cellphones is the New HTC One M8. The company provided Consumer World with a review unit to evaluate.

While a number of reviewers have really loved this phone, and one even calling it best smartphone on earth, I found it hard to transition from the Samsung Galaxy S 4 to the HTC One. When you get used to where things are, even on another Android phone, re-orienting oneself to where and how this manufacturer decided to implement that operating system can be frustrating. To this day, after maybe six weeks of use, I have no idea what many of the icons are that appear at the top of the screen. Settings and access to settings seemed much more logical and smartly layed out on the S4.

The HTC One M8 is HTC's top of the line phone, and for good reason. It is all metal and glass, and feels solid and substantial in your hand. But, it only weighs 5.6 ounces. It feels and looks rather long, however. It is thinner than the S 4 and probably thinner than the Apple 5S. The five-inch screen is spectacular, with full 1080p HD. It does, however, wash out substantially in bright daylight.

HTC One's are known for their sound quality. There are two inch-and-half long speakers on the face of the unit (one on top and one on the bottom), so volume is absolutely no problem on this unit. Oddly, however, when listening to music, one must plug in earbuds even if you just want hear the music through the speakers.

While phone calls sound very very good to the user of the HTC One, the party being called is not so lucky. Most people have thought that I sounded "tinny" or in a tunnel when calling them. When will cellphones provided "corded quality" calls? Some think the advent of the new HD voice technology will be the turning point.

One of the most phenomenal aspects of the M8 is the battery. It is 2600 mAh, and it seems to last forever. Even when surfing the net or leaving GPS on, the battery keeps on going. Most people will have no trouble using this phone all day and still have a little juice leftover. The downside of the M8's battery, however, is that it is not replaceable. It is sealed in, just like on an iPhone.

The M8 comes with two cameras. The pictures they take seem to be a mixed bag. Compared to the great S4 camera, some of M8 pictures are better and some are just plain terrible, particularly in back-lit situations. What is novel is a feature called UFocus. When you enable it, you can change the focus of a picture already taken. If you want something or someone in the background to be in focus, just select that area, and the surrounding area goes slightly out focus. This does not however fix pictures that are out of focus to start with.

One really annoying thing about the M8 is the period on the keyboard. Rather than being printed in bright white like most of the letters on other keys, the period is gray and tiny, and cannot be seen in bright light. Another annoyance is the "off switch." You basically are supposed to hold in the power switch for a couple of seconds to get the power off window to display. In some instances, particularly just after turning on the unit, you could hold in the power switch all day and nothing happens.

Generally, the net and telephone tower connections of the M8 are very good. It seems to get one more bar in signal strength than the S4 gets right beside it.

A number of sellers are currently offering the HTC One M8 for about $99 with a two year contract -- $100 below the typical offering price. At that price, it is a steal, for the quality and features built into this phone.

May 11, 2014


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