HTC’s new One M8 had more leaks than the Titanic leading up to its unveiling, but now that it’s official we’re still excited. Why? This 5-inch flagship boasts an even more beautiful metal design and packs a zippier Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor. And unlike the previous One, there’s a mcroSD Card slot on board. But that’s just scratching the surface of the new M8. HTC has also taught its Ultrapixel camera some new tricks and beefed up its BlinkFeed with new features.
Here are the top 8 features of the HTC One M8.
Design: More Metal, More Awesome
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The original HTC one was the first Android-powered smartphone that gave Apple’s iPhone a run for its money in the looks department. For its sequel, HTC refined the One’s design, giving the M8 a more rounded look and feel. The handset’s aluminum rear panel now wraps all the way around the phone from glass to glass.
The company also eliminated the soft-touch Android Back and Home buttons found on the original One in favor of on-screen buttons. The new One will be available in three colors at launch, including Gunmetal Grey, Amber Gold and Glacial Silver. That said, the handset did pack on some weight, increasing from 5 ounces to 5.6 ounces.
One of the HTC One M8’s big new features is its Motion Launch. Using a series of always-ine sensors, Motion Launch detects when you pick it up or pull the One out of your pocket, and double-tap the screen while it’s off to unlock it, à la LG’s KnockOn feature. But unlike KnockOn, the new One also lets you swipe in from the right to unlock the screen to the home screen. You can also swipe in from the left to launch BlinkFeed or swipe up from the bottom to open your last used app.
One of the biggest mysteries surrounding the HTC One M8 has been the secondary camera lens (pictured in so many leaks). Positioned above the handset’s Ultrapixel camera, Duo Camera detects depth of field. What that means is you can take a photo of your friend, and the One M8 camera will automatically determine what’s in the foreground and background. Using the phone’s edit mode, you can then blur the background or foreground.
You can also add filters to the background, and even create a 3D-style image using the Dimension Plus setting. In the future, HTC says you’ll be able to download a Copy & Paste app, which will let you copy a portion of one image and paste it into another.
BoomSound Gets Louder
One of the standout features of the original HTC One was its excellent front-mounted BoomSound speakers. Recognizing that, HTC made the One M8’s BoomSound speakers 20 percent louder. As a result, the One M8 offers more audio depth, meaning bass hits will sound deeper, without making high-pitch notes sound tinny.
One of the biggest complaints we had about the original HTC One was its short battery life. The 2,300 mAh battery lasted only only 5 hours and 44 minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test (continuous surfing over 4G LTE on 40 percent brightness. The new One M8 has a beefier 2,600 mAh battery, so we expect significantly longer endurance.
Plus, HTC says it will soon release a downloadable enhanced power saver mode that will let the phone last up to 10 days on standby.
BlinkFeed: Way Beyond a News Reader
HTC’s BlinkFeed made the original One feel dynamic, delivering news and social updates to your home screen, but it was too busy for many users as a starting point. Thankfully, it’s no longer set as a default home screen, and is instead just an app that sits to the left. HTC also added new functionality to the app, including continuous scrolling, larger images and app integration for FourSquare and Fitbit.
With FourSquare, BlinkFeed will now display the names of nearby restaurants during meal times. In the future, HTC says it will add Fitbit integration to BlinkFeed, creating an Activity Hub from which you can check all of your fitness stats.
HTC has also upgraded its Sense UI for the One M8. Unfortunately, Sense 6.0 doesn’t offer much in terms of enhanced looks or performance. In fact, the most noticeable change to Ui is its new color coding feature. Essentially, HTC has given its proprietary apps specific colors depending on what category they fall into. Entertainment apps, for example, get an orange banner, while productivity apps get a blue banner. BlinkFeed gets its own green color. Beyond that, Sense 6.0 is much the same.
Cover with Smarts
Here’s something you can’t do with any other smartphone cover. The HTC One M8’s optional accessory has a see-through dot pattern that lets you see incoming notifications, check the weather and more with a tap. You can even answer the phone without opening the cover, as the One M8 is smart enough to pick up the line when you lift the device to your head.
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Dan Howley is a writer and editor whose work has appeared on Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, CNN business, MSN, AOL, and more, covering smartphones, laptops, and wearables. He now works full time at Yahoo Finance, where he writes articles covering the tech and gaming industries. He lives in New York.