When is a flagship not a flagship? When it’s apparently being slotted in just under the proper flagship. It’s time to see what HTC can do with the an update to its 2014 edition One mobile phone.
The 2014 HTC One was a tremendously cool phone — metal body, dual rear cameras, remote control — and while the new variation that theme, the M9, is very nice, it doesn’t have quite the same feeling. It’s still metal and still features the remote control, but it feels more like catch-up than something experimental like the M8 was.
And HTC seems to be aware of this, because with the M8s, the company is taking what made the 2014 flagship great and updating it to a model that this year — 2015 — would probably be proud of.
An update to last year’s 2014 flagship, the M8s is a surprise addition to the One family, which in turn confuses things again with the idea of the range being about one handset, which has now expanded to several.
Now you have a choice between the M9 and this new one, the M8s, so what does it bring to the table?
First things first, you’ll find a new processor, with HTC engaging the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 eight-core processor clocked at 2.7GHz and comprising of one 1GHz quad-core and another 1.7GHz quad-core section. This chip is paired with 2GB RAM and 16GB of storage, the latter of which can be upgraded with a microSD slot found on the unit.
Google’s Android 5.0 runs here, the version known as “Lollipop”, complete with HTC’s Sense 6.0 overlay here to schmick things up a bit.
Cameras are also found here, and for a surprise, you’ll find three, with a 13 megapixel duo camera on the back — two lenses — while the front camera is a 5 megapixel selfie camera, both of which can record Full HD 1080p video.
Connections on this phone are pretty standard fare too, with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, Near-Field Communication (NFC), GPS, and 4G LTE, while wired connections are handled through the standard microUSB and 3.5mm headset jack.
You will also find the HTC staple “BoomSound” dual front-facing stereo speakers here, as well as the solid aluminium chassis, both of which have become a signature item for HTC’s flagship smartphones.
Buttons, however, aren’t big here, and you’ll find a power button up top and a volume rocker on the right side, with the rest of the buttons occupied by soft buttons integrated in the screen via Google’s Android operating system.
And then there’s that screen, with HTC providing the same 5 inch Full HD 1080p (1920×1080) display from the HTC One M8 (2014), providing roughly 441 pixels per inch, an amount of pixels that goes over 100 higher than the Apple iPhone 6, and 40 higher than the iPhone 6 Plus.
Ports and slots in the HTC One M8s are pretty much identical to last year’s M8, hardly a surprise given the design and shell are mostly the same, so expect the pin ejectable nanoSIM slot on the left edge, the pin ejectable microSD slot on the right edge, and the ports consisting of a microUSB data transfer and charge port on the bottom edge, just next to the 3.5mm headset jack.
The battery on the HTC M8s is rated at 2840mAh and is not removable.
HTC’s second flagship for the year, the M8s is and isn’t a flagship.
Rather, it’s a curious update that offers up much of what made last year’s phone excellent, and yet changes it to help it perform like a 2015 phone.
First of all, HTC has kept the design and build the same, meaning you’ll find the relatively meaty 9.6mm aluminium casing from before, providing the same cavity for a 5 inch display, complete with the same slots, ports, holes for cameras, and a general feeling that this is the same phone.
It feels like the same phone, so you might think it is, only that it also isn’t.
We’re going to need to put the two side by side to find out what’s different.