For this camera, however, you actually get a choice of using a decent but not great 13 megapixel camera in “high-res” mode for regular images or the “duo” mode camera for blended images providing foreground and background control.
Either way, you still get a 13 megapixel shot, but it just becomes a matter of if you like editing it for foreground or background control, with the option for switching found on the left edge.
During our time with the M8s, we were glad to see the technology back — hooray for keeping developments that were only up until recently considered important! — but didn’t care much about the extra effects HTC has been pushing for with the technology.
HTC tried to become one of those image editing players, mind you, and offers “Zoe” for image effects like Instagram and for a modicum of image editing like Snapseed, but Zoe is nowhere near as well built or easy to use as the other apps, so in the end, it will just be a feature you more than likely won’t touch.
At least the camera is decent, but like the One M9, the results often have a glassy and slightly blurry look to them, especially when using the higher resolution mode.
Interestingly, we found better, stronger colours out of the camera when it operated with the extra camera, with the dual camera tech showing better exposure than the single 13 megapixel working by itself, surprising us greatly.
We’re not sure anyone will edit the images to include any of those snazzy effects HTC is still pushing out — because everyone wants snow or falling leaves in their photos, right?! — but at capturing images in the duo mode does seem to offer better quality for some reason.
Interestingly, running in the Duo mode, you’ll find stronger exposures than we found out of the true HTC 2015 flagship, the One M9.
Maybe there’s a reason to keep the dual cameras in the flagship phones after all, HTC.
The battery, on the other hand, feels a little like last year, which is surprising given the processor has been updated.
That said, the eight-core Snapdragon 615 can be a little hit and miss with regards to overall battery life, and that’s the way it felt here, managing a full day, but not much more, which these days is acceptable for a flagship — which this is kind of like — but should offer closer to two days for a mid-range — which this phone technically is.
If you’re cool to charge it daily, that’s the sort of life on offer from this phone, which is adequate for most, though obviously not the best in show.
At least it supports the same style of cases from last year, and that means we can get the DotView case out of retirement for some retro-inspired love.
HTC sure knows how to confuse us, and with the One M8s we are positively stumped.
On the one hand, you have the One M9, a metal thing of beauty that packs all of HTC’s smarts and tech features into one glorious looking package with absolute disastrous battery life, and on the other hand, consumers can find the One M8s, a recycled product that outperforms its high-priced M9 brother in so many ways and supports the DotView cases that don’t work on the M9.
Indeed, this might be a hard decision for some customers.
If you love the bling of the M9 and think its metal case is king, as well as its 4K camera — which can only get better as HTC pays attention and improves the software with each update — that’s the one to go for.
But if you want metal, don’t care about your phone being a remote, and are after a mid-range that looks and feels like a premium, we’d put this phone in your hand and see how it feels to you, because in many ways, this is what the 2015 flagship should have been like.
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Still beautifully designed, just like the HTC One M8 was in 2014; Pretty much the same phone as last year, but with a few minor changes; Uses the dual camera setup HTC let go of in its 2015 flagship; Supports the same DotView cases like the M8 did;
No infrared port; HTC’s Sense overlay is still at version 6, not 7 like its One M9 has; Camera doesn’t support 4K recording; Still kind of slippery to hold; Battery could be a little better;