Beyond the camera, you’ll find louder BoomSound front facing speakers, which HTC says is up to 25 percent louder with more detail and clarity present thanks to new amplifiers. The home screen experience has changed too, evolved thanks to the latest version of HTC’s Android overlay, Sense 6, with colour coded applications and a better and enhanced version of Blinkfeed, while an “easy mode” will also be present for those who, well, like to take it easy.
All of this sits in a body made from one piece of metal, and this appears to be an evolution of what HTC made last year. The design is more rounded, and definitely firm. You can try twisting it, bending it, or force it to creak, and it just won’t, with the full metal wrap unibody feeling absolutely solid, and helping to make metal one of the primary material of the HTC One’s construction.
“When you hold it in your hands, you realise it’s just a work of art,” said Sng.
Hands on with the handset and Sng isn’t far off, as the new adopts the brushed metal look that Samsung has occasionally dabbled with on its plastic Galaxy S handsets, but fixes the formula by using metal. It’s a tad slippery, but it feels really lovely, and reminds you of that first time you picked up an iPad or MacBook Air and realised that, yes, gadgets really do work well in metal.
One thing isn’t changing much, and that’s the name, with “HTC One” still here for 2014. Officially, the name will be “HTC One” with the “M8” moniker, since that’s the code for the 2014 edition, but it’s a name that could confuse some.
But we think we get why: the 2014 HTC One feels less like a totally new phone, and more like a perfection of everything HTC was trying to achieve last year. The body is firmer, the specs are faster, the camera is better, and all up everything feels tighter, but rather than be a new phone, it’s just the company’s way of perfecting last year’s device, which was for many — us included — one of the best smartphones of the year.
We do like one of the extra features HTC has added this time around, though, and that’s support for a flip case that can be used while the flip is closed.
HTC’s own flip cases for the One (M8) will have small holes drilled into them, but when used with the One handset, you’ll actually be able to swipe and used parts of the handset through the flip case, protecting the screen while you use the handset. HTC has made the interface uber-geeky for this to happen, dropping the on-screen graphics to something more akin to 8-bit graphics, with pixelated phone and weather icons, but it could make it a really good option for people who love keeping their screen void of fingerprints and scratched, and still letting them use the phone.
While no one was looking, we did have a bit of a sticky beak and run the new One through a quick benchmark, scoring an impressive 26947 in Quadrant, which tells us this is one fast little smartphone, and should go the distance easily for the next year, if not two.
If the phone is holding your interest more than models from competitors, its launch is pretty soon, with a release date of April 1st (no fools here), and made available across every major network in Australia (Telstra, Optus, Vodafone). Outright pricing is also available, with the phone coming in at $899.