1. jtbarton's Avatar
    Introduction
    So, it's been EXACTLY one month since I took the leap from the comfort zone of Nokia and used the upgrade from my 925 to get the One M8 for windows on ATT. Like many people, it was a choice between the Lumia 830 and the One M8 (which I like to call the One W8) that happened to drop on November 7. Upon getting my name called and getting helped out by the awesome ATT salesperson, he did remark that they had sold quite a decent amount of Lumia 830s and a couple of Ones for Windows, as he had to make sure that they still had some stock remaining. He did not try to sway me from my choice and in fact he was kinda relieved I wasn't in for an iPhone. Either way, he fished a new M8 from the back, transferred the number to the nano-sim, and that was it. I started fresh with the new phone and I was off. After a month of living with it, here is my review. I'm employing the services of my Lumia 635 for picture purposes.

    First Impressions
    Gotta say, it took some getting used to coming from my Lumia 925 and ATIV S Neo as my daily drivers as the phone is TALL. As well, while I'm no stranger to on-screen capacitative keys, the extra blank space under the screen (containing HTCs Logo) added to some issue because now the screen was technically 'higher' in certain respects. I often found myself having to hide the Navigation Bar so I could text more comfortably from the start. Holding the phone in hand, it felt like it naturally fit and it curved perfectly with my palm. The cool metal feel was a welcome change from the poly-carbonate back of the 925 which often got unnecessarily hot at the most menial tasks. Booting the screen up I was actually impressed and could tell some difference in quality between the 925 and this slab of LCD, and in a good way too. Of course, colors aren't saturated like the AMOLED screen of the 925 but that's okay. There are some differences in darker colors and the lack of a clearblack display is apparent but blacks still look black to me, not gray at all like people seem to exaggerate. The 925's screen was excellent with 336ppi and what-have-you, but the 441ppi on this screen still makes for a somewhat nicer viewing experience. However, it's not all fields of green. I knew right off the bat that I'd miss the sunlight readability feature... but I did not realize how much sunlight readability helped. I adjusted to this over time but at the very beginning I ended up having to crank the brightness up to maximum. I don't have to do this anymore but that made me put a few things into perspective over the next few days. Also, I noticed that the auto-brightness was not as 'good.' It adjusted as necessary but just was not very good at it. However, I'm not too phased, as having used iPhones and certain Android Phones in the past, Lumia Phones seem to have gotten autobrightness perfectly. Also, I may be the odd one in saying this but I kinda prefer the lock button on the top, as it doesn't interfere with any car accessories when I mount it. Playing with it more on the first day, I was kinda annoyed that there was no way to turn off the haptic feedback of the nav bar, and asking around yielded that there was indeed no way to do this

    The sheen and feel of this phone is spectacular:
    wp_20140521_005-1-.jpg

    Girth comparison between the One M8 and a Lumia 520 Shell
    wp_20140521_007-1-.jpg

    The usual interface we are accustomed to, and it's quite becoming on the M8:
    wp_20140521_018-1-.jpg

    The Speakers
    Now, one of the main selling points of this phone are the massive front-facing speakers. The Boomsound Speakers, as they're called. Cranking them up to full volume and playing music, I was very impressed by the clarity and non-tinny sound. With the 925 I had to be careful not to crank it past 27 volume for the speaker or the quality of the music would degrade substantially. Again, nothing is all peaches and cream. I noticed that it takes a couple of seconds for the top speaker to kick in, though I'm not sure if this is expected or not. I have no issue hearing notifications but if the notification is longer than about 3 seconds (e.g. a ringtone) the top speaker will then kick in, amplifying the volume 3 times. I love the volume, but I can't help but wonder why there's a delayed reaction between the speakers. Also, I had to turn off the lock/unlock sound, as after about two weeks of using it with this sound enabled, locking the phone would produce a 'popping' sound from the speakers. Furthermore, keeping this feature on seemed to cause issues in using earphones. Locking the phone would suddenly produce a substantially louder output, necessitating immediate adjustment or deafness. As well, a problem that still persists and has not been solved by hard resets (neither have the above), once in a while the sound output for earphones will be muffled horrifically, where the volume would be cranked up to 25 for the headphones and I'd barely hear anything. The simple fix is just unplugging and plugging the jack back in. Still, I'd think for a phone that prides itself on the speakers as a selling point, they'd not have these problems. It would be like the Lumias, priding themselves on the camera as a selling point, and the cameras not performing optimally like a horrendous yellow tint to the pictures... oh wait. Also, the BoomSound amplification option through the speakers and headphones is, pardon my French, **** Poor. All it did was seemingly change the focal point of the sound and it sounded like someone mashed the Bass, Guitar, Treble, and Vocals into one cacophonous mess. I turned it off immediately and noted the STELLAR quality of sound through the earphones.

    The Camera
    With my last comment, we move to the most contentious subject of this phone... the Duo Camera (though there's little question about the capability of the FFC). While I do take a decent amount of pictures, my only concerns are having a camera that takes decent quality photos and has flash. That's it. The 925 would have been fine but Cyan did not fix the yellow tint. I would end up having to use Lumia Creative Studio to bring up the sharpness and reduce color to remove the tint. The ATIV S Neo at some points took better pictures, but colors tended to be dull. The 635 and 520 were admirable but no flash implied uselessness in absence of light. In taking my first pictures with the One M8, I was pleasantly surprised in many ways. Firstly, the HTC Camera interface is quite nice. It's not Lumia Camera interface in terms of choice allotted but I prefer the One's interface better. Also, I don't think the stock nor the Lumia Camera App allowed changing of filters in-app. Correct me if I'm wrong. Also, I noticed that using Wide, Regular, or Square crops yielded no difference in image quality, while using the full 16:9 resolution on the Lumias used 7 MP instead of the full 8. With the Image Chip, photos are FAST and pretty damn accurate, often surprising me with how well pictures came out. Of course, this may be in part due to the screen being much higher quality, thus the post-views of the pictures I've taken simply look better. Samples below:


    While the picture qualities are magnificent in my eyes, there tends to be an oversaturation of some colors in certain lighting conditions. Note the teal-blue portions of the sky; this was not present in reality:
    imag00033-1-.jpg

    In lower light settings, I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the camera. It's definitely no Lumia, but I've noticed that this phone, even it's android brother, performs better in lowlight than other android phones (with exception of the G3 in some instances). Other reviewers tend to corroborate this and all in all, I'm in love:
    imag00044-1-.jpg

    Naturally, cropping to zoom is a big no-no for this phone, as the image quality will degrade substantially. Fortunately, I find little use for cropping to zoom, and any cropping I do is merely to shave off the edges of the picture I don't need. If you rely on crop-to-zoom though, I cannot recommend this phone.

    Overall Performance and Field Testing
    I'm sure based on how much we read on WindowsCentral, if someone was to ask us in a life-death situation what the specs are of any windows phone, we could probably regurgitate them by memory, so I'll only mention them in passing. The 801 processor with a (still somewhat) top of the line GPU create not only a wonderful interface experience but I've noticed almost no 'resuming' screens, and if they do occur, they last fractions of a second. Compared to my 925, pictures and websites load substantially faster, Xbox Music absolutely cruises on this phone, and overall general usage is fluid and consistent throughout. Even with intensive tasks, it does not get more than comfortably warm, even for a metal phone. Call quality is pristine and I've noticed myself getting marginally better service than with my 925, not enough to tell the difference normally, but in areas that I know are notorious deadzones, I'd often find this thing clinging to life with one bar where the 925 would display 'No Service.' One week in, I did experience some stuttering and overall laggy experiences, but a quick reboot of the phone solved this problem, and I've never run into any form of lag or stuttering (that wasn't just a lack of app optimization) since.

    On a standard day where I mainly use my phone to constantly play music and text, the M8 EASILY gets two days worth of charge, and that's about the time battery saver kicks in, which can squeeze probably another 6-8 hours at the same rate of usage. This probably cannot be replicated on the Android version, though I'm not entirely sure. I one time had to let it die just so the battery could fully discharge for once and I got just shy of three days out of the phone. On a regular day of taking it off the charger and replacing it before I go to sleep, I'm usually left with somewhere between 60-80% battery life remaining. Idling through the night, the battery often drains about five to eight percent on a standard 8 hour sleep cycle.

    I have not dropped this phone (on hard ground that could cause damage) yet, but I tend to two-hand this phone often out of habit. Nevertheless, I purchased a case for it that I swap on and off depending on my mood for the day. Spigen makes great sh*t so I bought their slim armor for the 'android phone,' and of course since it's the exact same phone, it fits like a glove. Also, filling out the form that HTC provided, I signed up to receive the limited Xbox Dot View case and it arrived in about two weeks instead of the projected 6-8 weeks. HTC is officially based in my eyes.

    My 635 keeps taking vertical pictures in landscape mode, forgive me for straining your necks sideways:
    wp_20140521_012-1-.jpg

    Like a glove:
    wp_20140521_015-1-.jpg

    Nice of you to join us, Cortana:
    wp_20140521_016-1-.jpg

    The Dot View makes the phone much more interesting in terms of interaction. I never have to press the lock/unlock button as opening unlocks (unless you have a passcode of course) and closing locks. Usability and functionality is maximized if Motion Launch (double tap to wake up) is enabled, allowing to see a quick glance of the time, weather, and temperature. Unlike without the case, however, double tapping once more turns the display off, which I find quite a welcome feature. However, the Dot View case is not conducive for heavy music use, as there are a distinct lack of controls for music save for the mic button of the headphones. This is somewhat disappointing, as since we are able to interact with phone calls and alarms through the Dot View, I had hoped to be able to interact with my music (at least basic pause/play next/previous buttons that we're used to with the generic lockscreen interface), but alas I need to exert energy to open to case to interact with the Now Playing. As such, I take off the case once in a while since I miss the metal feel and I miss my own lockscreen once in a while.

    Conclusion and Final Thoughts
    I never used to enjoy HTCs phones, but wow. That's all I have to say. Apart from the occasional gripe listed above as no phone is perfect (either feature wise or bugs) I love everything about this phone. It is the first time I have not had to sacrifice processing power (635/520), internal storage (925), Camera (635, 520), or fluidity of interface (ATIV S Neo). Other than the enticing Wireless Charging and swappable colored backs of the Lumia 830 (not to mention it's 10 MP snapper with all those goodies including lowlight performance), I feel I've made the right choice after a month. Sometimes I'll feel underwhelmed as I have with all my other phones before me, but then I pick it up and use it again, and I realize that this thing is a wonderful device. I enjoy jumping Operating Systems and Ecosystems, so my next phone may very well be an Android phone, but I have to say that this One M8 for Windows may be the first phone that I ride out completely to the end of my ATTNext Plan. To any on the fence about this phone, take heed of some of the considerations I've mentioned above (aside from the bugs that are probably exclusive to my phone only). All in all, I recommend this phone ENTIRELY.

    Thanks for reading!
    Attached Thumbnails wp_20140521_004-1-.jpg  
    12-07-2014 08:01 PM
  2. mark233's Avatar
    Very nice review! Thanks for sharing it. The M8 is a super device and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. It has surpassed my 925 as favorite Windows phone (so far).
    12-07-2014 09:09 PM
  3. VinTheButcher's Avatar
    Just ordered mine from T-Mobile, jumped my wife's 925 for it, going to give her my 925 and take the HTC (W)8, should be here this week, gotta get that free XBoxOne Case! HTC was my first smartphone, MDA Windows phone. My favorite Droid was the HTC DNA, damn good phone.
    12-07-2014 09:34 PM
  4. ooklah's Avatar
    Just ordered mine from T-Mobile, jumped my wife's 925 for it, going to give her my 925 and take the HTC (W)8, should be here this week, gotta get that free XBoxOne Case! HTC was my first smartphone, MDA Windows phone. My favorite Droid was the HTC DNA, damn good phone.

    Just a tip on getting the case just a bit quicker if you have it an EIP through T-Mobile - once it ships, under the EIP section of your bill the phone should be listed and you can grab the IMEI from there and submit the request for your case. I did this myself and got my case the day after my phone!

    And to the OP, great write up! I enjoyed reading it.
    VinTheButcher and ajb1965 like this.
    12-08-2014 01:18 AM
  5. Bowlegz's Avatar
    Good review of a really good device.
    12-08-2014 12:45 PM
  6. Stefan Holder's Avatar
    Great write up there dude. Thanks for sharing.
    12-08-2014 03:56 PM
  7. waazzupppp's Avatar
    Just a heads up on the saturation issue with the camera... You know you can turn that down in the manual camera settings right? I dropped that a touch and also dropped the sharpness for everyday shooting and the difference is phenomenal! (others opinions may vary...)
    12-08-2014 06:05 PM
  8. princeegli's Avatar
    Very good detailed review....thanks for taking the time and doing it
    12-08-2014 06:18 PM
  9. Jose_Rey's Avatar
    Man, I have never owned an HTC phone. But reviews like yours make think twice about giving it a chance. I can read and take in the negatives and the positives, but I guess I'll never really know unless I own one personally.
    12-08-2014 06:21 PM
  10. cure92's Avatar
    Thank you very much for this!! I'm on T-Mobile and just got my 925 replaced a second time. I've been on the fence about this one and your review was a great help!
    12-09-2014 12:52 AM
  11. aximtreo's Avatar
    Nice job on the review. As can be seen, other members liked your work as well. I much rather read a review from on of our users than some professional reviewer.

    Thank you very much.
    12-09-2014 08:24 AM
  12. thundr51's Avatar
    Great review, currently using a 8x and thinking about getting this, mostly because it's the only thing I kind of want that Tmo offers and I feel I'm wasting money by not using my Jump (my 8x was paid off some time ago). The only things I really don't like about this phone are the software buttons, and lack of camera button.
    12-10-2014 10:03 AM
  13. spoonxii's Avatar
    Great review, currently using a 8x and thinking about getting this, mostly because it's the only thing I kind of want that Tmo offers and I feel I'm wasting money by not using my Jump (my 8x was paid off some time ago). The only things I really don't like about this phone are the software buttons, and lack of camera button.
    I came from an 8X and it took me about one hour to get used to it - love it- and no more hair trigger accidental Bing Searches!
    12-10-2014 10:54 AM
  14. Nicholas Maguire's Avatar
    Wow, after reading your review, I want this phone... I'm kinda tempted to wait until Windows 10 phones come out, and get myself an Xbox One instead.
    12-14-2014 02:28 PM
  15. thecaringkind's Avatar
    Good review! Just ordered mine from Verizon and am really looking forward to getting back to WP. I have experienced all kinds of phones and OS's and all I can say is that your daily driver is about so much more than apps and I always find my way back to WP.

    Sent from my Passport using Tapatalk
    03-29-2015 08:48 PM
  16. thecaringkind's Avatar
    We I got it! I'd forgotten how great the fine metal chassis felt in-hand. The M8 really is a fine piece of machined aluminum. The screen is vivid, crisp & responsive. The speakers sound great as always. The apps I've loaded so far work for me just fine. It's interesting to note how some reviewers nitpick about the supposed sluggishness of the OS which is a little funny considering that the animations of WP are a natural part of how the system works.

    Video loads quickly with no hiccups and as an overall media consumption device this phone is hard to beat. I haven't snapped any photos yet but I'm not overly concerned. I take snapshots and that's it. No major photography projects in my future requiring anything other than what the phone is equipped with.

    Will be checking in with more impressions soon!
    mark233, Stiv X and Kevin Hill2 like this.
    04-08-2015 03:30 PM

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