All-new HTC One improves on company's flagship phone

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 11:22 PM ET

HTC hasn't lost its favourable comparison with Apple. If anything, after the official launch of the new HTC One (M8) phone at simultaneous events in London and New York, its credentials as the iPhone of the Android world have never been stronger.

And that's also why throughout the event, HTC's executives were at pains to highlight the device's build quality, feel and features, rather than just reeling off a list of technical specifications -- even though its specs are top-notch too.

The new phone, officially referred to as the HTC One (M8), is an update of the original HTC One in terms of design, and that's a good thing. And owners upgrading to the new model will notice that the handset is more curved, and a tiny bit heavier.

But that weight is partly due to the fact that 90% of the phone is constructed from aluminum (79% in the original handset) and because the screen has swollen from 4.7-inches to 5-inches. The display is full HD and is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 so as close to unbreakable as modern glass toughening technology allows.

Inside it packs a serious processor punch. As predicted it's using a Snapdragon 801 quad core 2.3Ghz chip, so pretty much the best processor currently available and that is paired with 2GB of RAM. Internal storage is limited to 16 GB or 32 GB but that shouldn't matter because the company has finally embraced MicroSD cards and the slot on this phone is capable of accepting cards with up to 128GB of space. And that's on top of the free 50 GB of Google drive space that all new owners will get for the first two years.

The new phone was rumoured to have a two-camera set-up but what it actually has is a 4 ultrapixel lens with a second lens that acts as a sensor for calculating depth of field and which can keep an image live after it has been taken so that it can be refocused and edited later.

Another well considered and hopefully well executed trick is increased accessibility in the shape of what the company calls Motion launch. Users can use certain touches, movements or gestures to automatically activate certain phone functions without having to unlock it first. So if the phone is ringing, all you have to do is put it to your ear to take the call. No faffing with the screen.

This functionality is extended through the Dot View case, a cool "ventilated" cover through which the screen is still visible but that makes it look like a colourful dot matrix display. The phone senses when the case is closed and will show notifications such as messages, the time and weather through the case's hole without activating its full display.

In a nod towards the growing trend for quantifying the self, the phone supports the Fitbit tracker but can actually be used as a Fitbit on its own.

The feature is integrated into BlinkFeed, HTC's attempt at curating and offering special content to its smartphone owners. And for 2014 the service is much improved with 1000 content partners and plans to open the service up to developers so that more information and notifications can access it and take full advantage of it.

And, unlike most premium phones, consumers won't have to wait months to find out how well the new handset measures up to the launch-day hype. The new HTC One is on sale now in the UK and US and will initially be available in gunmetal grey, silver or gold.


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