Not long ago, I wrote a piece detailing what I’d love to see in the next iPhone. We’re all sure Apple is going to release a new iPhone this year, and for the sake of ease, we’ll call it iPhone 6. In my list of things I’d like to see, most important were a bigger display, curved body and a better battery life. On each of those features, the HTC One delivers.
Now, I don’t write about Android phones on here very often, unless I’m comparing it with the iPhone or checking out how the specs differ between flagship models. But when it comes to hardware design and manufacturing, HTC and its One series almost show an Apple-esque focus on style. The original model looked a bit like a tiny version of an iMac, and I liked that a lot. It didn’t just look good, it felt great in hand too. And the new model refines and improves on that model by making it every so slightly more curved, and adding Apple-esque curves to the corners. It’s almost like its corners have been rounded a little more to match the iOS 7 app radius. But, probably not.
If the iPhone 6 went along those lines with its curves, I would be delirious.
Manufacturing is a big deal to Apple, and it seemingly is for HTC too. While Cupertino often boasts about brand new methods for creating chamfered edges (like the iPhone 5) or the metal punched-out casing for the new Mac Pro, HTC has created its own new method. In the Gunmetal Gray design, they had to come up with a new way of adding a hair-line brushed finish to the aluminum which is normally very difficult on curved metal. Not only does it look and feel awesome, its rear shell is now 90% aluminum. No polycarbonate edges in sight. It’s beautiful.
As for the display size, it’s a tiny bit big for my liking. 5-inches is pushing the comfort zone for one-handed use. But, for two-handed typing and watching movies, playing games and everything the modern smartphone does, it’s brilliant. And – if I’m 100% honest – I’d much rather have a slightly too big display than a slightly too small. I’ve said it a million times, but I can’t stand typing messages or emails on my iPhone. It’s too cramped.
The new HTC comes equipped with a 2,600mAh battery. That’s a full 300mAh more than the last model, which performed fantastically on a single charge. When I had mine, I frequently got through two days without needing to refuel. And, if you check it against my iPhone 6 wish list, you’ll see that two days is exactly what I want. I also mentioned my old BlackBerry that would go a week without charge, and stated that isn’t reasonable today. But, apparently HTC didn’t get that memo. With its extreme power saving mode, cutting it down to its core functions, you can get 15 hours use from 5% charge. Or 30 hours from 10% charge, or 60 hours from 20% charge. You see where this is going.
On 100% charge, you can get up to 300 hours use with the power saving switching on. Sure, you’ll only be able to make calls, send texts and manually check email, but in a pinch, that’s perfectly fine.
Last on my list was 802.11ac Wi-Fi connection. HTC One M8 has that too…
Something that wasn’t on my list, but would have been #6 had I chosen to list 6 things was sound. BoomSound was fantastic on the HTC One, and it’s going to be again on this One. If you haven’t tried watching movies, or listening to music using HTC One, you won’t know, but it’s ear-blowingly great. It’s loud, clear, and has a much wider array of frequencies, so you can actually hear the bass notes and it doesn’t distort when it gets loud. And, I know I’m not the only who’s missed calls because the iPhone speaker is too quiet. It’s virtually impossible with BoomSound. It. Is. Freaking. Loud.
So what’s not to love about the HTC One M8, and what’s to stop me from getting it as my next primary device? Simple: Android.
It’s the best and worst thing about being an iOS fan. I love the App Store, I love the quality of the apps available and I love how it works seamlessly with all my other Apple devices. You can’t get that experience anywhere else. I’ve come to realize that more with all the movies I’ve purchased for my Apple TV, it creates a brilliant way to consume it. It also means that when great smartphones come along, I can’t go diving in with 100% commitment unless it fits in to my ecosystem. And despite the fact that the HTC One can control my TV using its IR remote, I still wouldn’t be able to use AirPlay or control my Apple TV.
Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t hate Android. It has some elements I wish iOS had. Things like the ability to install third party keyboards (SwiftKey), and have Google Now running constantly, telling me where I need to be, and what’s happening next, as well as an online presence for installing apps remotely without needing a clunky and RAM-eating iTunes program. But, I’ve tried so many times to make Android my main system, and its incompatibility with the rest of my set up makes it a stress in the end.
In short, if someone can somehow get iOS running smoothly on an HTC One M8, you would be making – as close as is possible – my ideal smartphone.
But it still wouldn’t be entirely perfect. I don’t entirely get why the HTC engineers are doing this strange thing with its cameras. I’d much rather it had Apple’s iPhone camera and processor in there to make great photographs. And if it did have iOS, it would need a home button, which there’s little room for. Unless it was made smaller and placed under the display.
As it goes, and as a way to end my ramblings. What I’m trying to say here is that HTC deserves a lot of respect and credit for creating a really great piece of hardware. Its intense focus on design, art and manufacturing aren’t far off what we expect from Apple. Going against the flow of big, plastic Android phones, stuffed to the brim with meaningless specs takes some guts. Let’s just hope the market responds well.
What do you guys think? Is HTC’s design language something you’d like to see with the iPhone, or do you prefer the slimline flat shape? Will there ever be a “perfect” smartphone/