HTC One (M8) hands-on: Android's slickest, now even slicker

Credit: Raymond Wong/DVICE

Revision. Revision. Revision. That's the name of the game when it comes to new smartphones. Although they're all large-ish slabs of glass, no two smartphones are equal. Last year's HTC One (M7) proved it was possible for a company to build a premium Android smartphone made from high-quality aluminum, as opposed to plastic (*cough*Samsung*cough*).

Building on the foundations of the HTC One (M7), the HTC One (M8) improves on its predecessor's shortcomings in nearly every department. If a metal Android smartphone is what you're after, then look no further than the HTC One (M8).

Premium Looks, Premium Performance

The first thing you'll notice is the HTC One (M8) has noticeably rounder corners. The plastic edges are gone and the entire design is a brushed "hairline" aluminum construction that looks more premium and feels more durable.

The HTC One (M8) sports a 5-inch 1920x1080 resolution touchscreen, which is almost too sharp for its own good. The "boom" stereo speakers on the front are back and as you'd expect, as loud and clear as ever.

We've truly come a long way since the original iPhone. The HTC One (M8) is an impressive device and it's built to make suckers out of the competition: it runs Android 4.4 KitKat with the new Sense 6.0 skin, and a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, 32GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD card), 2GB of RAM, 5-megapixel front camera/four-megapixel rear camera + two-megapixel rear camera, NFC, Wi-Fi and LTE.

Battery life has also been improved. The HTC One (M8) sports a 2600mAh battery, an increase from the HTC One's (2013) 2300mAh battery. With the help of an "Extreme Power Saving" mode that simplifies the UI for essential features such as the phone, email and messages, the HTC One (M8) can last up to 15 hours when it's battery dwindles down to five percent. That's pretty impressive, especially if you're out late at night and don't have a battery pack/case for a quick recharge.

Shoot First, Focus Later

As predicted by the leaks a few weeks ago, the HTC One (M8) has a nifty camera feature that uses both of its rear cameras — Duo Cameras — to take a picture. Just like the Lytro camera, you can take pictures and it doesn't matter if your subject is out of focus.

Post-shot, you can tap anywhere on a picture and it'll adjust the desired focus. I can see a lot of people using this feature to salvage crappy shots that are out of focus. I definitely had fun poking around with it at HTC's unveil event. As a photo enthusiast, I'm highly supportive of this feature and think it should be in every smartphone.

And not to be forgotten, the HTC One (M8)'s front camera is also pretty spiffy. The 5-megapixel front camera has a wide angle lens, which makes it even better for selfies. (I hear #selfies are kind of a big thing.)

Verizon Launch Today

The HTC One (M8) launches on over 230 carriers in over 100 countries before the end of April. But starting at 1pm ET today, you can get an HTC One (M8) by visiting AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon's website and buying one. If you want it a little bit sooner — say, in store — you can walk right into a Verizon store today and walk out with one as well.

In the U.S., you can get the new HTC One (M8) for $199.99 (16GB) and $249.99 (32GB) with a two-year contract or $649 unlocked. A Google Play Edition will also be sold a later time.

(All photos by Raymond Wong for DVICE.)

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