HTC One (M8) review: The year's best Android phone (so far)

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Gestures galore

Sometimes, gestures are a joke; a ploy on a manufacturer’s part to get consumers to think that they can do more with their phones than tap at it. HTC’s Motion Launch gestures are honestly useful, and I applaud the company for making them a practical part of the user experience rather than something that I immediately want to disable in the settings.

htcone motionlaunch

HTC’s Motion Gestures are simple to learn and surprisingly useful at times.

The gestures work well, for the most part. I did have trouble double tapping the phone to wake it up after the screen had been turned off for some time, but the side-to-side swipes worked almost every time.

Don’t blink (or you’ll miss BlinkFeed)

htcone m8 blinkfeed

Apparently, HTC finally decided it would turn BlinkFeed into a full-blown news and social network aggregator. I was not of fan of the app on the first HTC One, but I’m slowly warming up to it now that HTC has made it... well, useful.

Likely inspired by the death of Google Reader, now you can add any content you want to BlinkFeed. Just swipe to the right to bring up the menu, and type in what you’re looking for, whether it be a favorite yoga instructor or version of Android. Your BlinkFeed will then begin to aggregate content with that search term, and display it in its hub for quick consumption. You can also subscribe to individual Twitter feeds and YouTube channels.

blinkfeed search

You can also use BlinkFeed to post to your various social networks, or get updates from various apps. HTC has opened up the BlinkFeed API to other developers, so expect more functionality to come to it in the coming months.

screenshot 2014 03 26 17 56 36

HTC has finally become more than just that app you don’t use, and now you can add your own content for easy perusing.

A phone worth waiting for

The second-generation HTC One has charmed us all. It features build quality and industrial design a cut above all other Android phones; long battery life; blazing fast performance; really nice interface customizations; wonderful camera software; and terrific sound. But it still lacks some features we love, like a high-resolution camera and touchless voice commands. At least HTC offers this neat Dot case, which displays the time and notifications through the cover like a Lite Brite. 

htcone 15 Michael Homnick

“Lite Brite, Lite Brite, turn on the magic of shining notification lights.” 

That doesn’t mean that the One isn’t a total package. It comes standard with a totally capable camera that can take good low-light photos—not to mention, incredible selfies—a premium build, amplified volume to aid in shower singing, extended battery life, and a simplistic Android overlay that isn’t bogged down with bloatware (though your carrier of choice may force some on you). 

The HTC One (M8) is a winner, but we won’t know if it manages to put a dent in HTC’s misfortunes until the end of the year, when we find out how many units it’s managed to sell. The phones that will compete most directly with the One will ship soon, but HTC certainly is off to a strong start with what is currently the best Android phone you can buy.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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