Mobiles & Tablets

HTC completes the flagship trilogy with a snap(per)!

Sabyasachi Biswas | Updated on December 03, 2014

BL04_HTC_M8eye.jpg

One phone to rule them all, One phone that fits everyone's budget, and now One phone to click them all?



It’s one thing to make a phenomenal gadget, which stays on top of our favourites’ list for almost a year. It’s another to make iterations of the same device, just to attract a different clientele, while maintaining the same level of genius that came with the original device.

But it seems that HTC has learned how to create a better offshoot from an already brilliant smartphone. There’s absolutely no doubt that the HTC One M8 was the best Android launch of the year. Moreover, we loved the way the HTC One E8 turned out – all the spec goodies from the M8, with dual-SIM support and a nifty polycarbonate body, along with a simpler camera, and most importantly, a killer price tag.

With the One M8 Eye, HTC has ripped off the UltraPixel camera and replaced it with a traditional BSI sensor, while retaining all the tricks. So does going from Ultra to Mega make the M8 Eye a better device? We at Technophile go snapping to find out.



Design and build

The One E8 was the M8 on a diet, in terms of appearance. The M8 Eye is virtually the same as the original M8 (barring the camera transplant, but we’ll get to that in a bit). In case you’ve missed our M8 review, we love this glorious aluminium unibody design, and the build quality on it too. It looks classy, feels sturdy and with the Dot-View case, the package is hard to miss.

However, that was before some other flagships came into the market. The new Moto X has a slightly more ergonomic form factor, and comes with a leather, bamboo or matte rubber rear panel, offering a much better grip than the HTC’s brushed metal back. Still, the latter is much better than Sony’s Xperia Z3, which has a rather slippery glass back.

Specs and performance

Like we mentioned before, the M8 Eye is more or less the same as the original M8 – the device is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core CPU, clocked at 2.26GHz. Supplementing this is a healthy 2GB of RAM. For storage, you get 16GB of internal memory, which can be expanded up to 128GB using the microSD card slot. In terms of performance, this combination of specs is one of the fastest in the industry as of now, and with the HTC Sense 6 UI overlaid on the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system, this is a very rich computing experience. We love the way the HTC One M8 Eye handles multitasking, and some heavy gaming too.

The 5-inch display panel has a gorgeous 1080p resolution that reproduces beautiful colours and is bright enough for all kinds of usage. That being said, we hope this is the last flagship iteration from HTC to carry a standard full HD resolution, because the competition is quickly moving on to QuadHD displays. HTC has always excelled at audio quality, and the M8 Eye is no exception. The front-facing BoomSound speakers do not disappoint, and together with the screen, the device is recommended for multimedia consumption.

There have been a few compromises though – the Infrared port has been dropped, and the RDS radio is gone too. The fast-charging and the MHL-TV out are also missing. But these aren’t exactly the things that will make a huge difference for most users, and considering the relatively less hefty price tag, we think that this is somewhat justified.

Camera

That brings us to the one change that makes all the difference – the rear camera. Instead of the big-sensor 4MP UltraPixel camera, the M8 Eye carries a 13-megapixel dual camera with a traditional backside-illuminated sensor. The second camera on the back, mounted above the primary camera, acts as a depth sensor – something that we also saw on the original M8.

The camera also carries the same neat software tricks including the option to tweak the exposure bias, white balance and everything else that one may want to tweak.

Hence, it all boils down to the image quality – and we’re mildly surprised at the results. The depth sensor wizardry helps in taking absolutely brilliant macro shots and portraits, and images taken in complete daylight are simply brilliant. The 13MP camera is quite adept at retaining the important details in the images.

The U-Focus works just as brilliantly with the M8 Eye as it did with the M8. Sure, the Autofocus is nowhere as fast as the LG G3’s laser autofocus, but it’s not that slow either. We found the AF to work better than Sony’s Z3.

But it’s the low-light imaging that caused just a bit of disappointment. The images are a tad bit noisy, but if you can tweak your way around the settings, this can be fixed too. And the dual-tone flash helps in retaining skin tones if you’re taking a low-lit portrait. The 5MP front facing camera is as good as ever, and we kept taking selfies all over the place.

Verdict

So, now to answer the most important question – should you buy the HTC One M8 Eye? We’d say yes, if you’re looking for the M8’s metal body and the performance, but without some of the super-geek level features. The M8 Eye also delivers what it promises, which is great imaging. As an Android smartphone, it excels out there as a completely balanced formula.



₹38,990



Love – Camera, build, performance

Hate – Minor spec compromises

Published on December 03, 2014

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