Nostalgia phone of the month!
This nostalgia series of the month is a random discussion of a previously well-known phone.
Nostalgia of the month May
HTC One M8 (launched March 2014)
- Specifications overview:
- 5" 1920x1080 SLCD 3 Corning Gorilla Glass 3
- Snapdragon 801
- 16/32 GB ROM / 2 GB RAM
- 2600 mAh battery
- Omnivision OV4688 4.08 MP 2.0μm 1/3" sensor f/2.0 27mm ＋2 MP depth sensor secondary camera
- Front camera 5 MP f/2.0 22mm
- Front-facing Boomsound stereo speakers
- IR sensor on top
- support 24-bit/192kHz audio
- Attractive colour options at that time (bright gold, silver, red, blue, gunmetal grey)
1. Sound quality
- I do not mean that the current phones are bad at audio quality, but the front facing speakers on M8 is simply undefeatable. I personally owned the M8 as my primary phone in 2015 and the audio output is so gorgeous and stunning. Both your left and right ears receive the same high quality sound. It is very obvious the sound comes from something metal instead of plastic (which M8 is an all metal phone).
I would say HTC is the pioneer of front facing stereo speakers and is quite successful in turning it into one of the selling points in 2013 and 2014. HOWEVER, I believe HTC is so stupid to forgo this design. The HTC One A9 actually showed its shaking of confidence towards stereo speakers. The Nexus 6P, on the other hand, uses the stereo speakers and is still its most praiseworthy selling point. The new HTC 10's 'pair' of speakers is oddly placed, with one on top and one on the bottom. Despite its odd placement, this move is actually followed by iPhone 7 series, Samsung C9 Pro, Huawei Mate 9 series etc. But the sound quality is never the same. Now those phones seem like the two speakers are not coherent enough and fail to cooperate successfully together.
2. Aluminium all metal body
- It is obvious that HTC (and Apple) actually brings out another trend, which is the all metal body design. The premium feel somehow makes me feel a bit afraid that I may one day accidentally drop it and destroy its sacredness.
Although in 2016 and nowadays there are SO MANY phones claiming that they are made of metal. But so many of them are actually 'not so much' metal phones. The reason behind is that they use a 3-tier design (back) and a glass (top). The 3-tier design consists of two plastic areas on the top and bottom, plus a small touch of aluminium at the middle (e.g. iPhone 5/S/SE, Xiaomi). One reason is of course the production cost. An all-in-one aluminium metal body requires complicated procedures and that the successful rate of a perfect metal product is low.
The HTC One M9 and 10 use a different approach, which makes the edges more sharper. Nevertheless, the feeling of smoothness in M8 is gone and it feels like the metal is segmented into different parts. The feeling of unification of metal and the phone no longer exists.
3. The courage of using such a controversial camera sensor
- The choice of choosing a 4 MP camera sensor seems not an impressive marking on the specification sheet, especially when there is a whole lot of consumers in this world unable to recognise the difference in camera quality and still blindly believe that high resolution means better quality.
In daylight photos, it is true that M8's photos are not as sharp as other competitors, but at least it is readable and okay for posting on social media.
In low light (under the condition which does not turn on the flashlight, because we all know that flashlight is artificial light and will severely damage the quality of photo by creating wrong colours on the object), the 2.0μm does make a difference. The camera really captures more light and at least the photo has something inside, though quite a lot of noise. Other phones in comparison captures nothing in tbe dark owing to the small micron size. Yet, very sadly, HTC sucks in marketing and does not explain this advantage to consumers, making it become one on of the most underrated phones in 2014 (and of history). But I would say now the HTC 10 and HTC U Ultra seem to find a balance between micron size and resolution (after the waterloo of M9). The choice of IMX 377 is excellent.
4. HTC Sense and its uniqueness
- I would say the HTC Sense UI is among the best which I have used. The smoothness accompanied by quite an extent of flexibility of customization make HTC stand out among many UI (e.g. the Samsung TouchWiz is often criticized as laggy and uses up a lot of RAM).
Yet, it is a such a pity that the latest generations (Sense 7.0, 8.0) are moving towards more Nexus-alike stock Android system. I am not saying that pure Android system is bad, but, HTC, which has a long and good reputation of designing excellent software (the HTC Sense), should maintain its own characteristics. This is because other UI (e.g. Samsung TouchWiz, LG UX, other Chinese roms such as EMUI, MIUI) are heavily criticized by their laggy performance, large consumption of RAM and strange settings. On the other hand, HTC Sense is described as one of the best, creative and "humane" (user-friendly) user interface to mention.
HTC is an interesting company. It was once viewed as the direct competitor of Apple back then in around 2011 when its market share was substantial.
I am currently working on a complete and thorough case study and analysis on the rise, fall (and revival?) of HTC and will post it out once the article is ready. Stay tuned 😋😋😆😆