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HTC One (M8) review

Stunning design, loads of power and some big upgrades: HTC's done it again

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There are a number of really decent handsets on the market, and with the M8 coming down in price you'll have more choice than ever before.

We've compared it to the top handsets on the market at the moment and we'll be updating this review when the new models become available, but until then, check out our comparison:

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5

The Galaxy S5 was a big phone for Samsung, but in reality it's far too iterative compared to the S4 (below). It just shares too much of the same design language and while TouchWiz is updated, the interface changes don't do enough to make people feel it's an all-new handset.

That said, it's got some very good bits: the fast autofocus camera rivals the HTC One M8's, but does so with a 16MP sensor. The depth perception is pretty awful compared to HTC's version, but the camera is more robust overall.

On top of that there's the fact it's waterproof, and is more hardy as a result. No metal here: the plastic chassis is much more able to withstand life's knocks, but it doesn't feel anywhere near as premium.

Tests showed the S5 was strong on the benchmarks but less so in real performance: Samsung still needs some optimisation here.

The innards are slightly improved, the screen is better thanks to more advanced Super AMOLED HD technology (but the HTC One M8's Super LCD is still impressive) and it has that removable battery to boot.

However, the S5 is one of the more underwhelming phones from the brand, so make sure you think long and hard before spending the higher cost these flagship phones are commanding - and with the S6 arriving, it's certainly no longer the top dog.

Samsung Galaxy S5 review

Samsung Galaxy S4

Galaxy S4

The all-conquering Galaxy S4 was the phone to beat in 2013, and in terms of sales nothing managed to do that thanks to the impossibly strong marketing machine that the South Korean brand has created.

However, critically the HTC One was a better phone than Samsung's effort, and as such the HTC One M8 is a much better device than last year's S4 flagship.

The design, much improved from last year on the One M8, now outstrips the uninspiring plastic build of the S4, which is probably the main reason to avoid the model.

The camera on the Galaxy S4 is arguably more powerful still, with the 13MP snapper still giving better all-round pictures than the One M8, especially in the brighter scenes. It's also got a lot more power in terms of modes to play with, but the One M8 is more succinct and combined with the duo camera allows for a lot more intuitive and impressive snaps.

The CPU, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 in the One M8, is also a cut above the Snapdragon 600 which is pushed into the S4, and as such leads to better battery life and speed throughout the phone.

The only real plus point over the One M8 that Samsung can really boast about is the lower price (unless you're really into a removable battery) - so if cost is all important, this is still a decent enough buy.

Galaxy S4 review

iPhone 6

iPhone 6

If there's anyone that makes phones as good looking as HTC it's Apple and the iPhone 6 gives the One M8 a run for its money as the most gorgeous handset of 2014.

It's a tough call as to which looks better, but both are packed full of metal and feel as premium as they look.

With Apple upping the screen size of its flagship to 4.7 inches it's also now a very close competitor to the HTC One M8 and its A8 processor ensures it's every bit as slick under the finger.

Arguably the iPhone 6 has a more powerful camera and the app selection is still slightly better. Sure Android has more apps available, but iOS apps are of a more consistently high quality.

But the walled garden approach of iOS isn't for everyone and the iPhone 6 is substantially more expensive than the HTC One M8, which itself is likely to get even cheaper once the HTC One M9 hits the market.

iPhone 6 review

LG G3

LG G3

The LG G3 arrived a few months after the HTC One M8 and it came with some big features, like a super-sharp and rather large 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 QHD screen.

It packed in some camera smarts too, with a 13MP sensor, optical image stabilisation and a laser autofocus, for speedy focusing.

Plus it's slightly more powerful than the HTC One M8, thanks to a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM.

But despite all that it's still probably a weaker phone overall. Its metallic skin looks nice but lacks the premium appeal of the HTC One M8's full metal jacket, the camera is nowhere near as adept in low light (though it performs well in brightly lit environments), there's noticeable lag in the interface despite all its power and the QHD screen arguably isn't worth the trade-off in battery life.

The LG G3 is still a highly impressive phone, one of the best of 2014 in fact, but despite all its eye-catching features it can't quite match the HTC One M8 in day to day use.

LG G3 review

HTC One (2013)

HTC One

TechRadar's top handset of 2013 is still a viable purchase, and has been dropped in price compared to its new One stablemate.

The key differences are myriad: the One M8 has 90% metal compared to the 70% of the original, a larger 5 inch screen over the 4.7-inch of 2013's model, has a much better battery and an improved camera and BoomSound speakers.

It's not a case that the new phone will be better than the old in every potential buyer's eyes though - the design is still very subjective and some will like the wider, more stable feel of the original.

However, make no mistake that the HTC One (2013) is the inferior phone in nearly every way compared to the new edition. You've got to really want to save money if you want to go with 2013's option, and be prepared to take a hit on the battery life.

HTC One review

HTC One M9

HTC One M9

The HTC One M8 has had a good run, but it's now being replaced by the HTC One M9. We haven't given it a full review yet but our thoughts so far are that it's an upgrade, but a fairly conservative one.

The design has been further refined but overall it looks very similar to the HTC One M8, not that that's a bad thing, as the One M8 was previously perhaps the best looking phone on the planet.

The HTC One M9 also has a lot more power, thanks to an octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM, but it's not like the HTC One M8 feels sluggish.

The camera has been given a boost to 20.7MP, but it's lost its depth sensor and UltraPixels in the process, though the UltraPixels haven't been entirely abandoned, they've just been moved to the front-facing snapper.

The HTC One M9 also promises even better BoomSound speakers and benefits from the new features of Sense 7, such as a theme creator, which the HTC One M8 lacks.

So yes, it's probably a better phone, but it feels like a minor evolution, so whether that's worth the higher price tag it demands is debatable.

HTC One M9 review