The HTC One (M8) is a great smartphone, but that doesn't mean the brand has skimped on the essential features. I'm talking about call quality, the keyboard, the better-looking contacts... it's all excellent on the new HTC One, and I'm glad that in an effort to overthrow the competition the core competencies haven't been overlooked.

The call quality and signal strength were two areas I was particularly impressed by - living in a house with very low signal gives me a great chance to test battery and call quality (as well as living a frustrating existence when I miss call after call).

HTC One (M8) review

I found that the HTC One (M8) allowed me to make calls in new places compared to phones from 2012 and 2013, and that makes a big difference to me being able call from bed rather than having to hang around a window before having a momentary panic as to whether I've remembered to get dressed.

95% success rate, if you're wondering.

The sound quality of calls has always been good from HTC, but the rounded edges of the phone were more pleasant to press into the ear than the sharp edges of last year's model. The Boomsound speakers are smaller, but the sound quality isn't diminished thankfully.

HTC also is still one of the great manufacturers when it comes to showing off contacts, as it will pull in high resolution pics when you make a call if you've linked Facebook. This makes the experience of receiving a call much nicer than the boring pixellated options from other devices.

HTC One (M8) review

The keyboard from HTC is one of the best around out of the box, and it's testament to the design that I didn't crack during the testing process and install Swiftkey instead.

It's not as accurate as that option by any means, with the word prediction bouncing around a bit more than on the ultra-reliable third party app, but I was still happy enough with the accuracy to stick with it.

I can't wait until brands sort out the internet browser situation though. Like every Android phone these days (bar Sony) you're given the choice of the standard internet browser and Google's Chrome.

HTC's option is as strong as ever, giving you the chance to zoom in and have the words rejig on the page, or enable Flash for the websites that won't recode for the future. It still has the clever gestures to navigate around, and is generally very fast.

However, Chrome is close to being equally as nippy (although without the same bells and whistles that I really like) but does have an ace up its sleeve: browser history and passwords. HTC's browser can store your bookmarks, but it can't check out the important information from my desktop.

The day these two areas fuse together, I'll be a really happy man.