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4 things you'll love about HTC's One (M8) - and 4 you won't

Al Sacco | April 23, 2014
These days, it seems like every new smartphone is packed with "must-see" new features, often with clever names, meant to set it apart from all the other devices on the market. Those features frequently prove to be less than useful over time. The brand new HTC One (M8) is no different.

As noted above, the HTC One (M8)'s display does not extend all the way to the device's edges, which helps reduce the chance of a shattered screen when dropped. Even if you do crack your display, HTC will fix it free of charge, within the first six months of your purchase.

A significant challenge for Android device makers is testing, approving and finally rolling out Google's software updates across their various device lineups. As part of the HTC Advantage, the company acknowledges the issue and tells its customers it will do its best to get the latest version of Android to the HTC One (M8) as quickly as it can for two years after a new device is released.

The company also posted an information page on its website detailing the Android software update approval process, which provides some insight into why it can take so long for device makers and carriers to roll out new software.

3) Super "Selfies" and (Purposefully) Blurred Images

If it were up to me, taking "selfies" would be a capital offense...or at least frowned upon. I am no fan of the selfie. But I know I'm in the minority, and selfies are only getting more and more popular with each celebrity selfie — even if mobile phone makers sponsor them.

The HTC One's 5MP shooter is one of the highest-resolution front-facing cameras, a.k.a. "selfie cams," on any smartphone. It even has a dedicated "Selfie" camera mode that automatically enables the front-facing lens and incorporates and onscreen timer, among other things. The HTC One (M8) is, for better or for worse, a selfie machine.

The device has a unique camera featured called "uFocus," which lets you add a blur effect to photos after you take them, to create specific focal points, or points of clarity, in your images. You can also supposedly bring blurred objects into focus after the fact, but I had less success with that feature. The blurring is called the "bokeh effect," according to HTC, and it's a valuable to feature — though Instagram also has a similar blur/focus tool.

Finally, I appreciate the HTC One (M8)'s simple camera menu and options. A number of high-end Android phones have excessive, sometimes intimidating, camera menus and modes. It's nice to see HTC offer a clean, streamlined camera app.

4) Developer/Tinkerer-Friendly Options

I really appreciate how simple HTC makes it to unlock the bootloaders on its devices, including the new HTC One (M8). The device was released in the United States just weeks ago, and it's already listed on HTC's unlock bootloader page.

If you don't like to tinker with your Android device or install different ROMs, this might not mean much to you. Developers and others who want full control over their devices will find a friend in HTC's online bootloader-unlock tool, though. You can unlock the bootloaders on most, if not all, Android devices, but it's not always easy — and it's rare that an "official" unlock method is available.

 

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