Design pioneers HTC, on the 1st of March 2015 unveiled their new Android flagship for this year, the One M9. It packs in the best of the best (at least as per HTC’s understanding’s of a perfect match!) and sets itself amidst the top android phones to beat this year. But such a premium also reflects in the price tag which is the usually high 650$ plus for the new model in the USA. At this price point, not many can afford or would want to afford this masterpiece from HTC. And, it is for these very price conscious customers that HTC has pulled the veils off the HTC One M8s. Yes, the last ‘s’ does change a lot, if not in the specs department then at least as far as the price goes. Retailing for 350 pounds in the European markets, it is a flat 230 pounds cheaper than the current flagship, the M9 and at least a 150 pounds cheaper than last year’s flagship, the One M8. That’s a lot of dough for an identical construction! Let’s have a quick rundown of what’s changed and what hasn’t:
What has changed?
The processor: The 801 Snapdragon has been swapped with a 64 bit 615 Soc from Qualcomm. Although the 615 is a critically acclaimed performer (Galaxy A7, the Yureka and the desire 820 regular) it still isn’t nearly as powerful or as capable as was the 801. Gaming takes a hit and so does video capture and so forth. Still, it is expected to do all it can with ease especially considering the fact that its 64 bit architecture translates to even more efficiency in its performance!
Camera: The 4UP camera has been swapped with a 13 MP f/2.0 aperture camera. The camera isn’t expected to perform to its potential (given HTC’s track record with cameras) but still can almost be guaranteed to over perform the regular M8.
The battery: The battery has been bumped by 280 mAh to 2880 mAh’s of total juice, hence matching up the up the M9’s offering. The bump coupled with a lower clocked, more efficient CPU should give about 30 percent of extra screen on time, which is great!
What has not changed?
The screen is again a 1080p one, so compromises in that regard. So is the RAM and the internal memory which are kept at 2 GB and 16 GB respectively. Even the graphics is processor is the same ie. the Adreno 405 yet the less powerful CPU takes a not so noticeable toll on the gaming performance. The boom sound speakers are intact and so us the all metal construction which means there is no compromise in the premium feel of the device.
In its essence the new HTC one M8’s reminds me of the M8 eye variant HTC introduced in the Indian and the Chinese markets last year. The camera as well as the concept of a few internals swapped for a slightly lower price has been exercised, albeit a bit more aggressively. Hopefully, we would not have to see the many sacrifices that HTC’s silently passed on to the Eye in the form of a missing IR blaster, a forgone NFC chip and a non-wide angle front facing lens. Also fingers crossed, we wish this model takes even better snaps than the same camera module on the M8 eye did, which to be honest was just meh.
Although as of now, there’s been no word about the availability of this variant beyond the European borders, we wish it is more of an international product like the regular M8 and the M9. Otherwise the update process suffers with the variant owners getting the update a whole quarter late, sometimes more!
Should you buy the HTC M8S?
All in all, the M9 has garnered a lot of disappointments from the fans around the globe. HTC has been targeted for not innovating as much as they could or did with the previous two generations. Furthermore the M8 is still a worthy contender for the the flagship status, even pitted against its newer sibling the M9. Considering these factors the heavy drop in price for the M8’s sounds like an offer you can not and to be honest should never refuse, especially when you are in the market shopping for an HTC flagship.