So, HTC’s New HTC One M8 has been long awaited by many in the smartphone industry. Lots of people that had the HTC One were hoping to get a new version to upgrade to relatively soon, which they did. This new version of the HTC One, dubbed the HTC One M8, basically falls in line with all of the leaks that have been coming out about it. In fact, I don’t think any of the leaks were necessarily wrong except for the one saying it would have a Snapdragon 800, which wasn’t remotely believable to begin with. So, what we end up with is an incremental upgrade of a smartphone from the previous model which we reviewed last year and awarded our Editor’s Choice award.

Now, the new HTC One M8 will pretty much improve upon the previous version in every possible way, which makes the incremental nature of its improvement tolerable. The new HTC One M8 pretty much addresses almost all of the complaints about the original HTC One, with possibly one exception.

The New HTC One M8 has a Snapdragon 801 SoC from Qualcomm, which is a pretty drastic improvement over the Snapdragon 600 of the HTC One. However, the Snapdragon 800 also came out later last year and that chip is very similar to the 801. It also sports 2GB of RAM, much like the the HTC One did, but the truth is that current Android smartphones don’t have much need for anything above 2GB of RAM unless they plan to do Ubuntu docking. Another major improvement is the inclusion of a MicroSDXC slot, which didn’t exist in the HTC One except for the Chinese dual-SIM version. The standard version of the HTC One M8 will ship with a 16GB capacity and there will also be a 32GB capacity, but I don’t really see much need for a 32GB version since the MicroSDXC card slot will support up to 128 GB.

They’ve also upgraded their display in terms of size, but downgraded in terms of pixel density. The old HTC One had a 4.7″ 1080P display while this new 1080P display is 5″, which makes it a lower pixel density, although realistically not many will notice any difference. This is going to likely be the same case with the Samsung Galaxy S5, even though I would prefer to see them improve pixel density, not reduce it. This display is also featuring Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3, even though the previous HTC One’s screen was virtually scratch free already.

HTC has always prided themselves in their camera capabilities and they’ve made some serious improvements there as well. The most noticeable thing that HTC did was add a depth camera to the HTC One’s 4 Megapixel Ultrapixel sensor, which they didn’t actually change itself, which is a little disappointing actually. Sure, the adding of a depth camera will allow for significantly improved sharpness and focus, which is awesome and I applaud them for doing that. However, HTC’s choice to stick with the 4 Megapixel Ultrapixel sensor continues to be a point of contention with many reviewers. The only thing that it appears that HTC did wrong with this phone was their choice to stick with a 4 Megapixel Ultrapixel sensor from the previous HTC One. They did, however, upgrade the 2 Megapixel front-facing camera to an impressive 5 Megapixel camera, recognizing the importance of the ‘selfie’.

image credit: Slashgear

Because of these upgraded cameras and sensors, the new HTC One M8 will allow for post-photo editing of sharpness, focus, and blur. Allowing you to get the photo in focus almost every single time, even if you didn’t exactly get it the first time. However, this does still not fix the possibility of camera shake from someone simply moving the camera as they take the photo. For that, OIS (optical image stabilization) is more important.

The whole phone is powered by a larger 2,600 mAh battery, which is bigger than the 2,300 mAh battery of the Snapdragon 600 based HTC One. But the Snapdragon 801 and 800 are far more efficient chips than the Snapdragon 600 was, which should bring improved battery life and performance to the new HTC one purely with the new SoC. A Bigger battery may have been necessary due to the larger display, but I don’t think that’s even the case. I just think a bigger phone is allowing for a bigger battery. They are also including 2 years of 65 GB of Google Drive cloud storage with any HTC One M8 purchased as a way to give customers that added cloud support of their devices.

image credit: Slashgear

The HTC One M8 is already available now and will be available in-store through Verizon only starting today through April 9th as an exclusive. You can also order the HTC One M8 on Sprint and AT&T for April, however, there is little to no mention of T-Mobile, even though T-Mobile is listed on HTC’s spec site for 3G, but T-Mobile’s LTE gets no mention in HTC’s own specs online. Verizon will have it in multiple colors, both Silver and gunmetal gray, even though nobody actually lists the gold version as available on their site. HTC also confirmed that the HTC One M8 will also have a GPE (Google Play Edition) as well, which is already available for $699 from Google’s Play Store.

What’s interesting is that the AT&T HTC One M8 sells for $699 while the Verizon version sells for $749 and the Sprint version sells for $799. All of these are actually sold through HTC’s website but powered by Best Buy, which means that it will likely be overpriced compared to what HTC’s official MSRP would actually be. However all versions will be $199 with a new 2 year contract, but we still don’t know what T-Mobile will be selling their version of the HTC One for. Also, Verizon has a limited deal where if you buy one HTC One with a new 2 year contract you can get another for free as long as you sign up for a new 2 year contract as well. Hopefully this immediate availability and pricing blitz from HTC will allow them to sell more HTC One M8 phones than they did the HTC One. It looks like they are doing everything right with this launch, you know, by making the smartphone immediately available after the launch, unlike Samsung who announced at MWC but still hasn’t launched yet.

What’s amazing is that as I’m writing this story, I just saw an HTC One M8 commercial with none other than Gary Oldman in it, enticing people to not trust his opinion but to go online and read reviews. A brilliant marketing campaign from HTC to give their all before Samsung has an opportunity to take control of the advertising and attention. HTC’s reviews are already turning out to be pretty good and I have a feeling that if HTC continues to push these advertisements combined with many expert reviews (we’re waiting on our HTC One M8) they could easily take some share away from Samsung as well as sell more M8 Ones than the M7 did last year.