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HTC’s flagship One M8 is a gorgeous device. It oozes luxury with every micro inch of its seamless metal construction. With a top notch hardware and aesthetics that put its competitors to shame, one would expect this beauty to have enjoyed unparalleled acclaim among one and all. But even the mighty warrior Achilles suffered a fatal weakness in his heel, and so does our beloved M8 in its primary camera module.

The 4 MP UltraPixel technology on board the ONE M8 has been subject to widespread criticism even among its owners. The sub-par camera performance on a flagship of this repute has drawn away countless potential buyers from owning the handset, which has forced HTC to rethink their UltraPixel strategy. Almost all of their new handsets now sport regular ‘low on size’ yet ‘high on res’ regular cameras. With an alleged ‘better’ camera performance even on mid segment devices, the flagship M8 was losing a lot of sales prospects and as such a new iteration of the same was imminent. Finally the day arrives with HTC premiering their refurbished M8, dubbed the M8 Eye.

What makes the M8 different from the M8 eye?

If you presume that the M8 eye is hands down the better device, just because of its bumped up camera. You better check twice. For after meticulous inspection, we at Gadgetadda have been successful in locating many areas that signal compromise/additions with the eye variant of the M8.

COMPROMISES

  • Slower Wi-Fi standard: HTC in their M8 eye have dropped compatibility for high speed wireless 802.11 ac, much akin to the iPhone 5S and only provide support for Wi-Fi standards 802.11 a/b/g/n. The ac standard is the latest development in wireless networks which enables super-fast 3X transmission speeds and enhanced range. This is a serious compromise from the M8 as the ac standard is the future for wireless networks and with 2015 dawning upon us, the exclusion is baffling to say the least. Even last years M7 has 802.11 ac support bundled in its hardware
  • A slower CPU: Both the M8 and the M8 eye have super-fast Qualcomm snapdragon 801 chipsets under their hoods, but the one on the M8 eye is clocked at a lower rate i.e. 2.3 Ghz as against the 2.5 Ghz on the M8. The international variant of the M8 always had the quad core processor clocked at 2.3 GHz but the regions where the M8 eye would be exclusive to, have had the 2.5 Ghz version of the M8, which makes it an obvious relative downgrade here. The difference might not be very noticeable between the two during casual to moderate usage, but it may show up when the CPU is taxed with intensive tasks. Also benchmark scores are bound to take a hit
  • Barometer: From what we are able to scourge out of many websites, including HTC’s official websites in many countries, HTC has even done away with the Barometer as well. This sensor is used for super accurate weather forecasts and altitude details in real time without having to rely on data centric, battery taxing conventional alternates like the GPS. This is an extremely useful add on which aids us more than we think or actually know. It’s absence on the M8 eye is another exclusion from the M8 that screams compromise

IMPROVEMENTS

  • High res audio support: With Free Lossless Audio Codec support built in the M8 eye, the device can handle super high bitrate songs with ease. Not many devices support .flac playback, not even the original M8 and as such is a welcome add-on especially for audiophiles
  • Better 4G compatibility: The M8 eye touts greater support for multiple 4G bands, with the inclusion of both FDD and TDD type of LTE standards. This brings HTC’s offering on par with its newly launched competitors, the Sony Z3 and Samsung’s Note 4

THE CAMERA

HTC have finally done away with their ‘popularly disappointing’ Ultra pixel technology and atlast, have equipped their flagship, with a camera that’s worthy of a flagship. With an f/2.0 lens packing in a welcomed 13 Megapixels, the M8 eye is sure to satisfy all the gripes against the lack of image detail, which its 4 MP/UP counterparts bravely have withstood for more than a year now.

But the announcement wasn’t free of apprehensions. For HTC’s E8 also packed in a 13 MP camera unit. But the pictures that it churned out were underwhelming to say the least. This gave rise to many speculations about the actual camera performance on M8’s Eye variant as well.

But there are reports suggesting the inclusion of Sony’s latest IMX214 sensor in the M8 eye. IF this turns out to be true, then all such apprehensions regarding the picture quality can be safely put to rest, for this sensor is the latest advancement in mobile camera modules and is way more advanced than its preceding IMX185 chip( Likes of GS4, LG G2 and LG G3).

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VERDICT

With the M8 eye, HTC hasn’t brought about an all-around improvement to their flagship M8. They could have, but they just unfortunately didn’t. There are certain areas where this device builds upon, and certain areas where it loses to its elder as well. HTC has essentially created a choice. If a relatively slower clocked chipset and an older Wi-Fi standard bothers you too much, go ahead with the regular M8. But if a much better camera experience coupled with an enhanced LTE and Flac support is your cup of tea, then the M8 Eye is the ONE for you!

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