Though we like the new NTC One (M8), there are a few things giving us headaches. The device is still top-end and wildly popular, and like anything else, has some features and settings that frustrate. Things you may not notice in-store while you’re fondling your potential new handset aren’t always immediately evident, so keep these things in mind when you’re ready to hand your credit card to the cashier.
The HTC keyboard can be maddening, plain and simple. The keys don’t register, which is likely due to sensitivity issues. Often times, a space key press doesn’t register, giving run-on words. From there, the keyboard often has no way to figure out what you meant when you typed “idontknowificanmakeit”, so you’re stuck doing it all over again. A calibration may help (found in settings), but it’s still not great in our experience.
The layout is also not quite intuitive, with question marks and commas hidden behind letter keys rather than cobbled behind one key as the stock Android keyboard offers. It’s kind of a pain, and switching to Google’s keyboard is almost necessary. The easiest way to do that is to drag down the notification bar when you see a keyboard icon up there, and select the Google keyboard.
Don’t get us wrong, the screen is gorgeous. Color reproduction is sharp, and the touch capacity is usually stellar. When you consider what’s actually being displayed, the screen is marvelous.
What isn’t marvelous is the bezel around the whole of the display, which smacks of unnecessary in 2014. The sides, the top and bottom — all have a noticeable black bar that never seems to blend into oblivion. It’s just kind of always there unless you’re watching a movie trailer or something, in which case it just makes the screen look like it’s shrunk the image. The prominent HTC branding on the front also annoys us quite a bit.
Another thing many don’t consider about the One (M8) are the cons faced with aluminum. It absolutely gives the device a more polished appearance, and it’s definitely classy — there’s no debating that. It’s got quite a bit of downside, though, and you should really consider this aspect before purchase.
The One (M8) is really slippery, there’s just no getting around it. The redesigned aluminum casing is a bit more rounded, and a lot sleeker than the original One, but there have been several instances where I cringed because I nearly dropped it. The One (M8) takes a firmer grasp than you might think. Thankfully, HTC has a one-time, free of charge screen replacement for new owners.
The aluminum, in being so svelte and sleek, makes even the tiniest abrasive elements noticeable. Set it down on a desk, and it may end up sending chills down your spine because it’s grinding against tiny particles you don’t see. It can be mitigated with a case, but if you don’t like cases (I don’t), this is something to consider.
Icons on the home screen and app drawer are spaced quite a bit, making it necessary to have more screens than you might like. If you’re a fan of folders, it might not matter too much. If you like having all your apps out and strewn around, it’s a bit sparse for our liking. They look to be simply scaled from smaller screens, but it doesn't work well on the HTC One's 5-inch display. Even more frustrating is that you can change the app grid layout in the app drawer, but not the home screen.
The top of the device is a dark plastic, which makes HTC Sense TV worthwhile because the IR blaster has somewhere to send a signal from (it likely wouldn’t work well through aluminum). This is also where the power button sits, and where we find our lone issue with HTC’s button arrangement.
The power button is a bit wobbly, and often sits askew. It can be felt shifting in place as well, which causes us to worry it may not be sturdy. We envision a time when it stops working altogether, or breaks off for someone who may be a touch rougher on their device.
These may not be make-or-break issues for the HTC One (M8), but they are things to watch for. Should you want to pick one up, we still highly recommend it. It’s a fantastic device, but not without its own unique issues. If you’re easily bothered by little things, these are just a few to look out for before you hand over your credit card.