Why the New HTC One is the Only Android Phone to Buy This Year

The HTC One M8 is the one and only Android phone I’m  buying in 2014. In fact, I bought the new HTC One M8  just two hours after HTC officially launched the device at a media event yesterday. While there are plenty of good Android phones out there, the HTC one is the best one to launch so far this year and I don’t expect any other company will launch a superior one before the end of the year.

For the past couple of years I’ve experimented with all sorts of Android devices and bought way more than I can count.  Almost every time a new flagship device comes out I buy it to see if it can unseat my iPhone as my primary mobile device or at least come in a close second. Each and every Android phone I’ve bought or tried as part of a review program has failed to unseat my iPhone as my primary device.  After years of experimenting,  I have decided to make the HTC One M8 my secondary device and simply avoid buying any more Android phones for the rest of the year.

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The HTC One M8 is a luxurious and refined phone. It is simply gorgeous. As I’ve mentioned before, if Apple were to design Android phones, they would look something like the HTC One. HTC’s industrial design and build quality meet or surpass Apple’s in every way. The new HTC one is solid and blends in perfectly with the Apple MacBooks and iPads I use every day.

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There are simply too many Android phones out there that look and feel cheap because of their plastic exteriors and flimsy construction.  Samsung’s plastic flagship phones are perhaps the worst case of this. While the Samsung Galaxy S5 is overflowing with features, its external design isn’t in the same league as the HTC One’s or the iPhone 5s’s. While I would appreciate the galaxy S5’s water resistance and compatibility with its new Gear watches, those two features aren’t enough to persuade me to use Samsung’s devices over the HTC One.

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I’ve bought several Google Nexus devices over the past couple years to experience stock Android myself and get the timeliest updates. Google prices its Nexus devices so that they are affordable to those who must buy their phones unsubsidized, but the trade-offs are substantial. For example, the Nexus 5 is a pretty good phone overall, but its camera is pathetic compared to the cameras on the HTC one, Samsung galaxy S4, iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. A poor camera is a dealbreaker for someone like me that has a toddler running around. I don’t expect Google to make the new Nexus 6 a truly brilliant device, which means the camera will continue to be at weak point.

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HTC Sense 6 run on top of Android adding features and a distinct look.

Of course hardware is only part of the equation when it comes to buying phones. HTC’s Sense is much cleaner than Samsung’s Touch Wiz. these are the software layers these companies put on top of Google’s Android to make it their own and differentiate their devices to consumers. I find HTC’s Sense cleaner and easier to use.

The HTC One M8 has a killer feature called Zoe Camera that I really like. As soon as I press the shutter it starts recording video and shooting still continuously.  HTC’s Highlight feature automatically remixes still photos and videos into music videos that look much better than the slideshow features on any other phone. This makes sharing photos and videos from parties extremely easy. In fact, I often shoot with Zoe Camera (both on the original HTC One and the new HTC One M8) instead of my Sony and Nikon cameras that cost thousands of dollars if I want to share a lot of content quickly and easily. Zoe and Highlights are two features that are simply killer features that I wish were available on the iPhone and every other phone I use. HTC announced that the Zoe Camera app will be available in the future in the Google Play store for any Android smartphone, but it won’t be integrated into their core camera apps.

The new HTC One is larger than last year's model, but still smaller than the Galaxy Note 3.

The new HTC One is larger than last year’s model, but still smaller than the Galaxy Note 3.

The new HTC One M8 is slightly bigger than the original HTC One, but it isn’t as huge as the Galaxy Note 3 or other phablets.  It strikes a happy medium between usability and having a screen large enough to enjoy videos. We expect to see the Galaxy Note 4 this fall, but considering how little I used my Note 3 I’m going to pass on the next version.

Picking a phone is a highly personal decision and the HTC One M8 isn’t right for everyone, but it is my top pick for anyone shopping for an Android phone. My overall smartphone top pick remains the iPhone 5s thanks to its ease of use, extensive support and ecosystem.

Apple is going to launch at least one all-new iPhone this fall. As I mentioned before, the iPhone 5s is my primary phone for a number of reasons and whatever Apple comes up with next will take its place. While I enjoy using Android devices for a number of tasks, I never leave home without my iPhone. Even though the HTC One M8 and other Android phones have distinct advantages over the iPhone 5s, nobody else sells as complete a package as Apple.

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With a new HTC One in one pocket and my other pocket waiting for the iPhone 6, my smartphone shopping is done for the year unless something really big happens.

Comments

  1. john deere says

    Build quality – and what i’ve read – also the battery life is very good. If the third important aspect, price, will not be much more than on the LG G3, this will indeed be the only Android phone to buy this year.

  2. craig owen says

    I have an iPhone through work so I am taking advantage of the chance to carry an Android – I ordered the M8 yesterday and can’t wait to test drive it. I have a distaste for LG and Samsung but the Sony Experia Z2 was the other Android I considered.

    iPhone 5S, HTC One, and Sony Xperia Z2 are the lead dogs in my opinion.

  3. rogifan says

    For me a great camera > unibody aluminum chassis. If this phone had a better camera it would be no question. But the poor camera and Samsung’s marketing war chest will probably mean the GS5 comes out ahead.

  4. Xavier Lanier says

    Completely agree that the Galaxy S5 will destroy the HTC One in terms of sales. Not just marketing though – mobile tech is highly personal and there are plenty of valid reasons for choosing Samsung over HTC.

  5. Claudia Bailey says

    I am totally different to you every time I have owned and Iphone I always feel like I am missing out on something. For all the great things of the Iphone I have never truly understood how comes people have so many Google services on their phone if it is that complete Apple should have come up with their own by now. I would agree that Apple has the best camera on a smart phone and also great build quality but I have to say Htc are doing an amazing job. Every app I need is on both platforms and I play generally only simple games. I love the fact that I can stream all the music I need for £8 a month and the film & TV section has come on leaps and bounds. so sorry me personally I don’t feel its more complete

  6. trob6969 says

    Enough with this ‘superior build quality’ crap! With all of today’s smartphones being wafer-thin and having virtually no felt weight in the hand, they ALL feel equally ‘cheap’. If anybody thinks differently then its simply a psychological thing.

    • Frawtarius says

      Do you even know what you’re talking about…? What’s your example of a phone that’s not “wafer-thin and having virtually no felt weight in the hand”?

      The HTC One M8 weighs 160 grams, a mere 21 grams less than the Nokia N900, a 2009 smartphone that’s 18mm thick at its thinnest part (almost twice of the HTC One) and 19.55mm at its thickest part. Is that far enough from “wafer-thin” to you, or do you mean that the only heavy-feeling phones are the big, wired, rectangle boxes we used to have ages ago (like, uhh, I dunno, the Nokia P30)? ’cause the further you go back in years, the heavier those phones get and you end up with devices almost not even remotely portable.

      The HTC One M8 definitely has a great heft to it, so no, enough of your “Enough with this ‘superior build quality’ crap” crap!

  7. Peter says

    Beside Samsung Galaxy S5, what about Sony Xperia Z2 which has a 20MP camera, IP58 certified and 3200 mah battery ? Based on this 3 things i will chose the Z2 over M8, The Only Android Phone to Buy This Year is more between Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2.

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