HTC One M8 Windows
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HTC One M8 with Windows Phone 8.1 — a preview!

For more than a year now the Windows Phone landscape has been has been littered with Nokia devices. Lumia has ruled all, and rightfully so, as the the likes of HTC and Samsung largely relegated Windows Phone to second-tier status in favor of Android.

That changes today, as HTC has unveiled a Windows Phone 8.1 version of its 2014 flagship smartphone, the HTC One M8.

This is one of those weird times in mobile in which we have a hardware platform with which we are intimately familiar. We at Android Central been using the M8 since March 2014. We know ever inch of its full-metal body. We know its strengths. We know its weaknesses. We know the ins and outs of the DuoCamera system. We know (and love) the front-facing BoomSound speakers. And we know about the excellent Dot View case.

And we at WPCentral are the best in the business when it comes to Windows Phone software. We've been there from the beginning (in the bad old days when it was to be called "Windows Phone 7 Series"), and through the latest Windows Phone 8.1 updates. We know how it'll look on the HTC One M8, and we know how it'll act.

What we bring you now is a preview of the HTC One M8 with Windows Phone 8.1, and the long-awaited return of HTC to the Windows Phone space.

The linked list

Here's the short list of HTC One M8 links you need to know:

The HTC One M8 hardware

If you've seen an HTC phone in the past couple years — and that includes the likes of the HTC 8X and 8XT — then you know it's all about sleek lines and thinness. It's also now all about aluminum. And big sound. BoomSound, actually. And it's about cameras. Two of them. With UltraPixels.

The basic HTC One M8 specs comprise:

  • A 5-inch LCD display at 1080p, covered with Gorilla Glass 3.
  • A Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor.
  • Nano-SIM format.
  • 2GB of DDR2 RAM
  • The HTC UltraPixel camera is in the back, with a 4MP effective resolution. BSI sensor, 2-micron pixel size, f/2.0 aperture. Full 1080p video recording.
  • The front-facing camera is a traditional 5MP shooter, f/2.0 with BSI sensor.
  • 2,600 mAh battery, nonremovable
  • Front-facing stereo speakers

HTC One M8

To hold the HTC One M8 in your hand is to hold a large, thin, metal phone. It's a good bit taller than, say, the Nokia Lumia 1020, but smaller (and a tad thicker) than the 6-inch Lumia 1520. The brushed finish tends to be a little slippery in the hand, and the phone's height can make it a little difficult to hold onto for some. The power button is up top, with the volume rocker on the right, just below the microSD card slot. (Like the SIM card tray, you'll need a tool to remove it.)

The stereo "BoomSound" speakers on either end of the display are the sort of thing that'll keep you coming back to a phone. Simply put, nothing sounds quite like them.

The back side is where things get interesting, with a pair of cameras. One large, one small. They make up the HTC One M8 "DuoCamera" system, with the topmost lens collecting depth information that lets you do some cool post-processing effects, including refocusing and a sort of three-dimensional shift. HTC's brought most of these over from its Android version, and the camera app itself is a dead ringer for what's in Sense 6. There's a trade-off to all this, of course. While the UltraPixel system uses larger pixels to let it more light, it does so at a smaller total resolution than most other top-shelf phones. It takes a little getting used to, and you won't be zooming in on too many shots (and certainly not like you do on the high-end Lumias), and it can be a bit finicky in sunlight. In darker conditions, though, it does quite nice. We'll have to see how this Windows Phone model stands up to the likes of the Lumia, however.

The HTC One M8 Dot View Case

HTC One M8 Dot View Case

The HTC One M8 Dot View Case is one we've spent quite a lot of time with on the Android side, and it's impressed most folks who have used it. Whereas a lot of Android phone cases have used cutouts in the front cover to let you interact with the display while it's closed, the Dot View cases uses the entire front cover and a grid of semi-transparent holes. Combined with sort of 8-bit graphics on the screen, you end up with a pretty cool way of using the HTC One M8 while the cover is closed. Time, temperature, caller information, patterns — HTC's crammed a lot of good — and good-looking — information into the Dot View case.

Here's how it's looked for Android users:

The software: Windows Phone 8.1 on the HTC One M8

So we know the HTC One M8 hardware. Now let's take a look at the software.

The HTC One M8 will come with Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 out of the box. Instead of Google Now you get Cortana, instead of widgets you get Live tiles. If you're familiar with Windows Phone 8.1, you won't find too many surprises with the software. You have a 5-inch 1080p display on the HTC One M8, so you will be getting a third column on your Start screen for additional Live tiles. You'll want to read our review of Windows Phone 8.1 to learn more about the ins-and-outs of the operating system.

There are still a few surprises on the software side from HTC, but they come in the form of apps. You can use the stock Windows Phone camera app if you want, or you can use the camera app from HTC. The UI and controls of this camera app are carried over from the one found on the Android version of the HTC One M8. With it you get control over ISO levels, white balance, exposure value and more. You can switch between various modes like HDR, panorama, anti-shake, landscape, portrait and more. You can also use UFocus to change the focus point of your photos after you've taken them.

HTC One M8 Camera

You'll also find BlinkFeed on the HTC One M8 for Windows. This is another app that carries over from the Android version. BlinkFeed brings news and information to your home screen with a large Live tile. Feeds can be installed, but you can customize and add your sources for a unique experience.

NFL Mobile does come pre-loaded on the HTC One M8 for Windows. This brings live streaming games to customers for free. It's also the first Windows Phone to offer Verizon Messages, a feature which allows for messages to be delivered via Wi-Fi and to multiple devices.

The HTC One M8 for Windows is shipping with the latest version of Windows Phone — Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1. Which allowed HTC to work with new accessory APIs to get Cortana to work with the Dot View Case. You can swipe down to activate Cortana when the case is on the device.

The bottom line

The HTC One M8 for Windows brings choice to those who like Windows Phone, but have wanted a high-end offering outside the Lumia line. The sleek hardware meeting the smooth Windows Phone operating system is set to be a remarkable smartphone experience. We can't wait to spend more time with the HTC One M8 for Windows.

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Reader comments

HTC One M8 with Windows Phone 8.1 — a preview!

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Resolution, sensor, AND processing of the image matter greatly. 

This has NONE of those working for it. It's a super handset, but I've been using the 920 for small kid/family photos for two years. I couldn't imagine signing on with this downgrade for two more years.

Except this particular camera could really use the benefit of a few extra MP. In side by side comparisons it is consistently less sharp than its higher MP competition. This is all coming from someone who's SO owns an M8 and I have an M7, I know you can get fantastic pictures from the camera but to ignore it's shortcomings is stupid.

Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android

you do realize that there's a limit to your logic, right? Or do you think a one pixel sensor would take any great photos even if it was 1x1 meter?

That being said I do think the photos of the M8 Android look crap and the low res just does not cut it anymore these days. Just my $.02

Just because companies invest a lot of money and get a lot of engineers working for them does not mean all their products are successes or that they are excellent. M8's (now W8) camera has been an almost unanimously dissed for it's low resolution 

and there are are plenty of reviewer who have tested that camera and teh concensus seems to be that it takes good night time photos but it is not as sharp with day time photos. The size of the sensor matters and the sensors in smartphones are small.  You can go with many small pixels or less large pixels. Each option has tradeoffs. The only real way to get both sharper pictures and better low light performance is to increase the size of the sensor, which is what Nokia did with the 1020. Have you seen the 1020 sensor next to a standard smartphone sensor? It is huge by comparison.

They both matter, without resolution you can't do any post processing or cropping, and without a good sensor you get more noise and artifacting, but truth be told, I love my M8, but it's far from a great camera.

Sensor plays a large part, but so does MP. Go look at any reviews and you will see the camera is the weak point. It is nice in low light, but still doesnt compare to the lumias. And outdoors or in good lighting, it pales in comparision to other flagship devices with higher MP. Not to mention if you plan to crop or zoom in the pictures become a pixelated mess. 

HTC is bringing their software on Android to other Android phones, including Blinkfeed. I'd assume they'll also release Blinkfeed in the WP Store for other WP devices at some point.

Took them 6 months to port all their Android apps to WP, I know it's a leap but let's hope that signals that WP is mostly just 6 months behind app wise in general now. I'd say at the start of the year we were more like 12 months behind. Now with HTC and all the other new OEMs bringing out WP devices I expect by the end of the year to see a lot more developer focus and the "app gap" to be halfed again. By the time we get Threshold it'll be minimal and then Windows devices will start to appeal to the mass market.

As for the M8, looks nice, camera didn't compare to Nokia for the Android version, so it won't here either, so i'm not tempted. Much as I like the other specs and size, camera is the most important feature for me and I won't compromise there. Still waiting for a slightly thinner upgrade to the 1020 before I get a new phone.

Sorry, with 1520 around, icon or 930 can't be called a flagship device. They're inferior to 1520 in several ways

1520 in the US is a 16GB phone with no wireless charging. Remember AT&T wrecked the phone here, so the Icon comes out on top in this market.

How can you call a phone lacking one of the most prominent feature on a Lumia line a flagship? The Glance screen may not be important to a certain group of people, but a Lumia without it is a glaring omission. C'mon, even the 720 has it.

why do you care so much for that battery eating feature? is it really hard to press the power to see any updates or how the time is? I have never used glance on any Lumia I've had before so for me, on the 930 it's not important that it does not have it.

Every single features are bound to consume certain amount of battery, even Cortana and OIS. To say that Glance isn't important because it "eats" battery and that it can be accessed by pressing the power button doesn't justify that.

If you go by that logic, then you could just hold the phone using a tripod and just omit the OIS because it saves power.

I guess you are the person to solve the equation of how to get any kind of wireless charging through a metal phone. I knew they stopped teaching science after my generation or common sense.

When the 920 came out WPCentral posted a video of a guy that put the Qi charger under a cooking pot and put the phone inside and it worked.

it successufully charged with most of  the things he tested, but it did not charge through the metal pot. I think you need to brush up on your reading skills there chief. Even the WPcentral article said it couldn't charge through the pot.

Metal and distance are things that affect Qi magnectic charging.

You mean, "carrier"? That being AT&T (We Never Stop Trying To Sell You Accessories You Already Bought In Another Format™)

Randomly scrolling through comments and came back by here -- no problem! Heck, MS is on both Qi and PMA boards IIRC.

Really hate carrier exclusive phones and carrier "crippling", to put it bluntly, here in the US (selling a G3 I burned an upgrade on, but yeah, thanks Verizon for removing Qi charging from the backplate -- probably a 20 cent coil but you know they will sell an optional back cover for $20 grrrrr).

Roll out Qi charging on every single phone, sell quality chargers at reasonable prices (the Nokia ones sure aren't bad!) and watch it take off as people say "HOLY HANNAH IT'S MAGIC"

If there's anything I've learnt in the past 3 years of intense internet usage, you cant dream anything but the American Dream, cause you're screwed over by every big service provider.

If you are taking about the system apps from Nokia (well Microsoft Mobile now), they can actually be uninstalled. Just change your date to about 100 years from now and open the system app, it will then prompt you to uninstall.

couldny agree more. The camera still at 4mp and the battery is quite low for a heavy user like me. But I do love HTC M8 WP at the first sight. :D

Wireless charging ? Or is there a MOD for the android version to add it ?

Didn't notice that in the specs and that could be a deal killer for me...

Uhm, The original One M8 does have the exact same processor. So stop complaining and get your facts together!

You do realise that it's still an high end processor? But to people nowadays, even things 6 months old are 'ancient'. It's more than enough to handle apps and make calls, which is what a phone is for, anyway.

You're all dumb, its not to have the fastest phone of the market, its to have new apps and games on our phones. 3d mark still not available, why bother if the hardware isnt even there....

To be fair, games are really not why you should buy a phone, and the standard apps really aren't processor heavy.

It would be a good move to say, windows phone is there, even in gaming and high workload. And it would help developers to merge wp with win 8.1

There are NO SD805 optimized apps or games, so don't talk out of your ignorant ass. 

For a flagship with these specs SD801 will do just fine. Windows Phone platform is not for hardware craving users, so stay on Lagdroid and play 3DMark, i'm sure you'll have a ton of fun with that.

Because they literally took the Android phone and put Windows on it. The only change they made to the hardware are the logos.

I don't understand the lure of the dot view case... Glance seems much more attractive and functional. I suppose it offers protection simultaneously... that is the benefit?

The thing that seems weird to me is that it's an LCD screen, so the backlight being on would mean it's using as much power as if the whole screen was lit.  Something like this would make far more sense on an AMOLED screen.

It's Super LCD 3 which in some cases has performed better than OLED. We'll see when the comparisons and benchmarks come out.

It is Glance via accessory. If glance makes sense, then so does this if you want to protect your phone.

I never use Glance on my 920 and would welcome Dot View. It looks much cooler to me & useful to me, especially with Cortana integration.

The only advantages I see are the screen protection and Cortana integration (neither of which does much for me personally).

Glance is a much nicer looking clock, and also shows all your standrad app lockscreen notifications.  If you have an OLED screen it also only turns on that portion of the screen, using very little power.  That is much better functionality than this imo.

Again with the exclusivity, I left Verizon for ATT to get the 920, now it appears I have to go back to Verizon because I don't want that flagship gargantuan phone.

But you can't buy unlocked version of this with windows phone at least they didnt announce it today.

It might not work on all AT&T LTE bands, but it should work on HSPA+ at least if it is identical to the Verizon Android M8.

Lumia 928,Icon and now this come GSM HSDPA+ unlocked worldwide. Only the 4G is "locked" to the Verizon freq.

If AT&^T has one of the HSDPA band the M8 supports you are good to go.

I have successfully used a 928 with Orange in Europe on HSDPA so...but maybe HTC won't be so dumb to not release a global phone also.

The 4 MP camera is a killer for me.  I take a lot of really good photos and my next camera has to be 20 MP minimum.  Also, why is there a SIM card slot on this phone?  Can it also work with GSM systems? A major plus!!!

Really??  My compact Nikon L310 I bought amost 2 years ago for $100 (Black Friday) has 15 MP and a 21X optical zoom. And since the phone cameras don't have an optical zoom the MP count is really important.

Your DSLR doesn't need an insane amount of MPs because it captures way more light than a camera phone could ever dream of.

It needs a SIM card for LTE. You'll be able to get the phone unlocked to use on other GSM networks but as far as LTE support, there'll be little to none unless you're on VZ.

So I think I know the answer to this question, but if I have a L920 and I have a bunch of Nokia apps on it, is there anyway I can use those apps on the One M8?

Love to hear about new Windows phone device news, but I'm honestly during it out until I see official word on what Microsoft is going to offer as a 1520 replacement.

Very nice phone.. And while I'm still patiently awaiting an upgrade from the 1520 this unfortunately isn't it (even if it were available in Canada lol).

HTC has always been short on their support for exclusive apps and that's my main reason while I'll always stick with Nokia.

But regardless, this is a beautiful phone. Too bad it's just a port from the droid model though.

HTC quality and support has burned me already with the Titan. I hope they improve, but I'm going to wait and see before taking a risk with then again.

ATTplskthxbia.

Seriously... Need something to replace my 1520... Its getting OLD. IR blaster alone is worth the upgrade... No need to keep track of pesky remotes anymore.

I'm really curious about the software for the IR blaster and hope to see it being used in a video soon. I've always wanted a Windows Phone that could work as a universal controller.

It works fine. Cable boxes, TV's, does them all. Had it on my M7 and Samsung uses the same software on the ATIV SE. You set up your equipment and can assign equipment room by room.

Wife has the android m8 and I've got the galaxy s5 for work: Both have ir blasters. Have to say the htc implementation is better, or at least more reliable, on my sky hd box anyway.

That is one thing my older bro keeps showing off with his GS5. Always deliberately changing the channel lol. Maybe I should dig out my old remote control watch and show him how "new" the tech is lol.

Oh hi Phil !

Man that is one elegant phone ... was really looking forward to it ... damn Verzion :/

say, does it have Zoe like the android version ?

Would love to see the side by side comparison of M8 running android and M8 running WP8.1 can we expect this type of comparison?

Most likely we will, the situation simply warrants a comparison. As it is the first time an OEM has ported over the exact same hardware from Android to Windows Phone.

Gosh I love that dot view concept.  The execution isn't great, with the case not being able to fold flat.  That's a real bummer.  But the capacitive layer and dot display is awesome! 

 

If I wasn't such a camera nerd, and so spoiled by the 1020 camera, I would buy this in a heartbeat.  It checks all the boxes except the camera.

Am I that much of a regular to notice that Phil wrote this article? 

Phil comes around about as much as the Rock wrestles these days... 

Looks really nice and glad it's finally on the WP platform. But I'm not willing to give up Glance, wireless charging, or any of my Nokia apps so I'm sticking with my 920 for a while.

Oh the perfect article!.. The only downer is I gotta tell potential purchasers is that it is locked on Verizon in the US currently (until further notice as there is no word on international availability yet).

Agreed: This is the first flagship wp device for 2014 - the 930 is a rehash (ironically of the Verizon icon... Is the international market going to have to wait six months for this beauty? That would be a disaster!)

And all the specs and an SD card. This is a proper flagship. Good on htc. I hope that category exclusive is just short term, or that the device can be released internationally. Whatever msft have to show in Sept, they need to bring to goods as the best sub 6" wp is a htc. The msftnokia team need to look at this and better it and don't skimp with things like the sd card. Lumia devices have an amazing competitor. Now if Sammy bring the s5 (or note 4!!!!) then things just got major!!!!

Uh Phil?
In the end before 'the bottom line' after the camera image
...HTC one m8 for windows '>' instead of '.'
I think u held the shift while puttin a full stop...
You're welcome.

Best and worse mistake that microsoft has ever made.  Taking a high volume phone oem and having them make a low volume os on a single carrier is a terrible business move.  HTC will run from windows again because sales will be very low.

The advantage here is that they are using the exact same hardware as the Android version so they don't have to design an entirely new phone. Big cost savings for HTC there.

It doesnt matter if this thing pooped gold bars facts are facts, WP app store is lacking in so many ways, the apps feel unfinished. Than the fact it takes years for apps to finally come only to be poor copys of great app (yes look at twitter app). WP needs to push their phones out to as many carries as possable. I am no WP hater just done with loving nokia and WP only to carry around ipad or samsung so get the apps i need.

   True parity will come when all companies (HTC, Samsung, LG, etc.) release the exact same hardware running both Android and WP8.1 on the same day on all the carriers. I know, it's just a dream....

Apart from the camera (Lumia is still better I guess), I'd love to know the quality of that boomsound. It is important for me.

Has Anyone tried the sound? Any review? Is it the same sound quality with Androids One?

Awesome specs, awesome phone. Hope HTC market this phone well in my country (India) when it releases here, otherwise it's yet another failure of a non-Nokia WP device in India.

Why for the love of God can we not have one release of a device that is exclusive to nobody; why?  I'm aware AT&T is to get the device at some future date and T-Mobile?  

For those of you that are complaining about the resolution of the camera on the HTC One M8, keep in mind that all you see most of the time on a Lumia 1520, Icon, or 1020 is a 5 MP photo anyway. All megapixels are good for is lossless zooming.

Lastly, you should all keep in mind that a 4.3 MP photo is 2688x1520 making it better than 1440p.