Tech Savvy: Two in One (M8 that is)

Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! This week I get a chance to tell you about a phone that I've actually reviewed before, but it's not the same. The HTC One M8 for Windows.

Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! This week I get a chance to tell you about a phone that I've actually reviewed before, but it's not the same. The HTC One M8 for Windows.

If you recall I took a look at the HTC One a little while back and I also have an HTC DNA, which was the predecessor to the One. Full disclosure, I am a big fan of HTC's phones, every one I've had a chance to look at since the DNA has been a truly impressive piece of equipment.

I was really excited when Verizon reached out and asked if I'd be interested in looking at the One for Windows, because I was familiar with the One for Android and really liked it. If you recall I haven't been a huge fan of Windows mobile, not that there is anything wrong with it - it's just so different from what we're used to from Android and iOS.

Out of the box, and for much of the specs, the two Ones are identical, which makes complete sense. Honestly, this is one major benefit I see with HTC using an existing phone set up with a different platform. This allows people who are familiar with the One, or HTC phones in general, to migrate platforms and still have some idea of how the phone works. Don't get me wrong, the OS is still different, but the hardware controls, capabilities and technical specs are similar.

Just a recap, the One features a 5-inch LCD Gorilla Glass screen and comes in at just under 6 ounces. It's 5.76-inches tall and 2.78-inches wide. As I'm typing this, I find it amusing that phones have gotten to the point where a hundredth of an inch makes a difference. What's really curious is that, depending on where that difference is, can make it completely noticeable.


The One has a 2600 mAh battery and, while this is not the largest battery on the market today, in my experience it more than has the capability to last a full day with moderate usage. For those that have heavier usage, like other Android and Windows phones, the One uses a micro-USB to charge which is the universal (except for Apple) chargers now throughout the world.

The housing is also the same, with the same streamlined look as the Android version. The rounded back is a feature I've really enjoyed with the HTC phones as it makes it much more comfortable to keep in a pocket. I normally don't use any large cases, and have gotten away from phone holsters, as I enjoy being able to just slip my phone into my pocket.

The One for Windows does still have the headphone jack at the bottom of the phone - something I'm still not sure I'm a huge fan of but again has not been an issue since I've started using Bluetooth headphones. In other applications, like connecting to a speaker via wire, it doesn't get in the way because you're not going to have it in your pocket at the same time. Really, this would only be a potential issue if you use wired headphones.

The camera has all the great features of the HTC cameras, and this is one area where having similar hardware really pays off, because Android and Windows aren't as locked down, they are able to share more features that the manufacturing company (HTC) wanted to include, and weren't as dependant on the OS.

Along those same lines, if you have begun using Blinkfeed, you can still utilize that on the One for Windows. For those not familiar, it is a continuous feed of some of your most used social media and saved searches to provide you with a place to get your information in one steady stream. Basically it's an aggregator for things you are interested in.

There are some differences in the One for Windows, however, some of which seem to be tied to how the OS uses the hardware and available resources. For example, the One for Android claims 720 minutes of usage time and 292.8 hours of standby. In contrast the One for Windows boasts 1260 minutes of usage time and 372 hours of standby, for having the same hardware specs, we have to assume that the energy savings is a result of how the OS operates and what efficiencies are built in.

Another difference listed is the camera. On the Windows version it lists a 5MP camera while the Android version touts their Duo Camera technology. Honestly, from my standpoint in using them, there is no difference - pictures on both platforms were unbelievable. I personally think that HTC has about the best camera in smartphones on the market right now - they are fast, responsive and handle lighting much better than many of the others I've seen. True, some of this has to do with hardware and the lenses being used; at the same time, the camera software plays a big part in how responsive the camera apps are and how easy they are to use.

Like its Android brethren the One for Windows use the 4G LTE service from Verizon, and therefore carries all the benefits of that service - no issues there. One nice thing about the different platforms is that it doesn't seem to affect reception and service.


Windows has it's own version of Google Voice, or Siri, called Cortana. Long story short, it is a voice operated, recognition system that will help you make calls, schedule appointments and stay organized using hands free technology. Cortana was responsive and recognized the basic commands and requests easily. It used to be that the quality of voice commands could be a determining factor, but the technology has advanced so much in the last two years that the differences are really negligible. I find that I don't use voice tech so much for actual dictation but when I need to navigate or search. I am on the road a decent amount and use a Bluetooth headset, which pairs nicely with getting turn-by-turn directions and being able to use it to search for places as well is an added bonus.

One thing I am a little surprised at myself in is how my opinion has started to change with Window's Live Tile format for their homescreen. There are still some aspects that I don't know are necessary but the ability to resize and customize the layout is actually very nice. I use folders a lot on my Android phone, and iOS doesn't give you any other option, but by resizing the tiles on the Windows phone I can get the same effect as folders but not have to actually open the folder to access the app. Strategically I can use this to access some common apps more quickly. This may not be a huge deciding factor for you but it's something worth noting.

One thing that users will want to keep track of that may influence your decision to consider a Windows mobile device is how Windows 10 will affect their mobile interface. Windows mobile has gone largely unchanged since its release, instead relying on the release of Windows 8 for desktop to bring the two systems closer together. I am anticipating big changes that will hopefully integrate these systems even more but only time will tell.

The One by HTC is a solid phone all the way around; arguably one of the best all-purpose phones on the market right now. Having versatility of Android or Windows gives the phone itself more appeal and gives Windows mobile users a top shelf piece of equipment to work with. Check it out, it may surprise you.

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