For those who have lusted for the HTC full-metal body One phone, but balked at the price, a cheaper version with an less expensive case will hit the stores in Singapore on July 26.
What HTC has done is to take what is successful and make it more accessible, enticing those who are already impressed with the 2014 One phone (codenamed the M8), to reconsider the brand again.
Essentially, the new One, codenamed E8, is the same as its predecessor in much of its features and size.
You get HTC’s BoomSound audio with stereo front facing speakers, which are a good thing to begin with.
At the same time, the new One still has 2GB of RAM and 16GB onboard memory with expandable storage via a MicroSD card slot. It also uses a Snapdragon 801 processor clocking in at 2.5Ghz.
The biggest change is what made the One (M8) iconic. Gone is the intricately machined metal body. Fortunately, new One the poly-carbonate material on the One (E8) still makes the phone feel pretty solid.
Among three three colours it’s out in – Polar White, Electric Crimson and Misty Gray with gold trimmings – the Misty Gray exudes the most style and feels the most luxurious. It is also the only option that offers a matte surface for better grip, unlike the mirror finish of its white and red counterparts.
When it comes to imaging, the 3D dual-camera system on the One (M8) with the 4-megapixel sensors are now replaced by the more ubiquitous 13-megapixel sensors found on most smartphones. This is a good change but will attract a much larger image file size in return.
How does the new phone fare in an area that HTC has shone in the past? The new One (E8) is still a very able shooter. Plus, it has inherited the excellent user interface and a host of useful camera-centric apps such as Pan 360, Dual Capture and Zoe Camera (see our HTC One (M8) review).
On the whole, the One (E8) may be cheaper but it shares the same DNA with the HTC One (M8). That in itself may just nudge some users to consider HTC again.
HTC is also pushing its so-called Advantage programme in Singapore now. Applicable to HTC One owners – from last year’s M7 to this year’s M8 and E8 – it is essentially a promise to update the handsets quickly whenever there is an operating system update from Google. It’s something aimed squarely at geeks who want the latest without waiting months for an update.
These privileged users also get an additional 25GB to 50GB of additional online storage for backup purposes. Unfortunately, the screen replacement offer, also in the Advantage programme elsewhere, is not applicable to Singapore at the time of writing.
What might close the deal for HTC is the One (E8)’s price. At S$658.00, it is purely priced at the mid-tier market. It competes very closely with even “value-for-money” mainland Chinese phones, such as the S$599 Oppo Find 7a, another able performer.
If you like the One (M8) but have found the price a bit too unattractive, the more affordable One (E8) may be what y0u’re looking for.