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Review: HTC One (E8) for Sprint

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Oct 9, 2014, 6:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

The plastic version of HTC's venerable One handset is almost as good as the metal version. Almost, but not quite. Here is Phone Scoop's full report about this Android smartphone for Sprint.

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Is It Your Type?

The HTC One E8 trades the attractive aluminum skin of the M8 for slick polycarbonate. In so doing, HTC has created an alternate version of the M8 that carries over most of the more expensive phone's key features, but packages them a less expensive shell. Who is the E8 for? Well, if you're looking for something a bit lighter and less expensive than the M8 that still has flagship appeal, the E8 could be for you. It might also appeal to those who dislike metal, or want more color.

Body

The HTC One (M8) is one of the best phones available in the market - if you place a priority on premium hardware and high design. Not everyone does. Some believe in "less is more" and apply that tenet to their technology purchases. The E8 is an attractive phone, but not quite as eye-catching as the M8. It boasts core HTC features, but the E8 relies heavily on the "less is more" concept.

The defining factor of the E8 is its polycarbonate skin. The plastic shell is what sets it apart from the M8. It's basically the same size as the M8. The height and width are the same, but it's a wee bit thicker front-to-back (9.9mm vs. 9.3mm.) It's more than half an ounce lighter.

Side-by-side, it's hard to tell the E8 from the M8, at least when viewed head-on. The E8 has the same gray panels above and below the screen with drilled holes for the BoomSound speakers. The user-facing camera and flash are in the exact same spots on both phones. Perhaps the most obvious factor differentiating the front faces is the lack of chamfers on the E8, which often gleam on the M8. I like the front of the E8, but I can't say I like the design of the back. It's plain as can be. The glossy (and very slippery!) plastic surface has a gentle curve, but it's devoid of any design cues.

It's not a small device and may be too bulky for some users. Thanks to the somewhat oblong shape, I had trouble reaching the far upper corner of the screen with my thumb, and I have big hands. The E8 feels decent when held, but it doesn't exude the same level of quality the M8 does. It's definitely solid and strong. The shiny polycarbonate is smooth to a fault. The phone should slip into most pockets easily.

Body  

There are no buttons on the front of the phone, as the E8 uses on-screen buttons to control Android. The SIM card tray is buried in the left edge of the phone, in the exact same spot as the M8. You need a paperclip or SIM tool to eject it. The memory card slot is on the right edge with the volume toggle below it. I have to complain a bit here. The volume toggle is among the worst buttons I've ever encountered on an HTC smartphone. Not only is it hard to find, but the travel and feedback are atrocious. The down half often got stuck and wouldn't pop back up, requiring me to press the upper part to unstick it. This, of course, often raised the volume when my intent was the exact opposite. That was frustrating, to say the least.

The screen lock button is on top. Since the E8 loses the IR transceiver, HTC moved the button from the side to the middle. It has a decent profile and good travel and feedback. The microUSB port and headphone jack are both on the bottom, in the same places they are on the M8. The E8's battery is sealed up inside. No battery swapping for you.

The E8 is a decent piece of hardware. It loses the raw appeal of the M8 to my eyes, but still manages to look good and function well. HTC One M8 lovers who are on a tighter budget can pick up the E8 and still find plenty to fawn over.

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Comments

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This forum is closed.

Slammer

Oct 9, 2014, 8:45 PM
edited

Too Bad.

I, for one, prefer plastic over metal due to battery accessibility that is available with many plastic devices. HTC failed in not making this version with battery removable option.

As a tech enthusiast for over 40 years, it absolutely irks me that many of today's fellow enthusiasts are so uninformed of the nature in why manufacturers are doing this. I have 3 friends that work in phone sales and each have expressed their experience that a phone may come in for service once a week, two or three weeks due to the phone swelling up like a puffer fish. All due to swollen batteries. Rather than just the swollen removable battery causing the back cover to come off, the customer is forced to fork over substantial cash to replace the whole device.
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Thanks for once again making this very important point so coherently.
Plastic or metal doesn't necessarily matter as far as a removable battery, there are devices that have metal backs and removable batteries. And how much money is the manufacturer really making off these repairs and replacements anyway? Not much comp...
(continues)
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