You can look at the M8 for Windows in two ways, on one end it’s a lazy re-release of a family of Android devices with just a different OS packed on to it, or you can look at as a very interesting marketing trend that could, emphasis on could, really take off, I mean one Smartphone with the option of running two OSes, sounds good right?. Plus, you know someone out there will manage to get an M8 somehow running both, but before we dream too far ahead of reality, let’s have a look at what we’ve got today.
Which ever way you look at it, what we are left with is actually the most powerful, and spec filled, Windows Phone device to date, plus it also delivers some of HTC’s awesome Android extras, to Windows Phone for the first time, which is great for the Windows Phone platform, but what we do worry about is, would people even want Windows Phone on their M8?!
Speaking of Windows Phone, we have to mention that the ‘M8 for Windows’, will actually be the first Windows Phone 8.1 device to go on sale launching with Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 installed out of the box. Whilst new devices such as the Nokia Lumia 630/635/930 all launched with Windows Phone 8.1, they currently (unless on Preview for Developers) don’t have the Update, whereas the HTC One M8 for Windows will have it out of the box, which is great for new Windows Phone users who may switch thanks to the M8 for Windows, as they of course will be able to enjoy literally the latest and greatest from the platform.
If you thought the HTC One M8 for Windows was going to have the same design, aesthetics and overall appearance as the One M8 on Android … you’d be completely right, that’s exactly what we’ve got. The identical build quality we loved in our One M8 review, and the same beautiful attention to detail in the build quality. So, basically everything we know about the One M8 stands with the M8 for Windows, an exceptionally well built premium Smartphone which is thought not love, whether on Android or Windows Phone. But that’s most certainly not a bad thing, yes it’s the same as the Android counterpart, but let’s not forget the M8 is still one of the best Android phones out there, so having that on Windows Phone, I certainly wouldn’t turn that down.
Unlike with HTC’s previous Windows Phone devices, with the ‘M8 for Windows’, HTC have actually added things to the table, rather than simply delivering what could realistically be considered, a stock Windows Phone with a tile, we’re looking at you ‘Windows Phone 8X‘. Whilst some of the additions to the Windows Phone platform may be rather obvious to many, there’s actually some surprises HTC have brought the table with the M8 for Windows.
Yes we know Cortana is a Windows Phone 8.1 feature full stop, but where HTC have really surprised us, is where they’ve managed to put it. Like with the original Android counterpart, HTC will offer the same Dot View case for the M8 for Windows, but what HTC have done with the M8 for Windows is actually integrate Cortana in to the Dot View case, which is just insane!
The Dot View case will, for the most part, offer the same information at a glance that the Android One M8 can, but with some added extras from Cortana, we’ve yet to see the full extent of what Cortana can bring to the Dot View case, but considering the low usage of the Dot View case on Android, can HTC make it more relevant on Windows Phone, is the real question.
Of course, whether running Android or Windows Phone, this is an M8, and like the M8 on Android, you’ve a 4 MegaPixel “UltraPixel” Camera, with HTC’s Dual Cameras. Of course to take the images perfectly, you require HTC’s Camera software and application right, well that’s exactly the app you have now on Windows Phone, just one of the many efforts HTC have pushed in to the M8 for Windows, identical functionality from its Android app, with unfortunately the same downside of the same rather average hit-or-miss Camera shots.
Anyone who has used any of HTC’s One series of devices, from the M8 on Android, to even the new Desire devices, get to enjoy the same second to none experience of using those incredible BoomSound speakers! Not only are they front-facing, they’re stereo, loud, and have incredible quality, perfect for enjoying media on your device, and the M8 for Windows is of course no exception to that.
HTC have also thrown in their software to improve the audio quality whether through the BoomSound speakers or through headphones, just like the M8 on Android, its simply ‘HTC’s enhancements’, following HTC losing their Beats agreement in 2013 (ooo I wonder why, cue Apple). But, if you’re like us, you’ll actually agree that’s actually good thing as Beats are, well let’s be fair, incredibly over-rated, and based on the HTC 8X “Beats Music” enhancement quality, everything just simply had “more bass”, which is all well and good, but music is so much more than that.
Like with many of HTC’s Android offerings, another feature that HTC are debuting is HTC TV. Alongside the devices IR blaster, which allows you to control your TV, you also have HTC’s great TV application and service, something which is very highly regarded on Android, and is awesome to see arrive on the Windows Phone platform.
Whilst the People Hub on Windows Phone 8.1 allows you to experience a coalescent experience for all your Social feeds, be it limited to Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, whereas HTC’s BlinkFeed offers so much more. BlinkFeed maybe a full home screen of annoyance on Android for many, but luckily on Windows Phone it’s confined in to a pinned Live Tile application, but continues to offering everything that’s awesome about the service, plus is probably the closest thing to Flipboard Windows Phone has to offer at the moment. Whether it’s Social updates, RSS feeds or more, BlinkFeed has you covered, and it’s now finally on HTC’s Windows Phone devices. Obviously time will tell how much this is used on Windows Phone, and we’ll see more about BlinkFeed on Windows Phone when the M8 for Windows gets in to peoples hands.
Performance + Specs
Considering this is the first Windows Phone device to be powered by Qualcomm’s latest Quad-Core SnapDragon 801, we can pretty much guarantee if you have any worries about the M8 for Windows, it most certainly won’t be performance, especially as our SnapDragon 800 Lumia 930 continues to rush through Windows Phone 8.1 likes a breeze.
Of course, performance over time is something that’s yet to be proven, but we’re more than confident that the M8 for Windows will still be running like a champ, similar to how the HTC 8X, HTC’s flagship Windows Phone from two years back …yes it’s been two years since the Windows Phone 8X by HTC, continues to.
- 5 inch Full HD 1080p display with Cornin Gorilla Glass 3
- 2.3 / 2.5GHz SnapDragon 801 with Adreno 330
- 2GB RAM
- 4G LTE in a wider market variety
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, with BlinkFeed, HTC TV
- 2,600mAh Battery
- 32GB Internal Storage
- microSD Card slot (up to 128GB)
- HTC 4MP UltraPixel Camera
- 5MP Wide-Angle Front Facing Camera
So there you have it, the HTC One M8 for Windows, whilst on paper it’s an Android phone with a different boot-loader, we’re happy to report that HTC have actually taken the device seriously, debuting some of what’s best about HTC’s device to the latest and greatest Windows Phone 8.1 experience from the moment you take it out of the box.
What continues to worry us though, is will people actually want an M8 running Windows Phone, and won’t people even looking at Windows Phone not just purchase a Nokia Lumia device instead, then of course there’s Carrier training that’s needed A LOT in relation to Windows Phone, especially in the US, something we’ll have to see over time, and the age-old Nokia exclusive apps on Windows Phone.
Luckily, unlike the 8X, with the M8 for Windows, HTC can get back at those cons with it’s own exclusives, such as HTC TV, Camera and BlinkFeed, which might not sound like much, but especially with HTC TV on top of the NFL offer Verizon Wireless offers for US customers, the M8 was designed from day 1 for consuming content, all things every Nokia Lumia device, like the rest of the competition on Android, do rather averagely at best.
Which brings up our biggest problem we have with the One M8 for Windows is, at the moment, it’s exclusive to US Carrier Verizon Wireless! But, their is a silver lining we must point out, we were saying this about the Lumia Icon not so long back, and here’s a Lumia 930 in our hands, so there’s a chance yet if demand is set, but for now, it remains exclusive.
What do you think of the M8 for Windows, let us know below.