Hands on with the HTC One M8: New smartphone puts Android and HTC back in the picture

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The HTC One changed the way I thought about smartphones. Before I first got my hands on the Taiwanese manufacturer's 2013 flagship, I was a narrow-minded iPhone obsessive, and now - well, I'm still a massive fanboy, but I'm far less immune to the charms of Android devices. So needless to say, I was very excited to head to the launch of the One M8 and have a fiddle with HTC's latest handset.

The HTC One M8 isn't the most radical update I've even seen, but it does carry a few significant changes. Chief among these is the expanded display size, which now measures 5in diagonally, compared to 4.7in on the 2013 device - a tweak that I've got mixed emotions about. The 2013 HTC One was at the upper echelons of my comfort zone for operating a smartphone. I could just about use it with one hand, but the M8's extra real estate means that I'm now very much in two paw territory. Personally, I find this a bit annoying.

At the same time, the expanded screen means that the HTC One M8 is now an even more impressive portable media companion. When I bought the iPhone 5S and upgraded to a 4G contract with Vodafone, it was pretty damn easy to choose Spotify Premium as my sweetener, because a narrow-bodied device with a 4in display didn't really make for a good viewing outlet.

With the HTC One - new or old - I would have almost certainly gone with Sky Sports, as it's more than ample for watching the footy on-the-go. And as an additional boon for media buffs, the HTC One M8 also features a microSD card slot. Tack this on to a storage allowance of either 16GB or 32GB and you've got a pretty decent travel mate for those long-haul flights. The Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixel) display itself continues to be vibrant on the M8, though the resolution density has slipped down slightly due to the larger screen. It's a difference that's scarcely noticeable to the naked eye and shouldn't deter potential buyers.

Cosmetically, the HTC One M8 is still one of the most beautiful smartphones available. Its aluminium chassis is as impressive a bit of handset craftsmanship as there is, though the new device is a little bit beefier than its predecessor, weighing in at 160g compared to 143g on the older product. Girth is roughly the same at a tad over 9.3mm, so the extra weight is presumably down to additional camera parts and the beefier 2,900mAh battery - which HTC no doubt hopes will help appease complaints that its handsets die quicker than a truant five-year-old's first goldfish. For someone used to fondling a 5S, though, it did feel a wee bit taxing to hold.

The other headline changes are the addition of a dual-camera setup on the rear of the M8. Finally, HTC has upgraded its native Sense UI to version 6.0. Truth be told, Sense isn't my flagon of ale. I find BlinkFeed rather annoying, but I can see its appeal for some and know a lot of people (lawyers, bankers, less grumpy journalists etc.) who appreciate the way it streamlines news, emails, messaging and social media on to a single screen.

All in all, the HTC One M8 is a hugely impressive smartphone, even if it didn't bowl me away in quite the same manner as the original HTC One. The changes are both significant and subtle, and its packs a number of solid improvements. Of course, we'll be putting the device through its paces in full in the near future, so stay tuned for our review of the HTC One M8.

In the meantime, you can see how the HTC One M8 stacks up against its premium competition by checking out our raft of spec comparisons below:

HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

HTC One M8 vs. Google Nexus 5

HTC One M8 vs. Apple iPhone 5S

HTC One M8 vs. Sony Xperia Z2

HTC One M8 vs. HTC One