HTC One (M8) for Windows review: Tinker, Tailor

Tinker, Tailor

GSMArena team, 20 October 2014.

Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer 11 is the newest version of the Microsoft's mobile web browser. You bet it went through an extensive upgrade and is a marked improvement over previous versions. IE 11 is what the Windows Phone browser should have been from the get-go.

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Internet Explorer 11

Microsoft took several cues from the competition and now provides private browsing, a Reader mode, unlimited tab support with new UI, saving passwords, tab and bookmark sync across devices and support for inline videos to name a few. Back and Forward gestures have been added too - just swipe from the left or right edge of the screen. Yes, just like in iOS.

The first new feature you'll notice is the unlimited tab support in IE 11. The tab manager has a new UI too, plus a dedicated shortcut right next to the address bar. InPrivate browsing is available too, you can launch a separate incognito tab from the tab manager.

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The tab manager InPrivate browsing

Once you open an article on the web you'll notice a small book icon appearing in the address bar. If you tap it you'll activate the so-called Reader mode. It does the same as its iOS namesake - it strips down the article you are reading down to the text and images. This way you can enjoy seamless reading of long articles without any unnecessary content or ads. You can configure the Reader background color and font size from the IE 11 settings.

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Reader mode Reader settings

IE 11 also supports inline video playback. In case the browser is capable of playing an embedded video, you will be able to do it right from within the article. No external players or pop ups are needed.

Much like its Android and iOS counterparts, the new web browser supports tab and bookmark sync across devices. This means you can start exactly where you left off on IE on Windows PC or slate.

By the way you can pin web pages to your start screen. You'll get a Live Tile, which will show the latest updates to this website.

Another important upgrade in IE 11 is the option to remember passwords and sync them to other devices. You no longer need to type in the same usernames and passwords over and over again.

The Internet Explorer 11 web browser, just like the overall UI, seems to be faster, with excellent page loading times and scrolling performance. We've enjoyed the new version and we think you'll like it too.

Pre-installed apps

HTC One (M8) for Windows features the Blinkfeed service as a stand-alone app instead as a homescreen. It aggregates content from your social networks, as well as from various news sources. You can pick what topics you're interested in and BlinkFeed will automatically pull fresh content for you. You can also search for specific content.

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HTC Blinkfeed app

HTC Sense 6' Zoe is called Video Highlights in Windows Phone 8.1. It is a standalone multimedia app, where your captured photos and videos are automatically compiled into a Zoe video highlight reel (called Video highlight).

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Video Highlights app

Video Highlights automatically creates a video, but later you can choose from the available images and rearrange them in order you like and thus a new video will be created. Themes and soundtracks are available in case you want to be truly creative. Once finished editing, you can easily share your Video Highlight.

HTC Sense TV app is here, too. It uses the integrated IR blaster on top of your One (M8) and turns your phone into a smart TV remote. It will help you find interesting shows and movies any time.

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HTC Sense TV app

There is HTC Photo Edit app as well - it allows you to apply various effects, filters and frames to your images. Duo effects are available as well, so you can enhance your Duo UltraPixel images.

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HTC Photo Edit app is where the Duo magic happens

Office is one of the key selling points of Windows Phone. Document/Excel/PowerPoint viewing and editing is absolutely free and integrated into the OS. OneDrive integration is available as well. Docs are automatically synced between the phone and your computer through OneDrive.

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MS Office

OneNote is Microsoft's collaborative note taking tool. It has great (and easy to use) support for lists of multiple levels, and you can add photos and voice memos or send notes via email when you're done. OneNotes can be synced with your OneDrive as well.

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One Note

The Calendar app can view sub-calendars for each account you have and can color-code them to make them easier to tell apart. It offers day and agenda views for more comprehensive hour-by-hour browsing of your appointments.

Weekly view makes the days expandable in case you have more events than the small square can show. This mode even searches for weather forecast and displays it with small icons on each day.

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Calendar

Naturally, One (M8) comes with Alarm, Calculator, and Weather apps pre-installed.

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Weather Alarms Calculator

Microsoft's Travel, Sports, Finance, Food & Drinks and News apps are available, too.

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Travel Food & Drinks

The default Maps app is very similar to HERE Maps and supports downloadable maps for offline usage. It will help you discover new places, read a quick description, see photos, read reviews, among other things. It has an option to integrate with navigation apps and in our case, it was configured to send your directions to the preinstalled Verizon Navigator. You can change this though any time you want.

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Maps

Of course, if the default Maps app is not enough for you, every Windows Phone 8 device is entitled to free Here Drive+ worldwide offline voice-guided navigation package and the powerful HERE Maps app as well. Both apps aren't pre-installed on the HTC One (M8) for Windows, but you can download them from the Microsoft Store, free of charge.

HERE Drive+ offers free, life-time voice-guided navigation anywhere in the world. All you have to do is download a voice in your language of choice and you're good to go. Of course, to make use of the key selling point of Drive - offline navigation - you have to download a map for a country of your choice, too.

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Here Drive+ • Here Maps

HERE Maps takes on other duties - instead of navigation, it's more of a replacement for paper maps that you can take as you explore a city. It will help you discover new places, read a quick description, see photos, read reviews and check what renowned guides like Lonely Planet, Insight Guides and Qype have to say.

Windows Phone's traditional Games app is present - it carries over many features from the similar Xbox profile - from your avatar to your scores and achievements. It is also your gaming hub - here you can find all of your pre-installed games, spotlight news and store links.

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Games hub

Windows Phone 8.1 introduced a couple of new apps: Storage Sense and Battery Saver. Storage Sense tracks your internal memory and allows you to configure which content will be saved where. Battery Saver now not only shows you the battery percentage and allows you to configure when the battery saver goes on, but it can now track battery usage too. You can also allow or restrict apps to run in the background while the battery saver is turned on.

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Storage Sense Battery Saver

Finally, Windows Phone now features a dedicated and feature-rich file manager. It's called Files, developed by Microsoft and you can get it for free from the Store.

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Files - a proper Windows Phone file manager

By the way, the Microsoft Store now supports automatic app updates. You can choose whether those happen only when connected to a Wi-Fi network, or if cellular data is allowed as well. Check for updates button is available, but now the Store checks for available updates quite a few times a day, so you probably won't need to use this key regularly.

Reader comments

  • lisaab

Coolmuster Android Assistant could backup almost all of your android phone contacts to computer, and we can also use it to manage android phone contacts on computer easily.

  • ali baba

Hmm. Simply no comment. Did u say u can replace its OS.

  • ali baba

Hmm. Simply no comment. Did u say u can replace its OS.