After what seems like an eternity of waiting, and enough leaks to empty a swimming pool, HTC finally caved in this week and officially launched its latest flagship smartphone, the HTC One (M8).
The M8 distinguishes it from the previous HTC One, now known as the M7, which seems like a clunky solution to the naming conundrum commentators have been wondering about for a while. But the real interest was not what's on the box, but what's in it. The M8 has a lot to live up to after its older sibling won so many plaudits in 2013 – with some describing it as the best Android device of the year. So has the new offering managed to meet these expectations?
A beautiful package
The first thing most people will notice about the HTC One M8 is how gorgeous it is to look at and to hold. Like the previous edition, smooth, sleek metal is the order of the day for HTC, which reflects the design philosophy of the company.
For the first time, the phone has an all-metal construction, with the entire body made of a curved metal case that wraps all the way around to cradle the new five-inch screen. HTC says this is the first time such a design has been possible, because usually, such a solution would block the radio signals needed for it to actually function as a phone. But the firm has got around this by embedding the antennae into the the body.
Graham Wheeler, HTC's director of product for Europe, Middle East and Africa, explained to the Guardian: "Metal is great for designers but for phone engineers that need to worry about the function of the phone it is a nightmare. At HTC the designers come first, however, and the engineers have to fit around the designers."
Double the camera
When it comes to imaging, HTC is also promising to redefine what's possible with a mobile phone camera. Unlike many of its rivals, however, who've gone down the 'more is better' route of packing as many pixels in as possible, HTC has surprised many people by sticking with a 4.1-megapixel rear camera.
Where it's different though, is it has not one but two of these, creating what the maker describes as an 'ultrapixel' effect. This means the camera is able to capture much more depth perception, so users can isolate objects and refocus them after the fact, alter the angle and create a range of effects.
In a sign of the times, the front-facing camera has also been beefed up to 5.1 megapixels – meaning that in these terms it's actually higher-quality than the main camera. So if you've got a selfie addiction, you should be able to capture your own features in sharper detail than ever.
No more buttons
HTC is also highlighting the new gesture controls of the One M8, making use of a range of 'Motion Launch' gestures that can detect the phone's surroundings, so for some activities, the days of dirtying up your nice touchscreen with fingerprints may be over.
For instance, the phone can detect when and where it's being moved, so if you lift it towards your ear when it rings, the gadget will answer the call for you without any direct interaction with the screen. And if you often find yourself fiddling around for the power button to turn the screen on, the ability to bring the home screen up with a simple swipe of the finger might be very handy.
We need more power
As you'd expect, the M8 comes with a top-of-the-line supercharged Snapdragon 801 processor and a whole host of other features under the shiny case. In the past, packing a smartphone with this much power would have meant a precipitous fall in the usable battery life – something that you'll surely be familiar with if you're having to hook your phone up to the wall every night.
But this is a shortcoming HTC has been working hard to address and it promises to have solved this with the addition of a new 2,600mAh battery. Not only is this bigger than on the old One, it's also claimed to be 40 per cent more power efficient. What's more, HTC boasts an 'ultra power saving mode' that can give you an extra 60 hours of life when the battery is just 20 per cent full. This might make it ideal for travelling or any emergency when you're far from civilisation and can't afford to see your phone die.
If this sounds like the right phone for you, the HTC One is available immediately on contract with all the major networks, or SIM-free for around £500.