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HTC One E8 review: A more affordable version of the One M8 clad in shiny plastic

These are really cool features to have, though I wonder if it's possible to add these to other phones as well, since they're just software tweaks.

Camera

One of the best things about the One M8 was the ability to magically refocus a picture using the dual-camera setup, but this is missing on the E8. Unlike the relatively low-res images captured by the M8, however, the E8's 13-megapixel shooter does give you pictures with a lot more resolution.

The higher resolution allows you to zoom in to check out details that would have been otherwise smudged on the M8. The white balance looks to be just right, and HDR pictures seemed to have a dramatic flair that made the pictures pop.

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The HDR image lets you see the trees in the background and makes the clouds floating above look a lot more dramatic. Aloysius Low/CNET

One thing HTC is known for is the fast shutter of its cameras, and the E8 is no different. Shot-to-shot times were pretty snappy and it was quick to focus as well. If there's one thing the E8 does better than the flagship M8, it's probably here in the camera department.

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Indoor camera test shot (click to enlarge).
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Outdoor test shot. The slightly gloomy day doesn't help, but you can still see some details (click to enlarge).
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Closeup test shot (click to enlarge).

The front 5-megapixel camera lets you take better-quality selfies, though HTC could have borrowed a page from LG by using the phone's display to illuminate your face for taking images in areas with low light. To help with the picture-taking, you can tap the screen to start a countdown timer. While I'm not really a selfie person, I'm sure this will be appreciated by those who are.

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The front-facing 5-megapixel camera lets you capture plenty of detail -- not always a good thing, perhaps.

Performance

With similar hardware to the M8, the E8 delivers virtually the same level of performance. In the Quadrant benchmark, the phone scored 23,577 -- almost matching the M8's impressive 24,593. On the multithread Linpack test, the E8 got a high score of 847.571 MFLOPs over 0.2 seconds -- comparable again to the One M8's 878.5MFLOPs.

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Screenshot by Aloysius Low/CNET

Every day use was equally great. The phone performed well, breezing through whatever I threw at it. The E8 absolutely delivered performance levels befitting a high-end phone.

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Aloysius Low/CNET

Call quality

I made a few voice calls to test out the phone, and found the audio quality to be crystal clear. No one made any complaints to me about how I sounded, which I took to be a good sign.

The front-facing BoomSound speaker system is powerful and loud, and I liked that I could hear the phone ringing in noisy places. BoomSound has honestly been one of the standout features of HTC's recent smartphone lineup.

Battery life

The phone has a non-removable 2,600mAh battery, similar to the M8. While we're still testing out the battery life in our official CNET Labs video battery drain benchmark, I can say the phone easily lasted a day of moderate use with two email accounts, Twitter and Facebook all on push. Check back soon for an update on the final result. If you need to keep your phone chugging on a little bit more, you can also turn on the phone's extreme power-saving mode.

Conclusion

HTC's plastic E8 may not have all of the hardware of the flagship M8, but it does have enough to deliver high-end performance. While the E8 is a quality device, it just doesn't have the wow factor to truly impress. Perhaps the one thing that might catch your eye beyond the glossy colors is the phone's price compared to the expensive M8.

Compared with say, the $349 (£299, AU$399) Google Nexus 5 or the $270 (£160, AU$290) Xiaomi Mi 3 , the One E8 is pretty expensive. Without a standout feature, I find it hard to recommend.

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Aloysius Low/CNET

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