Jul 14 AT 2:54 PM Nick Sarafolean 57 Comments

“Get a grip, HTC!”: the problem with the One (M8)’s design


Time and time again, we hear about the wonders of aluminum phones. I’ll admit, I’ve joined the masses in singing aluminum’s praises. But is the metal perfect? No! Does it have problems? Yes! And which phone can’t be mentioned without reference to its aluminum design? The HTC One (M8). In this brief rant, we take a look at why this design has flaws and what HTC can do to fix them.

Note: I’m a proud owner of an HTC One (M8) who has oft sung praises to its metal design. In case you haven’t noticed, I love/hate it.

Right off the bat, HTC needs to balance its phone. The One (M8) is a tall, tall phone that’s also narrow. To use it comfortably and reach all parts of the screen, you have to do some hand yoga. Flipping the phone around raises the probability that you’ll drop it, so this issue needs to get sorted out with the next device in the series. Just shrink the phone vertically and perhaps make it a touch wider and it’ll be good to go.

But here’s the biggest problem: the One (M8) is like a slippery bar of soap. The Gunmetal Gray model in particular struggles with this issue, slip-sliding out of your hand all the time. And it doesn’t have to be your hand; whether it’s on your desk, your pocket, your bed, the phone just slides around.

The problem is quite clear: it’s easy to drop the One (M8) when it practically shoots itself out of your hand. So what’s the remedy? Well, you could get a case to put on the phone, but you then lose out on the upsides of metal. You could try and rub off some of the finish and coating, but you probably won’t have much success. In fact, the only real answer lies with HTC. While the One (M8)’s metal design is great, it’s impractical if HTC doesn’t change things up.

HTC first needs to balance out the height and width of the One (M8). Then it needs to either add some texture to the back or switch to a different coating that makes the phone less slippery. In short, HTC needs to get a grip.

How many of you have experienced this problem?

A nerd at heart, Nick is an average person who has a passion for all things electronic. When not spending his time writing about the latest gadgets, Nick enjoys reading, dabbling in photography, and experimenting with anything and everything coffee. Should you wish to know more about him, you can follow him on Twitter @nsarafolean.

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  • Dan

    Nice to see an honest post from one of the big Android enthusiast sites that at least acknowledges the One may not be the unblemished pinnacle of phone design. Personally I held the One M7 in a store for about two minutes and was completely put off by the feel of it in my hand… it immediately felt slippery and awkward to me… and the M8 appears to be no improvement in this regard.

    • Jake

      I’m just glad people are finally admitting this. There are no upsides to metal. And I say this as an enthusiastic owner of an M7. Metal designs are slippery, heavy, scratch magnets. It can be uncomfortably cold in the winter and uncomfortably hot in the summer. I think the anodized aluminum that HTC and Apple have used is actually a lot better.

      • John

        First of all there is an advantage to metal, plastic and polycarbonate are cheap. Now phones like the Moto X, yes an HTC with that material I think would be nice but I have an M8 and yeah its a little slicker than I would like it, but it still looks and feels (once you get used to it) like a premium device. Its also important to note that design is their top priority and not comfort. And another thing, just to mention I would have loved if they kept the m7 polycarbonate sides, my only reservation from buying the m7 compared to the m8 was specs because I’m a real spec head!!

        • John

          First of all there is an advantage to metal, plastic and polycarbonate are cheap. Now phones like the Moto X, yes an HTC with that material I think would be nice but I have an M8 and yeah its a little slicker than I would like it, but it still looks and feels (once you get used to it) like a premium device. Its also important to note that design is their top priority and not comfort. And another thing, just to mention I would have loved if they kept the m7 polycarbonate sides, my only reservation from buying the m7 compared to the m8 was specs because I’m a real spec head!!

          Its also important to note I have big hands so people with smaller hands may have a hard time handling this phone. To give a perspective I can handle and flip the m8 in one hand very easily

    • Louis A

      Maybe it’s a marketing strategy. That they make it slippery so you drop it, ding it, crack the screen or what ever damage happens to it and be forced to get a new one.

    • Kim K is a bad mother

      I love the feel of it way better than m7.

      I love my HTC M8 more sleek,sexy,smooth as the HT M7 and prior my HTC ONE is just as beautiful.But this one the HTC M8 in the fall and winter time,it get so cold! i have to literally place it in a warm,soft towel.or under covers,blanket for it to stay nice and warm. That is the only bad thing.and when i charge it,i recognize it get so hot lol. But i like it, very big ezy 2read screen i love that best.and smooth text i love my HTC M8 but just get too cold in winter,i am noticing. Love it though.
      Morgan Farantino

  • Vladimir

    Same here, that it’s why i got my self LG G3 and i love it, way better then HTC one M8.

    • WORLD CHAMPIONS GERMANY – their 4th championship

      final nail in the coffin for HTC

  • http://muddypa.ws/blog nportelli

    It’d help if manufacturers would go back to making sane sized phones. 4.7″ is too damn big for a phone, let alone the insane sizes they have now.

    • Benny

      3″ is too big for a phone
      4.5″ is too small for a smartphone.

    • SBM_from_LA

      I think it would be more accurate to say 4.7″ is too big for YOU… I have a Galaxy Note 2, which is 5.5″ and I find that a bit small.. I wouldn’t mind having something close to 6″… that would be the perfect size for a phone… for me at least.

  • EdC

    Neither my son or I have any problem holding ours. I do have large hands but he doesn’t yet.

    Your article should be written about what you know … YOUR OWN experience, not mine. You are completely inaccurate when you say “slip-sliding out of your hand all the time. And it doesn’t have to be your hand; whether it’s on your desk, your pocket, your bed, the phone just slides around”

    It has never slipped out of my hand, off of my desks at home or work, out of my pocket or off of my bed. I don’t think I have any special power here. I have level furniture and pay attention to what I am holding. I also am not one of those people who seems to have to fiddle with their phone all the time when they should be paying attention to something else.

    • munis


    • SBM_from_LA

      I played around the the HTC One M8 for a couple of weeks while I was setting it up for someone. The person who bought the phone was too scared to use it without some kind of case because it was so slipper… I ended up ordering a clear bumper case for it.

      • Andre Pinto de Azevedo Mendes

        What clear bumper did you get? I am also looking for one… Thanks

  • munis

    HTC is the best smartphone maker.. HTC one m8 is the best…HTC stands tall…I m a crazy HTC fan..solid mobile

  • munis

    HTC is greater than all

  • Dimitri

    I agree that the M8 is slippery on surfaces and can slide outside pockets, but when holding in my hands I never found it to be slippery. And I actually like the phones shape , I don’t mind it’s vertical length and power button position .

  • Tangent

    I have to agree. I’ve never used a case on any phone ever, from my old Nokia dumb phones, to my first Android (MyTouch 3G Slide), through my Sensation, HTC One M7, right up to my current One M8. I’ve never had a problem with not using a case; dropping was such a rare occurrence.

    The M8 though I’ve dropped more often in the months I’ve owned it than every other phone combined and left ugly scuffs on a couple of corners. I still absolutely love the construction; those same kinds of falls have resulted in damage well beyond the cosmetic with friend’s phones. I have large hands and this one is easy to lose a hold of, and as such is the first one I’ve put a case on. It’s not a size issue, it’s a slipperiness issue. The case makes the entire thing bigger, but since putting it on I haven’t dropped it once. I’m using a Spigen Slim Armor.

    A good alternative solution IMO would be a transparent grippy backing that can be applied to the back of the device, or some grippy pads around the edges maybe. I hate covering up that beautiful finish, but it was really necessary for me…

    • Brandon

      I rather think that the rubber-strip along the edge idea could be a good one.

      Very thin strip, of course . . .

  • Christian

    I don’t have M8 but I had M7 for few weeks and got ultra-thin case on eBay for few $. It’s super thin, semi-transparent plastic matte material and felt like having no case (I don’t like cases and extra bulkiness), yet it was non-slippery and covered all around edges with minimal lip. They also make them for Galaxy S4. The only other option for phones with non-removable back such as M8 is to get sticker-like skin like carbon fiber skin but to me skins look and feel cheap. The super thin case worked great, one I had was “frost” and looked great on silver M7, you could still see writings on the back of the phone.

  • dan

    Love my HTC m8, I have a clear silk wrap, on my m8, works, great and with 6 sense, you don’t have to reach all the buttons, perfect screen size, love it!!

    • joe

      I have the m8. Please tell me where you purchased the silk wrap and the name of the company who makes it thanks. Joe

  • John in Brisbane

    I’ve got the m7 and a friend has the m8. I spent some time using his over the weekend and I seriously love the dot-cover thingy. It’s clever and cool. I think the device is a little too big though and I agree that it’s slippery compared to the m7, which has those sharp edges. I don’t think changing the proportions is the issue, I think it’s the overall size. I’ve got a pretty average sized adult Caucasian male hand. In fact, I’ve seen the ergonomic engineering standards and I know I do. It seems to me that there is a natural upper limit for phones for one-handed usage. My m7 pushes through that limit and the m8 is bigger again. I don’t think there is anywhere to go with this. Even my old 4.3″ Samsung GS2 was pushing it – there is some awkward scrunching of the phone in the hand. My original HTC desire was probably my last truly one-handed phone. It sits nicely in the hand, like an iphone 3. It feels like it’s enclosed by the hand rather than sitting over it.

  • Ken Binkley

    I use a couple of stick-on velcro strips a quarter inch wide across the back. Helps.

  • josh

    A case is almost mandatory with any phone these days. The HTC one needs protection from falls the same as a plastic Note 3. Owned both and they both are scary to hold without a case. Now the first thing I look for when buying a phone is for a good case and a tempered glass screen protector. Or good insurance!

  • John Patrick

    The M7 and M8 are great phones. But keep the metal. I have had several PDAs in the time before smartphones. Three versions of the Palm Tungsten and later the HP 4700 LX. Then came the pocket cameras. All were metal with various finishes. They all shared similar problems – scratches, dents and just plain wear and tear that wore off the finish on corners. Say what you will about plastic, it ages way better than metal. I have a white year old GS4 that still looks new. That’s more than I can say about any of metal clad devices I’ve owned previously.

    The exception to the above would be to make a phone out of titanium… in say a raw satin finish for grip. It doesn’t tarnish. It is incredibly hard to dent or scratch and it actually gets better looking with a little wear. Sigh…but it would probably add 300 bucks to the price of a phone.

  • emasik

    I have a brushed metal one m8 and first things first I absolutely love it. But there are some minor problems. The slick metal design is kinda slippery but I’ve never once dropped it. Idk what the reviewer was doing but the phone is narrow so it’s actually easy to hold. The only problem is you have to stretch your finger to the top if your one handing it.

    Although it’s slippery, the sensual feel you get from holding it just does not get old And imo makes the phone worth it. Every time I leave it sitting and I come back to pick it up I fall in love with it again. That cold metal feel is priceless. Most people think it’s getting unnecessary hype, but the gunmetal version is really that nice to hold. I’ve never had so much joy just holding a phone lol. Every other phone feels dull after using this.

    It’s strange, the phone is such a nice thing to have. It’s like an expensive breitling watch. But yea that’s my opinion. I’ve had it since launch day. No case, and it’s still in perfect condition.

    My previous phone was a galaxy s4 (which was great but imo lacked passion.) if that means anything.

  • Braim_x_fuego

    I am a proud new owner of an HTC One M8, I switched after being with the galaxy line since the S1, but I have to say the metal ia good & bad. Good because it feels solid and it can take a nice drop on the ground. Bad because it gets very hot at times. I love everything else about it

  • Romdude

    Till they do, just put a cheap $5 nicely designed tpu gel clear case. Great grip and actually looks good.

  • KD

    I’m not buying anything worth over $600 without buying a case for it. Even if you never drop your phone and you only drop it on occasion, that doesn’t mean you can’t damage it from one single drop. Even in its otter box case my phone feels fine in my hand and I don’t have big hands.

  • Tomás

    Fui fanático de BlackBerry he tenido casi todos los modelos el ultimo un Q10 me cambie al HTC m8 es un mundo nuevo fantástico tener un teléfono de 600 dólares y no poner una dot view es una falla grande se protege el teléfono y no hay resbalones

  • Linda M

    Yup so slippery! And true about the hand yoga! Smh .. I have a rubber case and its so much easier but it’s so nice and slick without the case but I can’t have it like that bc otherwise I would drop it like crazy! But other than that I love the phone has been my best phone I’ve ever had!

  • TammyAnn

    I have the HTC One M8 & I love it & love HTC Phones.it I have the gunmetal Grey one & it is really slippery.But I don’t like what a phone looks like on the outside,I go by what the phone can do.I have a neon rose Otterbox defender series case on my phone & I love it.They have clear see through all around cases for people who do like the outside metal look.anyway great phone HTC way to go with the One M8.What a phone love it :)

  • gary hamm

    Get a grip and a life. Just apply a protective film over the back. It will keep the beauty,give a better grip and keep it from scratching.

  • evan

    I have thE the note 3 and am now using the m8 as stated you should comment on YOUR experience. I LOVE the metal!! Stop making things do complicated. If your hands can’t hold stuff maybe try some moisturizer or something. I have dropped all sorts of things and actually have never dropped my m8… Maybe I’m just careful. Different phones for different people and who says what size a phone has to be? A TON of people aren’t holding phones up to their head as much anymore. As we now have Bluetooth ear phones etc… Plus other means of communication. Texting apps etc.. in my opinion you’d have to be INSANE to not pick a phone be a use it’s slippery??? Stupid.. and I always insure my device in the event sometimes catastrophic happens to it. I will continue to use my m8 and love using it as long as I have it!!

  • Rey

    I agree the height could shrink down a level and the weight is perfect but what really needs to shrink down is the bezel! Overall performance of the phone is great. Quick response time when comes to the user interface sense 6.0 is awesome. Only thing I wish HTC had when it comes to software is a multi task or Q slide like feature on the phone. Other than that I love my M8

  • Rey

    And as far as grip I put a peargear clear n black slim shell case on my phone so I can still see the beautiful design without any problem of slippage since I had the phone!

  • jr

    Put a damn case and STFU, u people nowadays are such a wine little b!tche$..

  • Vipe

    hahah i love to see all the htc fanboys going crazy when somebody criticizes their over all loved phone manufacturer :’)

  • will

    If I’m buying a $700+ phone I’m chucking a case on it straight away, regardless of how grippy/slippery the design is. I’m using the case that comes standard with the phone and haven’t dropped it once. It is a slippery phone but at the end of the day it’s your fault for being careless with it. It’s an expensive device so handle it like one

  • Josh

    I found I had this issue. I didn’t want to lose the shape of the HTC by putting on some case, but it is too slippery.

    Easy solution – I bought a carbon fiber sticker! They are ultra thin and durable and add that little bit of tackiness which is necessary for using this phone on a daily basis. Top it off with a glass screen protector and my phone is safe from harm


  • armaan

    i never like htc i have htc one m7 camera is third class and battery only 3 hourse in 3g full brightness in on movie watch 80-90 % dead…. pls htc change the camera your bad ultra pixal#

  • Oflife

    This is why I bought a Moto X. Not the highest spec phone out there (although in use, you would never know), but very well thought out from the HUMAN perspective. 1. Intelligent features. 2. Great screen. 3. Very loud speakers (good for hands free/driving mode with voice maps) and most important, 4. A compact, grippy case!

    Yesterday, (I rarely drop my phones), I dropped my Moto X (juggling too many things, not because it isn’t grippy, which it is!) and it fell 4 feet onto a (hard) tiled coffee table before bouncing onto a tiled floor, where it bounced more. Not a blemish!

    Tough plastic is the way to go. Apple and HTC have got it wrong I’m afraid, I see scratched iPhone 5s and HTC Ones everywhere, but Galaxy & Moto phones etc handle abuse way better.

  • David

    Your description of the HTC phone as like a “slippery bar of soap” is a pretty good one.

    Solving the problem is pretty simple: just get a rubbery case for it like I did. I have the gold phone with a black case on it and now it looks like a black phone with gold trim so it still looks pretty good.

  • Gracen Ownby

    I have the One m7, with the same aluminum, it isnt slippery at all on any surface.ive used the m8 and neither is it. You must not know how to hold a phone-_- really. Only times ive ever dropped this phone was getting up with it on my lap and it still hasnt broke with a few injures to the face

  • Juan

    I have a case on my M7, only for the kickstand, but I usually have it wrapped up in PhantomSkinz matte finish clear skin. Stops all the sliperiness and you still have a great looking phone!

  • Michael

    I have to say I love the size. It’s perfect for me. The sturdy metal construction lets me slide it in my jeans pocket with no worries. As for the grip slap a Spigen Slim Armor case on it and problem solved. Just my 2 cents.

  • Tma

    I love my HTC M8. Yes may be you are right, that it is easy to drop HTC one M8, but I haven’t dropped yet (during 2 month) :). I am not going to put my phone in case, cause I love design and feel of Aluminum.

    I have bought this device because of Aluminum and Design. So HTC has nothing to change in the production. You have the choice while purchasing, you can choose non-aluminum one (mini for example), or different brand…

  • Terumi

    To avoid the case and the “mega slippery phone” sliding of my hands and obviously to keep it like new, I bought a Screen Knight memory film and it works great , protects my phone perfectly and u can just see it around the cameras.

  • Inception

    Sorry but I can’t say I have the same issues. I do now have a cover on my M8 purly for protection but for the month or so that I didn’t, I never had a problem with it. I do not have big hands either. Yes I have to do some hand yoga at times but not once had it ever slipped it’s own way out of my hand.

    Do you by any chance us women’s hand moisturiser?

  • Alan George

    I get what’s being said and I love HTC and I own an HTC one m8 and while I agree with the what’s being said in principle my phone has never slipped out of my hand as I am very careful with it because it feels expensive because of the aluminum and personally I love it

  • Daniel C

    The One M8 has a GIANT bezel at the bottom! It’s almost as big as the iPhone’s bottom bezel! I thought the entire point of moving to soft keys was to eliminate the stupid bezel that had the soft keys on it! And ditch the stupid logo on the front, HTC!!! Other than that, it looks sexy.

  • Subhor Khanna

    That’s so true. The only thing that I really don’t like about this! It is hard to hold onto the phone’there’s just no place to grip the phone! So I ended up having a cover and that then just defeats the purpose.

  • Pitt

    Well everyone is using cases now so the problem is out of probem

  • deken

    anyone have a DIU of how to solve this issue, without putting a case on it?

    Is there any material out there that we can coat the back of the phone with? (i even tried sticking tape to the back”)