You're all familiar with the HTC One M8 by now, right? It's HTC's 2014 flagship Android smartphone with the best of breed Snapdragon 801 quad core CPU, a dual lens Ultrapixel camera on the back and a stunning unibody metal design. Then there's the HTC BoomSound stereo speakers that are large and face you rather than the desk or your shoes. Good stuff. HTC, Sprint and Harman Kardon got together to make it a bit better; at least if you can about audio quality... and chances are you do given that the M8's sound is one of the top attractions. The HTC One M8 Harman/Kardon Edition is exclusive to Sprint in the US, and for $30 more you get better audio quality, a spiffy set of Harman/Kardon AE (Audio Enhanced) $150 earbuds in the box and the option to buy the very good, both sonically and in terms of design, HK Onyx Studio Bluetooth speaker for $99 (it lists for $399).
The phone's hardware specs and design are the same as the standard edition M8, but the H/K edition is finished in black with champagne accents over the front speakers. The software gets some tweaks with an active wallpaper them that emphasizes album covers, quick access to song ID and of course settings for Harman/Kardon enhanced audio. There's Clari-Fi, which attempts to restore bass and trebles lost in compression with lossy formats like MP3, and LiveStage (headphones only) that improves the sound stage by adding dimensionality. Both do improve sound and make vocals and instruments sound more full and natural. LiveStage improves presence a bit, and both effects slightly drop audio levels. For jazz, folk, soft rock and classical these are welcome enhancements, but for brash in your face hard rock you might want to turn these effect off for a louder and more raw sound.
The M8 Harman Kardon Edition is available now from Sprint online and will be in stores on May 9.
Here's our HTC One M8 Harman Kardon Edition video review, and we cover the earbuds and optional Onyx Studio speaker system too.