“If you’re looking for the best flagship smartphone experience, but want to stand out from the crowd, this phone’s for you.”

HTC CEO Peter Chou’s words, taken from the press release announcing the company’s One E8 early last month, elegantly sum up the eye-catching device. When our review unit arrived in the office yesterday morning for its unceremonious off-camera unboxing, we took a few beats longer than usual just to stare at the “Electric Crimson” paint job of its polycarbonate unibody construction. The phone bears a thick glossy coating that we’d normally revile, but here it compliments the nail polish-red finish well enough that we actually prefer it to the matte models – despite having serious reservations about its scratch resistance.

Whether you love or hate the hyperglaze candy coating, though, you’ll probably appreciate the specs: as we said last month, the E8 is almost a pure port of its metal M8 sibling, from the Snapdragon 801 to the BoomSound speakers to the 5-inch Full-HD IPS display. The most visible difference (aside from the change in chassis material) is the substitution of the One M8’s UltraPixel shooter with a more conventional 13MP camera – something that didn’t work out terribly well for HTC’s One mini 2, but we’ll wait for the full comparison to make a final judgement. Much less visible but more useful for those in certain markets: the E8 offers dual-SIM support along with a reduced price tag.

We’ve got a week of E8 coverage to explore further details, but for now let’s get to know this crimson-clad Android in our HTC One E8 hands on. Be sure to leave a comment below letting us know what you’d like us to cover in the full review, and tune in to this week’s podcast Friday at 2pm for your chance to ask us questions about the E8 live on the air!

HTC One E8 Hands On

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