HTC One M8 Harman Kardon Edition

HTC One M8 Harman Kardon Edition

Attempting to pull in more subscribers – and keep the ones they already have – Sprint unveiled a new exclusive handset from HTC. The One M8 Harman Kardon Edition (available May 9) is geared to anyone who's tired of listening to tinny tunes on their mobile phone. And though the hardware is a glitzed-up version of the recently announced M8 – with a stylish front panel trimmed in champagne and a black, anodized finish on its solid aluminum back – its real appeal is the amped-up audio software combined with the M8's already good front-facing speakers.

Audio manufacturer Harman Kardon contributed two separate upgrades to the phone. The first, called Clar-fi, uses an algorithm to restore lost music to smaller-sized MP3 tracks, which noticeably created richer, clearer sound obvious even on the first listen in a crowded venue. The other enhancement is called LiveStage and it is designed to improve your headphone experience – which, incidentally, will also be helped along by a pair of matching, champagne AE-S headphones (sold separately for $149) that come bundled with the phone. Again, when we tested it with the included in-ear headphones, we were surprised at the sense of depth it created.

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Though it worked well enough for music, it was actually even better paired with video, creating a surround sound-like experience we just haven't heard with other phones. It may not be worth a switch to Sprint, but if you're already a customer of the carrier, as well as a music lover, the One M8 Harmon Kardon Edition is a nice upgrade.

[$229 with contract; htc.com]