It's now been a full week since I started using the new HTC One (M8) and yesterday I was given a T-Mobile USA version to evaluate, along with the new HTC One Dot View case. The case offers a rather unique take on the popular functional flip case trend we see on Android, currently available for devices like the Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S4, and LG G2.
Rather than providing a clear window where you can see different screen views and interact with your device, HTC uses holes in the front cover with a unique 8-bit looking mode on the display. You can only see this 8-bit look if you peek under the front cover, similar to catching a refrigerator light off before fully opening it up. Some have referred to the design as similar to a Lite-Brite, where colored pegs were lit up on black paper with a bulb backlight.
The Dot View case consists of a hard plastic back with openings for the two rear cameras, two flash lights, microphone, and cutouts at the top, side, and bottom for access to all other buttons and ports. The SIM card slot is blocked by the hinge piece so you will have to take it out of the case if you need to switch SIM cards. The HTC logo is also embedded into the back.
The front silicone piece is attached with a hinge piece that runs along the inside of the back shell on the left side. There is an opening up top for the front-facing camera with a small HTC log embedded in the one solid piece of the front in the left center.
There are small holes drilled throughout the entire front, but most do not allow you to put a needle through them. You will see three rows of holes in the center top and bottom for the speakers, but the rest of the holes have some kind of plastic material between the outside and inside. I understand this design provides the ability to interact with your display when the flip cover is closed. Just be careful when cleaning the cover and don't punch through the holes.
With the front cover closed you can accept or reject calls, receive email notifications (via email app, not Gmail), calendar reminders, weather updates, alarms, low battery notices, voicemail indications, and also launch the HTC voice dialing application. A double-tap on the cover shows you the time and weather with another double-tap turning off the display.
When a call comes in you can just look at your HTC One and then put it up to your ear to answer it. You can also swipe down when a call comes in to reject it. If you swipe down with the display off and the front cover on the display, then the HTC voice dialing app launches. Swiping left, right, or up with the display off doesn't do anything for you. Check out the HTC video below showing how the Dot View case works.
It is a pretty slick case that looks great and has some useful functionality. Due to the hinge design, offset towards the front, and rounded back of the new HTC One (M8) you cannot lay the front cover flat on the back. This may cause problems when trying to enter text with two thumbs as the case tends to bounce along the silicone front that is resting on the back.
I would love to have seen a small kickstand pop out from the back or the back hinge with the front cover opened so that I could watch media on the train using the case. This could have worked similar to the Double Dip Flip that I use with my HTC One (M7).
The HTC online store will soon have them available for $49.99 each in various colors that include Baton Rouge (burgundy), Imperial Blue, Orange Popsicle, Warm Black (I've never seen black referred to as warm before), and Atlantis (green). I was actually given a gray one (not sure what the fancy color name is) to test out for a bit.