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Oh to be both an Android loyalist and a fan of HTC’s latest incarnations of Sense, Blink Feed and unique hardware. If you’re a purist you’re undoubtedly torn. Who wants a bunch of things that get in the way. But you love what HTC has to offer and want to retain at least some of that functionality. Can these two worlds co-exist in harmony. The HTC One M8 GPE seems to be the answer.

I declare the M8 to be the best smartphone on the market right now. My last was the M7 and I only parted with it to upgrade. But new hardware like it’s Duo Camera and software like BlinkFeed, Zoes and motion gestures are appealing to me. The GPE gets you the same 5-inch 1080p display, 2.25Ghz Snapdragon 801, 2GB of RAM, 2,600mAh battery, BoomSound speakers, rear UltraPixel camera and 5MP front-facing selfie shooter. Losing the Duo Camera functionality would be ridiculous, so I’m happy to report that you don’t. Not all of options are intact, but most are provided you’re OK with having to navigate to them a step or two later. Fair enough. Motion Launch is still around – the phone can be woken by knocking and pressing buttons to activate the camera. The specific swipes onscreen, however, are gone. Those actually drive me a little batty as wiping down the screen makes my phone want to do “stuff.” If you’re a fan of the gimmicky “Dot-View” case – you’ll be happy to see that it still works, but again in limited fashion. Time and weather is all you get folks.

Does getting a GPE mean you’re out of the warranty program that HTC launched? (“Advantage”) The answer is no – you’re covered. All in, I agree with Engadget’s review: Same great phone, purer Android experience and most of the extras intact. I’d call it a GE edition – “Good Enough” vs. the original.

The HTC One M8 has a Google Play edition, but how is it different? (hands-on).

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