The HTC One E8 is a plastic version of the HTC One M8 that's been widely lauded for its design. The HTC E8 has launched in China, but we've managed to get our hands on one to see what's on offer. Here are our first impressions.

This handset is closely matched to the M8 and is visually very similar. It has the same BoomSound speakers top and bottom, framing the 5-inch full HD display. Those speakers sound just as good here as they do on the flagship model, making this one of the best sounding phones around, perfect for watching videos listening to music without having to dive straight for your headphones.

The move to a tactile polycarbonate body - finished here in the matte grey - lacks the premium feel that you get from the metal of the M8, but it still feels solid. There's an added advantage that you get more grip from the body, which is one of the criticisms of the M8.

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The back of the E8 is simpler than the M8. There are no breaks in the body so it's more of a seamless design, with just the logo and camera a flash surround ringed in gold.

This is where there's the biggest change from the M8, as the E8 drops the Duo Camera with the UltraPixel sensor and twin tone LED flash, for a 13-megapixel sensor with single LED flash. 

There's no 4K capture offered - despite having all the hardware to allow it. HTC would class the E8 as something of a step-down in terms of cameras, although having played with it briefly, its still fast and offers lots of nice features, like Zoe Camera.

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You obviously don't get the features offered by the Duo Camera - like Ufocus - but we'll be giving this 13MP snapper a thorough testing over the coming weeks to see whether this phone actually comes out on top in the photography department. 

Internally you have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset and 2GB of RAM. There's 16GB of internal storage and support for microSD cards up to 128GB. 

In terms of software the HTC One E8 runs Android 4.4 KitKat with Sense 6.0 over the top. The experience is very close to the HTC One M8. It's slick, fast and sophisticated, with only those minor changes to the camera and the omission of the IR blaster, so you don't get TV controls.

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We're yet to see how the 2600mAh battery performs: we've been pleasantly surprised by the M8, and we'd expect the E8 to perform just as well.

We will be bringing you a full review of the HTC One E8 later in August when we've given it a thorough testing.