The HTC One M8 has the same tough glass covering the camera that the EVO line did, but many people are reporting that their lenses are scratched with very little effort, rendering the camera a blurry mess.
According to several comments on the matter on Pocketnow (no relation), the lens is covered with a protective film; evidently, the idea behind this was to protect the lens behind from potential scratches, but it’s leaving users with blurry photos after the weak film gets quickly damaged.
Luckily, according to the internets, there’s a variety of quick fixes that should get the lens unoccluded with common household items.
I’ll preface the following with any of these potentially voids your warranty. I personally haven’t tested any of them, and if you damage your phone attempting any of them I’m not going to feel particularly horrible. Research these and see if they will work for your situation before attempting.
Fix #1: Q-Tip and alcohol
Probably the least worrisome of the potential fixes involves simply cleaning the lens properly. This isn’t a fix so much as a “digging dirt out of a micro crater in a plastic lens so you can see through it properly.” The problem is still there, but you can’t see it.
As long as you’re putting just a dab of alcohol on the Q-Tip and not hammering it into the lens, I don’t think there’s much that can go wrong with cleaning it like this.
Fix #2: Toothpaste and cotton swab
The idea here is a combo of fix #1 and fix #3. The toothpaste cleans out the gunk, but it’s also mildly abrasive and can smooth down the ridge tears. Slightly destructive to the protective film, but evidently it’s not a think that’s particularly required to protect the gorilla glass covered camera lens.
Fix #3: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
If you’re not familiar with the Magic Eraser product, it’s a sponge that has an extremely fine grain on it somewhat like sandpaper. The idea here is that rather than smooth or clean the flimsy lens protector just remove it.
Pocketables reader @sclark3100 sent that in as a suggested fix that worked for him.
It should be noted that this method, along with micro fiber, extremely high grain sand paper, similar abrasvies all do the same trick and also come with the potential problem of destroying the finish on the phone’s case. So make sure you’re not rubbing the case when leaning the lens.
You should see little flecks of plastic gunk come off the lens if this is the issue.
A flaw by design?
The protective film cover doesn’t seem up to general optical covering specs, nor is it an easy pull off general plastic cover. It’s sort of confusing as to why that’s there in the first place, unless HTC received a batch of defective covers or the parts were shipping pre-covered.
It could be an anti-reflective or UV filter. It’s odd, whatever the case.