The HTC ONE M9 stepped into the market as the successor of the HTC ONE M8. With a 20MP rear camera and an ultra pixel front camera, the M9 tries to cover up for the M8’s disastrous camera. Retaining the stellar metal body of the M8, the M9 tries to win our hearts again with the amazing build of the phone. The M9 also brought in new colors with it like the rose gold and amber gold.
This flagship phone is surely packed with a lot of specs. The latest snapdragon 810 processor and a 3GB RAM make it one of the most powerful Android phones. We will cover the topic of the processor’s performance later in this review. The full HD screen is made from Corning Gorilla Glass. The phone comes with 32GB of internal memory, but you can expand it using a microSD card. The phone is currently running Android Lollipop. The unlocked version is priced at $650, which is quite hefty.
We should never judge a book by its cover, so it is fair to say that we can’t just fall for this phone’s amazing looks and design. Several other factors need to be tested to be able to state that this phone is worth it or not. Can the processor of the M9 perform brilliantly? Will the camera be a disappointment again? Will this phone be able to live up to the standards created by the M8? Let’s find out in this review!
Yes, the popular all-metal body of the M8 has been adopted by HTC in the M9 also. Honestly, I don’t mind the repetition as the build and feel of this design scheme is so stunning. The two strips of the “BoomSound” speakers are placed above and below the display. The back of the body has been made slightly curved as this makes it easier to hold. The dimensions of the phone are 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.6 mm (5.69 x 2.74 x 0.38 in). The display is a full HD 5-inch display. The M8 and M9 are roughly the same in size and weight. The power button has been shifted to the side rather than the top which was slightly inconvenient. The volume keys are on the right and the SIM tray is on the left. The top has the IR blaster which allows you to use the phone as a TV remote also. The back has the single square camera lens rather than two lenses which were provided in the M8. In the front, there is the screen, the speakers and the front camera along with the sensors.
HTC decided to retain the IPS LCD display used in the M8. The display is full HD that is 1080 x 1920 pixels. The display is 5 inches in size, thus making the pixel density 441 pixels per inch. The display is really good. Text and icons are displayed with great clarity and are crisp. Photos and videos with high resolution will be displayed with good clarity. The display’s color’s are not so bold and vibrant and look a little restrained especially yellows and reds. You cannot change the color saturation of the screen in this phone unlike Samsung’s S5 and S6. Keeping the screen resolution to HD and not 2K does help the battery life of the phone.
HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE FEATURES:
This phone is well equipped in terms of hardware. The phone has the latest Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810. There is an Octa-core processor which comprises of a Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2 GHz Cortex-A57. For graphics, there is Adreno 430 processor enabling you to play heavy games. The processor clubbed with 3 GB of RAM is the perfect combination.
Talking about the software, the phone is running on Android Lollipop with the HTC Sense 7 skin on it. It is smooth and responsive. The BlinkFeed feature is new and enhanced with some new features. Besides displaying news and photos and social media updates, it can now inform you about nearby food joints by accessing your location. Before your mealtimes, restaurant names will pop up on the lock screen. Another feature of Sense 7 is that you can pin an app to the recent apps. So even after closing the app it will still appear on your recent apps. The themes of the Sense UI are very good at changing your UI experience. They can change your homes screen and lock screen wallpapers, icons for apps and colour scheme. You can add more themes from a dedicated store. There are several widgets which prove to be very useful. The latest addition is the Home Sense widget which can display app shortcuts which keep on changing according to your location.
Coming with a lot of processing power the phone is bound to perform well. The phone is fast and apps open and close quickly. Heavy games like Asphalt 8 will work well without giving many problems. Apps like Adobe Photoshop Express and Snapseed worked like a breeze.
The only issue that the processor possesses is the heating up problem. The heating up of the phone is an issue of the Snapdragon 810 processor which has been noticed in other phones with this processor. The metal body doesn’t help this heating defect as it makes the phone impossible to hold. The processor performs well and passes the benchmarks tests with good results.
Scrapping the ultra pixel camera for the rear and bringing in a 20MP shooter was an attempt to play it safe. Sadly, this wasn’t a great attempt as the camera failed to prove itself. You can change the resolution of the photo you click and lower it if you wish. There are several modes in the camera like the photo booth mode. In simple conditions, the camera does perform well. A lot of noise was seen in the photos and the lack of depth and color. HTC’s noise cancellation technique is different from the usual and isn’t very effective. Photo editing can be done using various apps. You could say that the camera is okay. As this is supposed to be a flagship Smartphone the camera quality is expected to be excellent.
The front camera has the same sensor which HTC One M8 had as a rear camera. It will give you good selfies. The ultra pixel technology will enable you to click low-light selfies. This sensor is much more improved than the M8 sensor.
Battery life is a major concern for a lot of buyers nowadays. They wish to purchase a phone which can be used for hours before charging again. The HTC One M9 comes with a battery power of 2840mAh. The battery is non-removable, so you cannot change it yourself if it goes bad. The phone battery can last quite long on the standby mode. If you use your phone frequently to keep checking something the battery life will go down pretty quickly. A heavy user may need to charge the phone in the middle of the day when he starts out in the morning. Reducing the screen brightness is an easy way to save battery. There is a power saving mode and an Extreme power saving mode. The Extreme power saving mode allows you to use only the basic functions on your phone. The battery life you get from the phone is greatly dependent on your usage of the phone.
The HTC One M8 was one of the hottest phones and it even won Best Phone of the Year awards. Naturally, we all had high expectations from HTC One M9. Hoping that it will improve on M8’s flaws and bask in its glory, the phone would automatically become one of the best phones. The One M9 did disappoint us with its camera and battery life, something which is very crucial to almost all buyers.
As far as the software and hardware performance goes the One M9 is impressive. Sense 7 runs very smoothly on the phone and it is one of the best UIs. The phone has a lot of processing power and it uses it well too. The only issue was the overheating in the Snapdragon 810 which was enhanced by the metal body of the phone.
Being a flagship phone, the M9 is quite expensive. When you are sending a high amount of money on a phone you might as well review your other options. Samsung Galaxy S6 and Apple iPhone 6 are amazing phones with good battery life and cameras. If you really like One M9 for its design and the UI then you should buy the phone. If you want a good camera or a good battery life then definitely review your other options.
• Sense 7 has great features and it is pleasant to use.
• The metal body and design make the phone an eye candy.
• The front camera gives good photos.
• The Camera is not flagship material.
• Battery life makes it hard to buy.
• Heating up of the phone makes it tough to use.