32GB expandable to 256GB
The first quarter of 2015 is awash with high-end novelties in the mobile field. The brand HTC adopts with its top-of-the-range 2015 vintage, the One M9, which follows One M8, descendant of One M7. One does not simply change an aesthetic-technical formula if it works perfectly. Okey to be fair, they made some changes but only to enhance the greatness of the previous models. We’ll make sure to highlight everything in this review.
The recognizable design and the general attributes of HTC were safely preserved and Android is still the home interface of the device. Besides the change of the power button placement, it is also noteworthy that HTC is equipped with the new core-chip of Qualcomm and the Snapdragon 810.
HTC One M9, that weighs 157 g, still comes with a 5-inch Full HD beautiful screen (1920 x 1080 pixels on a diagonal of 12.7 cm), a brushed aluminum frame with the emblematic lines of the “One” series, and the powerful “BoomSound” stereo speakers are clearly shown on the design. On the front panel, the speakers are positioned at the bottom and top of the screen, with the notification LED that comes even into the upper output grid. The speakers provide a relatively powerful sound from which intelligible voices emanate, without distortion. The One M9 is actually compatible with “HD audio” (Hi-Res 24 bit / 192 kHz).
There’s also a Super LCD3 IPS panel which offers a slightly less brilliant rendering than on the One M8. Contrast (1061: 1) and color temperature are more satisfactory on the M8, while the tactile delay almost doubles on the M9! The maximum brightness is 475 cd / m² and it’s equivalent to its precedent.
We must nevertheless admit that the brand, since the M7 creation, only produces devices with a strong design game and a rare quality of construction. Even with this reiterated version of the One M8, we can still say that the body is rather imposing with the brushed aluminum and the gilded perimeter. The phone is till slippery though, therefore a case that won’t hide the conception is highly recommended.
On the outside, you might say that nothing remarkable has really changed but on the inside we can see some improvements.
The Snapdragon 801 mobile chip is replaced by the brand-new Snapdragon 810. Qualcomm’s core chip (an ARM-Cortex A57 quad-core 2GHz, another 1.55GHz Cortex A53) is upgrading the performance of the device.
The HTC M9 has a homemade user interface called Sense, here in its version 7 and which comes to completely cover the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop base. The principles do not change; we always have a launcher of applications on the vertical navigation, access to the aggregator of info Blinkfeed – by default the home page is shows by sweeping to the extreme left. A few dozen themes are available to modify all or part of the appearance of Sense 7, from the background images to the framing structures of the interface to the icons. The user can also play certain shapes, colors and pieces of the interface to build his own “Sense” look.
Video playback is provided by the Gallery’s Android player. It now offers a wide range of compatibility and the chip of the M9 allows to enjoy in SD / HD / Full HD without ever worrying about any problem of fluidity. To ensure maximum compatibility and a complete video experience, it is better to opt for a third-party player, such as Mx Player or VLC, available for free from the Play Store.
As for video games, the Snapdragon 810 platform with its Adreno 430 provides, in absolute, a complete experience and all the titles of Android turn without hindrance in a quality graphic environment; One of the finest of the OS.
To be honest, it’s hard to find something to complain about; the interface runs smoothly and the device is fast. The machine now is compatible with 4G LTE networks (category 6, up to 300 Mbps).
HTC introduces its 4-megapixel “Ultrapixels” super-bright sensor to the frontal camera specs, in order to integrate a more classic 20 Mpx sensor on the back with video capture to go up to Ultra HD. That’s probably because the Ultrapixel, despite its great ability to catch the light, did not offer a final weight resolution.
Nevertheless, and unlike its competitors, HTC ignores the optical stabilization and the autofocus. The rendering of the shots is very disappointing. In basic use, the camera makes a dull copy, often washed out on all or part of the image and the white balance is so well adjusted that the general tone leans towards the yellowish. Add to this a back-screen that lacks punch, with a small remanence that increases as the light goes out. During the daytime, the photos are sharp and have a good quality. In low light without flash, however, it is also a disappointment. In detail, there is more dive, but also more noise and a less neutral atmosphere.
Video mode now climbs to Ultra HD capture (3840 x 2160 px). In this mode, the shots cannot exceed 6 minutes and it is not a Chrono that starts but a countdown.
The result is more satisfactory throughout the front sensor side. HTC passes its famous Ultrapixel in front for shots in self-portrait always clean and captures all the details. The success is clearly shown on this point.
The One M9 houses a battery of 2840 mAh. An average capacity for very high-end Android, like the Galaxy S6 for that matter, but also slightly below what is found on some products like the LG G3, Galaxy Note 4 or OnePlus One ( Which tend to be around 3000 to 3200 mAh). In theory and because HTC does not venture into the oversized Quad HD screen, the One M9 should offer good battery life. However, while playing video games it’s a little demanding, HTC only lavishes 2h to 2h30 amusement to the maximum, while in streaming video playback, the smartphone abdicates around 5:20 of operation, between 2 and 4h less than the competition. The Quick Charging 2.0, with the included battery pack, provides the battery with a large part of the battery in just a few tens of minutes, which can be considered good news.
In general, the HTC One M9 is not a bad smartphone. It is stylish, well built and works without any real hitch. The Sense 7 brings good ideas and the powerful loudspeakers provide a good experience to its user.
But in the absolute, do these improvements make HTC One M9 competitive on the market? At first use we can detect its flaws. The power constrained, less autonomy, a screen that stagnates and photos without real flavor. Some of these defects can be swept away in the coming months, through heavy upgrades, but today and by the yardstick of fierce competition, can one really be tempted to buy the device?
Addition to that, it is a fact that the HTC One M9 heats up and this is due to the all-aluminum structure that propagates precisely this heat in and on the whole machine. Plus it does not heat up more than other smartphones, now I would say, as much as the Galaxy S6 and less than an Xperia Z3. But this frequent heating can be unpleasant and might be dangerous.