March 16, 2015

HTC One M9: First Impressions

EE to offer the HTC One M9 on its speedy 4G network

HTC surprised the world with the HTC One, delivering one of the most beautiful smartphones ever crafted. Then it did it all again with the even more stunning HTC One M8, so has it got a hat trick with the HTC One M9? Or is its latest a let-down?

One thing’s for sure, it’s certainly still beautiful, but beauty alone isn’t enough, so read on to find out if it has the brains to go with it.



EE to offer the HTC One M9 on its speedy 4G network

The HTC One M9 has a 5.0-inch 1080 x 1920 Super LCD3 screen with a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch. That’s high resolution but no longer at the top end of what you’d find on a smartphone, as rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S6 have pushed resolutions up to 1440 x 2560. It’s also the same display as the HTC One M8 has.

It’s still a sharp screen though and you’ll likely struggle to tell much difference between this and a QHD one. It’s also the perfect size for many buyers, as it’s big enough to easily type on or enjoyably watch videos on, but small enough to fit in a pocket and use one handed.


HTC One M9: First Impressions

The one area where the HTC One M9 was never going to really disappoint is the design, but while it doesn’t disappoint it also doesn’t wow us like HTC’s last two flagships, as it’s just so similar.

HTC further refined its stylish flagship design, moving the power button to a more reachable position on the right hand edge and adding a two-tone colour option which looks really great, but essentially this is the same curved aluminium phone that we’ve seen for the last two years.

It looks as amazing as ever and there’s still very little else out there that comes close to it, but we were hoping for something a bit different.


A 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor powers the HTC One M9 and it’s a processor fit for a flagship, with four cores running at 2.0GHz and the other four clocked at 1.5GHz, allowing it to switch between low and high power cores depending on the task at hand and in turn saving battery when extra power isn’t needed.

It also has 3GB of RAM, allowing it to effortlessly multitask and it’s great for using on the move too, as it supports Cat. 6 4G, for download speeds of up to 300Mbps. That means that not only is it the perfect fit for the latest LTE-A networks, such as EE’s 4G+ service, but it’s even future-proofed beyond that.


HTC One M9: First Impressions

The HTC One M9 has a 20.7 megapixel snapper on the back and a 4 UltraPixel one on the front. That’s quite a change from the HTC One M8, which had a 4 UltraPixel camera on the back instead.

The change means the HTC One M9 can take higher resolution photos with more detail using its main camera, but its low light performance isn’t likely to be as good and it also lacks the separate depth sensor found on the HTC One M8.

Its front-facing camera on the other hand should be brilliant in low light, likely making it one of the best selfie cameras around.

Of course like most smartphones there are a bunch of scene modes and options, such as smile detection and HDR and it can shoot video in up to 2160p at 30fps, with a number of modes there too.


The HTC One M9 doesn’t have any massive headlines features, but what is there should prove pretty useful.

There’s the return of its dual front-facing BoomSound speakers for one and they’re even better now, with added 5.1 Dolby Audio Surround sound simulation. But if you’d rather play music on something else there’s also BoomSound Connect, which lets you cast music or video to compatible devices just by swiping three fingers across the screen.

And with 24-bit audio support the HTC One M9 can play high definition music too.

HTC has also improved its sense interface, with a new themes app which lets you customise the colour scheme, sounds and app icons and with location-sensitive content, which can change which apps are available on your home screen or add suggestions of nearby restaurants to BlinkFeed.

Battery life, memory and connectivity

There’s a 2840 mAh battery in the HTC One M9 and it’s quoted for up to 402 hours of standby time or up to 25 hours and 20 minutes of talk time. In practice that’s likely to translate to around two days of moderate use, which isn’t bad at all if true.

There’s 32GB of built in storage along with a microSD card slot with support for cards of up to 128GB, so there’s plenty of room for expansion once you fill up the included amount.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and infrared, as you’d expect from a new flagship.


Early verdict

The HTC One M9 is a beautiful, powerful phone, with great audio features and a slick interface, but with a very similar design to the HTC One M8 and an almost identical screen it might not be enough of a change or upgrade for some people.
If you already have an HTC One M8 it could be a tough sell, but for anyone else this is shaping up to be a top flight flagship and strong competition for the similarly powerful Samsung Galaxy S6.

HTC One M9 Specification

Dimensions : 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.6mm
Weight: 157g
Screen size: 5.0” (1080 x 1920)
Screen Resolution: 1080 x 1920 display resolution
Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 441
Processor: 2GHz octa-core application processor
On-board Memory: 32GB (microSD card support)
Camera: 20.7MP (rear) 2160p@30fps, (4 UltraPixel front-facing)
Operating system: Android 5.0
Ultrafast / 3G / 4G LTE: Yes/ Yes/ Yes
Bluetooth / NFC : Yes/ Yes
Battery capacity: 2840mAh
Colours: Gunmetal Grey, Amber Gold, Silver/Rose Gold, Gold/Pink