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A Review of the HTC One M9 – Disappointing

Last updated: November 1, 2018.

HTC One M9 Review

Each year, manufactures release new handsets (sometimes more than one) which they decide to call their flagship.  This year, the handset HTC has declared their flagship is the One M9.

We’ve been a fan of HTC smartphones for a long time and have found the HTC Sense to be one of the best Android interfaces available.  However, the HTC One M9 has failed to impress us.

The specs of the HTC One M9 are basically just a moderate upgrade from the HTC One M8.  While there are a few new features, most of the upgrades HTC has done to the hardware and software are just evolutionary not revolutionary.

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What is new?

Internals have undergone an upgrade

  • The HTC One M9 uses a octa-core 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor with 3 GB of RAM
  • The One M9 uses a more refined design build then the previous HTC phones. This results in a phone that is sleeker but thicker then it’s predecessors.
  • The display of the One M9 is still 5.0 inches and Full HD but is observably sharper than the One M8.
  • HTC Sense interface has been upgraded

A new camera, but no increase in image quality.

  • HTC tried to improve the camera of the One M9, installing a 20 MP camera with a Toshiba sensor. Though this is indeed an upgrade from the One M8, there is barely any difference in the image quality. In fact, the images are poor given what the sensor size is.
  • HTC removed optical image stabilization

A flagship that isn’t a flagship

HTC announced that they would be releasing the One M9 on March 1st at MWC and they launched the One E9 plus on March 3oth in China.  Then on April 8th, they launched the One E9+, which should really have been HTC’s flagship instead.

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Let’s compare how the One E9+ compares to the One M9 spec-wise.

Display

One E9+

  • 5-inch Quad HD display
  • Pixel density of 534 ppi

One M9

  • 5-inch Full HD 1080p
  • Pixel density of 441 ppi

Processor

One E9+

  • An octa-core MediaTek 2 GHz with 2 GB of RAM

One M9

  • An octa-core Snapdragon 810 1.5 GHz/2 GHz with 3GB RAm

Camera

One E9+

  • 20 MP camera
  • Shoots video of 1080p

One M9

  • 7 MP camera
  • 4K video

Other ways that the One E9+ is a little better than the supposed flagship the One M9 are:

  • The One E9+ has a better screen to body ratio with 69.7% vs. 68.4% with the One M9
  • The One E9+ also has a slimmer build at 7.5mm vs 9.6mm for the One M9.
  • The One E9+ has dual SIM and dual-standby, the One M9 has a single-SIM
  • The One M9 sells for $649 off-contract while the One E9+ is expected to sell for around $450

If we were to compare the One M9 to the One M9+ we will find that they are quite similar with most of the differences seen in the display and processor.

Display

One M9 Plus

  • 2 inch Quad HD 2k
  • 534 ppi

One M9

  • 0 inch Full HD 180p
  • 441 ppi

Processor

One M9 Plus

  • Octa-core Mediatek 2.2 GHz processor

One M9

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core 64-bit processor

Another difference between the two is that the One M9 plus has a fingerprint sensor in its home button.

 

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What is the point to us comparing these three handsets?  Well the One M9 is supposed to be HTC’s flagship for the year, why then have they already announced two handsets that are actually a bit better than the flagship?

Looking at the One M9, One M9 Plus and the One E9+ objectively, it’s not clear which exactly is the flagship.  Will it be the globally-available One M9? Or the others?  If all three are made available at the same time in the same markets, it’s likely the One M9 Plus which would have the edge as it has the specs of the One E9+ and the design of the One M9.

The One M9 will be selling for around £579.99 and for just a few more you can get a better cellphone – like for example, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 which will only cost an additional £20.

While the One M9 might appeal to HTC loyalists, it’s not likely to capture away the attention or the market share that flagships from other manufacturers will have.

What do you think about the One M9?  HTC’s other phones?

JR

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