The all new HTC One M9 – Hands on Review
Its that time of the year where OEM’s from all over the world anxiously wait to unveil some of their flagship devices of the year. That’s right guys, MWC 2015 is in full swing these days with many big names such as Samsung, Microsoft and Huawei gracing the event, its now time for us to have a look at what the Taiwanese Tech Giants, HTC have in store for us this time. As anticipated since the last couple of weeks, the company did indeed stick to their initial promise of unveiling their next big flagship device of 2015, the HTC One M9. Last year’s variant, the HTC One (M8) considered by some as one of the best handheld devices of 2014 had won many accolades including one for the “best looking smartphone of the year” was one of the mainstays of the company.
Now as an old saying goes, one should not try to fix something which is not broken and if a successful recipe has worked once, it ought to repeat itself once again. Taking into consideration the aforementioned notion, HTC have this year decided to stick to those credentials for which their devices are always renowned for mainly when it comes to being stylish and durable at the same time. Lets take a closer look at what HTC’s next beast has to offer us this time around.
Design and Body
To begin with, this years HTC One looks pretty much similar to its predecessor the M8 and this is one area which got a few criticisms from both tech analysts as well as some of the consumers who were expecting a little something new and different from the (still brilliant) HTC One M8. There are a few notable changes nonetheless with the power button being shifted to the right hand side of the phone sitting just below the two volume rocker keys with all three buttons having exactly the same shape and design making it a bit confusing for people to easily switch between the power and the volume keys. Even though the power key is slightly ridged, it would have been better to have the volume keys on the other side – or move the microSD slot to the left-hand side below the SIM tray, thus giving more room to move the volume buttons up.
On the front side of things, the M9 still manages to stick to its previously recognized features that include the front facing grill with Boom Speakers along with the HTC logo which even though many users didn’t hold too kindly about in the M8 still remains there since most of the phone’s main internal components (sensors and other stuff) lies there so this is one thing user’s would have to live with in the M9 as well. As reported earlier. the HTC M9 was rumored to get Bose speakers but it has been confirmed that the company will stick with the Boom Sound with Dolby Audio technology, something for which the M8 was made quite famous especially for watching HD/4K videos or listening to music. The sound quality on the M9 still happens to remain as immaculate as in its predecessor.
When it comes to the device’s overall body catered together with the premium look and feel, the M9 is indeed a delight to hold in one’s palm. The company has taken keen consideration with the overall designing and craftsmanship being nothing less than perfect. The full metal body enclosed in a two tone look, makes the M9 look absolutely sleek and elegant to say the least. The M9 would be available in four distinctive tw0-tone color combinations that include Gunmetal Gray, Amber Gold, Silver/Rose gold and Gold/Pink
Under the hood, the device sports an Octa-core Qualcomm SnapDragon 810 Processor (based on the 64-bit architecture) comprising of a Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & a Quad-core 2 GHz Cortex-A57, 3GB DDR3 RAM, a 5-inch 1080 x 1920 pixels (441 ppi pixel density) full HD Super LCD3 Corning Gorilla Glass 4 display, a 20 MP rear camera tailored together wit h a 4 UltraPixel front shooter capable of taking those excellent looking selfies even under extremely low lit environments, a 2840mAh battery and 32GB of on board storage with support for an external microSD card, up to 128 GB. On the software side of things, the M9 comes with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop out of the box running on the company’s latest HTC Sense 7.
The one area HTC was always known for besides their premium looking devices was the amazing quality of their cameras with the M7 and M8 being one of the best smartphone camera’s in recent times. Unfortunately, the M9 fails to captivate the same zest which was there in its two predecessors. Even though the M9 comes with a 20MP Sony sensor with an f/2.2, 27.8mm sapphire cover lens (also capable of recording 4k videos), some of the pictures taken under direct sunlight were a bit over exposed but we were told that it was a software related issue which would eventually be fixed before the devices officially begin rolling out by the end of this month. The initial pictures taken with the rear camera were a bit noisy and lacked depth and color.
Even though, HTC have squeezed in a few new features as far as the camera software is concerned that include a whole new bunch of special effects along with the new and improved Zoe camera client that promises to enhance the pictures even further. Furthermore, the HTC Eye™ Experience software does allow you to create Split Captures, take Voice Selfies, apply Live Makeup and more. Plus, you can combine your photos and videos with your friends for footage from multiple points of view with the Zoe app.The front facing 4 UltraPixel, on the other hand has been a major improvement from its predecessor with special significance given to taking those much needed selfies under extremely low lit areas where other devices usually fail to capture the proper moment in its entirety. Its wide-angle lens is designed to capture a larger field of view, so you’ll get all your friends with every shot. Our verdict is that if you’re thinking of getting a new device especially for the camera, we wouldn’t advice you to go for this one at least not until the few aforementioned flaws have been rectified.
HTC Sense 7
The HTC One (M9) runs on the latest version of Google Android version 5.0, Lollipop out of the box and sandwiched on top we get the new and improved HTC Sense 7, the company’s traditional custom UI. This time around though, HTC have gone to great lengths in order to improve and enhance the overall user experience of their upcoming mobile devices by not only adding a few new smart features, it has also managed to integrate both business and non-business functionality using the phone’s GPS . How does that work you ask? Well for instance, if you are at work, the phone automatically tracks your location to your current destination and in doing so brings up all your business related apps onto the home screen. As soon as you reach home, the same business apps get automatically replaced by the ones that would usually be used by you at home such as WhatsApp, Skype to name a few. This is one feature which is going to be greatly appreciated by both casual as well as work oriented people. Sense 7 also features a new tap to unlock feature similar to the one previously found in some of the Microsoft Lumia devices as well as LG G Series smartphones.
When we talk about HTC Sense, another major thing that comes to mind is HTC Blink Feed, the new’s client that has been around since the launch of the first HTC One (M7) back in 2013. This time around though they have made a few significant changes. The HTC One M9 features an enhanced BlinkFeed that offers recommendations and links based on your location. It also lets you personalize your own stream of online content within seconds. Swiping the home screen once gets you new Facebook posts, Twitter feeds, breaking news, sports scores and a lot more.
Another welcome addition to Sense 7 are the multiple customization options that were previously missing in the previously launched devices. The HTC One M9 features more customizable options than ever. With the built-in HTC Themes app, you can change the look and feel of your phone using your favorite photo or online image. The HTC Themes app is able to pick colors from the photo and applies the theme you create to your wallpaper, icons, and more.
HTC One M9 Tech Specs
Overall the HTC One M9 does seems more like a slight upgrade from its predecessor, the HTC One M8 and in saying so has left a few people disappointed as far as the device’s design is concerned as many were expecting to see much more from the Taiwanese Tech giants this time around. Even though the metallic body catered together with the premium looking touch and feel, the HTC One M9 hasn’t seemed to impress tech pundits so far. With a significantly dodgy camera and a few hardware limitations (we were expecting a Quad HD Display this time),it remains to be seen how HTC’s flagship phone manages to cope up with some of its closest competitors in the months to come. Would it still be able to cling on to the “best smartphone of the year” title this time around as well….only time will tell. The devices go on sale from March 31st, 2015 all over the world however the price still remains unknown.
So that’s about it from my side guys, what do u all think about the new M9 ? Would it be worth an upgrade from the M8 ? Do share in your thoughts with us in the comments below. Cheers !!