HTC One M9 – AccessoTech’s Verdict
“The M9 is an outstanding phone. That is only if you are upgrading from an iPhone 4, 4s, 5, Samsung S3 or S4. However if you are up to date with the latest phones like an M8, iPhone 6 or Samsung S6, the M9 just does not carry enough changes from the successful M8 to get us overly excited. Our suggestion would be to hold off for the next “One”. We have a great phone now in the M9 but we desire brilliance.”
Those three letters above symbolise a company that has gone through a renaissance in terms of their product quality. For years the Taiwanese phone manufacturer just kind of existed in the technology space, there was no spark or dazzle about them. The HTC Desire had something about it but follow up products sent sales into a nosedive. Then 2014 happened….the release of the HTC One M8 device.
The HTC One M8
The M8 was without question the best looking phone on the market. They had moved away from the industry standard of plastic device bodies and went with the beautiful aluminium options of Gunmetal Grey, Glacial Silver and Amber Gold. The M8 had the strong technological functions of a Samsung Galaxy with the beauty and shimmer that could rival and even out-do the iPhone. It was glorious to say the least. I knew I had to have it when I saw it and the world agreed when it became the overall number 1 ranked smartphone ahead of the newly released (and bendable) iPhone 6 and the (plastic and standard) Samsung S5.
Following the success of the M8, HTC had a difficult decision to make. Do they try to capitalise on the success of the M8 with an evolved model? Or do they create something new and reinvent the wheel, yet again, risking extreme failure?
The HTC One M9
What we received was new of the HTC One M9, branded as “The One You Have All Been Waiting For”, very clever if you ask me. Except I am sad to say the device itself has not delivered upon the hype or excitement it had initially promised. I cannot tell you the M9 is a complete flop because it isn’t. It is still an aesthetically beautiful device, with an amazing camera, awesome sound features and a screen that pops with colour and definition. But therein lies the problem! To put it as simply as I can, it is too similar to the M8 model! There is no real Unique Selling Point that really captivates me into parting with my hard earned money or my current mobile phone. Sure it has a premium design and very strong camera but it could be considered too pricey by some and lacks significant battery improvements which were expected. That being said although the battery is not vastly improved compared to the M8, it still trumps the Samsung Galaxy S6 for battery performance.
HTC believe they have outdone themselves and created the perfect device, how else could they explain the price tag? The One M9 is not cheap by any means. In Ireland you will be paying €640 for a pre-pay device and €130 for the device and €50 a month on bill pay. It is madness! If you are in the UK, the damage is £580 for a SIM free for the handset with an additional £10 on your monthly bill. Early indications in the US are showing the price without a subsidy to stand at approximately $655.
When you can get the One M8 for between half and two-thirds cheaper than the M9, I wouldn’t advise on spending the extra cash.
It’s sleek, it’s beautiful and it makes you smile every time you look at it. The M9 is aesthetic brilliance. It comes in three very nice colours (the Amber Gold would be my choice).
The build quality is perfect too. However, it is again too similar to the M8. It is the same size screen with the same layout. The lock button has now switched from being on the top to now being on the side, which to be honest has confused things as the user can get mixed between the volume controls and locking the device. They have removed the beautiful Duo Camera sensor on the back of the phone and changed the camera to a bigger, 20.7MP, more squared version. I definitely preferred the way the camera was placed on the previous M8. It’s the little things guys.
It is the same size screen people. It is still 5 inches compared to the 5.1 size that a lot of other smart phones provide with their latest offerings. To be honest I love the screen size on the M8 and M9 so it’s not something I will ever complain about. But there are always those people who care about arguing about the numbers on spec sheet of a phone. There are even more who argue over the topic of inches and “does size matter”. The answer is always it’s what you do with it that counts and simply put HTC always delivers on definition, resolution, colour tones and beauty no matter what size the screen is. I’ll leave the insecure spec sheet warriors to compare inches thank you very much.
Sorry what did you say? Oh right, I couldn’t hear you over the awesome sound quality of my HTC One M9! To sum up the sound quality of the One M9, the BoomSound Integration with Dolby technology is outrageous. With or without the headphones the phones technology really does improve the quality of sound. It is pure, crisp and makes you feel every beat or gunshot, whether you’re listening to music or watching a movie. The sound is a major plus for the HTC One M9.
Ah the Camera. It is the talking point of any phone. What can I tell you here other than the fact that I am utterly disappointed. The spec sheet warriors I mentioned earlier will be screaming at me things like “How can you be disappointed?! It has a 20.7MP camera! What about the megapixels man?!”. Save your megapixels little warriors. My disappointment lies in the fact that HTC have moved away from their ideology on UltraPixel’s and have ditched the Duo Camera Sensor idea that was present on the One M8. A defining difference that HTC had in the One M8 was that they stood fast against the idea that a person needed loads of MegaPixels to take a quality photo. Instead they used an innovative concept using a good quality camera with a 4MP sensor that could take in as much extra light as possible combined with a secondary sensor. Together these were able to create breath-taking photos which I still have not found on any other phone. HTC have used a 20.7MP camera on the One M9, a replica of the camera in the Sony Xperia Z3.
The colour tones are good, the changeable conditions are solid and the sharpness of the pictures is clear. However the HDR settings, the shutter speed, the lack of autofocus, the slow start processing, and the Zoe effect camera has been moved to a separate app. There has been a big deal made about the over-exposure capabilities of photos. To be honest, using that effect always just looks like you’ve made a mess of editing a photo so I don’t see the point.
HTC took a big step back here in overall camera quality order to pack in more MegaPixels, which in my view is a big mistake.
What’s that? You think now with the One M9 using Qualcomm improvements in processing, bigger power packs and Snapdragon 801 chips that the battery will be out of this world? Well sorry, you’re dead wrong! It breaks my heart to tell you that the battery in the One M9 is actually slightly worse than the M8 Model. I don’t know how that is possible but HTC managed to do it.
Last year with the M8 model we saw a phone that could longer than a day and have power saver and extreme power saver options to last even longer thanks to the Snapdragon 801 Chipsets! HTC are now using Qualcomm improvements in processing power which should make things more efficient. There are also larger power packs in the M9 which normally means better power. Quite honestly I can’t explain how they could go so backwards in battery power performance. I would recommend you to get the older HTC One M8 model if it were based on battery performance alone.
The memory however is a nice improvement! There is now 32GB of memory in the M9 which should eliminate any memory capacity issues that the One M8 model faced.
There is a micro SD slot built in also, offering the upper limit of 128GB space bringing the total available to 160GB for your One M9. Not too bad right? At least now you won’t get those annoying notifications to “delete apps to free up space”. I like my current apps too much to delete them! Problem solved in the new One M9.
We liked the emotional attachment we developed with the phone, the build quality and the beauty of it. We loved the feel of the phone in your hand; it feels like it was made for you. The sound is amazing and the hand crafted, great aesthetic of the phones body is still top of the market.
We did not like the megapixel boost in the camera, leaving the Duo Sense ideology behind. The battery actually dipped which is not good at all. The price is way too high considering there are not enough improvements to justify it. Taking the genetics of the One M7 and One M8 and not adding much else does not make a must-buy handset in 2015.
The phone is outstanding if you are upgrading from 2 or more years ago. Otherwise AccessoTech advise you to go for the HTC One M8 model, as its basically the same phone except cheaper and better battery life.
Let’s see what HTC have for in store for us in 2016. We have a great phone now but we want brilliance.
For anyone looking for a Spec Sheet Breakdown of the One M9, here it is below:
AccessoTech HTC One M9 Spec Sheet