HTC has recently announced it will bring it’s new One M9 smartphone to the masses on April 10th after a slight delay due to software adjustments. This will be their third flagship smartphone in the ‘M’ series, and while they have improved upon a lot of things from their previous M8 smartphone, there are certain things to consider before deciding whether HTC’s latest should be your next device or not. We’ll start off with the negatives of the One M9.
Camera lacks OIS
Optical Image Stabilization is becoming a standard for top-tier smartphones nowadays, and has been included in flagships since 2013. OIS is a hardware feature in the camera that compensates for shaking of the camera while recording video, giving the user a smoother, more pleasant video experience. Considering the Nexus 5, a $350 phone from 2013, features OIS while HTC’s latest does not, will be a slight turn-off for many. If you’re not big into recording video however, this shouldn’t affect you.
Not water resistant
This is something we thought would be a standard as of last year, with the One M8, Galaxy S5, Xperia Z3 and Moto X all being at least somewhat water resistant. However so far this year neither the One M9 or the Galaxy S6 are water resistant, forcing customers to be extra cautious around rain and other aqueous situations.
This one is a matter of design preference, however many are outspoken about how much they dislike the black “HTC bar” below the screen and how the side bezels could be a lot smaller. However, HTC spokesman Jeff Gordon explained awhile back that the black bar is necessary, as “underneath is a huge amount of circuitry, antennae, etc…”. Because of the One’s Boomsound speakers, which take up a great amount of space on the top and bottom of the phone, the black bar is something that has to stay for now.
The uncertainty of the Snapdragon 810 processor
The tale of the Qualcomm’s latest processor, the Snapdragon 810, is an interesting and somewhat mysterious one. Rumors of production problems for the chip started a long time ago, followed by talk that Qualcomm wasn’t quite ready for mass production of the 810 chip. Then, we heard Samsung had opted to use their Exynos CPU instead of the Snapdragon 810, a huge move that will no doubt put a dent in Qualcomm’s dominance. This is undoubtedly because Samsung will make more money using their own processors, but it doesn’t give us confidence knowing they believe their new chip is better than the Snapdragon 810 (which according to benchmark tests, it absolutely is).
Benchmarks aren’t everything, though. What about real world use? Well, this is where we lose even more confidence in the Snapdragon 810, as a recent thermal picture shows the One M9 heating to almost 140 degrees Fahrenheit next to cooler phones in the same environment. The phone reached these hot temperatures when running benchmarks, meaning it’ll get just as hot when playing intensive games. As of right now, this is heavily affecting battery life of the phone according to BGR. HTC’s Jeff Gordon took to twitter and explained that these results came from phone’s with unfinished software and are not final at all. We’ll have to see later if these overheating issues were the fault of HTC or Qualcomm, and if HTC can fix it with only software adjustments.
This is arguably our biggest fear and “con” for the One M9, as Qualcomm’s CPU will affect many things about the phone. HTC has included a very respectable 2,840 mAh battery in the phone, but that won’t help at all if this overheating problems is producing worse battery results than last year’s One M8.
Full metal design
Ever since the One M7, HTC has impressed millions with their aluminum metal designs. The One M8 took it a step further with a metal unibody design, meaning the metal connects the front and the back on the sides, rather than just back and front metal plates. The One M9 sports an almost identical design of the M8, but now offering gold colored aluminum on the sides of the device to compliment the silver front and back. It looks gorgeous still after two years of similar designs, and we’re glad they moved the power button to the side of the device for easy access.
This barely needs explaining. HTC’s trademarked Boomsound stereo dual front-facing speakers is back and better than ever, with the inclusion of Dolby 5.1 surround, giving this phone one of the best entertainment experiences when watching a video or playing a game. It is a fact that these are the best smartphone speakers available.
Micro SD expansion
Something that not many smartphones can brag about is the ability to expand their storage, and the One M9 offers just that. Up to 128 GB can be utilized with an SD card with the One M9.
5 inch screen
Phablets are nice and all, as they provide big screens for people who want the best of a tablet and a phone, but not everybody has big enough hands to even use some of the behemoths that smartphone manufacturers are pumping out, and that’s where HTC saves the day with a compact 5″ flagship screen and 1080p resolution perfect to enjoy any kind of content.
HTC uses Sense 7 as their software overlay on top of Android Lollipop. It includes their signature Blinkfeed, which is a nice news and updates feed beautifully integrated into their homescreen. New with Sense 7 is the ability to change your phone’s theme, which includes the style of your homescreen icons, wallpapers, clock theme and more. HTC Sense is arguably one of the best looking Android UI’s and HTC has done a great job making it one of the fastest and most fluid Android experiences available.
Not many phones have built-in IR blasters, which allow them to control most nearby televisions. If you’re someone who would like their phone as a universal remote in your home, then the One M9 will surely deliver, as the IR blaster covers the top of the device.
Life throws a lot of curve balls, and HTC knows that. On Wednesday, the company announced an industry disruptive incentive called UH OH, which gives HTC One M9 customers a 12 month period of time where if they damage their phone or need a new one, either by cracking the screen, receiving water damage or switching carriers, HTC will replace your phone, “hassle-free” when you call them directly, with zero charge. One of the best parts of this program? If you don’t need a replacement during the 12 months, HTC will reward you with $100 toward your next HTC One smartphone. Pretty amazing stuff.
These are our top points about the One M9, please share in the comments if there’s anything more you love or hate about the device.