HTC One M9 first impressions: same on the outside, different on the inside

“A first look at HTC’s brand new flagship, the One M9”

HTC One M9_7At Mobile World Congress 2015, HTC took the covers off its all new One M9 flagship. The successor to last year’s popular One M8, the One M9 hasn’t evolved drastically in design, but has received huge bumps where it counts. 91mobiles is at MWC this year covering all the action as it happens, and we were at the launch event of the One M9 where we got our hands on the brand new smartphone. Here’s what we thought.

HTC One M9_16 HTC One M9_19Ok, let’s get this out of the way – the One M9 looks almost exactly like the One (M8) (review), albeit for a form factor that isn’t as sleek as its predecessor. We’re prepared to forgive this misgiving though, because HTC has addressed the slippery feel of the One (M8) by making the M9 grippier to hold. We also appreciate that the design we’ve come to know and love hasn’t been intefered too much with, save for a new dual tone finish which HTC has incorporated while retaining its aluminium unibody chassis. The BoomSound speakers remain prominently featured on the facade, but now offer 5.1 channel Dolby Surround Sound. 

HTC One M9_9The other major design difference is the camera sensor on the rear, which is now a square with rounded edges. Coming to the port and button placement, the power button has moved from its place on the top to the right, joining the volume rocker and nano-SIM card slot. The microSD card slot is located on the left, while the bottom edge holds the micro-USB port and 3.5mm audio jack.

HTC One M9_17 HTC One M9_20 HTC One M9_21It’s quite obvious that HTC hasn’t been swayed by the super smartphone display resolutions we’ve been seeing on most flagships, because the One M9 continues to feature a 5-inch display with full HD resolution, just like its predecessor. While a higher resolution would have been a nice bump, we appreciate that HTC has chosen to retain a manageable size instead of opting for a humoungous screen. 

HTC One M9_3While the display and design are more or less the same, the internals are where things take a new turn. The One M9 is equipped with the powerful 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, consisting of a quartet of cores clocked at 2GHz, and the other four running at 1.5GHz. The chipset gets 3GB of RAM for company, alongside 32GB of internal storage that’s expandable up to 128GB via the microSD card slot. The usage was predictably snappy and smooth, but we’ll save our thoughts on performance for the review. In terms of connectivity, the One M9 pulls out all the stops, with NFC, Bluetooth 4.1, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, DLNA, MHL 3.0, GPS + GLONASS and LTE. There’s also good news for Indian users, because the One M9 supports both of India’s LTE bands – band 3 and band 40. The battery unit on board is a 2,840mAh unit, which HTC says offers 21.7 hours of talktime on 3G networks. 

Handling the software operations is HTC’s Sense 7.0 UI based on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, which brings new features such as a customisable Themes app and updated Gallery, among others.

HTC One M9_12The One M9 will be available in a choice of four colours – silver, gunmetal gray, pink and gold. HTC’s DotView cover has also received an upgrade, now letting you create customisable cover themes or play games. The new flagship is set to go on sale in mid-March, but pricing and availability haven’t been revealed as yet.

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