The Bottom Line

PROS
  • Metal construction improved
  • Two tone coloration is subtle, keeps phone neutral
  • Handling is better with less slippery material choice on back, lip on sides
  • Display at 1080p is not missing a step
  • BoomSound speakers still stellar
  • Battery life just above average
  • Sense 7 brings great speed and accessible handling
  • Theme Engine is robust and fun
  • Ultrapixel front-facing camera makes great sense
CONS
  • Phone is thicker than before
  • Sharper edges might displease some users in handling
  • Camera experience very uneven even in well lit situations despite move to 20.7 megapixels
  • Low light performance takes a major hit
  • New sense contextual elements might be annoying to some users
8.5
 A lackluster camera hinders what is otherwise an attractive and speedy package in the newest HTC flagship, the HTC One M9. 
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The latest addition to the flagship HTC One series might not see a massive departure in design from its predecessor, but it does bring more refined aesthetics and an improved software experience, along with a shift in focus away from the Ultrapixel camera, even if it’s not completely gone.

When a jump between generations is evolutionary in nature, the question that is on everyone’s mind is whether the latest iteration does enough to differentiate itself from the rest, including, and maybe especially, its own predecessors. That’s what we find out, in this comprehensive HTC one M9 review!

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In recent years, complaints have been few and far between when it comes to the design and build quality of HTC products, and this goes doubly for the flagship One series. The company’s now iconic design language returns with the new HTC One M9, this time essentially molding together the best features of the M7 and M8 into a single device.

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A sharper edge returns with the M9 and rises to meet the panel up front, resulting in a deliberate separation between the two sides. The frame has also been given a coat of paint, with the main version of this phone sporting a subtle hint of gold that isn’t too gaudy, and blends in well enough to create a phone that is actually quite neutral in its coloration. The new edge certainly helps with the phone’s grip, but also means that the M9 is a bit meatier than its predecessor.

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As with past iterations of the One family, the front facing BoomSound speakers are a design headline of the HTC One M9, bringing with it a great audio experience for media consumption that is rivaled by few other smartphones on the market. The camera optics up top might look a little bigger this time around too, thanks to the Ultrapixel camera that now is found on the front. And yes, the black bar housing the HTC logo is still found below the display. While the black bar may be a bit of a sore point for some users, it’s really not that much of a bother.

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Turning to the back, we are greeted by a brushed metal design, given the same subtle tone down that was seen with the One M8. The material feels better this time around though, so fear of the device slipping out of your hand isn’t as prominent as it may have been last year with the One M8. Coupled with the new edges on the sides, this might be one of the best HTC One phones in terms of handling. When it comes to the camera optic package, HTC now packs a 20.7MP rear shooter, this time forgoing both Ultrapixel and Duo camera setups.

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As far as the button layout is concerned, the power button and volume rocker are all found on the right side of the device. The power button is textured differently from the others, which helps with recognition, but one thing that we noticed is that it is actually a bit too low on the phone. This might not be an issue for left handed users, but when trying to wake the phone with the right hand, you have to reach down a little lower than might be fully comfortable.

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All in all, HTC continues to create one of the loveliest designs with their flagship devices, and the One line could be credited as the shining (almost quite literally) example of how a flagship device could be constructed. Though it got a smidge thicker, and the sharper edges will cause a bit of a pinch in the hand, it all contributes to the handling experience. There’s no denying how good the phone looks, how much better it feels now, and how the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies here, and we applaud HTC for sticking to their guns and keeping the design of the One M9 pretty familiar for that very reason.

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HTC also sticks to a tried and tested display experience provided by a 1080p panel that will look and feel incredibly familiar to anyone who has used a flagship phone from the past year or so. At 5 inches, this screen also pumps 441 ppi, adhering to the standard that we’ve been enjoying for quite some time now. Though Quad HD is the new fad these days, HTC seems to understand that it could hurt battery life, and preferred not to risk that happening with their current flagship. That being said, you’d be hard pressed to notice much of a difference at this screen size.

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Colors still look quite rich, though the blacks on this Super LCD3 screen might fall short of the contrasts found on AMOLED panels. At least this review unit shows a warmer display than previously observed in HTC One devices, which isn’t a negative, but rather just a detail worth mentioning. Keeping the display size at 5 inches was a good choice, as its narrowness makes up for the additional real estate found at the top and bottom of the device. Text looks as sharp as it should, and media consumption and gaming are a blast on this display.

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Perhaps one day we will get an HTC device with a QHD display, but for now HTC appears to be more focused user experience, and not about the raw specifications. Considering how nicely the display continues to perform at these specifications, we’re not complaining.

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In the case of the One M9, under the hood you’ll find a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, clocked at 2 GHz, backed by an Adreno 430 GPU and 3 GB of RAM for graphics and multi-tasking. As you would expect from the latest and greatest, the HTC One M9 packs a lot of power and speed. As good as the processing package may be, a contributing factor allowing for this performance is the latest iteration of the HTC Sense UI.

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Even though the Snapdragon 810 has received some flak since its availability with the LG G Flex 2, the HTC One M9 does well to showcase its power with a software experience that is spartan enough to consistently perform. Transitions in and out of the general interface are smooth, and a noticeable shortening of certain animations further lends to the flying speed of this next iteration of the interface. Even multitasking is a breeze, as HTC opted to keep their grid layout as the default recent apps screen, instead of the card-based interface introduced with Android 5.0 Lollipop.

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One aspect of this processor that has received a lot of criticism lately is something that has to be addressed. I don’t perform a lot of heavy benchmark tests anymore, instead giving more importance to the day to day experience, but new reports have suggested that the device tends to get really hot during such tests. This obviously hasn’t been the case for me, but it has to be said that the phone does get very warm under certain kinds of load, such as when gaming for extended periods of time, or when using the phone with a turbo charger. It may not have been enough to put the phone down in discomfort, but it is still quite noticeable.

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Hardware takes on a pretty similar outlook as found in previous iterations, with the media consumption experience still taking center stage, with 32GB of storage built in that can be further expanded up to 128GB.

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As mentioned above, the BoomSound speakers return but this time are backed by Dolby enhancements, which can be easily found in the setting screen. A simple tap of the option will change the mode from Theater to Music and back, allowing for a bit of an equalizer effect that can bring out better sound, depending on what you’re doing. This front-facing speaker combination still stands as one of the best out there for everything from music and videos to gaming, and it is still quite surprising that not a lot of other OEMs are jumping on this bandwagon. The speakers even work well for speakerphone calls, and the call quality is still as good as it should be, with no dropped calls or complaints on either side during a call, while on the T-Mobile network.

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It has to be mentioned that this is an international model of the One M9 and as such, I’ve not been able to use LTE with it. HSPA+ has been very reliable though as the type of 4G connectivity I’ve been using, but it is something to watch out for, especially when it comes to picking up an unlocked international version.

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The only real bit of plastic still available on the One M9 is up top and it houses the IR blaster, serving as a remote controller for TVs and set-top boxes. The One M9 does make for a pretty cool remote, as you can also get a quick glance as to what else is on via the TV application.

Turning on the phone from the prone position can still be done using the Motion Launch gestures, which detect the phone being brought up first, after which you can double tap the screen to wake, swipe a number of ways for other functions, or hit the volume down button to quickly get to the camera.

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Finally, an embedded 2,840 mAh battery brings with it a somewhat above average battery life to the phone. Typical day to day moderate usage makes the phone last up to a day and a half with ease, though the power user will likely have to take advantage of the power saving modes and the fast charging capabilities that come with it. As an example, with a day that was full of gaming and picture taking, the battery died just past the 10 hour mark. Basically, we’re still looking for a better outlook in the battery life department, and it seems fast charging is the consolation prize we’ll be given until that time comes.

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The camera has always been a big point of contention when it comes to the HTC One series since its inception, but this time around, Ultrapixels and their claims of good low light performance are now relegated to the front of the device, to serve as an enhancement when it comes to taking self-portraits. Not surprisingly, this is a great move on the part of HTC, with this camera fitting perfectly into its new role. Even without the use of a flash to fill in the darkness, this front-facing unit works better than the competition for getting good shots in poorly lit situations.

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Of course, the real story here is the 20.7 MP optics that is now found at the back of the phone. Starting with the camera software, you’ll find quite a few different options here including split capture and photo booth that return from the Desire line, which are a couple fun ways of capturing memories. If you actually miss the Duo Camera for its depth of field capabilities, a Bokeh mode tries to alleviate this by using the more conventional method of taking multiple shots of the same scene in order to make the subject pop. It works pretty well, and the speed of capture further proves that this is a better method than last year’s oddly uneven Duo camera. Video capabilities now include 4K recording, though the lack of optical image stabilization could result in some shaky footage.

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While you’d expect the move to a higher megapixel count to equate to a much better experience than found in the M8, we are sad to say this isn’t the case. This is largely because the way the phone processes picture data is about the same as before, and that’s not a very good thing. Even smaller pictures from the Ultrapixel optics would be fine if the noise was processed in a better manner, but the poor post processing of the data in the 20.7 MP pictures are exacerbated when zoomed in.

An f/2.2 aperture is not too shabby, but the camera still has to opt for the highest ISO limit of 1600 to fill in the darkness, which will inevitably lead to noise in the pictures. Zooming into the photos shows a lot of artifacts accompanying the noise as well, including a smudging effect that is supposed to help, but only makes the photo look less accurate in detail.

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Though a higher megapixel count might be nice for the general user, the camera still suffers from the same low light issues as its predecessors. In much better lighting situations, more usable photos can be had, but there are issues there as well, mainly with exposure. HTC opts for the typical metering based on the point of focus, but this doesn’t take into account what is around that point, resulting in often blown out portions of pictures, or the opposite, if you choose to focus and expose on a much shinier portion of the scene. It’s almost as if the scene itself has to be perfect, or at least have even lighting in order to yield a great shot. That said, good photos are definitely possible with the One M9, but are certainly not as common as we would like. HDR does help a little bit to even out the exposures, but it isn’t a practical feature to use, especially when the shutter speed has to be very slow to get a decent shot, requiring you have to keep steady for a long time before processing even begins.

One thing that we are eager to test out is the supposed Pro mode that is coming to the One M9, where photos will be taken in RAW format, but the mode won’t be made available until a future update. The reason why I want to test the Pro mode is to take a RAW photo and do my own post processing in a program like Lightroom, which might help show just how important it is to process picture data properly.

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I have already mentioned that the software is simply a very fast version of Sense powered by the Snapdragon 810, but the new version of HTC’s UI has a few new tricks up its sleeve. A general look at the interface will be very familiar, with the vertical app drawer, darker tones all around, and the inclusion of the Blinkfeed second screen feature all continuing in this iteration of Sense. Worth mentioning is the fact that, for some reason, the default HTC keyboard is something I’m not a big fan of. Typing on it felt slower than on other Android keyboards, with an auto correct experience that was uneven at best.

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Blinkfeed is still one of the best second homescreen additions available, and its customization certainly adds to it, allowing you to pick and choose exactly which publications and feeds you would like to get new stories and updates from. Now, there are a few contextual additions like food recommendations that pop up especially around meal times of the day, with certain blocks that will appear to suggest places to eat. This might not be too useful for everyone, but at least the effect isn’t too invasive.

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Sense itself jumps to version 7.0, and while things remain largely the same aesthetically, this update brings with it two new features, the Home widget and the Themes engine. The Home widget is basically a place where you can find your most used applications, and it changes based on your contextual location. It works fairly well, keeping in mind how often you use certain applications in multiple locations. The folders that accompany it provide an easy spot for your most recently downloaded applications, along with a folder for suggestions on what to install next, which could be useful, but can thankfully be turned off if you don’t want it there.

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The Themes engine is perhaps our favorite addition to Sense, as it changes more than just the colors of the UI, and is one of the most customizable first party iterations we’ve seen on a flagship device. While there are already a bevy of themes available in the store, you can also create your own by taking your homescreen wallpaper and letting the theme engine find the colors to match it. This is a pretty powerful customization tool that we feel many users will take advantage of.

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Apart from these key additions, HTC keeps Sense fairly simple but still very elegant. The contextual suggestions in both Blinkfeed and in Sense Home can all be turned off, so that eliminates any problems people may have with them, and the Themes engine is a bright spot for what is already one of our favorite iterations of Android, because of not only how fast it is, but also given the fact that it is one of the most accessible for the general Android user.

Display5-inch LCD, Full HD (1920 x 1080), 442 ppi
Processor2 Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
RAM3GB
Camera20MP rear cam with sapphire cover lens, UltraPixel front cam
Battery2,840 mAh
Storage32GB with microSD slot (up to 128GB)
Networks2G/2.5G - GSM/GPRS/EDGE:850/900/1800/1900 MHz

3G UMTS (varies by region): 850/900/1900/2100 MHz

4G LTE (varies by region)
FDD: Bands 1,3,5,7,8,20,28
TDD: Bands 38,40,41
SensorsAmbient Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Accelerometer, Compass Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Magnetic Sensor, Sensor Hub
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.1 with aptX, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, HTC Connect, DLNA, HDMI MHL 3.0, CIR, NFC, micro-USB 2.0, GPS, GLONASS
SoftwareAndroid 5.0 with Sense 7.0
Dimensions144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm, 157 grams

Official price points for the HTC One M9 are slowly trickling in, and the phone is available for pre-order now. We expect the price of the One M9 to come at the premium price for contracts and at least $600 off contract, which is typical for flagship devices. Competitors in the same bracket include the different flagships coming out this year like the Samsung Galaxy S6. Its predecessor, the HTC One M8, has to be mentioned here as well, as it might soon be available for a bargain, especially if you think that its successor hasn’t really done enough to distance itself from its past.

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So, there you have it – an in-depth look at the HTC One M9! As has been true for previous generations, the latest HTC flagship brings with it a beautiful package, with lovely software, and only one gaping hole in the camera experience. While it isn’t the worst shooter in the high-end market, it does feel a few steps behind the competition. For many users, this feeling might permeate throughout the device, as much of the One M9 feels quite familiar. Of course, others may consider this familiarity a good thing, at least as far as design and software is concerned.

Further refining what made the One M7 and One M8 so desired keeps this phone looking and feeling great, and underneath the surface, users can be sure that they’re getting a top notch user experience in the speedy, functional, and not too cluttered Sense UI. The One M9 is still a compelling choice for a daily driver, as long as the budding smartphone photographer can look past the camera deficiencies. Though a rethinking of their camera processing might be in order, we fully applaud HTC for sticking to their guns in basically all other aspects of this phone, as veterans and newcomers alike can enjoy the best that HTC has to offer in the One M9.

Buy at Amazon

Next: Best HTC One (M9) Cases

  • John Kar

    Battery life is a downgrade and WORSE than the S6.

    http://www.gsmarena.com/htc_one_m9-review-1230p3.php

    Why did you mention this as a pro, yet say nothing about the S6’s battery life?

    I smell a shill.

    • StrikkerXX

      He’s not comparing 2 devices in this review… The battery life is good enough to last well over a day, which is a pro.

      • VerlandersPhone

        Just a quick correction here. It’s not mostly due to the quad-HD Screen. It’s mostly due to the battery being reduced in capacity from 2800 mAh to 2550 in the s6. Displaymate found that the s6’s QHD screen uses LESS power then the s5’s HD screen.

        • Jack Jennings

          You’re almost right – display mate have only stated the power draw from just lighting the display I believe, meaning the panel itself is more efficient. However, the strain on the gpu/cpu from rendering all those pixels will definitely have an effect on the battery life – unfortunately that’s not something that can be negated by a better screen.

          • VerlandersPhone

            The display and CPU in the s6 are more efficient then the s5. The reason for the hit in battery life is the decrease in battery size. It stinks that it’s less at all. It’s a definite step back. However, the battery does charge a lot faster when plugged in, and you get the wireless charging option.

    • keithtae

      Both handset could easily last a whole day according to AA reviews themselves. So why pro for m9 and con for s6 lol, especially when s6 is pushing a screen double the resolution with smaller battery still last as long as the m9. Its just weird. And a camera which performs worse then the m8 is totally unacceptable. Yes i said this before: no more htc for me after the pink dot in my m7 camera, but just a 0.5 difference in that just shows how funny these reviews are. Almost unreliable now.

  • Alex P.

    So basically your review is similar to others – cool phone, poor camera. That’s unfortunate – more competition is always good for consumers… Oh well, maybe HTC will still be alive to release a phone with proper camera and proper optical image stabilization next year ;-)

    • romanmccluskey

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      ========>>>>> ­

    • jeffdude64

      I have an HTC One M8, which has been criticized for it’s 4 Ultrapixel camera (with no OIS). But since I’ve been involved with this discussion, I went through my pics (in the very nice HTC Gallery app), and, even though I totally suck as a photographer, most of my shots are really good – crisp and clear, with rich color and detail. There are some crappy shots (blurry, bad lighting, flushed out colors), but those are the result of me not stopping, getting steady, and paying attention to my subject and the background, etc. And I’ve taken excellent outdoor and indoor shots (and the camera especially shines with low light indoor shots). Even some of my outdoor shots have become my desktop background (on my laptop, as well as my work PC).

      So, I’m obviously quite happy with the camera, again, even though I’m not a good photographer by any means. And I haven’t even gotten too much into some the advanced settings (HDR, ISO, EV, AWB, etc). If I did, I’m sure I can take some truly fantastic shots with it.

      And that’s what it boils down to. I think a lot of reviewers just do a quick point and shoot session, and don’t take the time to really get to know the camera, and take the time to frame up good shots, and just point the shots. I’ve seen this with other phones too, particularity when they do follow up reviews (where they take the time to learn the camera, and get better results).

      This could be the case with this latest HTC One M9 and it’s 20 megapixel shooter. I’m guessing that it’s capable of taking much, much better shots than these early reviews are giving it credit for.

      That said, it sure wouldn’t hurt for HTC to put OIS back into their phone cameras, to compensate for the impatient, or just bad photographers like me. ;-)

      • Mason Lariscy

        I agree with your statement, when I went in for an upgrade I noticed that phones like iPhone 6 had better point and shoot but once I got used to the cameras on the M9 and iPhone it soon became apparent that the M9 was better

    • Cory

      Camera is not poor. In fact it is using the same Sensor as the Lumia 930 which was praised for it’s camera.
      https://www.flickr.com/photos/jpenico/sets/72157650671608427/

      • Rick_Deckard

        Cory… You are a HTC fan boy aren’t you? Listen I feel pity for you… Trying to defend the M8.1 with nonsense argument…. Don’t you understand that everybody disliked the M8.1 camera? Stop smoking expired weed… You idiot!

        • jeffdude64

          “Everyone”????
          He liked the camera, so did I. Pretty much the people complaining about the HTC One camera are geeks on message boards such as these.

          • jeffdude64fuckedAlexP’sMOM

            jeffdude64 you motha fucka!

        • Cory

          Not everyone disliked the camera moron. You are so pathetic. Drongo

  • Moses Avila

    Was the review done before or after the update to the camera processing software?

    • Rick_Deckard

      Regardless, about the update… This camera doesn’t have OIS… Which it sucks if you want to use for better results in low condition…

      • VAVA Mk2

        Or taking video that isn’t shaky…

        • Lipz

          Camera sucks deal with it… Cory that means you… Seriously tho how much is HTC paying your stupid ass,.. I do love reading your idiotic repetitive comments tho keep it up… Moron

      • Cory

        OIS is a gimmick.

        • Rick_Deckard

          Taking beautiful pictures in low light condition is gimmick to you… Go educate yourself… Silly kid…

  • StrikkerXX

    You’re turning to be one of my favorite reviewers @Joshua Vergara, but I have a couple of questions. On average how long was the screen-on time? Also, was the review of the camera done after the recent software release (which is supposed to help the camera).

  • iamtravis182

    Dat bezel tho…

    • Ewa2t

      Agree hate it

      • Cory

        Moron.

  • Rick_Deckard

    HTC has made a crucial mistake of choosing the Toshiba Sensor for the rear camera… I don’t understand why Htc didn’t choose the Sony Sensor instead….

    Since my favorite feature is the camera… I feel relieved that I have chosen the S6, which it has the IMX240 Sony sensor, with a F1.9 aperture I cannot imagine how great photos I will get with the S6 in low light condition :-)

  • Christian

    Now waiting for what the Xperia Z4 has to offer…

  • Brad Lambert

    How are the phone being a bit thicker than previous incarnations and “sharper edges” legitimate complaints? That’s completely up to the user and really not that consequential overall. Kinda lazy, trying to find a few nits to pick, if you ask me.

  • joey crofts

    heavily debating between the s6 and the m9. I can’t wait for the comparison video, my upgrades ready in like 10 days and I need to know what phone I’m dropping a whole paycheck on.

  • MobileRoamer

    So the S6 gets a 9, and this thing gets an 8.5. This incredibly inferior device in every way, gets a half less point. So now people can see why reviews are no longer what they used to be. This thing should have been a 7 at the absolute most. Ummmm…..yeah.

    • jeffdude64

      Inferior device in every way?? That’s the most ridiculous statement I’ve read here. The only thing the S6 is superior in is the camera. The HTC has superior design, build quality, sound, and UI.

      But a lot of what is deemed superior/inferior is COMPLETELY SUBJECTIVE. I’ll take HTC Sense over Samsung Touchwiz any day. And while the new S6 looks really slick, I’ll take the design of the HTC One any day of the week! And the build quality is vastly superior on the HTC – metal is stronger than glass! ;-) And sound quality – the HTC One blows every other phone out of the water, by far, no contest.

      But again, a lot of it comes down to individual tastes, and what’s important and not important to every individual. For me, sound quality trumps camera, but I do realize for a lot of other people it’s just the opposite.

      • seriouslyA

        just the camera? how about the processor, screen, and battery life.

        • jeffdude64

          Processor? Samsung Exynos vs Snapdragon 810 – probably pretty close. Are there detailed benchmarks yet? Regardless, both devices are lightning quick. Samsung does get the competitive pricing/cost advantage, since they’re making their own processor in-house. But for us end users, the two are very comparable.
          Screen? If you want to waste engery / cpu and gpu cycles on QHD, the screen on the Samsung is better. But the unaided human eye can’t really tell the difference. And ultimately, rendering all those extra pixels in QHD is going to consume more energy, and drain the battery faster (even though there are claims that QHD is more energy efficient – it’s the over time rendering and transitions that will consume energy).
          Battery Life – both are rated as full day, or day and half. Both are rated about the same as their predecessors (from most reviews).

          • sachouba

            Actually, the QHD display on the S6, although it has better contrast, pixel density, viewing angles, and sunlight visibility than the M8 uses 20% less energy than the FullHD display on the Galaxy S5 and the HD display of the iPhone 6… So I think it will be the same with this M9.

    • Cory

      You are an idiot.

  • Awayze

    How hard can it be too use the Sony 20MP sensor that iPhone and Samsung use. The camera pictures look pretty bad tbh.

    • Samuel

      The iPhone uses an 8MP sensor

    • VAVA Mk2

      Z3 uses this sensor I believe and it takes great pics. The difference is photo processing software is not as good as there or on other phones like the Galaxy and Note series.

    • Cory
  • divinediva

    so no con for removable battery??? yet the s6 got a con for it

  • igy

    7.5 raiting is more realistic. S810 problems are way too big for expensive device, performance problems also. Camera also if this is flagship, I thing mid range devices have that camera quality. If S6 gets 9 this has to be way less. Also in cons you don’t have non removable battery which you put for S6. Despite design (which is also copy of previous years) device is fail.

    • igy

      also AA don’t have benchmarks which is wrong because lot’s of younger people perform gaming. If you perform banchmark than you will report overheating and throling which is problem with S810 and that is one of BIG CONS that need to be in this review. Sorry AA what is the point of new SOCs if they need to run UI only.

    • John Kar

      Reviewers are, for the most part, without dignity. Android Authority is no different. They will inflate scores to appease manufacturers so that they get access to events and pre-release devices.

      Shame. The S6 deserves a much higher score and the M9 deserves much lower. Hell, they placed battery life as one of the “pros” for the M9 and cons for the S6, even though M9 battery life is worse than the S6.
      The more trustworthy reviewers like Anandtech said that the M8 appears to be superior to the M9. If the predecessor is superior to the current device, why should the current device score anything above an 8?

      • jeffdude64

        Without dignity? Hmmm – they express their subjective opinion on a product, and you say they’re without dignity? What, because their SUBJECTIVE OPINIONS don’t align with your preconceived notions or OEM fanboyism?

        As for my SUBJECTIVE OPINION,the S6’s glass back, protruding camera, and mediocre speaker are deal breakers for me, even though I think it’s a slick looking device, and I like a lot of Samsung devices (I used to have and S3). While the HTC One’s gorgeous display, great build quality, awesome speakers, great custom Android skin (Sense), and overall user experience are huge wins, for me. But I’m sure a lot of people are going to prefer the S6, for various other reasons. It’s all good though – they’re both fantastic Android flagships, for different reasons.

      • Cory

        Anandtech said not to pay attention to their review as it is being thrown out and redone after receiving the finale software update.

    • VAVA Mk2

      But it didn’t overheat or get uncomfortably hot in the reviews I read….

      • igy

        i don’t know what you read, maybe sites as AA which don’t test device

        • VAVA Mk2

          Pocket Now, CNet, Engadet, Techno Buffalo

          • igy

            S810 do not overheat if performance are downgraded. Don’t see anything strange in performanse?!

          • VAVA Mk2

            They said it got warm under gaming and more stringent activities, but not hot or overheating and not as hot as some devices in the past.

    • Cory

      You are an idiot. S810 doesn’t have problems. The M9 has a great camera uses the same sensor Nokia did which was universally praised. Anyone who says the camera is ibad is an idiot. Having a non removable battery is a pro. Removable batteries have worse battery life and ruin build quality. This device is no way a fail.

  • m9 camera still sukx :( why HTC why :(

  • Peter

    It’s interesting how you people criticize Apple, Sony or Nokia/MS for re-using the same or very similar design 2-3 times, and yet it’s a great thing when HTC does it…

    You moan about phones being too thin and say a thicker one with bigger battery would be better, and now suddenly being thicker is a terrible thing…

    Just a while ago you said that 1080p is a “sub-par screen and behind competition” but now, suddenly, 1080p is great…

    • John Kar

      This device is a downgrade to the M8. Anandtech agrees.

      Right now, AA needs to keep criticisms low so that they don’t get on htc’s bad side. AA has no shame.

      • jeffdude64

        Who cares about Anandtech?? Are they trying to tell me I shouldn’t like my M8, nor consider upgrading to M9? F&%$ them!

      • Cory

        Anandtech doesn’t agree. They even said they are redoing their review. Moron.

    • KingofPing

      “and yet it’s a great thing when Motorola or HTC do it…”

      T,FTFY.

  • flamebaits
    • jeffdude64

      That’s a cropped (widescreen) video being displayed on the device, so it does not, any way, shape or form, represent the actual bezel size. I have the M8, and the bezels are not overly big nor too small. They’re just fine. And, by looking at pics and videos of the M9, it appears to have the same bezel size.

      Cut it with the false nit-picks. ;-)

  • JK

    pro is the battery life JUST OVER AVERAGE? umm….that is a con. thanks though.

    • joseph carmine nero

      Xperia Z3 still reigns battery life kingdom

      • Peter Raun

        I would say LG G2 is up there too, battery life is amazing on that thing!

        • joseph carmine nero

          but not as good as Z3.check gsmarena and others

    • Mason Lariscy

      The HTC has a battery saver mode which is quite useful in the danger zone or while not doing anything with your phone

  • Cho

    Didn’t he put the average time battery life on con part in a galaxy s6 review, in just a few days ago?

  • Rufus MD

    People here commenting that the phone should have lower score because of this and that.. you’re just being rude! if you don’t like the m9 then go buy the s6. if your desired phone suits your taste..why do u have to be mad over this? I really hate people who all they can do is talk..they’re not even helping. pity!

  • Sonny73N

    8.5? More like 5.8
    Head to Anandtech to see in-depth review of this phone.
    Same old design with off-centered display, low screen-to-body ratio, ugly htc logo printed right on the front… HTC is like most of others – they just crank up the specs without any sense of how to make a great device.

    • jeffdude64

      Who cares about Anandtech? Do you consider them, and their readers, the final authority on Android tastes??

    • Cory

      Anandtech said that they are re doing their review. Nice try.

  • sosarozay300

    not only did they not improve on last years m8 but they made it worse LOL thicker, heavier, shitter everything compared to m8

    • Cory

      You are a moron of the highest degree.

  • VAVA Mk2

    Good review except you had to take a picture of that weakling, Mega Man X. I hate him and Zero and vow to hunt those pesky Maverick Hunters until the day I die! Mwahahahaha!

  • truth_cutz

    You would think by now, putting a descent camera in your device would be the easy part… just use what ever it is that Samsung puts in their phones.

  • Robert Carlos

    You need to check out this guy’s photos with the phone https://instagram.com/traazil

  • S6 Is the lesser of two evils

    • Cory

      S6 is disgusting rubbish.

  • Oh my goodness. Those blurry / muted photos came from a 20MP sensor? I’m in complete shock! I’ve been loyal to HTC since the T-Mobile G2, but the past 3 years the One series has provided just an OK camera experience. It’s 2015 HTC! No flagship phone should have just an OK camera. You would think they would without a doubt deliver a mostly flawless camera since they made waves for camera innovation (M7: Ultrapixel, M8: Duo UltraPixel Cam).

    I hate to say this, but it looks like i’m forced to check out Samsung this year, or maybe even Sony. Samsung had something to prove this year with the S6 and it shows. We’ll see if / what Sony does to the Z series.

    Sorry HTC. Maybe i’ll return for the M9+ or M10? Fingers are crossed that you guys get it right sooner than later.

    A disappointed, formerly loyal customer.

    :(

    • jeffdude64

      Yep, they have to do better. Camera is a big deal to a lot of people. To sell more phones, HTC needs to step up it’s game with it’s cameras. But I only want them to do this if it doesn’t sacrifice the awesome speakers, gorgeous design, and great build quality. They should be able to do it. HTC just needs to make it a priority. Perhaps they can release another HTC One edition, with a best in class rear camera. They did something similar last year with the One “Eye” edition (with upgraded selfie camera and video), but they could do a “Photographer’s Edition” (or something), with, again, a great rear camera that exceeds every other phone camera.

      • I love boomsound but, I’d take a better camera experience over best in class speakers. Most of us have Bluetooth speakers now, so it’s time HTC innovates elsewhere than sound. I had high hopes for the M9 but have again been let down by a mediocre camera experience. I’ve yet to see a single M9 review with fantastic photos. Honestly, from my experience, the One X had a better all around camera experience than the M7-M9. I’ll have to try the M9 out for myself, but if the cam blows, I’ll be swapping it for the S6.

        • jeffdude64

          Ya know, after all these reviews, and my involvement in the discussion here, and all this talk about how inferior the HTC One (M8 and M9) camera supposedly is, I browsed through my pics over the last year (using the very nice HTC Gallery app). And, even though I totally suck as a photographer ;-) most of my pics were sharp, clear, detailed, and with vivid colors, both indoors and outdoors (and low light indoor shots really shined over anything I’ve used previously). This, even though the 4 Megapixel camera was generally criticized in all the reviews. Plus, because I’m generally lazy with photography, I haven’t really delved into the advanced features (like HDR, AWB, ISO, EV, etc). If I did, I’m sure I could take some really awesome shots. But I tend to just point and shoot, and when I make sure I’m steady, and I actually pay attention to lighting, position, composition, framing, etc (ya know, take a few seconds try to take a good shot), I end up taking really good shot with this HTC One camera. True, I’d sure wouldn’t mind having OIS, to compensate for my lack of patience in holding steady, so there’s be fewer blurry shots. But the bottom line is, I take really good shots with this supposedly inferior HTC One M8 camera, with little effort.

          And my guess is that when it comes to these reviews, reviewers really don’t take the time to make the best of the camera, and just post the results of their quick point and shoots. And a lack of OIS or a better/ more advanced aperture dictates that they end up with less than stellar shots.

          I recently read a follow up review of the LG G3 (which generally gets very favorable reviews for it’s camera), and the reviewer said he initially took blurry, washed out shots for the initial review, and gave the camera poor marks. But when he did the month after follow up review, he said he took the time to learn the camera and how to use the various features, and lo and behold, he took great shots, and gave the G3 a great review for it’s camera.

        • Cory
      • Cory

        They did this year. They are in fact using the same sensor in the universally praised for its camera Lumia 930.

        https://www.flickr.com/photos/jpenico/sets/72157650671608427/

    • Cory
      • Yeah, I saw Jesse’s photos a few weeks ago. You should follow him on twitter (https://twitter.com/jpenico).

        He says he took them using auto settings, but for whatever reason, they look better than photos from ANY M9 review I’ve seen.

        • Cory

          Because the people doing their reviews don’t care. They hated the camera from the start and wanted to make it look bad. And most have an Anti-HTC biased. If you look on most of their sites they have article after article bashing on HTC. And what makes this even more clear is that the M9 is using the same sensor as the Nokia Lumia 930 which all these tech sites praised for its camera.

  • John Burg

    TBH I prefer the ffc over the back…..

  • jeffdude64

    Good review. However, I’m rather surprised by all the HTC hate here. People are either upset about something legit (mediocre camera), or just stupid stuff (the bezel, or HTC logo, or not QHD, blah, blah).

    But any given gadget OEM can’t please everyone with their latest flagship release – not HTC, not Samsung, not Apple, not anyone. With the S6, people are griping about no swappable battery or sd card, or the glass back, or the protruding camera. With the iPhone 6, people are complaining about poor battery life, iOS 8 glitches, protruding camera, etc).

    But all these latest flagships have their strengths – with the S6, a nice new design, a stellar camera, great super AMOLED display, and improved Touchwiz. iPhone – super thin and light, and bigger screen.

    And the HTC One M9 has a lot going for it too – Gorgeous design, awesome build quality, super speedy performance, sharp display, best in class (awesome) speakers and sound quality, great UI (Sense is by far the best custom Android skin, IMHO), and great overall user experience and ease of use.

    True, the camera is lacking, and the battery life has gone down a bit (probably because it’s the same battery as M8, but with more power hungry Snapdragon 810). And yes, the overall design is pretty much the same as the M7 and M8. But why change it? It’s already a spectacular design, that has earned gushing reviews, so why mess with it? That would be stupid! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!!

    I currently have the M8, and love it. I’m an audio file so I love the boom sound speakers. I’m not a huge picture taker, but I do like the 4 Ultra pixel camera, because it excels in low light, and it’s allowed me to take plenty of great pictures with ease. We’ll see about the new 20 mega pixel camera, but they did drop the ball by not including OIS. But again, super high quality camera isn’t that important to me. I’m happy with a mid level camera, particularly since the HTC One delivers so richly in other areas.

    Finally, the author of this review is not an HTC shill, simply because he gave a good review to the latest HTC One. The M7, M8, and M9 are all great phones, and just like any other flagship device, strong in some areas, and not so strong in others. All flagships have compromises.

    • Rick_Deckard

      Unfortunately, the M9 doesn’t have any innovation… Not even a finger print scanner… Seriously… This is the M8.1…. Camera these days is more important than ever, when you go to parties, when you need to scan some documents or even to take pictures for fun…

      Camera is my favorite feature… HTC didnt add OIS… That’s unbelievable…. I was on the fence between the M9 and S6… I am getting the S6, which is a much better cellphone in all departments…

      Engadget:
      “Main camera is lackluster”

      PhoneArena:
      “Details are emphasized more with this new camera, but low lighting performance is just laughable.”

      GSMarena:
      “20MP main camera produces first-rate images with a wide dynamic range, accurate colors and correct exposure, although on the noisy side”

      Android Authority:
      “While you’d expect the move to a higher megapixel count to equate to a much better experience than found in the M8, we are sad to say this isn’t the case”

      Android Central:
      “If you want to have the best smartphone, you have to have solid hardware, software and camera quality. HTC’s still struggling some with the latter.”

      Techno Buffalo:
      “The good news is that the M9 captures photos very quickly, letting you capture fast-moving action without missing a beat. HTC’s cameras have always been fast, and you’ll continue to get that same instant experience here. Using modes like HDR and Bokeh will add processing time, but otherwise you should expect to capture a rambunctious child without issue.

      If only the images themselves were any good. This is easily the most disappointing part of the M9, continuing a kind of problematic trend that started with the M7.”

      CNET
      “The photos look slightly washed out and the colours aren’t as accurate.”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaTSow2WUz4

      • jeffdude64

        The camera is not a deal-breaker for me. However, I’ll probably wait until the M10 comes out next year, or for another edition of the M9 comes out (like a high performance camera edition) before I consider an upgrade. And I don’t even need to upgrade right now, as my M8 is still running silky smooth.

        That said, I totally understand where you’re coming from on the camera. It’s really important to you, and that’s great. But it’s not that big of a deal to me. For me, the stellar speakers make the camera tolerable, and the M8 takes good pictures for me.

        As for finger print scanners – Thank goodness HTC hasn’t gone down that rabbit hole! I hate finger print scanners! My laptop at work has one, and I used it for about a week, and then it would take me about 50 tries before it finally logged me in, so I just went to manual (typed passwword) login. And I couldn’t care less that iPhones and Samsung devices have them. It’s just feature bloat to me. And finger print scanners aren’t particularly innovative – they’ve been around for years.

        • Rick_Deckard

          Thats fair enough… I totally respect your argument. I had my S3 for 3 years… Only now… I am ready to upgrade.

      • Cory

        You are an idiot. The S6 is vile rubbish. The same tech sites praised the camera in Nokia Lumia 930 which uses the same sensor as the M9.

        https://www.flickr.com/photos/jpenico/sets/72157650671608427/

        • Rick_Deckard

          Hahah stupid silly fan boy…. Have fun with the M8.1… All reviewers have said… The M8.1 camera SUCKS! DEAL WITH IT!

          • Cory

            Actually that’s not what the reviewers said at all dumbass also t has the same camera senor as the Lumia 930 wjich was praised fpr it’s camera. Nicr yry dumbass. flickr.com/photos/jpenico/sets/72157650671608427/

    • Cory
  • ericiidx

    hey hey! Chemex and Mega Man! Now I need coffee.

  • QSPR

    Time for me to switch to Samsung….. S6 edge here I go!! I love HTC but they drop the ball with this. I don’t want the same last year look @ my brand new phone. I’m looking at the phone and looks just like M8.

    • Cory

      I hope you enjoy vile rubbish. You are a moron. People like you are so pathetically stupid. It needs to have a radical different look each year or it sucks. You are stupid.

      • QSPR

        I don’t need to go to your level. I don’t need to insult you. But let me tell you something, of you gonna buy my new phone talk and by whatever you want. But you don’t pay for my stuff. So SFU and keep defending your beloved M8.5

        • Cory

          M8.5 would still be better than any rubbish Samsung put out

  • moof

    The phone will be faster than the GS6 in things like games because it doesn’t have to push the resolution that phone does. Why I think the ultra high resolution screens are dumb, they give no noticeable improvement over the 1080p displays and just hinder the experience.

  • Ion
  • Gautham Kolekar

    htc!!! dont buy any mobiles from this company, here im going to share a situation which im experiencing after buying a mobile from this company.ticket number 15INA140005886 the device is HTC ONE E8, the mobile stopped detecting the networks on any sim, i surrendered
    the mobile to nearby service center, htc has this idea of cheating people heres what happened they took my mobile, they said they would replace its motherboard and the other parts would be kept same but the mobile i recieved after “34days” was someones mobile, does htc think “INDIAN PEOPLE” are dumb? can one not identify his mobile? there were permanant marks on the mobile, the one i recieved had none of those!!!! they are saying they just replaced its motherboard, the refurbished mobile i recieved had hearing issues on call, there would be constant break in voices every 10-15 seconds, the screen had popped out below the front speaker, when pressed it would go inside!!! how cool is that? there was a big gap between the mobile and the screen, i had to surrender the mobile again, its been 18 days and there is no news about it, HTC PEOPLE say that parts are unavailable for the repair at the moment, what kind of reason is that? am i not suppose to use a mobile till then? and when is “then?” when service center people call, they would say that they cant identify the big gap between the mobile and screen, when i had to say that i would not accept the mobile if it is not placed properly its then they say “yes there is a gap and we will fix it”, after few days when contacted again if i ask whether the gap is removed they would say they” couldnt identify” story again, what kind of after sales service is this? will my refurbished mobile ever return to me? will it ever be fixed? i have no hope that the gap will be removed from the mobile, why do they make their customers wait? i think this is because of people claiming warranty, if warranty is claimed htc will make its customers wait for default period of min 30 days!!! is that because its a free service and repairs done? i want my money back or else i need a new phone, i cant wait any longer i have no hope on htc anymore,i wont recommend anyone to buy a mobile from this company, please htc dont make me regret the decision i made in buying an htc mobile, please give me my money back or give me a new phone.

  • Mason Lariscy

    I find the M9’s camera exceptional, if used properly it out beats everything else I tested when searching for a new phone

  • Avieshek Rajkhowa

    LCD?