As expected, HTC has unveiled the next revision of its HTC One flagship smartphone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Building on the successes of the HTC One M8, the HTC One M9 is more of a evolution rather than a revolution. With the M9, HTC has opted to use the same basic design philosophies of the M8, but with improvements where needed. So here is a quick look at how the new HTC One M9 compares to its previous iteration.
The design language of the HTC One M9 is certainly familiar — the new device looks very similar to the M8 and borrows heavily from its playbook. If you liked the way the M8 looked then you are going to love the M9. However if you were expecting something different then you are going to be disappointed.
In terms of size, the two devices are almost identical. The body of the M9 is basically a fraction smaller than the M8. It is 1.8 mm shorter, 0.9 mm narrower, but 0.21 mm thicker. When held in the hand you would be hard pushed to feel the difference in size.
One of the subtle changes on the M9 is that the edges are more pronounced, which should make the device easier to grip, compared to the rather slippery M8. However the biggest design difference can be seen on the back. The One M9 features a squared camera module that protrudes slightly in order to accommodate the large sensor, while still maintaining the curved profile of the phone. HTC also gave up on the depth sensor from the M8, and relocated the power button to the side, which is a welcome change.
While the HTC One M9 looks very similar to the One M8, the display is actually identical. While some OEMs are making the jump to Quad HD, HTC has decided to remain will Full HD (1920 x 1080) at the moment. For many people Quad HD is an unnecessary luxury at this time, so HTC’s choice should keep the majority users happy.
The One M9 is among the first wave of devices to use the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 SoC. The 810 contains a 64-bit octa-core CPU and an Adreno 430 GPU. The eight cores are made up of four 2GHz Cortex-A57 cores and four 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 cores. HTC also upgraded the memory on the M9 to 3GB of RAM, while storage starts from 32GB.
The processor package is a nice leap up from last year’s M8. Which is quite as statement as the M8’s processor package was no slouch. Its Snapdragon 801 processor used four of Qualcomm’s highly respected Krait 400 cores, clocked at 2.3GHz.
The Snapdragon 810 doubles the number of cores from 4 to 8 and also introduces heterogeneous computing into the mix – meaning the more battery friendly 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 cores run simultaneously with the faster 2GHz Cortex-A57 cores, with Android utilizing the best core combinations for different workloads.
Thanks to the combination of 64-bit Lollipop and the latest 64-bit from Qualcomm, the M9 should perform really well at all tasks. However, with rumors swirling around potential throttling issues, caused by overheating, we’ll need some more time with the M9 to pass a judgement. With that said, in our time with it, we haven’t really seen any red flags, and the device ran like a champ.
One other small change is that the M9 uses a 2840 mAh battery, a nice little step up from the M8’s 2600 mAh unit.
HTC has finally decided to go back to “normal” camera sensors for the M9, well at least for the rear facing camera. The M8 used a 4 MP UltraPixel rear camera, with a Duo depth sensor, and dual LED flash. However the M9 uses a 20 MP sensor with a f2.2 lens. It can record video at 4K and has sapphire cover lens. On the front of the M9 the 4MP UltraPixel camera makes a reappearance, this time for selfies. It has a f/2.0, 26.8mm lens, and can record video in 1080p.
HTC has made a few thoughtful additions to the software experience on the M9, mainly by adding some of the intelligence from Blinkfeed to other parts of the OS. For example, BlinkFeed is now integrated into the lockscreen, where it offers contextual info, based on the time of day and other factors.
The app launcher is smarter too, thanks to a widget that attempts to predict what apps you will need at any given moment. Another change over M8’s Sense 6 software, is the addition of a Theming app that will make it easier to change the appearance of the OS, either manually or through downloadable packs.
|HTC One M9||HTC One M8|
|Display||5-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels SLCD3||5-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels SLCD3|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, octa-core, 4 x 2GHz + 4 x 1.5GHz, 64-bit|
Adreno 430 GPU
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, quad-core, 2.3GHz, 32-bit
Adreno 330 GPU
|Storage||32GB, microSD card slot, up to 128GB||16GB/32GB, microSD card slot, up to 128GB|
|Camera||20 MP rear camera, sapphire cover lens, f2.2, 27.8mm lens, 4k video|
4MP UltraPixels f/2.0, 26.8mm lens
|4 MP UltraPixel rear camera, Duo depth sensor, dual LED flash
|Battery||2840 mAh||2600 mAh|
|Connectivity||GPS, microUSB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1||GPS, microUSB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4|
|Networks||3G 850/900/1900/2100 MHz |
LTE FDD: Bands 1,3,5,7,8,20,28
TDD: Bands 38,40,41
|LTE band 20, 8, 3 , 7|
|Software||Android 5.0 Lollipop with HTC Sense||Android 5.0 Lollipop with HTC Sense|
|Dimensions||144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm, 157 grams||146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4 mm, 160 g|
|Color variants||Black, Silver-Golden, Golden||Gray, Silver, Gold|
So there you have it – a quick look at the HTC One M9 vs the HTC One M8. In essence the HTC One M9 remains true to the HTC One design philosophies, however it is better. There is a faster processor package, more internal memory, and a new camera. For HTC One fans the M9 should receive a warm welcome, and from those who haven’t ever owned a HTC device, the M9 shows how HTC can take a good thing and make it better.