As MWC 2015 kicks off, HTC has revealed to the world its latest flagship, the much anticipated One M9. While some folks were still holding out the tiniest shred of hope that the M9 would feature a more dramatic redesign then we’d seen from the most recent leaks, this didn’t turn out to be the case.

At first glance, the One M9 seems to be a near identical copy to the M8 in terms of design. For a company that has been pushing design hard recently, this might seem like an odd decision, but just because it’s similar, doesn’t mean HTC hasn’t improved the formula at all. The phone is thinner, smaller, has a dual finish and brings back edges that give it a somewhat similar feel in hand to the One M7, though the edges aren’t nearly as sharp this time around. In many ways, HTC took the best parts about the M7 and M8 designs and merged them into one package with a little extra polish added for good measure.

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It is also worth mentioning that HTC is bringing a bit of water and dust resistance to the device, giving it an IPX3 rating that should be able to handle a little dust and light rain. For those that need more extensive waterproofing, HTC plans to offer a special case for its users.

It’s under the hood that really sees the most massive makeover with the next generation One, as the new device boasts a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core chip with 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, a microSD card for expansion, and a 2840 mAh battery. HTC keeps the size of its display at 5-inches and the resolution at 1080p, which will either be a sore point for those hoping for QHD or a victory point for those that feel that QHD is unneeded and does little more than add more strain to the processor and battery.

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

While the LG G Flex 2’s combination of 1080p and a Snapdragon 810 hasn’t blown anyone away due to some encountered sluggishness, it is very possible that this has more to due with LG’s UI and so the One M9 should certainly fare better. How it compares to the still unannounced Galaxy S6? We’ll hopefully know soon enough.

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There’s no denying that the spec sheet has seen a solid upgrade, but it is the rear camera that stands out above the rest. Gone are the days of Duo cams or even Ultrapixels. The phone now offers up a 20MP camera with some of the highlights including a sapphire lens, f/2.2 aperture, BSI, auto-focus and 4K video recording. On the front, the UltraPixel does make a return, offering the same features as found on the rear shooter of the M7 and M8.

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To no surprise, the One M9 introduces the world to Sense 7, which is built on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop. There are several new features here including an improved Blinkfeed that introduces lockscreen integration, new contextual features such as suggestions at particular times and at places, a folder for downloaded apps, a recommended apps folder and other little tweaks. There’s also a new HTC Theme app that lets you change up the color of the keyboard, icons and more. The app will also offer community sourced themes, as well as the ability to analyze a picture (such as your wallpaper) and then get colors for a theme to match it.

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That’s just a few of the highlights found with Sense 7, though we wil go into more detail with our HTC One M9 hands-on post.

Expected Availability

While last year’s One M8 made a pretty big splash by announcing immediate availability the day of its unveiling, that’s apparently not the case for HTC’s latest. For now, HTC is only saying “through March” without offering more details. For those in the United States, we can at least expect to see the phone on all four major carriers. It’s only a matter of time before more global details surface regarding the M9’s arrival, so we’ll be sure to update you as soon as we learn more.

For what it is worth, a leak from Best Buy has already surfaced pointing to a price of $649.99 with free shipping for an AT&T-branded 32GB handset in gray. However, we can’t say for sure if Best Buy was guesstimating the price or acting on official details. Lending credence to the price is the fact that Best Buy has since pulled down the listing.

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What’s your take on the new M9? Disappointed in the same old design? Does that even matter to you?