[Review] HTC One M9 (AT&T)

For the past week, I have been using the HTC One M9 as my main driver. I was actually forced to because I sent my beloved Nexus 6 to Motorola to get some issues with the power button fixed.  The M9 looks very similar to its predecessor in terms of aesthetics. But don’t let that steer you away from upgrading. It is different from the inside thanks to a new processor and more RAM.

Size

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I really love the way it looks and HTC obviously does as well. Coming from a larger phone like the Nexus 6, the size of the M9 was a bit underwhelming (personal opinion). I do miss the larger display which was easy to navigate when browsing the internet and watching videos. I would’ve loved if HTC made the display a bit larger. Maybe the leaked HTC One M9+ could be the answer if it ever makes it to North America. Making phone calls is much easier with the HTC handset than the Nexus 6.

Specs

  • Display: 5-inch FHD LCD3 display
  • OS:Android 5.0 Lollipop w/ HTC Sense 7
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor
  • Memory: 3GB of RAM
  • Storage: 32GB of internal storage; MicroSD expansion (up to 128GB)
  • Cameras: 20-megapixel front camera; 4 UltraPixel front camera
  • Battery: 2,840 mAh battery
  • Speakers: Front-facing speakers with BoomSound technology
  • Network: 2G/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)
  • Colors: Gunmetal Grey, Gold/Silver, Gold and Silver
  • Misc: IR Blaster, micro USB port, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, DLNA and WiFi

Performance

Packing the Snapdragon 810 along with 3GB of RAM, the M9 performs beautifully without any hiccups. Multitasking is also a breeze. I have not experienced any overheating so far. This is one of the best attributes of this phone. If you are in the market for a powerhouse you will not be disappointed.

Battery Life

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This is where I think the M9 really needs some improvements. Whether it is software or hard/ware related, battery life really sucks. I consider myself a heavy user. I have about 4-5 Gmail accounts. I use Google+, Reddit Sync Pro and Facebook on a daily basis. And I make a bunch of calls and use navigation daily. I have not played any games so far. The display has a resolution of 1080 x 1920 resolution which is lower than the latest flagship devices. You’d think that could help with extending the usage of the phone, but it really doesn’t.

Today for example, the battery went down to 40% after only 4 hours of use. I was actually cool with that because in the back of my mind, I know the One M9 has Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 and charging will be fast. Qualcomm says “In laboratory tests using a 3300mAh battery, a Quick Charge 2.0 enabled device went from 0% to 60% charge in 30 minutes,.”

That is not the case with this phone. In fact, it kind of reminds me of the One M7 a bit. It is a big let down and I really am considering going to my Note 4 just because I know it charges way faster. So yeah, this is a big thumbs down from me.

Camera

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The latest Samsung phones are definitely setting the bar way high when it comes to cameras. HTC decided to move away from having an Ultrapixel camera for its new phone. They packed it with a 20-megapixel with f/2.2 saphire lens. The pictures I took are a bit washed out and the Auto-Focus is all over the place. Supposedly, there is an update rolling out in the next few days which is said to:

  • Reduced blur in photos thanks to enhanced exposure times
  • Increased sharpness in photos making them clear but with a less artificial feeling.
  • Reduced image noise
  • Improved low light performance and HDR processing
  • Better Auto Exposure interface performance when tapping the screen

I will definitely report back once I get it.

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Call & Sound Quality

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Making or receiving calls with the HTC One M9 has been great so far. The phone does what it is supposed to do which is a good thing. The sound quality coming from the 2 front speakers is the best I have heard and is in the same lines as the One M8. Audio streaming via auxiliary is also great. No complaints here.

Software

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Android Lollipop is what the M9 running along with the HTC Sense 7. There were about 10 HTC apps updating once I activated my phone including HTC Gallery, HTC Speak, HTC Facebook plugin, HTC Scribble, HTC Print Studio, HTC Lock Screen, HTC internet, HTC Connect, HTC Clock and HTC Calendar. All of these apps can be uninstalled easily. I can’t really say the same thing with AT&T’s bloatware which you can disable but not remove. Odd isn’t it?

Everything ran smooth. I have not experienced any type of lag whatsoever and that’s a great thing! The Theme engine is also a great addition if you’re into custom icon packs, wallpapers and ringtones.

Uh Oh Protection

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This is a new program that HTC has put in place which no other phone manufacturer has. Uh Oh Protection gives the One M9 users like myself a peace of mind. HTC says that if you crack your screen, or dump your phone in water, they will replace (one time) it free of charge within the first 12 months of ownership. A simple phone call to their customer service will get your claim started.

Where To Buy

Depending on your carrier of choice, the HTC One M9 sells for $199 on contract. If you’re not a fan of contracts, you will shed around $649 (Amazon) or make consecutive monthly payments of $23-$35 depending of the length of your loan. Hit the links below if you’re ready to go.

Final Thoughts

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I am not going to hide my disappointment with some of this phone’s features. I can definitely live with an okay camera. But what I don’t like is the fact that this phone doesn’t charge as fast as some of the Quick Charge 2.0 phones like the Note 4 or the Nexus 6. I am really hoping that this can be fixed with a software update.

The HTC One M9 is a sexy phone for sure. Whether that is enough to make it compete with the best and latest Android phone, I am not sure if I can say that it does. I really wanted to fall in love with it like I did with One M8 but I just couldn’t.

Zack has always been a fan of anything with the tag "Gadget" on it, he has had used almost every phone brand except for the Palm and owns a Pixel XL as his daily driver. His favorite camera is the Olympus EM-1 Mark II. He is a full-time father of two great boys and happily married to his wife. Did we mention the Zack loves Video games? Add him to you circles: Google+

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