Hardware and Design
Welcome to one of our “before you buy it” series under our mobile phone review section. Today on our review table is the HTC One M9. Just last year the world stood with mouth agape as the company unveiled the flagship killer: the HTC one M8. Although very much on the high-end side but worth every penny and dime spent on it. It boasted of unparalleled performance and unrivalled speed. However today, our review proves the obvious –technology can only get better!
Noted as one of the the best phones to grace this year 2015, the HTC M9 packs even more force in the punch! We shall run a series of episodes on very detailed reviews and unbiased reports on the HTC M9, the latest flagship smartphone from the Taiwanese manufacturer. On one hand you’ve got the continuation of a product line that for the previous two generations has been lauded as a shining example of what can be done in a five-inch space. Great hardware. Great software. Excellent performance. And one pretty major sticking point.
And in a nutshell that sums up the M9, and our M9 review. There’s a lot here you’re going to find familiar. And some of the new stuff has us scratching our heads a little and in fact raises questions that we might not be able to answer without more long-term use. Let’s get into it.
Sometimes it feels weird to pick up a newer version of a phone and have it actually be smaller than its predecessor. To be easier to hold. To not leave you thinking “Why on earth would they do that?” But that’s exactly what you get with the HTC One M9. Even if you’re not familiar with the M8 the M9 is going to attract your attention. The M9’s physical attributes aren’t a departure from the previous model. The short take is that you’ve got a milled aluminum body — a metal phone — with gorgeous curves and continued attention to detail that few do as well as HTC. The most noticeable change is that the phone has actually shrunk just a tad. A few millimeters have been shaved off the height and thickness, with just a smidge removed from the width. Add to that the new “shelf” that’s been milled into the edges of the phone plus a more matte finish on the metal and the M9 addresses one of our chief complaints of the M8 — that it was too hard to hold. It’s a sort of subtle but also very important difference. The shelf feels just a tad different depending the color scheme you get. Silver and gold — which is what we’ve used — feels a little sharper than the gunmetal. Maybe not a deal-breaker, but noticeable. Another subtle but important change is the power button having moved from the top of the phone to the right-hand side, below the (now separated) volume buttons. You’ll no longer have to adjust your grip on the phone to reach the power key. (You’re still able to double-tap the display to wake the phone — though it still has to sense some movement first, and in any case that option isn’t turned on by default.) The hallmark of the M series — the front-facing “BoomSound” stereo speakers — have been refined just a tad as well. If you twitch at a lack of symmetry, well, we don’t have good news for you here. But the important part is that they still sound better than just about anything else out there (though Sony and Motorola are creeping in on that corner). The M9 is, however, definitely a bit quieter at full blast than the M8. (Perhaps because of a slightly smaller cavity, or possibly the new Dolby customization?) In any case. BoomSound remains one of those features that you have a hard time living without once you’ve experienced it. Put the M8 and M9 side by side and you’ll see that HTC has refined the entire front just a bit.
The metal is now continuous around the Gorilla Glass-covered display, making it look and feel even more seamless. It’s a small but important distinction.
In the next part of our “before you buy it” series on HTC M9 we shall discuss other aspects like full specifications and display.