Saturday, November 7, 2015

HTC One M9 Premium Smartphone Review

Not all smartphones are created equal. For premium smartphones HTC makes some of the best, such as their HTC One M9. So many are on the go, and rely on our smartphones for everything. Whether it is a GPS for direction, checking email, going on line, listening to music, taking pictures or video, watching video, playing games, premium smart phones can do it all. Having owned the HTC M7, I was excited at the opportunity to review the new M9.

Features and specs:
Size: 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm
CPU:  Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 810, octa core; 64-bit, 4 x 2.0GHz + 4 x 1.5GHz
Network: 2G/2.5G - GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
3G UMTS: 850/900/1900/2100 MHz
4G LTE: FDD: Bands 1,3,5,7,8,20,28
TDD: Bands 38, 40, 41Connectivity: NFC; Bluetooth® 4.1; Wi-Fi®: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz); DLNA®; HDMI MHL 3.0; CIR; 3.5 mm stereo audio jack; micro-USB 2.0 (5-pin) port
Multimedia: Audio supported formats: Playback: .aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .wma, .flac, ac3, ec3, eac3;Recording: .aac
Video supported formats: Playback: .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .wmv, .avi, .mkv; Recording: .mp4Weight: 157g
Android Format: Android™ 5.1 with HTC Sense™
Memory: ROM: 32GB / RAM: 3GB; Extended memory: microSD™ up to 2TB
Sound: HTC BoomSound™ with Dolby Audio™
Battery: Capacity: 2840 mAh; Talk time: Up to 25.4 hours for 2G/ 21.7 hours for 3G; Standby time: Up to 391 hours for 2G/ 402 hours for 3G
Display: 5.0 inch, Full HD 1080p; Corning® Gorilla® Glass
Sim Card Type: nano SIM
GPS: Internal GPS antenna + GLONASS
Sensors: Ambient light sensor, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Compass sensor, Gyro sensor, Magnetic sensor, Sensor Hub
Cameras: Main camera: 20MP with sapphire cover lens, auto-focus, BSI sensor, f/2.2, 27.8mm lens, 4K video recording
Front camera: HTC UltraPixel™, BSI sensor, f/2.0, 26.8mm lens, 1080p video recording

The HTC One M9 came shipped in an attractive liking white box. Opening the box revealed a well-protected phone. Included were the USB charging cord and detachable wall power adapter. So you can charge it thru a wall outlet or USB connection on your computer. Also included were some basic earbuds, and the manuals. As this is the unlocked version, a SIM card was not included, as the various networks have specific SIM cards for their network.
The HTC One M9 was mostly made of metal with the glass screen. Quality of materials used is excellent, as is the quality of construction. Fit and finish is excellent.  The HTC One M9 also feels solidly made in hand. It is obvious this is HTC’s flagship product, and it shows.
The design is also one of elegance. The slight curve in the back helps it feel really comfortable in hand. The two-tone aluminum body is stunning.  Most of it is similar to my old M7, only slightly more refined on the new M9. The charger connection remained on the bottom as well as the volume buttons on the right side. What has taken some getting used to is the power button now being on the right side as well, instead of on the top. But the side does seem to be a more natural place for it. The headphone jack was also moved to the bottom from the top. The side panel on the top still houses the IR emitter, for those who want to also use their HTC one as a universal remote control.
Last but not least of the design is the speakers. They are still mounted on the front. They are stereo speakers front firing with one on the top and one on the bottom. I absolutely LOVE this design! And I have no idea why it wasn’t done before the HTC one. It makes the most sense to me to have them front firing, and a stereo pair. The audiophile in me also loves the fact that they are also amplified, as well as the headphone amp for the headphone jack.
The display on the HTC One M9 is stunning. It is still 1080p while other manufacturers are starting to go to 2k on their premium models, but it still looks great. Colors are vibrant with good contrast and black levels. Just don’t expect this great picture in direct sunlight outdoors, as with any display. Brightness can be turned up to help compensate. And to me the color saturation was right on.
The BoomSound amplified front firing speakers provided great sound. It’s still a smartphone, so it obviously isn’t room filling. And don’t expect actual bass out of it. But they have been tuned well for what they are to be used for. Vocals sounded surprisingly natural for a phone. Highs and mids had some resolution, with tones going down into the lower midrange realm. They provided some dynamics, and some good harmonics. Volume output was also some of the best among smartphones. Being an audiophile, I remember why I got the original HTC One M7. Holding the phone up and sideways in landscape mode, I went to YouTube for some music videos, and other music content such as one of my favorite groups for critical listening: Mannheim Steamroller. The stereo speaker really did well, with good channel separation. Not only could I hear the distinct effect of the difference channels, I actually heard imaging I was not expecting to hear! After all, smartphone and audio imaging are usually not found in the same sentence, unless you are talking about the HTC One! If listening to the internal speakers is important to you, the HTC One should be toward the top of your list.
Now it’s time for the camera. When comparing it to the original M7, the UltraPixel camera on the M7 did not deliver as expected. They have gone away from it on the main camera on the M9.  Instead you get a full 20 MP sensor, which performs much better to me, and also competes better than it was on the M7. But when looking at just the camera performance, I would say that is probably the weak link in the HTC One M9. Don’t get me wrong, it performs good, very good for that matter. In well lit scenery, the pictures are sharp, well focused, with great looking colors. As the light goes down, so does some of the performance. It’s much better than it was, just not quite as good as some others out there. But at least it’s camera performance is closer now to the performance of the other top performers than it has been in the past.
Internally the HTC One M9 is a beast, with its eight core processor, and Adreno 430 GPU, using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset. I also love the microSD memory card slot. The HTC One M9 is a serious powerhouse, with the horsepower to do it all! So the memory slot gives you the ability to keep your photo, music, and video collection with you, even games. For those looking for proof of it’s performance, that it really does have the serious processing power. I’ll turn to the AnTuTu Benchmark V5.7.1=52830. That’s some serious scores!
When it comes to smartphones, HTC has once again proven that the HTC One is a contender and is worthy of its name. The HTC One provides excellent performance in all categories. If it’s about time for a new smartphone, the HTC One M9 deserves to be on your short list. Not only has HTC nailed the headwear performance, its design is also top notch. The all aluminum body with its curves is also quite sexy! MSRP for the unlocked version non-contract is $649.  Based on its design, features, quality, and performance, the HTC One M9 has earned our Editor’s Choice Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at