HTC One M9 Hands-on Review:
A beautifully designed smartphone.
Over the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to test out the HTC One M9 mobile phone. Admittedly, most of my smartphone experience has been with Apple iPhones, so this was a different experience for me. With this review, I will take a look at the operating system and give my opinion on it, but the majority of the review will focus on the hardware.
As I mentioned, the HTC One M9 runs off of the Android OS. For those who aren’t aware, Android was introduced as a mobile operating system in 2008. HTC as a smartphone manufacturer has a long-standing history with Android, as the HTC Dream was the first Android smartphone that was commercially released (October 2008). This was a full year after the Apple iPhone was released, but Android was in development for quite some time before its actual release.
Since that time, Android has become widely distributed and is currently the largest installed base of all operating systems. This is largely in due to the fact that more phones run Android than iOS.
Now, during my testing period, I did have a learning curve. I feel as though I am a pretty fast learner, especially when it comes to technology, and think I took to the OS pretty quickly. I was actually using the HTC One M9 side-by-side with my iPhone 6 this past week and found that it was a little difficult because I didn’t entirely embrace the Android OS. That being said, I really enjoyed using the HTC One M9. The OS seemed to be quick and even though it’s layout is so different from what I’m used to, it was functional and I could see how some might really enjoy it.
One thing I did not like about the initial set-up and installation of apps was that more than 60 apps were automatically installed on the phone. I’ve never been a fan of ‘bloatware’ and that’s something that came with the HTC One M9.
I’ve been very impressed with this phone. In fact, the one ‘negative’ I have to say about it is its weight. The M9 weighs 157g. As a basis of comparison, the iPhone 6 weighs 129g and the Samsung Galaxy S6 weighs 138g. The iPhone 6 Plus actually only weighs 15 grams more than the M9. Is this a deal breaker? Not in my mind – but it is something I noticed right out of the box.
The biggest factor that contributes to the M9’s weight is its build. It has an all-metal body. The metal has a jewelry-grade finish that helps prevent scratches from daily use. According to HTC, each HTC One M9 takes 300 minutes in its manufacturing process.
The screen was also an impressive 1080P display. It’s made from Corning Gorilla Glass, which is an industry standard these days with a lot of smartphones. The camera comes equipped with a Sapphire lens cover and is rated at 20MP. It can record up to 4K resolution. I did take several pictures and a bit of video and was very impressed with the quality.
A couple of other main functions I want to touch on regarding the hardware are the connectivity and battery life. The M9 connects through WiFi, 2G, 3G and 4G LTE cellular signals. When I received the M9, I immediately connected it to my home wireless network. It found the network and I had no issues connecting through WPA2 security. When I took the phone with me to work, it also immediately found the network. I didn’t connect it there as I was looking to test the cellular capabilities, which worked beautifully.The battery life also seemed to be impeccable. Out of the box, it had nearly a full battery. I mainly used this testing period for web surfing, email, capturing photos and video, and playing music. For two days straight, I used the M9 for playing music from Pandora and I actually didn’t have to charge it until the third day. When I finally did put the phone on charge, it was at 10% battery. I plugged it in and in about 3 hours, it was fully charged.
The most impressive feature of this phone are the speakers. They have HTC BoomSound with Dolby Audio Surround. Aside from the software technology, it physically has two front-facing speakers, which make a HUGE difference in the amount of sound you get from the phone. In addition to the fact that they are front-facing, I also think that it has a higher volume threshold than the iPhone 6, which is my main basis for comparison. The quality and quantity of the audio that came from this phone was really better than any other mobile device I’ve used.
All in all, the HTC One M9 is a superior mobile device. I am still not won over by the Android operating system, but the phone itself is a beautiful device. It’s fast, stylish and incredibly well-designed from the ground up. It’s comfortable to hold and really has a lot going for it. If I were to stray away from the Apple devices for my mobile phone needs, I would probably select the M9 as my phone of choice. I have had my hands on a Samsung Galaxy S6, which is comparable in size and scope to the M9 and the iPhone 6. They are in the same class in my opinion. And the S6 really doesn’t hold a candle to the M9. It’s just a better designed device.
The HTC One M9’s hard drive capacity is 32GB with a expansion slot for a microSD card and comes in three color choices gold on gold, silver on gold, and gunmetal gray. The only way you can purchase the gold on gold version is if you purchase this phone out of contract. If you were to purchase this device unlocked and out of contract, it would cost $650 from HTC. This is comparable to other phones in its class. With a 2-year contract, it’s $200.
For more information, visit http://www.htc.com/us/smartphones/htc-one-m9.