The HTC One A9 has received a lot of attention for looking a lot like the iPhone, and rightfully so.The A9 feels like the culmination of everything that HTC began to do back in 2013 with the release of the original HTC One (M7). HTC has come a long way since then and it shows in the A9.
The HTC One A9 looks like an iPhone. The power button is jagged and much nicer to hit, the volume key is on the right-hand side of the phone and the headphone jack is in a easier to use place at the bottom of the phone.The smooth back of the phone is still really nice.It’s flatter and the corners far more rounded.The top of the phone has a large plastic section.The strip now houses the GPS chip, and the speed with which is locates you is impressive, so this bears out.The One A9 is a phone that still shows HTC knows how to make a decent-looking phone, irrespective of how it looks compared to other brands.The One A9 is very well made though. It feels like a dream in the hand and certainly won’t be subject to claims of bending any time soon – this thing is amazingly rigid and feels premium.
HTC choosing to put an AMOLED panel in the A9.this 5.0-inch 1080 x 1920 AMOLED display looks great.It comes with two available color modes: one that gets you inaccurate but oversaturated colors, and one that enables a more natural type of image.While its color production is on the exaggerated side when it’s on the AMOLED profile, putting it on the sRGB profile actually tones it down to offer accurate, true-to-life colors, with just a slight hint of a dominant blue.As a result, its 6800K color temperature is very close to achieving that ideal 6500K reference value. The only downside here with the screen is its peak luminance of 356 nits, which makes it troublesome to view outdoors with the sun present. Simply, it washes out tremendously, making it impossible to see without shielding it.the A9’s screen is a different approach for the company.
The HTC One A9, thanks to the Snapdragon 617 chip, supports lots of LTE bands and covers the specs for LTE Cat. 7 .It also offers quad-band GSM connectivity and quad or penta-band 3G connectivity with HSPA support.The rest of the wireless connectivity features include dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac support and Wi-Fi Direct. Android Marshmallow now allows you to setup your phone’s hotspot on the far less crowded 5GHz band on compatible devices and this options is available in the HTC One A9’s Settings menu.There is also support for Bluetooth 4.1, GPS and GLONASS, plus an FM radio. NFC is also available.The HTC Connect feature works over the DLNA protocol to provide smoother integration of your phone to your home-entertainment setup, for supported devices of course. An MHL-enabled micro-USB 2.0 port sits on the bottom of the phone and lets you stream video to compatible TVs via an appropriate MHL HDMI dongle. USB host is enabled, for connecting external storage. A standard 3.5mm headphone jack lets you plug in your headphones of choice.The One A9 accepts nano-SIM cards. The microSD slot lets you extend the 16GB of built-in storage to up to 200GB. The memory card will be formatted and encrypted and will be seen like internal memory. You can then install apps and other private data easily onto the memory card.
The One A9 is HTC’s first Marshmallow phone, and indeed, one of the first non-Nexus phones that comes with Google’s newest OS.using your fingerprint to authorize Google Play purchases is snappy, even if you have to authenticate with your password the first time. Marshmallow also comes with what Google calls Flex Storage, which basically lets you format a memory card as internal storage.The thing is, you don’t get to decide what data actually makes the leap in this initial process.with Marshmallow proper out of the way, we’re left with the Sense 7 stuff HTC painted on top of it. It’ll all look very familiar if you’ve used an M9 before — Blinkfeed sits to the left of your home screen, and a Suggested Apps widget sits front and center to greet you. Both work just as they did before, with the former letting you sift through selected stories from your social networks, news sources you manually add or topics of interest via News Republic’s app.HTC also brought back those user-created themes it introduced on the M9. In case you missed out on this the first time, making a theme of your very own is deceptively simple: Just upload a background image so the theming engine can pick out some appropriate colors for Blinkfeed and your app launcher. Then it’s just a matter of applying a “style,” which will define your theme’s font, icon set and soundscape.That’s really it as far as this taste of Sense goes. HTC has gradually pared back its custom interface, and the A9 is arguably the leanest version of Sense we’ve seen yet. The company’s custom Music and Mail apps have been given the axe on certain M9 models, for instance. According to HTC, this sort of hands-off approach to customization is because Android is getting to be a very mature platform and device makers don’t have to fill in feature gaps as much as they had to in the old days.
Inside the HTC One A9 is a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 617. This 64-bit octa-core processor is based on two quad-core ARM Cortex A53 CPUs. They are clocked at either 1.5 GHz or 1.2 GHz.Our benchmarking suite for testing the HTC One A9 performance comprised AnTuTu, Geekbench 3, Base Mark X 1.1 and Vellamo and we carried out three runs of each. The phone performed well enough that it survived, but still struggled under heavy load.In one pass with Base Mark X 1.1, the app ran into a speed bump; the phone heated to 140 degrees and battery life dropped suddenly to 18 percent. Android actually stepped in and tried to stop the app. HTC still has plenty of work to do.The benchmark scores are all far below what you’d expect from looking at the hardware. You could also assume that software updates would increase performance significantly.
The best thing about the One A9’s camera is its quickness.The One A9’s exposure metering and white balance are also reliably accurate. That makes the camera much more forgiving to sloppy operation, which, if we’re honest, is the default way we all use our phones, and thus very important to get right.Their sharpness is only okay, especially when set against the Xperia Z5, LG G4, or Galaxy S6.In low light, those other cameras can crank up the ISO and capture scenes that the A9 is simply not capable of. HTC supports RAW capture on the One A9 and offers a Pro mode with manual controls,but neither will help you achieve results comparable to the best Android cameraphones.HTC’s new camera is good enough to not be a big problem. What it gives you is reliable and predictable operation. You’ll quickly learn the limitations of what you can and can’t shoot with it, and I suspect you’ll be okay with them. The two-tone flash on the back does a fine job of making up for the A9’s low-light deficiencies, illuminating even nearby subjects evenly and without blowing out any details. Macro photography is also pretty easy with this phone, thanks to its quick and accurate focus. It’s worth also mentioning that the One A9’s front-facing camera is the same UltraPixel unit that figured on the back of the One M8 and the front of the One M9. Its enlarged pixels make low-light photography its greatest strength, and even though it’s substandard for the job of being a main camera, it’s perfectly suited to the role of a selfie shooter and is one of the better ones you can get.
The battery has a 2,150mAh capacity, which should last a full day – most of the time. Using data on the subway home from work ate up the battery way too quickly, though, and on longer workdays, the battery barely made it home.The A9 is definitely a phone you have to charge every night. Of course, that’s become the norm for Android phones these days. Luckily, HTC added Quick Charge 2.0 to juice it up fast when you need to. Quick charging is very convenient and it does juice up a nearly dead A9 to full power in short order.
The One A9 is a good phone. The build quality is first-rate. Marshmallow is a great software update. HTC’s Sense UI isn’t just bearable anymore; it’s actually pretty nice.The A9 falls short of outright greatness, and that’s not good enough in a market that’s as utterly, ridiculously crowded as this one. If you’re the sort of person who longs for smaller, well-built phones or you take your mobile music very seriously. The One A9 might be a good fit for you.