The HTC One M9 has been out for a while now, but that hasn’t stopped it from standing toe-to-toe with some of the top smartphones on the Australian market. Two years ago, the revamped HTC One stole the spotlight off the bigger, more established brands and boosted HTC’s credentials as a real force in the smartphone market. The third generation HTC One (commonly known by its designation, M9) is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but is still out to win customers away from the likes of Samsung and Apple.
The real litmus test of a mobile phone’s appeal is the opinions of those who buy it. With that in mind, we’ve surveyed hundreds of Aussie smartphone owners to see how their current device holds up. We asked consumers to give us their key positive and negative experiences of the HTC One, so we’ve developed some pretty clear impressions of HTC’s flagship product.
The One’s build quality and exterior design is one of its hallmarks, with a double anodised aluminium body and a 5-inch Full HD display. HTC’s trademark dual front-facing ‘BoomSound’ speakers are designed to give great sound, especially compared to the tinny speakers fitted to most smartphones. Several of our survey respondents commented positively on how great the One’s sound quality was, suggesting HTC’s audio efforts have not gone unnoticed, and even more praised the high-quality feel of the phone and how solid it feels to hold. Under the hood sits a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor, more than enough to power the most intensive of applications, along with 32GB of expandable storage and a 2840mAh battery.
The launch of the original One was marked by HTC’s ‘Ultrapixel’ camera innovation, and this technology has carried over to the new and improved camera on the One M9. Ultrapixel essentially refers to HTC’s camera having larger pixels than most smartphone cameras, which allow it to capture more light and increase image quality, particularly in low light.
The new One boasts a massive 20MP resolution camera capable of 4K video recording, as well as a 5MP front-facing camera which also boasts Ultrapixel technology – the depth sensor included on the previous One’s rear camera has been omitted. HTC’s Eye camera software allows you to do nifty things like take a photo with both cameras at once, or to take selfies via voice command. Despite all the tech, however, the Aussies we surveyed had some mixed opinions on the One in this department. Some loved the camera, whilst others criticised it for average performance or being too fragile.
Like many other top smartphones, the HTC One M9 runs a customised version of Android, complete with HTC’s own user interface and several proprietary applications that come preinstalled. The iconic feature is Blinkfeed, a personalised scrolling newsfeed which sits on one of your home screens and can provide contextual information depending on your location – examples include shops, restaurants or sporting events.
Similar contextual changes take place on your home screen using HTC Sense, which creates profiles for your work and home and then displays the apps you use most when you reach that location. You might set your email and LinkedIn to pop up when you arrive at the office, before arriving at home to find Spotify and Facebook ready to go at the touch of a finger. Aussie customers are clearly enjoying HTC’s efforts here.
HTC also provides a deeper level of customisation than most Android phones. HTC Themes allows you to select a background before adjusting the style of your whole phone’s interface – including menus, icons and some applications – to match your chosen theme. This affects most of HTC’s native applications such as Calendar, HTC Connect, BlinkFeed and more.
The feedback from the users we surveyed was mostly positive towards the One M9’s software experience, with many praising the phone’s functionality and ease of use – though there were a few who mentioned the occasional software glitch or slow processing speeds.
Is the HTC One M9 value for money?
Overall, the most frequent complaints were to do with battery life and camera quality, with several customers stating that the phone didn’t last nearly as long as expected. Significantly however, there were many customers who had no negatives at all to mention – an indicator of just how far HTC has come. The One M9 may not be the most perfect smartphone out there, but it certainly seems capable of taking the fight to the industry heavyweights.
The HTC One M9 currently retails for around $699 outright – less if you get it on a subsidised phone plan. If you’re keen to learn more, see how HTC compared to its rivals in our customer satisfaction ratings for smartphones.