HTC One M9 review

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The new HTC One M9 is absolutely gorgeous, but hardware hasn’t moved on much so can it compete with the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6? Read our full and in-depth HTC One M9. HTC One M9 specs, HTC One M9 display.

UK release date and price

The HTC One M9 will hit the shops on 31 March 2015 and the official price is £579 matching the Samsung Galaxy S6 which will arrive just after on 10 April. Unusually the iPhone 6 is now a cheaper option as it starts at £539 – but the entry level Apple phone has just 16 GB of storage.

Hardware and specs

HTC has decided to stick with a 5in screen for the M9 and has also kept the resolution at Full HD (1080 x 1920). There’s no upgrade here so it might seem lower grade than Quad HD devices such as the LG G3 but HTC tells us the higher resolution isn’t needed on a display this size and would mean a sacrifice in the battery department.

5in is a solid size which is neither too big, nor too small but we can’t help but feel disappointed that HTC has done nothing here to upgrade. We’ve seen Quad HD on the LG G3 and now the Samsung Galaxy S6 and it’s simply better. The M9’s screen looks good but the aforementioned rivals look incredible.

There are some other things which remain the same too, such as 32 GB of internal storage (around 21 GB available) and a microSD card slot capable of accepting up to 128 GB cards. There is a 64 GB model but this has not been confirmed for the UK market.

Wireless setup remains strong with 11ac dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX, NFC and an IR blaster. The One M9 also supports 4G LTE networks via the nano-SIM slot if you have the right tariff. If you were hoping for any new features like a fingerprint scanner or heart rate monitor then it’s bad news. What HTC has done instead is focus on improving existing hardware in the audio and photo departments.

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While the above remains the same compared to the M8, there are some hardware improvements.

Memory has been boosted by 50 percent to 3 GB and there’s a new processor in the form of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 which is both octa-core and 64-bit (quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 and quad-core 2 GHz Cortex-A57). It comes with the Adreno 430 GPU and we really can’t fault the performance. It’s really only the camera app which doesn’t open instantly.

This is the first phone with a Snapdragon 810 processor we’ve benchmarked in the lab and the results are impressive. It’s got the best Geekbench 3 score we’ve ever seen and matches the iPhone 6 on graphics. The SunSpider web browsing score isn’t as good as the M8 but we’ve not has any problems in this area from a user perspective. We’ll add the Galaxy S6 into this table once we’ve had it in the lab.

Cameras

As you’ve probably noticed from the photos, the HTC One M9 no longer has the Duo Camera setup consisting of two camera lenses. Instead, HTC has gone for a 20 Mp rear camera with the same dual-LED flash. This is the biggest hardware change compared to the M8 and confirms HTC has given up on the refocussing element.

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We like the stylish and easy to use camera app which has various modes. There’s Camera, Selfie and Panorama but you can add more like Bokeh and Split Capture. With 20 Mp on offer, there’s plenty of detail and we found the camera accurate at auto focussing and shooting quickly. The M9 does crop to 16:9 by default though, so you’ll need to head into the settings to get all those available pixels.

 

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