A safe choice: HTC’s One M9 (2015) reviewed

HTC’s 2015 flagship is here, and it’s speedy, shiny, and supremely solid. Can HTC out-do the Samsung Galaxy S6 before it even comes out?

Features

A new year means new phones, and there are quite a few on the way in the next few months.

First off the rank is HTC, getting in a week or two earlier than Samsung with the HTC One M9, a new smartphone that packs in 4G connectivity, lots of storage and space, high-speed insides, and more of that full metal jacket that impressed people when it first started appearing on some of HTC’s other handsets, such as the aluminium-clad Legend and the first generation of the One “M” range of phones.

This year, it’s all about the HTC One M9, which takes last year’s M8 and evolves it again, bringing back the metal body and 5 inch Full HD display, but changing what’s on the inside.

htc-one-m9-2015-review-01

On the inside, HTC has opted for Qualcomm’s 2015 flagship octa-core processor, the 64-bit Snapdragon 810, which itself is made from two quad-core sections, one clocked at 1.5GHz and the other clocked at 2GHz. Qualcomm’s most recent graphics processor also sits on this handset, with the Adreno 430 used here.

Memory on this handset sits at 3GB RAM, above the 2GB sweet spot Android tends to prefer, with storage set to 32GB on the inside and upgradeable via a microSD slot that will take the standard 16, 32, 64 and 128GB cards, but which also has the ability to read a 1 and 2TB microSD if you can find one.

And you’ll also find one of the most recent versions of Android on the One M9 out of the box, with version 5.0 or “Lollipop” found on this handset.

htc-one-m9-2015-review-02

Connections are all pretty standard fare for a flagship phone, with Category 6 4G LTE supported on this handset (though we’ve heard rumblings it can also pick up some Category 9 signals, which isn’t yet supported locally), with Bluetooth 4.1 with apt-X and A2DP found here, GPS, Near-Field Communication (NFC), infrared, microUSB with MHL, and of course WiFi, running at 802.11a/b/g/n and even 802.11ac.

Cameras can be found here, with a 20 megapixel shooter on the back of the M9 and HTC’s “Ultrapixel” camera from last year’s M8 used instead as the front-facing selfie camera. Both of these should capture video in 1080p Full HD, but only the rear camera on the One M9 has the ability to record video at 4K Ultra HD.

htc-one-m9-2015-review-17

This is all encased in a metal body, just like last year, held tight with a 5 inch Full HD screen capable of showing 441 pixels per inch, and covered with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4. Two of HTC’s BoomSound speakers can also be found on the front, one above and one below the 5 inch display.

Few buttons and ports are located on this phone, with individual volume buttons (up, down) and a power button found on the right edge, and on-screen buttons doing the rest, and with ports catered for all at the bottom through the microUSB charge and data transfer port as well as the 3.5mm headset jack.

htc-one-m9-2015-review-13

Two trays can still be found on the body, with a nanoSIM tray ejectable from a pin-ejector tool on the left side of the body, while the microSD slot pops out using the same method on the right side.

The battery is rated at 2840mAh and is not removable.

htc-one-m9-2015-review-05

Performance

If you can believe it, it’s March, and while we’ve yet to get a book published (one of these days…), the 2015 smartphone fight has officially begun.

First out the gate in Australia is HTC, ready with its One M9, a continuation of the “One” branding HTC first launched in 2012, with the focus shifting from plastic to metal and an emphasis on high-end sound and well-made cameras being a big part of the package.

In fact, the moment HTC moved from its One X to the metal “One” (also known as the M7), we saw a new template for the company to evolve. That handset drew rave reviews, not just from us, but everyone, and last year, the company banged out the edges, smoothed the body, and upgraded some areas to make it better than before.

HTC M series over the past few years, with the One M7 (2013) on the left, the One M8 (2014) in the middle, and the One M9 (2015) on the right.

HTC M series over the past few years, with the One M7 (2013) on the left, the One M8 (2014) in the middle, and the One M9 (2015) on the right.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6