An update to HTC’s flagship “One” series is barely a week away, but that doesn’t mean HTC doesn’t have other phones waiting in the wings, as it shows off a new One for mid-range budgets.
If the idea of a big phone without a necessarily big price tag grabs you as a good idea, HTC’s latest may be a possibility, with the One X9 arriving to possibly suit those needs.
A surprise arrival for Australia, the One X9 borrows from the style of the A9 HTC announced last year, with a look much like that of the iPhone 6S — complete with a metal and glass body — but running Android and arriving with the sort of operating system style only HTC can apply.
That means you won’t get standard Google Android here, but it will be the first HTC in Australia to get Android 6.0, also known as “Marshmallow”. That’s sure to be good news for owners of the HTC One M8 and One M9 locally, as the company should be working on Android 6.0 variants for their respective devices, and it’s something we’re checking with HTC on to find out when they should come.
Until then, however, the One X9 is only HTC to get the updated OS, and that’s not all the phone will arrive with, as HTC loads the phone with an eight-core processor, 32GB storage, 3GB RAM, and two cameras divided as a 13 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front-facing camera.
Mobile connectivity is supported on 4G LTE here with Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, and there’s even a fairly sizeable 3000mAh battery which should (in theory) provide all day battery life.
Audio is one area where HTC is pushing hard with the One X9, delivering the two forward-facing speakers like it has on previous One flagships, but pairing this with Dolby Surround, boosting the volume and soundscape.
And HTC wants to make this phone something within reach of most consumers, offering the phone for $699 outright or for $5 per month on a $40 plan for two years through Vodafone.
“Every aspect of the X9 is premium, except the price,” said Ben Hodgson, Country Manager for HTC Australia and New Zealand.
“It is sleek, beautiful, powerful and delivers a true flagship experience at around half the price of some of our competitors. The handset has been carefully crafted to achieve the perfect balance between an elegant and rich design that will satisfy the style needs of our consumers, providing top of the range performance at a mid-range price point.”
While the design and specs look good on paper, we’re a little concerned by the processor HTC has gone with for this phone, opting for a MediaTek eight-core processor compared to the usual Snapdragon chips HTC tends to rely on.
That may sound like jargon to you (and we wouldn’t blame you), but processor differences can be pretty severe, and while MediaTek’s chips has been in some decent phones, they are generally slower than what we find in phones with competing processors.
We hope we’re wrong, and we hope HTC has done some tweaking and customisation to make the One X9 a decent phone, but prior experience points otherwise.
Regardless, though, you’ll find HTC’s One X9 in JB HiFi stores from May for $699, while Vodafone customers will see it on plans from April 13.