The man in a T-Mobile store incited a phone over in his hands a few times. “This is a good phone,” he said. “But isn’t this a HTC One A9? How’d we get this already? It’s not out ’til subsequent week.”
I explained that we was reviewing it for Computerworld, yet my SIM label had lapsed and we indispensable a new one. “This is sweet,” he said, referring to a phone, not a assignment. “I’d have suspicion it was an iPhone, solely we saw it’s got Android. And look,” he continued, incompetent to conflict poking and swiping during a screen. “They even took many of that Sense grow stuff” (well, being in Brooklyn, he didn’t contend ‘stuff’) “off. This is unequivocally nice.”
Mojo is a tough thing to master. HTC once had mojo, maybe four or 5 years ago. Its phones were heavier and bulkier than most, yet a tradeoff was in superb screens and better-than-average sound. Android, and a phones it ran on, was uninformed and unrefined, and everybody was perplexing to put their possess spin on it. HTC had it going on.
Until unexpected it didn’t. Samsung entered a market, as did Motorola with a good Droid line. Better screens became some-more common and a iPhone took over a world. HTC phones were partially fat, delayed and ugly, and a association forsaken serve and serve down a list of series of products sole (for example, it didn’t seem during all in Gartner’s list of worldwide mobile phone sales for a second entertain of 2015).
With a One A9, though, HTC might have gotten a mojo back. Put an A9 and an iPhone 6S face down on a table subsequent to any other, and if we were in a precipitate we could simply be forgiven for grabbing a wrong one. This grade of earthy caricature is flattering nervy, and if a association is going to try it, it had improved get it right. HTC does.
Which is not to contend that a One A9 is simply an iPhone clone, or that a association is relying on a earthy similarity to a world’s many essential phone. This is a good square of rigging in a possess right.
Start with Android. The One A9 has a specifying underline of being a initial non-Google phone to boat with Android 6.0 — a “Marshmallow” release. This isn’t a place for an Android 6.0 review, yet a One A9 advantages from Google’s augmenting concentration on UI. More than that, though, HTC has nude out scarcely all a Sense interface elements and bloatware that had been bugging buyers. Remember that flip-card digital time that used to be HTC’s signature? Gone (although we can get it behind if you’re feeling nostalgic).
Keep in mind, though, that we reviewed a unbarred chronicle of a phone. If a chronicle we get from ATT, T-Mobile or Sprint is all installed down with things we can’t get absolved of, protest to your carrier; HTC’s local chronicle is flattering stimulating clean. (You’ll note that Verizon was not on that list; as of this writing, a A9 isn’t approaching from Verizon until December.)
That said, we don’t know since anyone would buy a sealed chronicle of this phone. HTC is now offered an unbarred 32GB chronicle of a phone approach to consumers for $399. (Pricing from carriers wasn’t permitted pre-release.)
ATT’s cost for a prototype M9 was $200 with a two-year agreement and some-more than $700 giveaway and clear. An unbarred iPhone 6S runs $649 for a 16GB version. And a 32GB Nexus 5X, that also runs Marshmallow and is roughly homogeneous in specification, will cost we $429.
In other words, $399 for an A9 is a flattering plain value. Better act fast, though. As of Nov 7th, HTC is lifting a cost to $499. At $399, this is a plain value. At $499, it’s some-more in line with other phones in a class.
The One A9 vs. a iPhone 6S
So how matching does a A9 demeanour to a iPhone 6S? Very. The A9 is darker than a Space Gray iPhone, some-more graphite than gray, yet they share a brushed aluminum finish and dull edges during a backs and corner. They also share receiver bands on a back. The A9 is 5.75 in. long, 2.75 in. wide, and 0.3 in. thick; that’s 0.3 in. longer and 0.1 in. wider than an iPhone 6S. At 5.0 oz., a weight is identical. The A9’s categorical camera, peep and delegate mic are in a center of a back, distinct a iPhone, that has them in a top left corner.
On a front, a potion of both phones goes all a approach to a edges. The A9’s earpiece cut is longer than a iPhone’s, a fingerprint sensor is form instead of round, and a shade is 5 in. diagonal, rather than a iPhone’s 4.7 in. HTC put a volume rockers on a right side of a phone with a energy switch, and textured a energy switch so we can find it easily. The drawers for a micro-SIM and a microSD label are along a left edge. The A9 charges by a micro-USB socket; no USB-C here.
Where HTC is unvaried is in a courtesy to multimedia. It was among a initial to adopt AMOLED screens, and one of a reasons a phones were so massive was since a association built in acoustic spaces for a speakers. The A9’s AMOLED shade — as pointy as one expects from HTC — is full high-def (1080p) with an “optimized” tone space, yet we can dial a superfluity behind to sRGB if we are so moved. And nonetheless a association substituted acoustics for svelte-ness — sound now fires by a singular orator along a bottom corner — audio peculiarity is not ignored.
The A9 can hoop flattering most any sound format record we can chuck during it, adult to and including .OGG, .MID and FLAC files. When we use headphones, there’s a “BoomSound” environment with Dolby Audio that you’ll wish to leave enabled; it produces a good roundness and drum importance that doesn’t repress a music. It helps song that’s stored on a phone, as good as streamed song from Spotify and a higher-quality Deezer. (However, a built-in orator is zero to write home about.)
Photographers will like a A9, too. The 13-megapixel categorical camera can record during 1080p, and can store in possibly JPEG or RAW format. There are simply permitted “pro” controls that let we play with white balance, bearing level, ISO, shiver speed and macro magnification. The approaching panorama, slo-mo and hyperlapse modes are there and elementary to use; so is a selfie mode with controls that embody “autoselfie” and “voice selfie.” Say “cheese” or “capture,” and a help is done.
The fingerprint scanner can reason adult to 5 prints; it seems accurate and is discerning to respond. we vastly cite it over PINs (although there is a backup PIN compulsory in box something goes south with a scanner) and generally a awful facial approval in progressing Android versions.
The battery is a partially tiny during 2150mAh, yet it supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge customary (version 2.0 for now; 3.0 will come with a destiny program update). Claimed 3G speak time is adult to 16 hours; claimed HD video playback time is adult to 12 hours; claimed standby time is 18 days. we didn’t have time to exam those, yet knowledge has shown a towering of salt is suitable for manufacturer battery claims. we got about dual days of life during my tests, that were not focused on energy savings. If we wish to know if we can get by a full day on a singular charge, a answer is: No worries.
Of course, a phone is also a phone, and a good one. It supports Wi-Fi Calling, that lets we track calls over famous Wi-Fi networks rather than a mobile network. Of course, a peculiarity of a call will change depending on a peculiarity of your Wi-Fi network, and it’s a good gamble that whoever provides your Wi-Fi doesn’t compensate as most courtesy to a network as a dungeon conduit does. My anecdotal tests indicated that Wi-Fi calls don’t sound as good as calls on a dungeon network, yet my tests were anything yet severe or controlled.
That said, there are vast swaths of a universe where mobile mins and information are changed and Wi-Fi isn’t; for those people, Wi-Fi Calling would be an critical feature.
If you’re pang from iPhone enviousness yet are tied to a Android universe (and wish to save $150 besides), a HTC One A9 is your ride. But even if we couldn’t caring reduction about Apple, you’ll still wish to lay hands on this phone, that has put HTC behind in a initial arrange of Android devices.