The HTC One A9 is an Android Smartphone. It was announced back in October 2015 after a disastrous start to the HTC One M9 lifespan. I have been kindly loaned one by Vodafone for two weeks for the purpose of this review.
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Technical specifications and software:
In terms of specifications, its hard to say where this phone sits, it’s not a mid-range device, but it’s also not a high-end device. There are also two models available both with different on-board storage and ram amounts, there’s a 16GB model with 2GB ram and a 32GB with 3GB of ram, the unit I am reviewing is a 16GB model so it has only 2GB of ram. The CPU setup is the same in both models and consists of the Qualcomm MSM8592 Chipset, which contains a 64-bit octa core processor made up of four 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 cores and four 1.2GHz Cortex-A53 cores and the graphics are powered by an Adreno 405 GPU. This makes this a nifty phone that can multi-task well although in some cases lag does occur, particularly in high-end games as I experienced. For most tasks though the phone does a brilliant job of putting its power to good use. It’s not as good or as powerful as the HTC One M9, but it’s still great in terms of performance.
In terms of software, the A9 I am using comes running Android 6.0 Marshmellow out of the box, although a firmware update is available for 6.0.1. On top of this firmware, the A9 is running HTC’s Sense 7.0 G. Sense 7.0 G is a more Googlified version of sense that is light on HTC’s on touches to present a skin that doesn’t fully, but does closely resemble that of stock Android. Some things such as the settings toggle draw on the A9 are the same as pure stock Android, where on my HTC One M9 running Sense 7.0 the toggle drawer is from HTC’s own designs. The main settings menu, however, does remain as the design HTC created for Sesnse. There are also apps such as HTC music that are not present on the A9, this is most likely due to the fact Google music is already installed.
Thanks to the combination of decent specifications and a less power consuming software, the U.I of this phone runs flawlessly with very little lag at all. I was able to multitask with very little issues, however due to the mid-range GPU, I did have a few issues playing top end games, however, nothing too major. Talking of the graphics, this phone has a 5 inch 1080X1920 AMOLED touch screen with 441 Pixels Per Inch. It’s a bright enough with colours displaying really well. The text is crisp while icons are as smooth as can be. In many ways I feel the screen is much better than the one on the M9, which in comparison seems slightly darker than the A9. I did have a few problems using the phone out in the sun, which meant I always had to keep it in line with my face as to avoid the glare of the sun blocking the screens visibility.
There are several other additions to the hardware and the most interesting is the fingerprint scanner, which is a small oblong shaped groove below the screen of the phone. It’s very similar to the iPhone 6S in how it used. In fact, it’s one of the many reasons this phone is seen as a clone of the iPhone 6.
The scanner actually works surprisingly well and HTC has done a fantastic job of making it user-friendly. It responds really well and I have had no trouble using it at all. The accuracy is practically spot on. I used to cringe at older fingerprint scanners in phones such as the Galaxy S5 as it just never seemed to want to work much.
While the audio produced by the built-in speaker is brilliant, I am rather disappointed the dual front facing speakers are missing from the A9. They were brilliant on the M9 and it’s a shame they are absent here. Other than that the audio is ok and the loudspeaker is loud enough for casual listening with nothing on in the background.
I mentioned above that the fingerprint scanner was similar to that of the one found on the iPhone 6 series, well that’s not the only thing that similar, the overall design is also very similar. So similar in fact it wouldn’t be a surprise if Apple went after HTC like they did Samsung with the original Galaxy S phone. The front of the phone bares pretty much the same resemblance as the iPhone 6 series. It’s a glossy finish with pretty much the same look and feel as the 6 series. If we take a look at the back we see again another similar design to the iPhone, but the camera is central instead of to the left. The resemblance comes mainly from the antenna lines, which give this a taste of iPhone 6 style, however, to be fair, HTC has been using these antenna lines for quite some time now.
Something that is noticeable not featured on this phone is the Dual Speaker HTC Boomsound set up, which is rather unfortunate as I really am a huge fan of HTC Boomsound, I love it one my M9, but it seems HTC may be digging it a grave, particularly since if leaks are anything to go by, the HTC One M10 will not have dual front facing speakers either.
Overall though the design is interesting with HTC opting to go for the unibody design, which makes the phone look and feel gorgeous, however just like I said about the 6S front screen, I’m not a huge fan of the large bezels and I feel the front takes away from the gorgeous appearance the back of the phone has created.
The A9 is packing a none user removable 2150 mAh Li-Ion battery that is at best average. Indeed, it seems to be one weak aspect of this phone as it is with many other phones. I can get about eight hours or so out of this phone with continuous use before needing to recharge it, this use includes a few short gaming sessions, some calls, some texts, using facebook and watching some Youtube videos. Admittedly I am disappointed with this battery, but then again most are the same nowadays.
If you’re looking for amazing shots from a camera phone, then this will be a disappointment, if you just want to take the odd photo that looks decent enough for it is, then the camera here is fantastic. It even has Optical Image Stabilization on board, which is something not present in the One M9.
Images captured in both daylight and dark situations seem to be really clear and I have had no issues, of course as I said above they aren’t the best quality, but this doesn’t stop them being clear.
The camera application is clean and very easy to use. It opens quick enough and is rather easy to set up how you wish. I really enjoy using this application over many of the other OEM camera applications I have used.
The A9 is a rather enjoyable phone to use, it’s speedy enough to be enjoyed and has some amazing features such as OIS and a very accurate fingerprint scanner. There are a few downsides such as the average battery and the lack of dual front facing speakers. As for the thing of it looking like an iPhone 6S, I suppose it’s a case of what came first, the chicken or the egg, as it is common knowledge that HTC has been using certain elements of this design for some time in its previous phones. SO while it does look like an iPhone, it’s hard to say if this was an intentional move by HTC or not.
Last update on 2021-03-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API