HTC One M9 Hands On and First Impressions


The HTC One M9 has finally been made official here at a separate press event in Barcelona, just ahead of the Mobile World Congress. For HTC, the event is not just about the One M9, it’s about a bold new step they are taking, by revisiting their roots as a partner-company. But at the same time, the Taiwanese manufacturer is not letting its guard down in the smartphone space, which is slowly starting to get saturated with lack of useful innovation or differentiation. So, HTC has chosen to evolve its flagship in the most sensible way, by fixing the major flaws of its previous year’s flagship, and then some more.

All you need to know about the new HTC One M9, in this video



HTC is positioning its latest flagship as a luxurious device, with a higher focus on the device’s more polished design. The company is keen to emphasize that they have already won awards for this design, which has been evolving since the One M7.


The colour scheme is now dual tone, thanks to a special process for the sides as well as the back. The sides are hair brushed(mirror polished in other color variants), but they are quite different in looks, despite being part of the same metal. Yes, it’s still a unibody phone, but has two distinctive parts by design, with the front being a raised metal platform supporting the screen. The new design makes it a little bit extra sharper at its edges, but the improvements in the texture, makes gripping the phone more comfortable than how it was on the M8. Aesthetic improvements aside, HTC has finally given in to sense, by moving the power/lock switch to the right side.


The silver gold version you are seeing here is the main color, but there will also be a gunmetal grey version, the other popular choice, along with less popular choices like rose-gold and of course, full gold version, with all its bling. In case you are wondering, the One M9 has the same arrangement of ports as the M8, except for the power button.


From back to the front, the Ultrapixel camera remains, although in a more useful form, taking better selfies in low light conditions. Boomsound also remains integral to the One M9’s experience, but this time enhanced by Dolby Digital support, which enables dense stereo playback in earphones and even from the in-built speakers(because there are actually two).


Moving to the back, the rear camera is now a new 20 MP sensor, a far cry from the 4 MP ultrapixel unit and its depth sensing sibling. The duo camera is gone, 4K recording is in, along with new effects in the camera. The camera looks quite decent, but I am being told it’s still pre-release and it will improve before it hits retail.


The internals get their due upgrades, without any surprises. 3 GB of RAM and a top end Snapdragon processor are pretty much a continuing trend. The new Sense 7.0 UI comes with notable improvements. It is now Lollipop underneath the skin, which has extensive theming capabilities this time around. Download themes, make your own or use just icon packs. There is also a contextual “Sense home” widget that lists the relevant apps according to location, and Blinkfeed gets local recommendations for places to eat and more.


With a combined effort in working out the flaws in hardware as well as software, HTC has brought to the market, a refined M8. The design is more attractive, the specifications are in line with expectations and overall, looks like a solid deal for people willing to spend cash on a top end smartphone.

Author: Bharadwaj Chandramouli

Bharadwaj is a content creator who has been obsessed with technology since the early days of smartphones. He loves talking about tech, is a fan of good design and photography. You can follow him on Twitter @gadgetbuff_ to know what he's upto!