The HTC One M9 was announced yesterday, the successor to the HTC One M8. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the mantra adopted once again. While a significant majority are complaining that the design is stale, I think that’s harsh as the One M8 was one of the nicest looking Android phones last year and the M9 retains the similar looks, with minor improvements all around. It may not warrant an upgrade if you are holding on to a current gen HTC One M8, especially if you are satisfied with the camera, but otherwise the One M9 should be in contention as one of the better phones in 2015.
The HTC One M9 Retains the Same Good Looks
The design on the One M8 was excellent, and HTC chose to continue with it. Many people are upset with HTC’s lack of change, but the fact of the matter is that the design is still good. Perhaps, a phone is as much a fashion statement as a tech gadget, and for the design to remain largely the same after two seasons is a serious fashion faux pas.
One interesting feature on the design consideration is from The Verge, who did an interview with HTC chief designer.
From the front, you might be hard pressed to distinguish between the two phones. The One M9 is just slightly slimmer and lighter. The back is a little more obvious, with the squarish camera lens, and a less aggressive curve on the back for better ergonomics. The power button is now relocated from the top to the right for easier activation. This was an improvement that HTC did on the Desire Eye as well. Other improvements also see the separation of the volume button into two separate buttons, textured surface on the power button, and dual finish color tones.
The main gripe of the HTC One M8 remains. That is the waste of the bezel space with the HTC logo. That’s a lot of front surface territory that is not utilized, but it is due to the screen electronics and also the BoomSound speakers. But I much prefer the inclusion of BoomSound over the additional bezel space required. It is a pity that the HTC One M7 (two generations ago) actually utilised the space better as hardware capacitive buttons instead.
Another disappointment in terms of design was the continued use of the Dot Case. I think it’s quite the ugly accessory for a sleek phone. It just doesn’t match. One improvement is the transparent back that protects your phone without hiding it from the world.
Four reasons to pick the HTC One M9 over the Samsung Galaxy S6
This year MWC saw two major mobile phone announcements and comparisons would definitely be drawn. Between the two phones, and assuming the prices are similar, I would go for the HTC One M9. It is a touch choice, The S6 is crazily fast. It blows the Snapdragon 810 competitors away with a whopping 70+k Antutu score. But the Snapdragon 805s were fast enough for me last year, and the Snapdragon 810 powering the 1080p screen would definitely suffice.
Finally, A Decent Camera
I find myself using the camera on my mobile phone all the time now. A main complaint on the HTC One M8 was the low resolution of the ultrapixel camera and the gimmicky duo camera. The One M9 addresses that with a more traditional 20-megapixel camera. You still get to keep the UltraPixel camera, which is now on the front. That should deliver sharper, more natural and balanced self-portraits.
The HTC One family’s iconic dual front-facing speakers is upgraded for the M9. It now features 5.1 channel Dolby® Surround sound simulation. Surround sound experience, on a pair of speakers that are barely a ruler apart? That might be a little extreme but HTC remains a clear leader in the mobile audio experience.
SD Card Support
Samsung might have alienated some fans by dropping SD card support, but that’s still available on the HTC One M9. It is a convenient way to transfer files, share media, and flash your phone when necessary.
Contrarian to the Naysayers – HTC One M9 Looks Great
Between the two phones, I still prefer the metal unibody design of the HTC One M9. I think the crafted, all-metal unibody design still looks more elegant and sleek compared to the S6. I would also be more cautious of the glass back on the S6.
Pricing and Availability
The HTC One M9 will be available globally in dual-tone silver and rose gold, single-tone gunmetal grey, single-tone gold and dual-tone gold and pink from mid-March. We will keep you updated on the Singapore launch, telco promotion and pricing details once available. The One M9 looks to be a great phone overall but the similarity of looks to last year could be a major concern. Perhaps, it might be a great time to bargain hunt a discounted HTC One M8 when the M9 rolls out.