HTC One gets a reboot

HTC One gets a reboot

THE HTC One was first launched in 2013, with the "M7" code name. It was easily the best looking Android device to-date, at that time. More importantly, it gave Android fans the chance to say that they had the best looking smartphone in the world.

Just last week, HTC launched its latest version of the One at the Media World Congress 2015.

Take note, the M7 to M8 (2014) models were two different devices in terms of looks.

It was a huge step up by HTC in designing the One M8.

The 2015 M9, however, is not a big difference from the M8, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The One M8 still looks good to this day, and the M9 is a refined version of last year's handset.

Exterior

The premium and metal unibody remains, along with a new processor, an updated camera, to keep the device up-to-date. Of course, software-wise, there have been other tweaks here and there to make the device even better.

Looks-wise, the best upgrade from HTC to the One M9 is a polish on the surface which the Taiwanese firm is calling as the first ever "dual-finish" handset.

HTC describes the process somewhat similar to the methods that luxury watch manufacturers use.

This creates the "two-tone" effect, where it gets a silver on gold along with polished edges, or gunmetal with a dual-finish, and a two-tone gold.

The finish also has a more scratch-resistant body, which creates a somewhat "rougher" finish that makes it easier to hold than last year's One.

Ultimately, HTC has also managed to make the M9 lighter than the M8, whilst moving the power button to the side, rather than being on top.

Hardware

The HTC One M9 is equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 octacore chip, with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. HTC has wisely included a microSD card slot, and its 4G LTE channel supports up to 21 bands.

WiFi is equipped with 2.4/5GHz frequencies, whilst Bluetooth 4.1 is on board along with a HDMI through its microUSB 2.0 port. The phone also has Near Fields Communication, and an Infra Red blaster.

I am quite surprised though, that the screen remained at 5.0-inches, especially when everything else is becoming bigger. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as users looking for a one-hand premium device will definitely come to the One M9 first.

The disappointing part of the screen is that it also remains at 1080p. Sure it is a "good enough" screen, but when everyone else moves to higher resolution screens, potential buyers will be looking at the spec sheet thinking why they're getting less pixels.

HTC also has one of the best handset speakers, with the Boomsound rocking out, with Dolby Audio Surround Support.

Battery life is going to be more decent than its predecessor. The new One has 2,840 mAh battery pack (non-removable of course), as compared to the M8's 2,600 mAh.

HTC has wisely taken advantage of its Qualcomm chip and have included the QuickCharge 2.0 that lets you juice up your battery significantly in a short amount of time.

Camera

Whilst HTC took a big step in 2013 by launching its "ultrapixels" and not joining the megapixel race, it seemed to struggle in 2014.

Now, in its 2015's version, HTC has re-joined the race with a 20-megapixel sensor with an f2.2 aperture and a 27.8mm lens. It supports 4K video, but lacks optical image stabilisation which is heavily favoured now.

HTC is planning an April introduction of RAW images with its sensor - something I'm not really sure about, since those will eat up your memory in a flash. The HTC One M9 will not be able to edit the RAW images as well.

Meanwhile, the 4mp UltraPixel technology has now switched to the front of the camera, and this means that you'll be shooting selfies with the One M8's f2.0 rear camera. That's a pretty big upgrade for a front-facing camera.

Software

It comes, of course, with Android 5.0 Lollipop and HTC's Sense 7. The Sense 7 changes are mostly cosmetic, where you can theme everything on the device, which is a deeper intergration of skins that we've seen.

I'm not too sure whether this will create any lag on operation or not. One interesting add-on is the ability to upload your favourite photo, and the UI creates a theme based on bits and pieces of the picture and its colours.

In Conclusion

HTC's One M9 will be available in the upcoming weeks, but its price is still unknown as of now. But, should you buy one?

The HTC One of 2015 shows clearly that it's not into gimmicks like curved screens, laser focusing or overly large screens.

HTC has a strong focus on design and quality on its handset, and I think that's something to be appreciated as we have not yet seen a device without gimmicky features for a while now.

The HTC One M9 remains classy and will be a good choice for those who want to have a phone that feels good in the hands, and on the eyes.

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