Released mid-2015, the HTC One M9 had to compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge; in 2018, it has fresh competition from the likes of the Motorola Moto G6, which at the time of updating this review costs £200 – coincidentally, so does the One M9.
So, is the One M9 worth it, or has this three-year-old smartphone past its sell-by date? Well, if you’re looking for snappy performance, a solid build quality and a decent camera to boot, the HTC is a fantastic choice. If you’re looking for a more elongated screen, a closer-to-stock Android experience and a fast-charging device; you’d be better off getting the newer Moto G6 instead.
If you want to know more about the One M9, continue reading Katharine’s review, below.
Prior to the HTC One M9 and HTC 10, the stunning One M8 set the standard for HTC’s products. Since the One M8’s release, its successors, including the One M9 have a similar design. That’s not to say that the One M9 isn’t a beautiful-looking phone, but it doesn’t have the same ‘wow factor’ as some of HTC’s previous flagship handsets or even the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, that standout.
It also doesn’t help that the HTC One M9 has exactly the same kind of display as the One M8. Rather increasing the resolution to 2,560 x 1,440, the One M9 has a 5in, 1920 x 1,080 display – where if you want an HTC phone with a higher-end display, you’ll have to go for the newer HTC 10.
^ Looking at the One M9 (left) and One M8 (right) side by side, you’d be hard pushed to tell them apart
HTC One M9 review: Design and build quality
Staying the same isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the small refinements HTC has made to the One M9 make it an instantly more appealing handset than its predecessor. For instance, it’s now far more angular around the edges and the distinct lip around the side of the phone makes it much easier to grip and hold securely – unlike the One M8 which constantly felt like we were about to drop it.
HTC has also added a dash of colour into the phone’s frame, taking inspiration from luxury watches and fine jewellery. It’s a similar idea to what we’ve seen from the HTC Desire Eye, which had an additional band of colour infused directly into the phone’s soft-touch chassis. Here, the same effect has been applied to the One M9, only with metal instead of plastic.
^ The One M9 has more angular edges than the One M8, making it easier to hold and grip
It’s a subtle effect, but one that really adds a touch of class to the handset, making it look and feel even more like a premium handset compared to last year’s model. Our review sample was a fetching silver and gold model, but it’s also available in a darker gunmetal grey with mirrored grey side-walls, and a gold version with mirrored polished gold side-walls.
Other small flourishes include a machined finish on the power button much like that on the Nexus 6 and 2nd Gen Moto X and a sapphire glass camera lens. Naturally, the back has a scratch-resistant coating, but several contract providers are currently bundling in free DotView cases with transparent backs so you can still see the phone’s metal chassis. There will also an IPX68-rated waterproof DotView case available, so you can use it in the bath or a heavy rain shower without it taking damage.
^ A variety of DotView cases will be available for the One M9, but many of them now let you see the metal underneath instead of hiding it away
Of course, none of these are particularly compelling reasons to upgrade if you already own an M8, but for those in the market for a new contract, it’s certainly got the legs to go head-to-head with either the Samsung Galaxy S6 or Galaxy S6 Edge. Despite being thicker and heavier than Samsung’s Galaxy S6, measuring 144x70x9.6mm and weighing 157g compared to the S6’s 143x70x6.8mm and 138g, it’s easily just as attractive.