HTC One M9+ Hands On

by Shimon Das 2

HTC One M9 Plus with M8

Recently, HTC India surprised everyone by launching HTC One M9+ where people were expecting M9. So, M9+ is basically the big brother of the M9.

Let’s begin with the physical tour of M9+:

So similar, yet so different.

At first look, it might be a bit difficult to distinguish M9 with M8 (from the front) but thanks to fingerprint sensor on M9+ which splits the bottom BoomSound speaker grills into two halves, it is pretty much distinguishable. The fingerprint sensor might be reminiscent of some other phones (cough…Samsung Galaxy series) but hey, it works well! More on that later.

Up front you have a 4MP Ultrapixel camera, 5.2 inch 2K display and new BoomSound speakers, now with Dolby Audio enhancements. It also has LED notification light in the top speaker grill and primary mic in the bottom speaker grill.

On the back, there’s the return of the Duo Cam setup as found on M8 but now with 20.7MP primary sensor as opposed to 4MP Ultrapixel sensor on M8. The primary camera lens now has a sapphire lens so bye bye, scratches! The aluminium back dons the hairline brush finish (M8 Deja vu) but now with a scratch-resistant coating. The secondary noise cancellation mic is found near the primary camera.

Looking at the sides, you’ll notice the rearranged button placements with power button shifting to the right side of the device and the volume rocker now split into two buttons. In order to differentiate between these buttons, HTC has provided a concentric circle finish on the power button which lies just below the volume buttons. Above volume buttons lies the SD card slot. Just opposite to that, on the left side of the device lies the sim card slot which accepts nano sim card. Depending upon the colour of the device, it’ll have dual tone finish (Gold on Glacial Silver) with mirrored edges (Gunmetal Grey or Amber Gold).

The inset or step design as seen on the sides of the device is actually a thoughtful design change. I was really skeptical about this design change and thought this would result into an inferior grip/handling of the phone but actually it helps a lot. The inset dings into your fingers and gives a superior grip. Moreover, it also helps in precise case fitting as the inset design allows the cases to be snapped on to the device crossing over the stepped sides…..just have a look at the pictures, you’ll get my point 😛

IR Blaster rests on the top of the device and the bottom holds the 3.5mm audio jack and micro usb port.

Now let’s talk about the software:

Software so optimized and efficient, it simply makes SENSE (Pun intended, lol)

Sense UI makes a return on M9 and M9+ with it’s 7th iteration, aptly called Sense 7. With Sense 6, HTC introduced the colour coded apps scheme like: media would be orange (Music player, gallery, etc), Blinkfeed would be green, Contacts, phone dialer and messages to be blue etc. While HTC provided some pre-selected theme options (so as to say, colour combination options), users wanted the freedom to choose their own colours for the groups. With Sense 7, it takes to a whole new level by introducing a deep theming engine. With the new Themes, one can customize the whole look of the UI according to his/her needs. There is a library of themes to choose from and one can also pick colours for the themes by clicking a picture and the theming engine will automatically extract colours from it, creating a new theme based on that colour scheme.

Now, you can also customize the navigational on screen buttons. Not only can you rearrange them but also add upto 4 buttons (including navigational buttons). The fourth button can be used for various purposes. It can be used for turning off the screen, pulling down the notification bar, hide the navigation buttons, etc.

Click selfies, do you? If yes, then you won’t be disappointed with the front facing 4MP Ultrapixel camera. The rear shooter of the HTC One M8 is now at the front of HTC One M9+. Does it make any difference? YES, yes it does! Be it daylight or low light, it has got you back. The bigger pixel size does compensate the lack of a frontal flash (as found on HTC Desire EYE, etc). Considering it is wide angled, it can help a lot in group selfies.

Like mentioned before, the back has a duo cam setup with 20.7MP primary camera and a depth sensor. Unlike M9, now you’ve got best of both worlds. High resolution pics and additional duo cam effects. The way it is implemented is that, you get 2 sub-modes under the main camera mode namely High Res mode and Duo mode. The high res mode, as the name itself suggests, clicks high resolution pics (20.7MP) and the Duo Cam mode clicks lower resolution pics in which one can apply various duo camera effects.

All in all, it’s a great phone performing pretty well but, at the moment I’ll refrain from giving my final verdict as it is not running the final software. It’ll be available with the final software from 3rd May in India. I’m looking forward to this phone, are you? Let me know in the comments down below!

Shimon Das

Shimon is a jovial tech enthusiast with a knack of music and love for food! His love for Android started when he got his first Android device, HTC Wildfire S.

An avid photographer, he likes taking pictures and record videos with any device available. Just entered college, he’s a computer science student whose ambition is to be a software engineer.

Having 3 years of web-designing and a bit of app development experience in hand, he loves to play with tech stuff 24×7. When not on ultrabook, he can be seen glued to his smartphone.

  • pricing… After heavy news on the Zenfone 2 and Mi4 its all I can think about and now we go back to the M9+ with new features but ultimately more of the same at deadly prices…

  • The price is another monster!