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HTC One M9 Hands-on, Initial Impressions from MWC 2015



HTC One M9 Hands-on

HTC has chosen not to experiment around, with the new HTC One M9. Not to even bump up everything in the spec list. The company seems to be trying its luck by retaining the decently good full metal design, and coming up with such changes, which actually matter for user experience. HTC was never into big numbers. The criticism was clear when the company had used the UltraPixel camera, as the 4-megapixel sensor seemed too bad to mention against the likes of 13-megapixel and such in the competitors’ products.

Now, HTC has taken care of that exact thing – the camera, to start off with. While the UltraPixel camera won’t leave the device, it now has taken its place on the front, for selfies. On the back, now, we see a 20-megapixel shooter with Dual LED flash.

Talking of the build, HTC has made a change with the way this unibody M9 is made – we see a dual finish metal unibody, where two colors meet at the edge of the phone. It feels solid, heavy and comfortable in the hand. We held the silver one (with gold frame), as well as the gunmetal black one, though there are Gold and pink variants too. The dual toning is very natural, and it makes the device look like something made by joining the front and back, with an edge bordering the screen.

Apple’s iPhones have always been taller than one would expect for the screen size. The case with HTC is exactly the opposite, as the One M9 now gets even shorter and wider, and it is shorter than its own predecessor although having the same 5-inch Full HD display. The power button, that was always on the top, is now pushed to the right frame.

Being a unibody device, the One M9 houses the SIM card and MicroSD card in the slots provided on right and left frames respectively. Other inclusions in the frame are an IR blaster on the top, and MicroUSB port alongside 3.5mm headset jack in the bottom.

HTC One M9 AboutThe latest Android, i.e. 5.0.2 Lollipop OS isn’t something worth noticing, as the Sense 7 UI is layered over it, and even if it was the Android 4.4 version, it might have looked the same. The Sense 7 as well doesn’t look much different as the same multiple home screens, BlinkFeed and such are there with the separate app drawer.

Too early to make a call about the interface, as there might be some deep hidden options and features we might have not already checked, but HTC’s Sense UI has always been one of the quickest, well responsive and intuitive. No exception this time as well. It seems great and fluid, thanks to the internal power given by Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with 3 gig of RAM.

To quickly talk about the camera, it is a 20-megapixel shooter on the back and it seems decent, though will be far from being called one of the best cameras in the current scenario. Megapixel count isn’t everything, as HTC always used to say, now applies back to HTC’s flagship. The UltraPixel camera that is pushed to the front, seems more interesting as there will be brighter selfies, thanks to the larger pixels that take in more light than the other cameras (even the back camera of the same One M9).

As much as we might appreciate HTC’s risk in not upgrading the display to a 2K resolution one, at least to stay in the competition, the camera change could backfire, as the photos don’t seem really sharp and great, and it has more to do with the software that doesn’t optimize details much.

All in all, the HTC One M9 doesn’t boast much as it carries forward whatever was in the design in the predecessors, and the usual upgrade to internal specs was as expected. Anything extraordinary? it seems only with the 5.1 channel surround sound with the front-facing Dolby speakers, apart from the dual finish metal unibody.

What are your thoughts about the One M9? would you be missing the 2K display that every competitor flagship device has already got? is the camera change something you were looking for?

[Contributed by Pradeep Neela]

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