HTC One A9s Dons Familiar Design And Lackluster Specs For A Mid-Range Phone

It's been a long time since HTC was the top dog in mobile, a position now held by either Apple or Samsung (depending on your vantage point and criteria). Unfortunately for HTC, it's new One A9s isn't going to help the company reclaim its former glory. It's a decidedly mid-range handset, though that in and of itself isn't the problem.

What's at issue here is how it compares to its predecessor, the One A9, a phone we reviewed in 2015 that left us "wanting more" because of its "mid-range internal hardware combined with the somewhat small battery and higher than we expected price tag." Rather than improve on those areas, HTC seems to have taken a step back with the One A9s.

HTC One A9s

The updated handset looks pretty much the same, which isn't a bad thing considering its premium design. There are only a few subtle changes in appearance—the earpiece isn't as long and the HTC logo pulled a disappearing act. But if you pay attention to the specs, you'll see that HTC downgraded the 5-inch display from a 1080p AMOLED panel to a 720p Super LCD screen.

That isn't the end of it. Photo buffs will lament HTC's decision to swap out the 13-megapixel camera with an F/2.0 aperture to a slower F/2.2 aperture, and don't bother looking for Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), it isn't there. Hey, at least the megapixel-count is the same. Over on the front, HTC traded its 4MP UltraPixel camera with a 5-megapixel shooter, so at least that is potentially better.

The One A9s now relies on a MediaTek Helip P10 SoC with four Cortex A53 cores running at 2GHz and four others at 1.1GHz. Whether or not that's an upgrade over Qualcomm's Snapdragon 615 SoC remains to be seen.

Other features include 2GB of RAM paired with 16GB of internal storage or 3GB or RAM paired with 32GB of internal storage, 2,300 mAh battery (up from 2,150 mAh). It all comes packed in a handset that measures 146.49 x 71.5 x 7.99 mm and weighs 149.8g, making it thicker and heavier than its predecessor.

HTC didn't say which version of Android the One A9s will come with, nor exactly when it will launch and for how much.