HTC One M9 Review: Lollipop, Octa-Core Snapdragon, Boomsound Impress

Summary and Conclusion

While the HTC One M9 hasn’t changed a lot from a design standpoint in comparison to the older M7 and M8, the innards have been made over completely. For those in market for a cutting edge device, you’ll find plenty to like here. Qualcomm’s fast Snapdragon 810 enabled our review unit to burn through the benchmarks, primarily on tests that taxed the the CPU and GPU. For gamers and those who enjoy watching high-definition video, this handset has all the oomph you'll need.

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Priced at $649 off contract (or around $200 with a two-year agreement on the major U.S. carriers), the HTC One M9 is priced to compete with the other flagships — Samsung’s Galaxy S6, Apple’s iPhone, the Nexus 6, etc. The phone looks the part, with a gorgeous and sturdy frame that looks premium from every angle. We found zero to pick at in terms of its fit and finish, and that's not surprising. Now on its third iteration, HTC has perfected many aspects of the One. It’s sleek, it’s good looking, and Android 5.0 shines when you have an octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM under the hood.

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For mobile gamers, the M9 seems like a great device, as long as you don't prefer larger displays. It’s powerful and relatively petite. Unlike the 5.5-inch (and larger) behemoths crowding store shelves, this 5-inch phone is fairly trim. All-day battery life isn’t a problem, and while the 20MP rear camera isn’t quite as stellar as the sensor on Apple’s iPhone 6 line, it’s close enough for most users. The 1080p screen isn't as high-res as competing flagship devices, which might be a drawback for some, but it also means less GPU horsepower is required to keep framerates in games, app transitions and other animations buttery smooth.

The next wave of flagship phones aren’t due to hit before the holiday season, so if you’re in need of an upgrade now, the One M9 should be on your short list of considerations. Is it superior to the Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge? That boils down to personal preference, depending on whether you favor HTC’s Sense over Samsung’s TouchWiz and Samsung's slightly larger AMOLED displays. The One M9 looks slightly more premium in our opinion, however. Samsung's devices have more features, though, with far more accessories and companion devices available. 

In other news, it’s great to see HTC working its way back to health. The company has reported profits in recent quarters, and with the One M9, it’s easy to see that the firm is firing on all cylinders again. This phone has a lot going for it: looks, power, battery life, a nice display, and another helping of power. If you’re in the market for an Android phone (and not a phablet), you owe it to yourself to give serious consideration to the One M9.
  • Beautiful, high-quality design
  • Good camera performance
  • Crisp, sharp 5.0" 1080p display
  • Wicked fast Snapdragon 810 w/ 3GB of RAM
  • No biometric sensors
  • Not water or dustproof
  • Could use more internal storage

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