HTC One M9 Review: Luxury + Evolution Packed Into One Very Smart Device

Written by David Richards     12/04/2015 | 19:00 | Category name i.e.PORTABLE DEVICES

Recently John Davidson a technology writer on the Australian Financial Review questioned whether HTC had done enough to make their HTC One 8 which became a huge success and praised by critics, different enough from the older model.

HTC One M9 Review: Luxury + Evolution Packed Into One Very Smart Device
Now with the new HTC One M9 he is saying that the Taiwanese phone maker is playing it "Dangerously safe" with their new model smartphone because it has similarities to the M8.

I disagree absolutely with Davidson's thinking that smartphones have to significantly differ from one model to the next.  

One only has to take a look at some of the world's most successful products from luxury brands, such as BMW, Mercedes, and Audi in the automotive space or watch brands such as Rolex, Breitling or Jaeger LeCoultre to see that it is the evolution of the products rather than a revolutionary new products that keeps bringing customers back to the brand.

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With both Mercedes and BMW more than 70% of their customers are previous owners who are buying technology and automotive upgrades not a radical new car.

One only has to look at a 10 year old BMW 3 Series or 5 Series and a 2015 model to realise that deep down there is very little difference between models.

 Yes the body shape has been refined to deliver better aerodynamics, the brake system has been improved and there is new LED lighting.  

Inside the cockpit the half-moon dashboard is still the same and the engine management system has undergone a dramatic upgrade. 

The bottom line is that both models are distinctly identifiable as BMW 3 Series and 5 Series vehicles with vast similarities between the current model vehicles and those models that are 10 years old. 

So why should a smartphone brand radically change the design of smartphone because a critic believes that they are taking risks by sticking to a proven formula that resonates with consumers.  

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Apple is all about evolution and their sales are booming. 

What HTC has done is upgrade and refine the core fundamentals of their smartphone. 

The One M9 body is two tone metals carved from one aluminium block a serious piece of craftsmanship this new smartphone deserves to be called a luxury smartphone, and at $1000 it is. 

Its all-metal unibody design delivers the luxury that is missing from most other smartphones.
The rose gold and silver model that I have been using is already attracting stares. 

In the Qantas lounge recently a lady saw me charging the new device and after a few minutes she fell in love with the device. 

"This is a seriously better looking smartphone than the Galaxy S5.the display screen is better than my husband's new iPhone" she said. 

The 5-inch 1080p screen is very sharp and like the Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge watching Netflix movies is excellent with great sound and a very sharp image. Processing of the download using a Telstra SIM was also fast and jitter free due in part to the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor.

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Stylish whichever way you look at the M9

 Now when it comes to sound there is no equal The BoomSound speakers are truly impressive. 

Partnering with Dolby Audio was a smart move for HTC resulting in owners now being able to get a truly superior sound experience, especially if you are a subscriber to one of the new premium such as Deezer's 35 million track library of FLAC (Free 

Lossless Audio Codec) files at standard of 1,411 kbps or higher.

With or without headphones these speakers deliver great music especially when watching a premium movie stream.

The 2840 mAh battery is superior in size to the new Samsung Galaxy Edge 6 and significantly better than the Apple iPhone 6. 

I say this after using this device for three weeks on a daily basis. 

When we first got this device which was shortly after the device was released at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona we had problems with the device overheating. One test I do is to download 10 apps at once from the Google Play store 

including some seriously big files. 

When we did this the device heated up very quickly however it quickly cooled. 

We then noticed that HTC and several of the app manufacturers had delivered fixes and upgrades so we deleted all the apps and ran the test again. 

This time there was some heating up but nowhere near the heat generation which occurred when we first ran the test. 

Because the HTC One M9 has a metal body we believe that it acts as a heat conductor resulting in users feeling the heat more so than with a plastic backed smartphone. 

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It appears that the heating occurs when a load is put on the processor, this could be down to the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor apps and the way that the Android OS handles the processing of multiple commands on the cores in the 


The occasional heating has not affected the functionality of the device or the battery life. 

The M9 comes with 32GB of internal storage and 3GB of RAM, with the capacity to support an additional 128GB via microSD, a feature not available to M8 owners.

The M9 is also the first HTC handset to ship with new user interface Sense 7.0, layered on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop. Sense 7 has been designed to put the user at the heart of using the M9, allowing you to create your own custom themes from 

your own photos, resulting in new apps, backgrounds and colour schemes. 

How much you use this feature obviously hinges on how much you care about customising your interface.


The rear facing camera has 20.7MP lens which is good for low light images. The flash could be better and the addition of new camera software delivers a host of new capabilities. 
The front-facing 4 UltraPixel camera captures 300 per cent more light than standard cameras, HTC said that this delivers better selfies and we agree, all you need now is a pop up selfie stick and you have a cracker of a solution. 

The shots taken with the front facing camera were detailed and sharp especially ones shot inside at a function where the light was dicky at the best of times. 

The picture organising feature Cloudex draws all your photos from Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter etc and unites them in one easily navigated internal gallery. It's a neat database solution for images. 
The M9 is a beautiful phone and what HTC has delivered is significant improvements over the M8 which was a truly great smartphone. 

The body, the camera, the processor, the UI, the OS have all been given significant upgrades which is what the top end of down brands constantly do and HTC has demonstrated that you can wrap luxury around a processor. 

The HTC One M9 looks wonderful and performs brilliantly even though it occasional gets hot, however this is a problem that will be fixed with software upgrades. 

If I had to buy a smartphone this would be on my wish list, and one has to remember HTC's core business is making smartphones, they were one of the first Companies to deliver smartphones to the masses, they also made smartphones for some of the biggest brands on the block including Microsoft, HP and Palm and I suspect they are still making competitors smartphones for the simple reason they are one the best smartphone makers in the world.  

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Pros & Cons


The HTC One M9 looks wonderful and performs brilliantly even though it occasional gets hot, however this is a problem that will be fixed with software upgrades, it's fast and the battery is superior to both the new Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge and the Apple iPhone 6.

If I had to buy a smartphone this would be on my wish list.


Heat is a minor problem, I would also like to see an option feature to fractionally enlarge icons.