HTC One M9 ReviewHTC One M9 8.3
Nearing the arrival of spring, it’s that time of the year when we become all excited and giddy because it’s what we like to call the first flagship season. Now that Mobile World Congress 2015 is behind us, where several notable smartphones made their debut, it’s ripe for many companies to out their flagship devices for the first half of 2015 – and they sure didn’t disappoint us with their announcements! Acting swiftly, the HTC One M9 is one of the first out of the gate, hoping to get a slight head start against the anticipated horde of competition we know that’s lurking in the shadows, waiting and poised to make their move.
For HTC, it’s an interesting position for them, as 2014 ushered in a shift for the venerable company – one that brought them more notoriety in the mid-range segment, rather than the high-end. Don’t get us wrong, last year’s HTC One M8 delivered an acclaimed smartphone that proved yet again that the company knows how to design beautiful phones. In comparison to its esteemed rivals at the time, however, it didn’t quite make as much of a significant impact on consumers. All in all, it was a valiant effort, but it wasn’t the kind of thing to shake the ground beneath us.
And that, folks, is where its successor in the HTC One M9 aims to succeed. One year later, one year wiser, HTC is hoping that its latest effort is enough to do justice in the always-competitive high-end smartphone space. With more and more competition looming on the horizon, the M9 needs to succeed valiantly in order to contain its place amongst the elites.
The package contains:
- HTC One M9
- Wall charger
- microUSB cable
- Stereo headphones
- Replacement ear bud tips
The HTC One M9 continues the tradition of yielding the design qualities of a premium smartphone.
Recycling a design isn’t a new process to tell you the truth, just look at what Apple does with its iPhones, or Samsung with... most of its line-up, or Sony with its Xperia Z phones. Looking at the HTC One M9, most people would be hard-pressed to realize any major differences in design from the onset – it almost looks identical to its predecessor! That’s not a bad thing, honestly, just because the HTC One M9 still embodies all of the qualities we’d want to find in a high-end, highly lusted smartphone.
Quite frankly, the M9 retains the same DNA design language of the M8 before it – so what we have here is a solidly crafted thing that’s accentuated by its premium choice of materials. This time around, though, it employs a jewelry grade dual-tone finish that accents our all-metal silver colored review unit with a contrasting gold bezel. Honestly, it’s still incredibly beautiful looking and the scratch-resistant finish doesn’t feel as slippery as last year’s model.We really can have few complaints about the M9’s design, mainly because it’s just such a looker in the space, differentiating from the rest of the landscape with its all-metal body.. Meticulously designed, with attention to detail, and awe-inspiring from head-to-toe, it’s no surprise that the M9 continues the legacy that HTC is known for throughout its prestigious history.
Changes to the M9’s design are both subtle and direct. For example, they’re able to whittle away at the bezels surrounding the display – ensuring that the M9 is technically more compact than the M8, but it’s really tough to notice it in person. More apparent, thought, is the placement of the power button to the right side of the phone, which makes it more accessible.
Keeping its iconic design intact, the HTC One M9 is blessed with the same dual front-firing HTC BoomSound speakers from before, but they are now accompanied with Dolby Audio Surround. Rounding things out, it still features a nanoSIM slot, microSD card slot for expandable storage, and an IR blaster underneath the plastic cover lining the top edge of the phone. Right from the get-go, the HTC One M9 is available in three metallic colors – gunmetal grey, gold on silver, and gold on gold. Our particular review unit, the gold on silver one, definitely exudes a premium finish to the point that it can be mistaken for a solid silver bar.
As much as we would’ve been thrilled to see the M9 receive a higher degree of water resistance, that’s not the case here, since the M9 sports an IPX3 rating – giving it superficial protection against “light rain.” Interestingly enough, the optional HTC Active Case will increase its rating to IP68 for added submersion and drop protection.
144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm
5.54 oz (157 g)
146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
5.64 oz (160 g)
138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm
4.55 oz (129 g)
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)
Sorry, there’s no plunge into quad-HD resolution just yet, but it’s hard to find fault with 1080p resolution in a 5-inch screen.
We’re not sure about how some of you folks feel about the HTC One M9’s display, a manageable 5-inch 1080 x 1920 S-LCD 3 display, especially when it seems as though more and more high-end phones are favoring quad-HD (1440 x 2560) resolution. On paper, HTC has done nothing new for the M9, as its display specifications matche its predecessor. Chiming in with a pixel density count of 441 ppi, we can’t find too much fault at HTC for choosing instead to stick with 1080p resolution, as details are undoubtedly preserved – so there’s great distinguishability from a normal viewing distance.
What’s more shocking, despite the obvious unchanged in specs, is that the display of the M9 exhibits a color temperature of 8100K – a stark departure from its predecessor’s mark of 7200K. Essentially, it gives off a distinctively colder tone, which makes it appear more bluish in hue. As a general rule of thumb, the ideal color temperature for a display is 6500K. Seeing that the M9 is well over that threshold, we’re a little baffled as to the decision to give the phone a colder toned display.LCD displays are capable of exhibiting very natural and accurate color reproduction, as well as good outdoor visibility, but the M9’s S-LCD 3 color reproduction seems a smidgen more skewed than last year’s display, besides being decidedly bluish, as we already mentioned. Well, it’s not the most color accurate thing, especially looking at where it hits the reference points in the color gamut chart, which you can find below. Also, the various gradients of magenta tend to favor the color blue. However, we’re glad to see that its brightness output has been increased to 508 nits – a marginal increase over the M8’s 490 nit brightness.
At the end of the day, we ask ourselves if what we’re given here is an effective display? Straight to the point, we’re inclined to say yes, mainly because it’s detailed, arguably at a perfect size, and it’s visible with the sun present. Sadly, it’s not particularly color accurate, which is kind of bothering, considering the premium status of the device on the whole.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Apple iPhone 6||606
|HTC One M9||508
|HTC One (M8)||490
|Samsung Galaxy S5||442
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy S5||62.7%
|HTC One M9||78.7%
|HTC One (M8)||79.6%
|Apple iPhone 6||82.3%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
1. jellmoo (Posts: 1529; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
Well... I guess I should get the popcorn... This is gonna get interesting...
43. hung2900 (Posts: 951; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
Android OEMs stopped cheating at the beginning of 2014, except... HTC.
For those that are unfamiliar with how HTC's CPU cheats work, HTC continues to rely on some level of benchmark detection, and it seems that when a benchmark is detected it enables a "High Performance" mode in the developer settings with no option to disable this mode.
Cheating but performance still low, battery life also. Facepalm!
48. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10439; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Just checked the benchmarks on the M9 and it trails the Exynos 5433 (Note 4) in A LOT of tests. I'm really disappointed with the 810 and M9.
71. seven7dust (unregistered)
it's trailng even the iPhone 5s in some tests , which is even more surprising , a 2013 A7 chip with 64 bit support.
my 5s gets 430 ms in sunspider and
onscreen scores like 26.5 fps in manhattan and 40 fps in T-rex
even in single core benchmarks like geek bench it's behind the A7 ,
once Apple goes multi-core it'll even beat that multicore score with ease, but multi-core is a gimmick, no apps other than benchmarks use them properly.
Looks like 2015 is going to be RIP qualcomm
88. Z3R091 (Posts: 86; Member since: 13 Apr 2014)
Better grab this phone and get free headphones :)
14. Martin_Cooper (Posts: 1373; Member since: 30 Jul 2013)
No need, you must be clueless troll not to see that M9 is same phone as M8 with tiny differences and worse camera with more pixels. All in all not an upgrade for even M7 owners.
35. MuddyCow (Posts: 67; Member since: 09 Oct 2014)
They ruined the display too, when other smartphones get stereo speakers, the One will be a totally irrelevant phone.
99. CoryMeetsWorld (Posts: 170; Member since: 17 Oct 2014)
The camera in the M9 is excellent. Did you know the M9 uses the same sensor as the Lumia 930 which received universal praise for it's camera? Didn't think so.
41. chocolaking (Posts: 494; Member since: 22 May 2012)
Another great phone done by HTC again! what a beautifully designed UI.
64. Kumar123 (Posts: 559; Member since: 15 Jan 2015)
This is a great android smartphone. And definitely much better than Galaxy S6 if all things are considered.
Only disappointment is the camera's low light shoot and I blame the lack of OIS for it.
This phones is the fastest android phone. It doesn't lag, stutter or get ridiculously overheated.
Whereas Galaxy S6 get soooooooo hot that (skin burning hot) reviewers have to put the phone down. LOL.
Exynos again proved to be only better in benchmarking test but in real world scenario Exynos always lag behind Snapdragon.
72. HouTexan (Posts: 435; Member since: 08 Jan 2012)
Dude, you just cannot stop talking about Samsung. No matter how hard you try too steer people away, the S6 will continue to get rave reviews. Get over yourself already, crybaby. It's childish.
75. Kakarotto (Posts: 253; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)
"This is a great android smartphone. And definitely much better than Galaxy S6 if all things are considered."
Go get this M9 you sucker. You don't deserve the almighty S6.
80. drunkenjay (Posts: 860; Member since: 11 Feb 2013)
lol a 2850 mah phone that lasts shorter than the s6's 2550mah battery with qhd?
really shows how bad htc is with its battery optimisation with a 1080p lcd screen.
lol over heated? htc phone has been known to overheat as well.
htc m9 is pretty much the m8. in reviews i got confused at which is which.
81. drunkenjay (Posts: 860; Member since: 11 Feb 2013)
dam i saw a lag at 4:55 on htc m9 review. i guess htc lags too.
how about you stop hating samsung products for a change.
118. aleant36 (Posts: 65; Member since: 03 Feb 2015)
that was not lag at 4:55. it was loading the new icons theme he changed which is understandable. Pay attention to the video next time
86. j2001m (Posts: 2842; Member since: 28 Apr 2014)
Hi kumar123, the htc review over at anandtech easy shows why the s6 as had its sd card removed, if you go to the m9 r and w nand speed test you noe how the iPhone and even the cheap 1+1 as a big lead over all other phomes this is because the bandwidth is big time damaged by just adding the card reader and not evening adding the sd card, as the s6 as more then 2x the speed of the iPhone at the top of the list with easy it's very clear why it was removed and needs to be removed from all other phomes asap
54. cdm283813 (Posts: 314; Member since: 10 Jan 2015)
It's going to be a long year for you brother!
58. TerryTerius (Posts: 1600; Member since: 10 Apr 2014)
Honestly dude, buy an LG phone and get over it. Or risk it with a Chinese manufacturer. Because that's the only place you have left to go for that feature.
Or don't buy a smartphone, whatever works. I'm not saying it's wrong of you to want more from your phone, but I don't see the point in complaining over and over again about the same thing as if any of the manufacturers scour phoneArena for your input. You're just reiterating your stance to other users, who have no more power to change anything than you do. Nor any connection to or interest in your purchases.
If your argument is that if you're loud and frequent enough you'll somehow spark a revolution, it hasn't happened when manufacturers across the board started dropping removal batteries. I have no idea why you think that will change now.
So either buy a phone from LG, get a portable charger like everyone else, or don't buy a smartphone. Either way, complaining on phone Arena is literally pointless. I don't mean to sound rude, but no one cares what you buy but you and you alone.
60. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3722; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
Tell him, Terry. And let's be real. LG isn't even remotely the most original OEM out there. As the industry moves towards sealed batteries, they will too. It's only a matter of time.
91. QWERTYphone (Posts: 654; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)
LG is crapping on the competition, and I'm crapping on you.. "Tell him, Terry"? For real? I can hear your lisp over the internet. THe industry is able to move to sealed batteries because mindless sheep continue to buy these phones designed for idiots that accept them. If the public starts thinking intelligently and independently, and demands removable batteries, that trend will die quickly.
93. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3722; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
Lisp? Yeah, you've got me pegged. How did you know? So smart.
I've never had a phone without a removable battery, but I see millions of people with sealed ones doing just fine. Would I rather have a phone with a removable battery? Most definitely. But, in the 6 months I've had my Note 4, have I ever had a reason to remove mine? Nope. So is it a feature I will miss one day if I get a phone with a sealed battery? Probably not. That's a logical, intelligent thought whether you think so or not.Your ignorant spamming isn't going to change a thing in the industry, but best of luck thinking it will.
94. QWERTYphone (Posts: 654; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)
The only thing I can do as a consumer to support removable batteries and microSD is to be vocal online, buy new phones with both, and NOT buy phones without both. Our voice and our dollars is our strength. So, I will continue to be vocal and vote with my dollars.
61. refillable (Posts: 1045; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)
Your writing is good, but kinda pointless TBH. He's still going to spam in other articles too and will probably be banned soon.
92. QWERTYphone (Posts: 654; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)
Why the F would I get banned, junior? I'm speaking the truth.
65. xuandier (Posts: 2; Member since: 23 Mar 2015)
“Or risk it with a Chinese manufacturer”---as a Chinese,i agree with you,it is an adventure to buy a Chinese mobilephone
47. waddup121 (unregistered)
Sh*t really hit the fan for HTC...goddam this is sad.
2. techloverNYC (Posts: 601; Member since: 20 Nov 2012)
How does HTC managed to year after year produce phones worse then the last?
11. Awalker (Posts: 1432; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
Other than the color temperature of the display being more on the blueish side the M9 is better than the M8.
12. Martin_Cooper (Posts: 1373; Member since: 30 Jul 2013)
So far worse camera than than M8, only more bad looking pixels.
17. Awalker (Posts: 1432; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
He called the low photography a mess. With decent lighting the phone does fine.
18. maherk (Posts: 3498; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
And you're happy with it being labeled as "fine" for a 2015 $650+ flagshop?
30. Awalker (Posts: 1432; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)
I would call the performance of all flagship cameras in decent lighting fine. I wasn't trying to make distinction.
124. CoryMeetsWorld (Posts: 170; Member since: 17 Oct 2014)
Fine means good/great. The S6 does fine. The iPhone does fine. Are you really that stupid? Are you so stupid you didn't know the M9 has the same exact sensor as the Lumia 930? The Lumia 930 was considered to have one of the best cameras on phone ever.
20. Macready (Posts: 876; Member since: 08 Dec 2014)
Whitebalance is worse, as is color and grayscale calibration. An M9 tested by a Dutch review site showed much worse contrast and bad viewing angles to boot (which could hint at different panels in the same phone).
34. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
The M9 is also fat and the M8 was a tolerable thickness so M8 wins automatically.
39. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3722; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
I agree that this phone is none too impressive, but you're just being downright ridiculous. The difference in thickness is one hundredth of an inch. Most people wouldn't even be able to tell the difference in their own hand. Your bias against HTC is past childish at this point.
52. penguinbelly (Posts: 143; Member since: 27 Dec 2014)
That is what I thought at first. Now I think the phone is fat because of the sharp, flattened sides are thicker than the M7 and the M8. Plus the camera hump. Every little bit adds up.
The bottom ports are so ugly and HTC seems totally clueless as to what symmetry is.
121. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
Look at them on top of each other, the M8's volume is much smaller because it has round curves. The M9 is almost blocky. The difference is there and huge whether you like it or not.
126. CoryMeetsWorld (Posts: 170; Member since: 17 Oct 2014)
Only it doesn't have worse battery life. The battey life is amazing. Better than the M8. I have both I know.
82. walkman800 (Posts: 113; Member since: 26 Aug 2014)
Worse screen, worse battery life, unstable chipset, pathetic low-light performance, worse ergonomy, slightly lower loudspeaker volume.
But hey, they'll still ask you +650$ for this inferior successor.
102. CoryMeetsWorld (Posts: 170; Member since: 17 Oct 2014)
Because they don't make a phone worse than the last. Their phones get better every year and are better than the competition. You are a sad troll.
120. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
It's HTC, they are clutch at sucking. They always find a way to drop the ball.
3. Neo_Huang (Posts: 1067; Member since: 06 Dec 2013)
How do those three little cons warrant an 8.3, especially when countered by all of those great pros? At the very least this phone deserves an 8.8.
19. maherk (Posts: 3498; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
Can you please tell us how did you manage to give it 8.8? Like why not 9? Or 8.5? I would really love to know how your points system works.
46. DnB925Art (Posts: 967; Member since: 23 May 2013)
Even The Verge gave it an 8.3 on their own scale as well.
4. Birds (Posts: 1154; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
There are a flood of reviews out now... Like everywhere! I'm gonna read and watch as many as I can before I pass out LOLOL.
49. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10439; Member since: 14 May 2012)
HTC let reviewers publish their work on the net today. :')
5. Af1rPA (Posts: 684; Member since: 12 Jun 2014)
Sad face. Poor low light camera. Oh well.
Is there a video of this review bc ceebs reading.
103. CoryMeetsWorld (Posts: 170; Member since: 17 Oct 2014)
People told HTC they wanted more megapixels over low light performance. HTC gave it to them. And low light it's all that bad.
6. Macready (Posts: 876; Member since: 08 Dec 2014)
Benchmarks are deceiving. HTC just came with an update to "fix" the overheating in GFXBench, but which actually significantly reduces (up to 26% in T-Rex) the speed too through throttling. Meaning, the framerates seen here, will not be achieved by anyone who buys the phone.
|Display||5.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (441 ppi) S-LCD 3|
Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Octa-core, 2000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A57 and ARM Cortex-A53 processor
3 GB RAM
|Size||5.69 x 2.74 x 0.38 inches|
(144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm)
5.54 oz (157 g)
|Battery||2840 mAh, 25.4 hours talk time|