HTC One A9 goes official: brand-new Android Marshmallow, familiar design

HTC One A9 goes official: brand-new Android Marshmallow, familiar design

After a less-than-successful 2015 flagship, a change of leadership, and a heap of financial troubles, it's obvious that HTC is going to need to change the way it has been doing some things – and change it fast. The company opted to launch another significant smartphone in the second half of the year, but with some tweaks in its philosophy. To get this out of the way – the new One A9 does not try to be a more powerful handset than the flagship One M9. It does, however, try to do things a bit differently, possibly showing us the direction that HTC intends to go in with its future smartphones.

HTC One A9 goes official: brand-new Android Marshmallow, familiar design
Design


The HTC One A9 is a beautiful, all-metal piece of tech, which measures at 5.74 x 2.79 x 0.28 inches (145.75 x 70.8 x 7.26 mm) and weighs 5 oz (143 g). On its front, it has a 5-inch display, accompanied by a fingerprint sensor at the bottom — something that is new for HTC. The scanner does double as a home button, but there are no hardware navigational keys to be found, however – the phone still emplys Android's virtual buttons for that. Additionally, the handset's bezels are fairly thick, with its screen-to-body ratio falling at 67%.

The One's A9 metal body has smooth, non-aggressive shapes, with rounded-off corners. Its front is entirely covered by a 2.5D Gorilla Glass 4 slab and its back is slightly arched towards its ends to ensure an easier grip. Unlike other HTC flagships or higher-end midrangers, the A9 has one speaker, nested on its bottom. Hardcore Android fans will be happy to know that despite the phone looking like a sealed, all-metal handset, it actually has a microSD card slot, which can accept theoretical cards of up to 2 TB.

On launch, the handset will be available in Carbon Gray, Opal Silver, Topaz Gold, and Deep Garnet. Some finishes will be region-specific, so the rumored Rose Gold and Cast Iron may only be sold in select markets.

HTC One A9 goes official: brand-new Android Marshmallow, familiar design
Display


The HTC One A9 rocks a 5-inch AMOLED panel on its front with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, bringing its pixel density up to 440 ppi. This should all result in a pretty sharp, dense, bright, and vivid imagery. Of course, the downside is that AMOLED screens can suffer from overblown and inaccurate colors, but we will judge that when we have more time with the handset.

As previously mentioned, the phone's display is protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass 4, spreading on the phone's front edge to edge, and rounding off at the ends to keep uniformity with the metal body's soft corners.

Processor and memory


The One A9 doesn't aspire to be a powerhouse. Under its hood, there is a 64-bit midrange-class Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 humming with 4 of its cores clocked at 1.5 GHz, and the other 4 – at 1.2 GHz. The phone will be available in two variants – one with 32 GB of internal storage and 3 GB of RAM, while the second will have 16 GB of storage and just 2 GB of RAM. Both variants will accept microSD cards for expansion purposes.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box


"Meet the new Marshmallow from HTC on 10/20" the invitation for today's virtual event stated. And indeed, the HTC One A9's Sense is built on top of Android 6.0, making it the first non-Google handset to bear the brand-new Android version. This means granular app permissions, native fingerprint support, Google Now on Tap, and Doze mode, which will hopefully mean more battery life out of that 2,150 mAh juicer. Android Pay works with the phone's fingerprint sensor out of the box. HTC's Sense UI is known to be a pretty light reskin over stock Android, so if the manufacturer continues this trend with the One A9, we should expect a snappy, nearly unaltered functionality, with HTC's visual themes slapped over it.

Additionally, customers that buy the unlocked phone directly from www.htc.com will be able to enjoy timely Android updates - HTC promises that patches will hit the A9 15 days after any official Nexus update is pushed. How long it will receive updates for, however, is yet unknown. To sweeten the pot, phones bought directly from HTC will have an unlockable bootloader, without voiding their warranty.

HTC One A9 goes official: brand-new Android Marshmallow, familiar design

Camera


It seems that HTC has finally steered away from the idea of using the UltraPixel tech for its main cameras for good – the One A9 rocks a 13 MP sensor for its rear camera, assisted by optical image stabilization for those dynamic or low-light scenarios. The camera app does not fall behind the competition and offers a Pro mode, granting the user control over ISO, shutter speed, and white balance. The One A9's camera can also capture RAW images, allowing those who are a bit more knowledgeable edit their own photos post-shot. Alternatively, one can use the the phone's own Photo Editor, which has a one-tap enhancer that auto-corrects RAW images.

The UltraPixel tech can be found on the front - the phone's selfie snapper employs HTC's signature tech to provide superior performance in low-light scenarios. The company is currently keeping mum about the resolution of the frontal snapper, but we would assume that it's the equivalent of 4 MP – just like it's on the HTC One M9's front camera.

The phone also allows video edits, such as hyperlapse and slow motion, allowing users to create various dramatic effects in clips. HTC's Zoe app is also on board, making the creation of quick collages a breeze.

HTC One A9 goes official: brand-new Android Marshmallow, familiar design

HTC One A9 goes official: brand-new Android Marshmallow, familiar design
BoomSound


The HTC One A9 doesn't have stereo front-firing speakers like the One Mx series used to have, however, BoomSound has still found its way to the new phone. This time around, its incorporated with the headset that comes with the phone, combined with Dolby Audio surround tech. The A9's headphone amplifier is said to deliver “double the output” of other handsets, which should give users more headroom for superior dynamics. HTC will also be selling the HTC Pro Studio Earphones for superior noise isolation and sound reproduction.

Connectivity


The brand-new Snapdragon 617 sports a X8 LTE modem, allowing for Cat 7 download speeds of up to 300 Mbps and upload of up to 100 Mbps. VoLTE support is also on board and, in the US, the phone will support FDD bands 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 29.

HTC didn't make the jump to USB Type-C with this phone – there is a standard micro USB port on its bottom. It does, however, support fast charging, via HTC's optional Rapid Charger. Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 support is also promised to be upcoming in the near future.

Price and release date


The HTC One A9 will be released worldwide and will be sold by various retailers as well as straight from HTC. In the USA, you will be able to pre-order an unlocked variant of the phone, in Opal Silver or Carbon Gray, as soon as 12:30 pm ET. Carriers should start offering their own exclusive colors soon.

Customers who purchase the handset from www.htc.com will also get 1 year protection under the UH OH program, which should net them a replacement unit, should they accidentally damage their phone. The devices will also come with a 6-month subscription for Google Play Music.

Related phones

One A9
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 4 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 617, Octa-core, 1500 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2150 mAh(16h 3G talk time)

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30 Comments

1. SamsungPhanboy

Posts: 765; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

While already being a blatant Apple knockoff, I'm amazed how they managed to ruin the design even further by placing "HTC" above the home button.

12. manojmcn

Posts: 631; Member since: Jul 16, 2015

I do not think HTC has anything left to trick people to buy this iPhone clone. Look at the black one, it looks as if its a chinese clone of iPhone. The chairwoman has spoiled the design prowess set up by Peter Chou & has promoted clowns to copy iphone design. This phone has nothing unique to offer to customers. Think about the shame when you take this clone out from your pocket in front of your friends having good Android or iPhones. Meh...

18. UglyFrank

Posts: 2188; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I think it is stupid that they have the home button and on screen buttons and it appears you can't turn them off.

20. hwb01

Posts: 355; Member since: Apr 17, 2014

Looks like a cheap Chinese phone at front

21. SamsungPhanboy

Posts: 765; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

Exactly why the are so excited about the back lol

23. wargreymon

Posts: 764; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

It looks like a flat HTC One M7, which came 1.5 years BEFORE iPhone 6. Who are making knockoffs really?

25. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

That was a major noon move!

2. Subie

Posts: 2223; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Glad they got rid of the black bar on the front with the HTC logo on it. I think the new front logo blends in nicely. Now can they get their pricing right...

3. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1244; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

On screen buttons and a physical home button... Really? That's dumb.

7. true1984

Posts: 859; Member since: May 23, 2012

pretty sure it's not a home button and it's just a fingerprint scanner. the article even says that...

8. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

it's called innovation dude. take it however you want

4. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2341; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

..... It's so 2012

5. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

that's your point pf view and which doesn't matter BTW.

6. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

that's your point of view and which doesn't matter BTW.

9. TheHeartBreakKid

Posts: 102; Member since: Jul 07, 2015

Lol.. n i bought an Honor 6 with kirin 920 and 3gb ram for less than 200$ a couple of days ago.

14. Tondern

Posts: 164; Member since: Feb 23, 2015

Enjoy your superior 3D performance.

30. TheHeartBreakKid

Posts: 102; Member since: Jul 07, 2015

I sure as hell will. Mali t628 mp4 has better performance than snapdragon 615 on any day. Considering 617 wont be much of an upgrade, since 620 is around the corner. GPU performance will be similar or a very minor diff. + Honor 6 has an inbuilt option to lower screen resolution to 720P which gives a nice performance boost. At half the price ill definately enjoy 2d 3d cpu storage and every other kind of performance of honor 6.

10. khaldoon

Posts: 62; Member since: May 17, 2013

the device would have had a much better design if they either removed the hoc logo on the front on placed the home button at the back. The good decisions etc made here are the move to amboled screen and unlocking the boot loader , not o mention the 15 days update frame.

11. manojmcn

Posts: 631; Member since: Jul 16, 2015

Never expected this from HTC

13. Romantico3pe

Posts: 152; Member since: Sep 14, 2015

Why amoleddd! This phone will burn

15. j2001m

Posts: 3059; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

Hm, it's not bad spec for the cash When next to the nexus on price You trade better build for less CPU but more ram and sd card reader, the cam may be better or not as good (as 4K is linked to CPU), also you be able to do more with htc software over nexus, so at the same price as the 32gb nexus it's not a bad phone, but I think the moto X gets the win if you need a bigger phone if not this may win due to the ram, it may be all down to if there cam is any good

16. j2001m

Posts: 3059; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

It also as a better screen over the nexus , so that also a win as the nexus screen is crap

19. true1984

Posts: 859; Member since: May 23, 2012

its almost as good as a 5x and costs the same and dev friendly(the best thing about HTC) it might be a pretty good deal if the camera is on par with the M9(after the updates)

22. blueghost211

Posts: 57; Member since: Oct 19, 2015

Are y'all serious? Almost as good as a nexus? 2150 mah battery? With that screen, sense ui, and that battery the screen on time will probably be terrible even with doze. I want HTC to be in the running again in the market, but come on. As good as the nexus 5x? I don't think so.

17. Astonvan

Posts: 237; Member since: Aug 14, 2015

Bye HTC you will be forever remembered for your stereo front facing speaker!

24. GeekMovement unregistered

iPhone 6S looks better.

26. arathee2

Posts: 6; Member since: Aug 23, 2014

The HTC One A9 is a beautiful, all-metal piece of tech, which measures at 57.3 x 27.9 x 2.8 inches ?? really ? 57 inches is almost 5 feet PA :p This sounds like measurements of a bathroom mirror !! :D

27. DirtyDan23

Posts: 280; Member since: Aug 12, 2014

FFS I'd rather get an iPhone

28. lakki369

Posts: 114; Member since: Apr 10, 2015

Even the camera module protrudes just like the iPhone..!!!

29. ninja_master

Posts: 306; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

Waiting for battery life test before considering to buy it

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