Call Quality

Just like before, it’s spot-on with its performance.

HTC did a bang up job last year with the M8’s call quality, so it’s no surprise that the M9 follows suit with a similar performance. Due to the strong output of the earpiece, there’s no issue trying to use the phone in noisy environments. In fact, voices through it are pretty clear and sharp, allowing us to carry conversations with ease. On the other end of the line, our callers voice the same commendable qualities – where voices are emphasized enough to allow for uninterrupted conversations. Going with the speakerphone? Well, you won’t be disappointed either with its deep tones and powerful clarity.

Battery

Even with a larger capacity battery, the M9 can’t seem to outlast the M8.

An increase is an increase, however small it is. That’s true here when looking at the M9’s battery, a 2840 mAh embedded rechargeable Li-polymer one, which is a slight increase over its predecessor. You’d think that it would outlast its predecessor, taking into account the larger battery capacity, the choice to stick with a 1080p resolution screen, and the more energy efficient Snapdragon 810 chipset, but we’re somewhat taken by surprise at its result in our battery benchmark test.

Underwhelming is one choice word that describes its performance, seeing that it achieves an “average” mark of 6 hours and 25 minutes from a full charge. In our own real-world usage, the battery easily carries us through a solid one-day of normal use, but power users will have to monitor its level throughout the day. By comparison, the M8 managed to reach a tally of 7 hours and 12 minutes in our benchmark test – so it’s rather concerning to find the M9 trailing behind.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
HTC One M9 6h 25 min (Poor)
HTC One (M8) 7h 12 min (Average)
Apple iPhone 6 5h 22 min (Poor)
Samsung Galaxy S5 7h 38 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
HTC One M9 106
HTC One (M8) 207
Apple iPhone 6 147
Samsung Galaxy S5 122

Conclusion


One year, that’s the typical cycle a company needs in order to make the necessary adjustments in making a new phone better than the previous one. As we take a look at the bigger picture, we certainly can agree that the HTC One M9, as a whole, has been tweaked and refined to correct the issues that were left outstanding with the M8. Visually, there are subtle changes to the design of the M9, but at the end of the day, it commands respect for continuing to be one of the best designed phones out there – more so when it embodies the qualities we want in a high-end product.

Naturally, most of the hardware has been upgraded with the M9, including the camera, which was one of the M8’s biggest opportunities. As we’ve seen so plainly, it corrects the issue of capturing detail, thanks in part to the new 20-megapixel snapper, but it’s still by and large trailing the overall performance of other phones in the market right now – namely the iPhone 6, Note 4, and Lumia 930. It’s just frustrating that it can’t handle low light.

Evolutionary is clearly the path taken by the M9, which is evident in how the HTC Sense 7.0 experience adds a new degree of personalization on top of an existing interface that’s modern looking in design already. Throw in the fact that it’s still relatively straightforward and simple, we can’t complain about the software experience – especially when other customized Android experiences overcomplicate things.

Arriving in the Americas starting on April 10th, the HTC One M9 will more than likely cost you the usual $200 on-contract price to snag. Looks alone, the $200 cost is more deserving than other phones, but we can’t help but to think about the looming competition on the horizon. A whole year has been invested in improving the M9 over the M8, and the results are there; however, it is yet to be seen if the improvement will prove to be big enough in order to guarantee the phone's leading spot for the remainder of the year.

Software version of the review unit:
Android Version: 5.0.2
Build Number: 1.32.401.6
Kernel Version: 3.10.49-g51f1ff1
HTC Sense Version: 7.0



Pros

  • Still one of the best designed phones, especially premium
  • Plenty of customizable options with Sense 7.0
  • Snappy processing performance
  • Brilliant sounding speakers
  • Excellent call quality
  • Expandable storage

Cons

  • Disappointing low light performance with its camera
  • Focus adjustment with video recording is jumpy
  • Screen with inaccurate color reproduction

PhoneArena Rating:

8.3

User Rating:

9.1
24 Reviews
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless