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HTC One M9+ Review

HTC One M9+

Posted: , by Ray S.


HTC One M9+ Review

HTC One M9+ Review
HTC One M9+ Review
HTC One M9+ Review
HTC One M9+ Review
HTC One M9+ Review

Stuck in a downward spiral for what seems like an eternity, troubled Android phone maker HTC has been actively diversifying its portfolio this year. Sure, there was the mandatory One M9 flagship, as well as a bunch of Desire mid-rangers, but we've also seen some more or less unexpected entrants, such as the HTC One M9+. 'Ah, an M9 in a super-sized form,' you might think. Not exactly.

The M9+ is slightly bigger than the M9, but not really big enough to call it a phablet. At the same time, it bumps some of the specs up, like the resolution, but also turns things down in other areas, such as the chipset. It's really difficult to determine the exact position of the One M9+ relative to the M9, which is why we won't even try. Let's just review it for what it is.


During the last year or so, we've gotten used to associating the word “plus” with “phablet”, but this is not the case with the HTC One M9+. It's a big handset, we'll give it that, but with a display size of 5.2”, it stays safely within the 'phone' realm, and far enough from anything approaching a mini-tablet. Typically for HTC, though, the phone is a bit larger than average considering its screen size, due to the generous upper and lower bezels, where the stereo speakers are housed, along with some other goodies. The One M9+ also happens to be thicker than the average iPhone or Galaxy, which gives it a very substantial, solid appearance.

Traditionally strong in the build quality department, HTC is delivering yet another phone that's very well put together, albeit a bit top-heavy. The smooth, brushed-metal back plate feels good in the hand, and tends to be just a tad less slippery than the average metal smartphone, due to its very smooth, polished finish. It's still definitely on the slippery side, though, so it should be handled with care. Unexpectedly, the front panels covering the speakers are actually made of plastic, not metal, but that doesn't really stand in the way of the classy feel.

Interestingly, HTC has equipped the M9+ with a fingerprint scanner, which is situated on the lower bezel, right below the display and “mandatory” HTC logo. As a result, the bottom speaker grill has been split in two, making for a less symmetrical, less thoughtful kind of look.

Overall, the One M9+ bears the marks of HTC's signature design language, but we wouldn't necessarily say that it's as attractive as the One smartphones we've already seen. Build quality is pretty high, though the power and volume keys could have been a bit clickier.

HTC One M9+
5.94 x 2.83 x 0.38 inches
150.99 x 71.99 x 9.61 mm
5.93 oz (168 g)

HTC One M9+

HTC One M9
5.69 x 2.74 x 0.38 inches
144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm
5.54 oz (157 g)

HTC One M9

Samsung Galaxy S6
5.65 x 2.78 x 0.27 inches
143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)

Samsung Galaxy S6

Apple iPhone 6s
5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches
138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)

Apple iPhone 6s

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.

HTC One M9+ Review


For those who don't remember, HTC used to be a top dog in the display field. A few years ago, the One X flagship was universally acclaimed for its beautiful LCD display, with natural, yet attractive colors.

Whether due to the long list of high-profile executives who eventually left HTC, or something completely different, we don't know, but those times are long gone now. When it comes to its latest high-end devices, including the One M9+, screen quality has been, and continues to be an issue. Outdoor visibility is fine, due to sufficient brightness output, but when viewed in darkness, the display tends to be a bit more difficult to enjoy, because its brightness can't go low enough. The automatic brightness control is by no means perfect, but it tends to get the job done most of the time. Our biggest gripe has to do with the overly cold color reproduction – it's as if the Dementors from Harry Potter have come to suck the life out of the display. The result of that are colors that look decidedly bluish or even greenish, in comparison with most high-quality display you'll find out there. Seriously, HTC, find your Patronus to scare them Dementors away!

Perhaps HTC has thought that it'll be able to make up for the lacking colors by stuffing more pixels into the One M9+'s display. After a few days of use, it took a quick look at the device's specs sheet for us to realize that we're dealing with an actual Quad HD display here, and not a 1080 x 1920 one. That's because all of that time, we thought it's a just a normal, 1080 x 1920 screen, which, in turn, is because at this screen size, Quad HD looks like HD. HTC is trying to play the specs game here, but this isn't what we've been looking for at all. It makes us blue.

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
HTC One M9+ 464
HTC One M9 508
Samsung Galaxy S6 563
Apple iPhone 6s 554
View all

  • Options

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 07:20 5

1. der_damo (Posts: 202; Member since: 16 Sep 2014)

I like the honesty on phonearena - if it's bad, it's freaking bad. But everything is a thing of perspective. A 6 can be a 9 for someone who uses the phone differently.

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 07:40 6

6. kabiluddin (Posts: 221; Member since: 28 Feb 2015)

I like phonearena's phoniness.

posted on 13 Nov 2015, 02:14

54. Jango (Posts: 340; Member since: 24 Oct 2014)

They only rate the iPhones highly. In order to feign impartiality, they give high scores to galaxies too.

I mean a 6? What the hell were they smoking? A rolled up $100 Apple note.

posted on 13 Nov 2015, 07:53

56. majp89 (Posts: 182; Member since: 18 Jun 2013)

That was literally the most stupid post I've ever read.

posted on 13 Nov 2015, 22:03

60. Jango (Posts: 340; Member since: 24 Oct 2014)

You're really smart for replying to 'stupid' posts. Take a hike, phool.

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 08:26 16

16. zeeBomb (Posts: 2304; Member since: 14 Aug 2014)

Every phone Ray S touches turns into dust, and then translates into a bad review...LOL

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 08:28 8

17. sip1995 (Posts: 1696; Member since: 07 Feb 2014)

Same with John V and etc..

posted on 13 Nov 2015, 18:21

59. VVayne (Posts: 101; Member since: 01 Oct 2015)

you mean, upside down?

posted on 18 Nov 2015, 16:28

62. downphoenix (Posts: 3165; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)

When I think of a + in a device's name, it usually signifies that there is something bigger and/or better about it. So why is this a +? It's a minus, if anything.

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 07:23 22

2. alchemyduelist (Posts: 21; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)

One M9 scored and 8.6 while this scored a 6. I just don't come to phonearena for reviews anymore because some phones you nitpick to give them low scores while for other phones with just one positive trait, it scores a 9 or above. Your losing readers, phonearena

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 08:29 1

19. Wiencon (Posts: 2023; Member since: 06 Aug 2014)

See, the bar is set high with S6 and 6S this year, if every phone got 9 or even 8 just for specifications then what about user experience? HTC is nothing but disappointing for 2 years now and all those chinese phones offer great value for money. That's it. They don't deserve anything over 7 or 8 because they don't have X-factors and at this point specs don't matter anymore.

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 10:13 3

36. alchemyduelist (Posts: 21; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)

"The bar is set high with the S6 and 6S"? The mobile industry kinda sucked this year with lots of minor upgrades like S6 to Note5, M8 to M9 and of course iPhone 6 to the 6S. HTC has been disappointing, I agree. But I used the HTC Butterfly S before moving on to my current S6. I don't believe their overall experience is so bad to deserve a 6 for their flagship. And as good as S6 is, it is far from perfect. I understand what you are trying to say, but the bias in phonearena's reviews are just too blatantly obvious to ignore.

posted on 13 Nov 2015, 22:05

61. Jango (Posts: 340; Member since: 24 Oct 2014)

Thank God, there are sensible people still left on this site.

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 16:50 1

47. NoToFanboys (Posts: 2991; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

Own and use one before talking about HTC phone's user experience.

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 13:41 10

40. Dr.Phil (Posts: 1642; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)

I actually applaud PhoneArena for creating a tougher system of review. I understand that you are comparing this to a previous review, but you may not know when PA may have implemented tougher standards (it could've happened mid way through this year or even a month or two ago). I have long called out PA for constantly giving 9/10 reviews to phones that had just as many cons as there are pros. As long as the review is honest about both the pros and cons as well as user experience, I think the score should be reflective of their critiques.

Listen, the choice is either we have tougher standards and therefore PA becomes known for the website that if you get a 9/10 then the device is honestly fantastic or it becomes known as the website that panders to viewers who think that HTC should be given a 9/10 because they are a fan of the brand.

I mean I personally like the LG V10 which scored a 7/10 on PA and I'm pleased with the way they reviewed it. By having tougher ratings, PA will actually attract more viewers because they'll be anticipating to see a device that actually scores a 9/10. If they just handed out 9/10's left and right, people wouldn't care to read the reviews. It then just becomes some kind of fake ego boost for companies and fanboys alike.

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 14:44 1

42. drifter77 (Posts: 288; Member since: 12 Jun 2015)

I agree with your points. A high scoring system like PA's previous years of reviewing makes the buying decision confusing. I personally bought phones that got high scores and some of them turned out to be lemons.

Like in academia, a professor never gives a 10 to his top student.
7 ~ you are good
8 ~ you are very good
9 ~ you are exceptionally good
10 ~ you know more than me

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 15:51 1

43. shahrooz (Posts: 785; Member since: 17 Sep 2013)

very good comment, I was looking for something like this (which is a rare thing on PA comment section) to abstain from making similar remarks.

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 21:52 1

52. alchemyduelist (Posts: 21; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)

A tougher system of review is a good thing, however being bias about devices is not. I've used HTC phones before jumping the bandwagon to get an S6. Of course the camera sucked, but for the overall experience, Sense gave so much more than S6's touchwiz, they might have reused the M7 design but that isn't half bad either. Even iPhones have the same designs over and over again yet no one complains. Some of the points they mentioned as cons are highly subjective and considered as nitpicking. You can call me bias or whatever, but for a person who have used multiple phones from multiple manufacturers, the reviews have become pure criticism instead of an actual review.

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 07:34 18

4. Busyboy (Posts: 638; Member since: 07 Jan 2015)

Love it how only Apple, Motorola and Samsung get high scores. Definitely not bias or paid..

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 08:19 1

14. Martin_Cooper (Posts: 1615; Member since: 30 Jul 2013)

Yes cause HTC makes the best phones since when? Their last top phone was ONE X/M7, since then its been a copy paste downhill with over priced mid range crap. Moto on the other hand offers the best value phones. Apple makes its great devices better each year. Samsung keeps making S line better and better. Seriously what you expect?

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 16:52

48. NoToFanboys (Posts: 2991; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

May I ask if you have actually owned the previous HTC flagships? Or are you just making conclusions because of what you see on reviews?

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 09:06

28. BaffledTruffle (Posts: 516; Member since: 07 Dec 2013)

Maybe it's because they know how to make well-rounded products, at about the same (or lower) price point?

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 09:13 1

29. roldefol (Posts: 4365; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)

If the only companies to choose from are Apple, Motorola, Samsung, and Google, I'm still a happy camper.

posted on 13 Nov 2015, 07:55

57. majp89 (Posts: 182; Member since: 18 Jun 2013)

Look at the camera samples of this phone and tell me it deserves anything higher than a 6. Those samples are literally cloudy, every single one. God you people are on the verge of retarded

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 07:37 22

5. tiara6918 (Posts: 2111; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)

You did a review after the phone launched 5-6 months after then I hear this-"Sound quality could be better, deeper, as on the iPhone 6s" Really? fanboyism at its finest. Yeah it deserves a 6 because there's bias written all over this review

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 07:57 19

9. jellmoo (Posts: 2040; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)

I honestly want to know what we as fans of PhoneArena need to do in order to convince you that you need to improve your reviews. I don't care what the score is here, I don't care whether you liked the device or not, what I care about is the fact that these reviews are so incredibly shallow and formulaic that they offer no value to the readers.

Every single review over the past few months has resulted in people begging for an improvement, yet we get the same flimsy review time and again. I'm honestly at a loss as to how you can't see that there is a problem here. Please PA, please, revamp your reviews. Go back to the drawing board, move away from the template that you half heartedly fill out, look at how comprehensive other sites are, and try and tailor your reviews to the device. Your readers deserve a better effort than this.

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 08:15 3

13. Odeira (Posts: 275; Member since: 29 Jun 2012)

But isn't in hindsight, it's also the fault of the "FANBOYS" who deny truths and deliberately blind themselves in fan loyalty, denial of hard truths, and think that any attack on their brand is an "affront to journalism," and the simple fact that some manufacturers put half an effort to a device compared to other people?

Especially HTC. Android Authority reviewed this exact same device, and it lagged in CLASH OF CLANS, its camera was inferior to the Galaxy S6, but it got an "Editor's Choice" because it looked the same as the M9? Now who's wrong in that...?

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 08:35 3

20. jellmoo (Posts: 2040; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)

And that's fine. I honestly don't care about the score here. Whether the device is good or not isn't the point. After reading this review, I swear I read the same one half a dozen times in the past few weeks. I'm left with a ton of questions that went unanswered, and left wondering why they rate the device the way they do.

The results aren't the problem, the effort is. PA reviews are all the same. It's the same review template with nothing unique to the device included. Whether you agree with the reviews or not, if you look at how comprehensive sites like Anandtech or GSMArena are with their reviews, you can see a huge difference. I just want PA to put out the best reviews they can. They can and should do better.

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 10:07 1

35. xtremesv (Posts: 298; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)

I think the base line for a good review must be the price/quality ratio. For instance, sure iPhones are good phones and easily can get a 9 grade but we're talking about a $900 phone, if you then take price in consideration versus other offerings that perhaps have 80% of what an iPhone has but for 50% of the cash, things start looking differently.

posted on 12 Nov 2015, 12:28 1

37. Spedez (Posts: 516; Member since: 29 Aug 2014)

I actually agree on that. The reviews here are very shallow and formulaic. All reviews look the same and scores jump wildly here and there sometimes in a way that doesn't make sense.

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HTC One M9+

HTC One M9+

OS: Android 5.0
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display5.2 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (565 ppi) S-LCD 3
Camera20 megapixels
MediaTek Helio X10, Octa-core, 2200 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53 processor
Size5.94 x 2.83 x 0.38 inches
(150.99 x 71.99 x 9.61 mm)
5.93 oz  (168 g)
Battery2840 mAh, 23 hours talk time

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