HTC One M9+ Review

User experience and functionality

If there's one Android UI that has managed to retain a sense of purpose and focus through the years, other than stock Android, it has to be HTC's Sense. Not one to try wowing you with cheap tricks or needless piles of “customization” options, HTC is instead focusing on the core experience of its phones. The Sense interface across the One M9+'s Android 5 software is composed in a stylish, coherent manner. Aside from a few absurd apps that come pre-installed on the phone, everything else has been designed around a unified concept: one that is markedly mature and down-to-the-point.

For the most part, we like the overarching design theme of the phone, messaging, calendar, etc. apps, though we have to say screen space usage is inefficient, to say the least. The large, colorful, Material Design-inspired header bars in most applications, along with the on-screen navigation keys, leave little space for the actual content. In comparison, the iPhone 6s and Galaxy S6 typically display more content in their respective applications.

Looking beyond the surface layer of Sense, we start noticing a number of issues and imperfections that leave something to be desired from the experience. Things like the auto brightness setting, or the rough vibration felt when typing on the keyboard, or even the weird default sounds that HTC has chosen for events like new mail, or notification. Some of these are easily fixable with some tinkering, but some aren't – like that fact that you just can't use the camera flash when the phone is low on battery, or that the One M9+ doesn't automatically disable its power saving mode once it has reached a certain level of charge.

Another issue we encountered had to do with the Fingerprint settings. While the set-up of the fingerprint scanner is mostly quick and easy, disabling it isn't. It took at least a good 5 minutes to figure out that we can't just disable lock screen authentication (or only fingerprint authentication, for that matter), without actually removing the fingerprints we've stored on the phone, which appears to be a very poor software engineering solution. Other than that, yes, the scanner works quickly and accurately enough. Though, we can't seem to understand why it keeps vibrating upon being touched, even when we've disabled every function of it completely. Vibrating should signify that something is going on, and in this case, when we have the scanner turned off, it's just strange for it to continue vibrating when tapped. Well, we guess in some aspects, HTC Sense just doesn't make that much sense.

Still, not all is bad. The internet browser of choice with the HTC One M9+ is Google Chrome, which is a wise choice. This way, HTC can avoid compromising the super-important browsing experience with any custom in-house solutions. The MediaTek Helio X10 chipset does a decent job here, ensuring that things will work well inside the browser.

System performance

So, yeah, no Snapdragons here. Powering the One M9+ is the Helio X10 by MediaTek – a 64-bit 2.2 GHz chipset featuring 8 Cortex-A53 cores. Together with the sufficient 3 GB RAM on board, the configuration delivers enough horsepower to keep Sense running smoothly and efficiently. This goes for basic apps like contacts, calendars and such, as well as heavier ones like the browser.

Users may run into some frame-rate issues more demanding games, because the Helio X10 and its PowerVR G6200 Rogue GPU aren't exactly cutting-edge in terms of raw power, plus the exorbitant 1440 x 2560 resolution takes its toll. Still, performance tends to be adequate most of the time.

AnTuTu Higher is better
HTC One M9+ 47862
HTC One M9 56896
Samsung Galaxy S6 58382
Apple iPhone 6s 59075
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
HTC One M9+ 1536
HTC One M9 2218
Samsung Galaxy S6 2237
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
HTC One M9+ 2208
HTC One M9 4195
Samsung Galaxy S6 5751
Sunspider Lower is better
HTC One M9+ 1069.6
HTC One M9 721.3
Samsung Galaxy S6 354.5
Apple iPhone 6s 217.7
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
HTC One M9+ 11
HTC One M9 49
Samsung Galaxy S6 37
Apple iPhone 6s 59.1
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
HTC One M9+ 1.5
HTC One M9 24
Samsung Galaxy S6 16
Apple iPhone 6s 56.1
Basemark OS II Higher is better
HTC One M9+ 1041
HTC One M9 1413
Samsung Galaxy S6 1767
Apple iPhone 6s 2139
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
HTC One M9+ 968
HTC One M9 1209
Samsung Galaxy S6 1440
Apple iPhone 6s 2539
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
HTC One M9+ 2800
HTC One M9 3738
Samsung Galaxy S6 5127
Apple iPhone 6s 4421

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