Call quality

One M9 continues HTC's history of great call quality, leaving the Nexus 6 in the dust.

By now, we've come to respect HTC's One line of handsets for their top-notch call quality, and the One M9 serves to cement our approval. The M9's earpiece offers strong volume with minimal deterioration in voice quality, with the other side reporting much the same.

With the Nexus 6, things are quite different, as we're looking at an average performer. The strength of the volume coming out of the earpiece is decent enough, but the voices that reach our ears sound far less impressive due to sound artifacts. On the other end, the phablet's microphone fares slightly better, and callers claim crisp reproduction of our voice.

Battery life

Disappointing showing for the One M9.

While HTC's last two flagships didn't top the charts with their battery life, they certainly performed well nevertheless. With the One M9, we're looking at a slightly increased capacity, which now clocks in at 2,840 mAh. As for the Google Nexus 6, the XXL-sized body allowed Motorola to fit in a large, 3,220 mAh juicer with Qi wireless charging built-in.

Neither of the two devices are chart-toppers, but the Nexus 6 fares far better in our grueling custom battery life test. With a score of 7 hours and 53 minutes, the phablet outdoes HTC's flagship, which clocked 6 hours and 25 minutes, and significantly. Considering its predecessor, the One M8, managed 7 hours 12 minutes with a smaller cell, one has to wonder if Qualcomm's controversial Snapdragon 810 is to blame.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
HTC One M9 6h 25 min (Poor)
Google Nexus 6 7h 53 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
HTC One M9 106
Google Nexus 6 98


Conclusion


The verdict? We're tempted to say the Nexus 6 had an easy time, but the reality is that so long as aesthetics guide consumers' purchasing decisions, HTC's One line will continue resonating well with buyers. In such a scenario, Google's device strikes us as the more logical pick for the power user crowd, especially the phablet-loving part of it, but not necessarily the masses' favorite.

But does that make the HTC One M9 just a pretty face? Not at all – it's a full-fledged, flagship smartphone that is worthy of heading the company's portfolio. As importantly, unlike other 'design pieces' on the market, the One M9 actually communicates sturdiness and reliability and does not at all feel like a glass cannon.

In conclusion, if you're having second thoughts about the size or looks of the Nexus 6, the One M9 will strike you as the better deal, regardless of its relative weaknesses.

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