HTC One A9 Review

Does It Live Up To Its Name?

HTC has always had a great line of flagships including and not limited to the HTC One M8 and M9. Does the HTC match up to the level that the One M8 and One M9 accomplished? Does their latest device, the HTC One A9, still live up to the company’s previous devices? Let’s take a look.

Specs

  • 5″ AMOLED Display, 1920×1080 – Gorilla Glass 4
  • Snapdragon 617 Processor
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB Storage (microSD expandable)
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 13MP Rear Camera, f/2.0, OIS
  • 4MP Front Camera, Ultrapixel
  • 2,150 mAh Battery, Non Removable, Qualcomm Quick Charge

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Hardware

Hardware is and was essential to the A9. The devices gets a lot of flak however for looking very much like an iPhone 6. If we are being completely honest, then yes, it does look like an Phone 6/6S, but it plays it off really well because the A9 looks awesome. It’s sleek, thin, and elegant in the hands of anyone. It does feel a little small, but you would really get used to that after a bit of usage. It feels extremely sturdy and fragile at the same time. The metal body adds to it being sturdy, but with it’s gloss finish and the rounded corners it also screams fragile.

I do think that the A9 is one of the better looking phones of 2015. With looks thought, comes functionality. The A9 has an SD card slot for expandable storage. What I like about this slot is the fact that it looks identical to the SIM card slot. I never liked the plastic flaps that cover SD card slots in the past.



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What threw me for a loop on the A9 was the volume rockers being above the power button. Because of this i hit the volume up button a lot thinking it was the power on button. It took  few days of getting used to, but i eventually managed to overcome my habits. Another thing that felt off was the micro-USB port being adjacent to the center. It isn’t flush in the middle, it’s off to the side about 5 mm. This confused me every time I wanted to charge it and was wondering why i was hitting the speaker.

Speakers

The speakers on the HTC One A9 sound pretty good. They deliver clear crisp audio and nice low ends. The only problem is that they are on the bottom. If you look at any other HTC One flagship, you see dual front-facing speakers. For understandable reasons, HTC moved the speaker down to the bottom of the A9, but I would have prefered if they hadn’t.

Fingerprint Sensor

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The reason for moving the speakers was to make room for the fingerprint sensor. The fingerprint sensor operates extremely well and recognizes your print before you realize it you’ve unlocked your phone. It also acts as a home button, which is a nice touch. I like the physical home button mostly due to the texture change and also the nice indent. There are of course still on screen navigation keys if you prefer those.

Camera

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The HTC One A9 has a single camera with a dual-tone flash. The 13MP camera is a pretty decent little camera. It takes good shots with great color and gets the job done well. There is an option to shoot in RAW accompanied by “Pro” mode. Pro mode is basically just manual. Manual mode has all the options you would expect within the app. There is a white balance adjustment, an exposure setting, ISO adjustment, shutter speed adjustment and of course, manual focusing.

Display

The 5 inch display is an amoled display and is a really pretty display. I’m a sucker for a good AMOLED display and this one really fits the bill. It doesn’t get quite as bright as i want it to, but it does the job well enough. The 1080p screen is a very nice one. For me, though, my daily driver is a Nexus 6 and the display on the A9 is a 5 incher, meaning it feels puny compared to my Nexus 6. That being said, it wasn’t a huge deal getting used to the smaller device and after readjusting to it I actually quite liked it.

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HTC Boomsound

HTC boasts its Boomsound on it’s flagships, but for me it doesn’t really hit a sweet spot. It lacks something and I don’t know what it is. Each and every time i turned on Boomsound, I immediately turned it off because I didn’t like it. It really depends on your sound tastes, really.

To clarify, Boomsound is not active through the speaker on the HTC One A9, but rather only active when using headphones.

Battery

Battery life on the HTC One A9 is awesome. With Android 6.0’s Doze, the phone will last a very long time in standby mode. But even in everyday use I got a good day’s worth of battery. I didn’t have any issues with the device dying before it was ok for it to do so.

Final Thoughts

So is it worth it? In short terms, yes. I really like the A9 and all it’s quirks, mostly because they are software problems and could definitely be fixed in the future. It’s a solid option for really anyone. I enjoyed every minute of using it and would definitely recommend the device to anyone looking for a fast 5 inch phone that performs well and looks sleek while doing it.

 – HTC One A9 provided for review by AT&T