HTC One M9+ review: Loaded with technology but fails to make an impression

  • Overall Rating

  • Performance

  • Features

  • Price

Price: ₹ Rs. 52,500

Key Specs

    5.2” Super LCD3 ultra HD 2K display (~565 ppi)
    2.2 GHz Octa-core MediaTek Helio X10 CPU, 3 GB RAM
    20 MP rear + 2.1MP dual rear camera with LED Flash & 4 MP HTC UltraPixel front camera
    Android 5.0 Lollipop with HTC Sense UI 7.0
    32 GB internal storage and expandable up to 128 GB
    2840 mAh battery

Pros: Premium look and feel, crisp 2K display, good camera performance in day-light, solid call quality

Cons: Slippery design, inconsistent Fingerprint sensor, battery life could have been better, average camera performance in low-light

Bottomline: HTC has upgraded its much appreciated flagship design by integrating latest technology such as 2k display, fingerprint sensor and a 20 MP + 2.1 MP Duo rear camera module in One M9 +. However, it fails to make a lasting impact when compared with other flagship smartphones such as Galaxy S6/S6 Edge, iPhone 6 in terms of overall performance. We have to say that the Taiwanese tech giant missed the sweat spot this time as the performance that HTC One M9 + offers does not justify the price point it comes at.

This is 2015 and market is stuffed with a variety of smartphones that offers a lot more at a sensible price. If HTC wants to stay in the fight, it has to come out with something which has never been done as by just tweaking the old design and adding a better display and some sensors is no more going to entice the consumers.

The flagship smartphone market gets the HTC’s 2015 offering in the name of One M9+. The Taiwanese tech giant has once again continued with the same design philosophy it started with much acclaimed One M7. The HTC One M9+ incorporates the all metal design, BoomSound speakers and the same UltraPixel camera (but on front). And to compete with the current smartphone landscape, HTC has added a 2K display, a finger print sensor and the latest Android OS.

Let’s find out how the best from HTC performs in the race of flagship smartphones.

Design

HTC One M9+

HTC has been improving its much appreciated design with each generation and it has turned out to be one of the best and premium looking Android flagship. The smartphone is beautifully designed and the overall weight is very well balanced. It feels solid to hold but at the same time is very slippery and you have to handle it carefully.

HTC one M9+

Though it inherits the same all metal design as its predecessors does; there are minor changes like the power button that has been shifted to right edge below the volume rockers for making design ergonomic but sadly it gets mixed up with the volume rockers and you have to struggle to get it right. Besides this, the edges on the M9+ are sharper than the M8.

The left edge has the slot for the microSD card that can add up-to 128 GB of external memory and the right houses the nano SIM card slot. The Micro-USB charging port and the 3.5mm audio jack are placed on the bottom.

HTC one M9+

The brushed metallic rear panel looks stunning and sits comfortably in the hand with its gentle curves. The frame has a champagne gold colour except the top edge that has a black plastic strip, which is the only plastic thing on the smartphone.

The front has the 5.2 inch 2K display with minimal bezels, two BoomSound speaker grills; lower one been divided in two by the home button, which integrate the fingerprint sensor.

Display

HTC one M9+

We have always liked the display units on HTC’s flagship smartphones. They tend to deliver amazing multimedia experience with punchy yet accurate colors and good viewing angles. With the One M9+, HTC has gone one step ahead by integrating a 2K panel. The display is very bright and can be easily used in direct sunlight. The colours look accurate and the pixel density of 565ppi makes everything from text, icons, images and videos look absolutely stunning.

But when placed side by side with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, which has an AMOLED technology and packs 577ppi, the display on M9 Plus looks less lively and also a bit dimmer. We also tested the display with the Light Meter, which calculates the display brightness level. It shows that HTC One M9+ has a rating of 497 which is less than the Samsung galaxy S6 Edge and the Moto Turbo. That’s why Samsung galaxy S6 Edge seems brighter than the lot in outdoor conditions.

Software

HTC One M9+ features Android 5.0.2 Lollipop out of the box with HTC Sense 7 UI. While Android’s latest flavour adds sweetness with its material design, HTC has also modified its Sense UI to enhance the overall software experience.

HTC one M9+

The Home screen has an intelligent icon management widget which displays applications in three categories such as Work, Home and Out. It remembers your usage pattern and sorts the apps according to your requirement.

Theme Engine

Screenshot_2015-06-11-19-22-47

HTC Sense UI is undoubtedly one of the most consistent UI over Android but is also sort of a bit boring as there’s nothing much to tweak. But in the Sense 7, HTC has integrated a powerful theme engine which allows you to change fonts, icon sets, wallpapers, color schemes and even sounds. You can download a number of themes, icon sets, wallpapers from the HTC store or can make your own by customizing colours from a picture in your gallery.

You are going to love it if you like to tweak your smartphone’s look and feel every other hour.

HTC one M9+

Then you have One Gallery, which lets you check your pictures and videos saved on the internet (FB, Google drive, Dropbox, Flicker) at one single place. You can have a look on all the pictures and videos you have posted on these social platforms till date in this comprehensive gallery. And you don’t need to worry about your smartphone data as it does not upload the content online.

Fun Fit, the fitness application from HTC calculates the calories your burn, step you take, distance covered, the active time, etc. The in-built leader board shows your statistics and also give option to share your results.

HTC Zoe

Besides all these, you have the regular HTC apps such as HTC Zoe, an improved BlinkFeed, KidMode, CarMode, Peel Smart Remote(to control your television through smartphone), Plaris Office 5, etc.

Overall likewise HTC’s previous flagships, the software experience is consistent and smooth.

Performance

Now here’s a twist, in spite of going with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 Soc, HTC One M9 Plus comes packed with an octa core MediaTek X10 Helio processing unit clocked at 2.2 GHz. This is MediaTek’s Premium category chipset for high end flagship smartphones. And HTC has paired it with 3 GB of RAM for multitasking.

The smartphone effectively handles regular as well as high end tasks and its 3GB RAM makes sure you efficiently run multiple applications. However, the performance gets a blow if you multitask continuously or run applications such as maps, graphical intensive gaming and continues camera usage. It heats up to significant levels (because of an all metal design) and starts stuttering.

Sometimes it frequently stutters even in basic operation such as opening and closing of app drawer and shifting from one application to another. I had to clear all the background apps to make it operate smoothly. Something we have not expected on Moto Turbo and Galaxy S6 Edge.

Now talking about the synthetic benchmarks; HTC One M9+ clearly loses the game when compared with Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. It scores 47,998 in Antutu (S6 Edge-66,527) 26,722 in Quadrant (S6 Edge- 31,224) and 1902 in Vellamo (S6 Edge- 5,336). The 3D Mark ISU score rests at 15,389, which is also lower than the S6 Edge’s score of 21,210. As you can see, there’s a huge difference in the numerical scores and so as in real life performance. Moreover Moto Turbo also scores better than One M9+.

You can check the benchmark scores in the slider below:

  • HTC one M9+
    Antutu- 47,998

(We do not completely rely on these benchmarks but they surely give a numerical parameter to compare the performances of smartphones and tablets)

HTC has integrated the fingerprint sensor in the home button to make the smartphone more personal and secure. We are not quite impressed by its functionality and found it to be quite inconsistent in day to day usage. For once the integrated fingerprint sensor works amazingly smooth and recognizes every attempt to unlock the device and then at times every attempt to unlock the device fails and you have to use the applied pass code. Clearly it does not match the consistency of Apple smartphones but yes it is at par with Samsung flagships.

Camera

The Taiwanese tech giant introduced the Duo camera module in HTC One M8; then they skipped it in HTC One M9 (not launched in Indian market). And now once again they incorporated it in M9 Plus.

HTC One M9+

You can switch between the Duo camera and High resolution mode. The former utilizes both the camera modules and let you play with various effects such as Unfocus-to change the focus area, Foregrounder-to add various preset effects as shown in the picture, Dimension plus- to make your pictures 3D,  etc.

The camera takes vibrant and crisp shots in outdoor conditions. Colors look accurate and pictures have fine details. But the quality drops off significantly in low light. The pictures come out to be noisy and colors seem to be a bit washed out.  It’s not the best camera flagship smartphone around.

Check the pictures in the slider below:

  • HTc one M9+

The High resolution mode comes with the usual HTC features such as Selfie, panorama, Split capture and Photo Booth.

The performance of the front shooter is better than the rear. The 4 MP Ultrapixel camera is able to take very good selfies. Its 1/3” sensor size is able to capture a good amount of light and results in bright and lively pictures. Moreover it’s quite fast to take a shot and you also get a three second timer to take a picture after you press the button. It would have been better if HTC had updated its UltraPixel camera for the rear also.  The traditional method of increasing the megapixel count has not turned out to be well for the company.

Speakers

HTC one M9+

HTC BoomSound is the best audio playback system on any mobile device we have tested till date. The dual speakers integrated with Dolby Sound technology delivers a detailed a clear sound during YouTube videos and music playback. You can simply watch a complete movie even without the earphones. We cannot comment on the sound quality of the earphones as we didn’t get them with our review unit, likewise some previous smartphones from the company.

Battery

We started using the fully charged M9 Plus at 8:30 am in morning and it lasted till 7:30 pm. This 11 hour duration includes 10 to 15 calls, music playback and Asphalt 8 for an hour, crawling from one web page to another and social networking.  In our video playback test, HTC One M9’s non-removable 2840 mAh battery survived for five hours 30 minutes at 100% brightness and volume on Wi-Fi. You can get variable results according to different usage patterns.

These results shows that the 2600 mAh battery of S6 Edge performs better than the 2840 mAh battery unit on HTC One M9. S6 Edge survives longer than the One M9 Plus even with a smaller battery. And Moto turbo beats these two with its amazing battery performance due to its 3900 mAh battery unit.

 

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.