HTC is well known for bringing some dope phones in the Android ecosystem. Infact hTC is particularly known best for standing toe to toe with Samsung, when it comes to Android flagship devices. Just like Samsung approached the Apple's design in their Smartphone releases initially starting with Samsung Galaxy Alpha, hTC has similar plans to implement this year putting the throttle on their Design mechanism. I'm speaking about the device that was unveiled yesterday by hTC known as hTC One A9. Yep, this is the device that hTC was touting about to be the first non-nexus smartphone to ship with Android Marshmallow on-board. Ever since this device was raised up on the internet, the thing that immediately stood to me was, "Well, it looks like an iPhone". But has hTC really copied the Apple's design language OR was hTC the first to bring Unibody aluminium design to the table? Let's find out.
hTC One A9 :
- It houses 64-bit Octacore Snapdragon 617 processor(4cores clocked at 1.5GHz + 4cores clocked at 1.2GHz) coupled with Adreno 405 GPU.
- It has 5 inch Full HD(1920x1080) Amoled display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4 panel.
- It comes in 2 variants:
- 3GB Ram with 32GB ROM(Internal storage)
- Both variants have a microSD card slot which is expandable upto a whopping 2TB. Sighs..
- Primary camera is a 13MP shooter comprised of a BSI sensor with f/2.0 aperture which is capable of recording 1080p HD(Sadly 30 fps) videos with OIS on-board. While the Secondary camera is 4 MP Ultrapixel fixed focus shooter, which is exactly the same sensor used in hTC One M8 & One M9. It can even record 1080p HD videos.
- It has 2150 mAh non-removable battery, which is really small here in late 2015. Though it supports Qualcomm's Quickcharge 2.0 technology which will give you 0% to 60% of juice in just 30 minutes While this device even packs Qualcomm's latest Quick charge 3.0 making it the first device ever to ship with Quickcharge3.0 on-board which will give you crazy charging speeds after hTC seeds an Software Update to this device.
- It has a fingerprint scanner right below the hTC logo in the front, replacing boomsound speakers. Speaking of which there is a single side mounted speaker with Dolby Surround Sound support on headphones, while high resolution audio for that single speaker which essentially upscales the 16bit audio to 24bit audio, kind of what LG did with their recent smartphone.
- Finally, it runs the latest and greatest from Android department, Android 6.0 Marshmallow
- It is available in Topaz Gold, Carbon Gray, Opal Silver , Deep Garnet colours.
Htc headed their Design journey with hTC One series, particularly One M7 was one of their phones that took edge off and gained them the market over Samsung phones, back in the day. Since then hTC has continued their all-metal build approach with all of their legacy devices such as hTC One M8, M9.etc If you ask anyone, what do you like about hTC phones? Answer you'd expect is " Boomsound & that metal Build". Well up until now you might've guessed that, I'm an Android Guy & trying desperately to cease the fact that hTC One A9 looks a lot like iPhone 6/6S(Plus's included). Actually that isn't the case, I love both worlds : Android's customisablity & iOS's simplicity(Image Processing included). hTC was the first to bring all metal unibody design that actually take off & hTC won many awards for that design, back in the day when iPhone 6 was introduced Press & Media was scrambling to compare it against hTC One M8's design, about how Apple got inspired from hTC to make a revamp for their devices. But it's worth noticing that it looks exactly similar to iPhone 6/6S, it's all about the relationship(neighbourly) thing isn't it? Take that, Motorola! So as a reader if you agree that, let's get over with that fact and actually talk about the design.
So if you spot hTC One A9 in person, thing that strikes your mind is well it's got the body from it's older cousins, despite it's a lot slimmer now. So that flat build gives us two things, First an ergonomic grip in hands & Secondly we bid farewell to hTC's signature Boomsound speakers. Don't get fooled by the front microphone slot on the top as a front firing speaker, as hTC has replaced them with a single high resolution audio speaker mounted on the bottom side, which gimmicks that 16 bit audio can be upscaled into 24 bit audio for a better media consuming experience. But that sure can't replace Boomsound, hands down. Then there's the fingerprint scanner which lays under a capacitive button, right were those bottom speakers existed in the past. It also doubles as a home button, you can configure that in settings. While fingerprint scanner is quite accurate and wakes up the display almost immediately. Then if you turn your attention to the back there's that Camera.
Sadly hTC's Ultrapixel technology doesn't make it upto the rear camera, but the selfie camera does retain that part. The camera is capable of taking some decent shots with 13MP BSI sensor that lets more light-in the sensor, but it comes no-were near Ultrapixel camera. Videos are going to look fine thanks to OIS built-in the camera, though 4K footage can't be produced due to the less processing capabilities of Snapdragon 617. But OIS gets the job done even during night conditions. Also it's worth noticing the fact that OIS(optical image stabilisation) makes it's way directly on ONE A9 from the first One M7 way back, so that's a bonus. Apart from that hTC doesn't tout about the camera department here, but if you're considering the selfie camera it's going to be a blast. The Ultrapixel camera up on the front is one of the best front facing cameras I've played with it(One M9), no shame in admitting that. Well price might be the reason why Ultrapixel camera didn't chase onto the rear end. Though the material used for outer protection is the used in the iPhone : Sapphire glass.
There's even inclusion of Pro Mode, which essentially gives you manual controls over the camera's capabilities adding Manual focus, ISO, exposure, Shutter speed & RAW capture, which again doesn't make any sense unless and until you're a photographer or a designer. But you'll also find hTC Zoe, hyperlapse mode, slow motion.etc
Heads-up its the latest operating software in mobile division from Google, Android 6.0 Marshmallow running with hTC's added touch of Sense UI 7. There's not a lot to see here from hTC, aside the fact that you're getting the latest operating system. hTC Blinkfeed, custom icons, gallery app.etc are all here to stay but there isn't an actual incremental change here. Well maybe hTC's working on it for future upgrades, But this does keep the OS bloatware free at the moment & does follow the footprints of hTC's fast operating maneuver approach. Although you're getting the all bells and whistles of Android Marshmallow including Now on tap, Android pay etc.
hTC even tweeted that, the unlocked HTC One A9 will receive every software update within 15 days, as soon as Google pushes updates to Nexus devices.
Quicknote : The Bootloader can be unlocked without voiding the warranty, hTC says they want to encourage the tech community not impede them.
hTC : In your next device that follows the same design, make sure you guys reduce the chin & forehead part from the front panel. iPhone doesn't have on screen buttons for navigating, so it's obvious for Apple to put the fingerprint sensor in that place that doubles as a home-screen button. Fine you guys put it there, but Android does have on-screen navigation keys which essentially takes a lot of screen real estate. So the part near (fingerprint scanner+hTC Logo+on screen buttons) is wasted, so there's a long space between the display and the bottom edge & to make it look uniform One A9 receives a similar matching forehead. Agreed that's what gives a device its final touch right? Blah, blah... But this unnecessarily makes the device feel larger, than it actually is! Although it's going to be blissful for Gamers.
Now I can recommend a phone to anyone, who wants a body of an iPhone that runs on Android.
So is it a contender to many bad boys out there? Well, it isn't. This is because of the lower end hardware, despite the fact that at similar price points Oneplus 2 & Moto X Style offer great specifications. So tossing in even a Snapdragon 808 processor would've been a great choice for hTC, but that's not what has happened. So i guess it is unfair to consider comparing it with even an iPhone 6(& above) in spec department as iPhones are clearly the winners here. So the hTC One A9 stands in the mid-range consumer market & it costs about $399 with a special tag called Promotional Price. Delivering that the Official(permanent) pricing is not out yet, make a note of that. Also there are rumours that the device will cost slightly more outside US region. I'll make sure to tweet & update this article as soon as I get that info. Other than that there are even Dot view & Clear Shield accessories for this device make sure you check them out while opting for this device.
Fun Fact : At the end of the Day, HTC admits & appreciates Apple's design with the words : "Design worth imitating".
Source : hTC(Images credits to htc) via Gsmarena
Also See : Has Apple's Pencil & Smart Keyboard Really Found A Way To Please Critics ?