|HTC One M9+
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Such seems to be the guiding philosophy behind the HTC One M9, and for the most part, the approach works. The One M9 is a beautiful Android phone worthy of your consideration, unless you already own last year’s HTC One M8 (they could well be confused for the same phone). The Samsung Galaxy S6 beats it on most key features you’d care about however, including battery life and camera quality.
HTC’s 2015 top-of-the-line phone recycles the same sleek design
as last year’s M8
, sticking to the luxurious all-metal case and 1080p HD screen while incorporating key spec improvements — most notably a speedy, state-of-the-art Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor
and upgraded front and rear cameras, the latter an attempt to address the M8’s biggest shortfall
: that its primary camera just wasn’t as good as the competition.
If taking a gamble on a conservative design upgrade sounds oxymoronic, consider the current chaos at HTC: the move may have already cost HTC CEO Peter Chou his job
. Yes, the earlier HTC One M8 easily ranked as one of last year’s best smartphones, but it competed against the small-screened iPhone 5S
and the plasticky Samsung Galaxy S5
, each of which felt like me-too throwbacks to their respective predecessors.
The One M9, by comparison, goes mano a mano
with the totally redesigned all-metal Samsung Galaxy S6
, the current 800-pound gorilla of the smartphone world, the iPhone 6
, plus a gaggle of cheap-but-good Android competitors.
Amid that intense competition, HTC is sweetening the pot (in the US, at least) with its “Uh Oh” protection program
, which offers a one-time, no-questions-asked replacement for M9 models in the first year of ownership, if they’ve succumbed to a cracked screen or water damage, even if you switch carriers. And if you don’t swap the phone, you get a $100 credit toward a new HTC phone in the future.
Meanwhile, while our initial reservations
about the M9’s camera quality were tempered by various software updates that deliver notable improvements in white balance and outdoor daylight shots — not to mention adding raw image shooting — it’s still not in the upper echelon of smartphone cameras. Low-light photos, noise reduction and selfies (from the front camera) are problematic, and the M9’s overall image quality lacks that of the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6
HTC hasn’t exactly strayed far from the design scheme it used a year ago for the M8. It has an all-metal body, with the bombastic “BoomSound” speakers sitting above and below the display. The back of the phone is gently rounded and inset plastic lines traverse the body at the top and bottom — exactly as you’ll see on both the M8 and the M7