HTC One A9: Hands-on review

HTC launched their latest device at an event in New York today. Very iphone-esque, we had a look at the brand new mid-ranger a few days back to see what it was all about.

HTC One A9: Look and feel

Simple clear lines with a sophisticated undertone, the One A9 looks a lot like an iPhone 6. When asked about the very obvious similarities, we were told by them that HTC were the first manufacturer to have a unibody style on their phones so in this instance, their design ethos were being copied!

There are four colours that will be available with two going on sale at the start and the other two joining the duo later in November.

The carbon grey is a beautiful one and a carbon copy of the space grey that the Apple iPhone 6s comes in. The inspiration for this colour, according to HTC came from the colour of minerals, meteorites and rocks, the colour that is achieved with immense pressurised heat making these dense and indestructible. The other that goes on same now is Opal silver, HTC's take on the classic silver that is now deemed unfashionable.

And in the beginning of November, Deep Garnet and Topaz gold will also be added to the list.

The One A9 weighs the same as Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge+ at 143g and that's not too much. There is a fingerprint sensor where the home button is usually sited that can store upto 5 prints. 

There is also Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and apart from a dark grey band across the back, it is a very clean looking device.

HTC told us they got rid of everything superfluous and made sure that the most important part of the phone pops- content and user experience. 

HTC One A9: Processor

Qualcomm's Snapdragon™ 617 powers the device and it is an octa-core 64-bit one with 4 x 1.5GHz taking care of the grunt work and 4 x 1.2GHz helping you with browsing and emails.

Obviously, just by looking at a phone we will not be able to bring you a very accurate estimation of its performance but even though the One A9 doesn't pack the nippiest of processors, atleast with the 617 they will not have the added issue of overheating that the HTC One M9 suffered from owing to the Snapdragon 810 processor it came with.

HTC One A9: HTC Sense 7 and Marshmallow

This is one of the first devices to come packaged with Marshmallow with HTC's Sense overlay. Sense along with HTC Themes alows users to fully customise the look and feel of their device and there have been 7 million themes downloaded from the HTC store. A further 23,000 have been created so obviously it is a very popular part of the HTC ecosystem.

Google Now is on tap, ready to give users contextual information that is based on what they look for and how they interact with their phones. There is also Android Pay and because MArshmallow allows you to treat SD cards as internal memory, you can go cray with a 2TB card.

HTC also have a device migration tool that auto backs up the user's app data and HTC have managed to give your device a longer battery life with double standby time with DOZE which Qualcomm's chipset management.

HTC One A9: Camera

The main camera is a 13-MP one with a sapphire cover lens and during our initial tests, it proved its pedigree with crisp details on the few pictures we took on it.

For selfies, HTC have an aperture of f2.0 for selfies with the same ultrapixel sensor as the One M9. They have enhanced the interface so it is simpler and promises a quicker capture rate than the phones in its peer group. All shortcuts have been placed on one screen and it also comes with Optical Image Stabilisation for  dramatic low light performance.

There is a Pro mode which takes pictures automatically in RAW format for easier post-processing.  Integrated hyperlapse is now vailable on existing videos too. So you can shoot any video on normal resolution then convert t to hyperlapse.

You are also able to download videos to your One A9 and then convert it into a hyperlapse one.

Zoe Camera auto generates videos as it does on the One M9.

HTC One A9: Battery and audio

You get Dolby Audio and Hi-Res Audio via headphones because of 24-bit processing through hardware architecture. You are also able to upscale 16 to 24 bit audio and music will sound the same as with external DAC, high power headset amplifier. This also applies to streaming audio, so you can be guaraneed a good listening experience on your personal headphones.

The battery didnt excite us much, it is a 2150mAH embedded one and only during our review process will we find out how good it is!

 HTC One A9: Final thoughts

The mid-range market is a cluttered one with online brands making a bigger splash than some of the more established ones. The One A9 is a solid contender in the space but unless we have more pricing details, we cannot really tell if customers will be queueing up for it.

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