Htc a9 deals
This is a new Android 6. During the first few days of testing, our review unit was running firmware version 1. It was then upgraded to version 1. We didn't notice any significant changes between the two firmware versions. In the past 12 months, the line between mid-range and high-end Android phones has blurred considerably.
The HTC One A9 finds itself somewhere on the increasingly blurry border between mid-range and high-end. With its latest premium "One" handset, HTC finds itself somewhere in the middle.
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And in Europe the A9 is priced alongside the likes of the Galaxy S6 and One M9 — the aforementioned big-boy flagship territory. It's easy to get lost in the semantics of what's a "premium" phone, a "flagship," or a "hero" device.
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The more important question for the One A9 is whether it's a good phone, how it measures up against its contemporaries and whether it's worth the money HTC and its carrier partners are demanding. You can argue that there are only so many ways to combine a large display and a curved metal unibody.
And you can argue that HTC came up with some of the shared hardware characteristics — like the plastic antenna bands — first. The fact remains that the A9 looks like an iPhone, and because of Apple's superior mindshare and market share, most consumers will assume HTC is the copycat. Whether it is or not doesn't really matter. So what exactly are we dealing with here? Well, the A9's physical presence is soft, curved and relatively minimalist. The back is mostly flat, and furnished in brushed, patterned aluminum — think a more subtle version of the brushed effect on the back of the M8 and M9.
This morphs into a slightly reflective finish around the sides, which are ever so slightly angled. The result of all this is a phone that strikes an excellent balance between looks, ergonomics and ease of use. It's not as sharp or tacky-feeling as the M9, nor as slippery as the M8. It's even a little easier to grip onto than the iPhone, in our experience. The metal unibody, which extends around the sides but not the front, is punctuated by the usual HTC ports and protrusions. The power and volume keys live along the side, and the power button now has a rougher texture to it, so you'll be hard pushed to confuse the two.
And down below, somewhat irregularly arranged, are your microUSB not the newer USB-C we're enjoying in the new Nexus phones , speaker, mic and headphone jack. As with HTC's "M" series phones, there's a plastic cutout up top to help out with antenna reception, along with the plastic bands that blend into the sides and back. The same goes for the camera and dual-tone LED flash — centrally located on the A9, but protruding slightly and encircled by a chamfered border, just like the iPhone. Like the iPhone and many others, the "2.
Around the front, it's a mix of staple HTC design elements and some new additions.
A large earpiece up top and a single downward-facing speaker takes the place of HTC's traditional front-facing speakers — though the volume and clarity produced isn't bad at all. The same goes for the headphone jack itself, which can output power at over 1 amp to drive more demanding headphones. On top of that, the A9's upgraded DAC supports upscaling to bit, kHz audio regardless of where you're getting your music from. The fingerprint scanner — usable for lock screen security or any other number of tasks thanks to Android 6.
It's not as ludicrously fast as Apple's TouchID, but it is every bit as accurate. Whereas I'm still struggling with misreads on Samsung's latest sensors, such occurrences are much rarer on the A9. The scanner can also be used as a secondary home button, which is a little weird on a couple of levels. Having an on-screen home key, then an HTC logo, then a physical home key is visually busy. And you also can't activate Android's Now on Tap feature by long-pressing it, as you can with the on-screen home button. With a x display resolution across 5 inches, the A9's screen isn't the sharpest out there.
Despite not being the very best, it looks perfectly good in its own right.
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We've had no trouble using the display outside, even in bright daylight and overcast conditions. So far, so good — from the outside, the A9 has everything you'd expect from a high-end smartphone. Inside is where you'll find the biggest compromises, particularly if you're a spec junkie. The A9 runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor — a recently announced chip similar in design to the Snapdragon seen in many mid-rangers over the past 12 months. We've been testing the 3GB model. HTC has managed to eke plenty of performance out of the for everyday tasks — an achievement considering it's basically just a tweaked , and we've seen some OEMs struggle with that chip.
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The only time you'll see performance skip a beat is in demanding games, where the GPU doesn't pack the computational punch required to keep things smooth on a p display. Elsewhere, the A9 feels every bit as fast as most flagship-class phones. And a notable addition — thanks to Qualcomm's latest modem tech, the A9 supports carrier aggregation out of the box.
Another compromise comes in the battery department.
The A9 packs a 2,mAh fixed battery in its svelte 7. We'd have gladly traded a few tenths of a millimeter for comfortable one-day usage, but alas battery capacity has once again been sacrificed at the altar of thinness. If there's been one major area of weakness for HTC of late, it's cameras.
And this latest hero phone represents a change of strategy for the company. That's a capable mix of camera hardware, and combined with some notable improvements in HTC's camera software, the A9 has been able to produce some of the best photos we've taken on an HTC phone. Overall, the A9 is a unlike any previous HTC phone, with internal hardware just powerful enough to get the job done, significant upgrades to the camera and a good-but-not-great display.
HTC One A9 Review: The Android iPhone lookalike
And that's all packaged into a flagship-grade metal chassis. This year that's not the case. In fact, HTC has been actively paring back its interface layer, as part of a move that brings its software closer to vanilla Android. The newest flavor of Sense, dubbed Sense "7.
First up, the default color scheme has reverted to a Material Design -influenced grayish-blue, bringing it closer to the menu accent colors of the stock OS. HTC's grid-based task-switching menu has been culled in favor of stock Android's card deck layout. And the notification tray has been reverted to a near-stock implementation as well.
For the most part, Sense mostly still feels like Sense. That includes the smooth interactions, liberal use of condensed typefaces and largely flat UI we've come to expect from HTC for the past couple of years. On the whole it's a perfectly good-looking UI, though one that, in the couple of years since Sense 6 on the M8, feels like it needs a bit of a facelift. Some of the odd software contradictions, like the presence of a HTC calendar app but the lack of any calendar widget, also make things seem tired and disjointed in places. It's possible Sense's move closer to stock in this "G" version — exclusive to the A9 for now, we're told — is required to help HTC deliver on its promise of updates within 15 days of Google's Nexus devices.
It's also possible other factors are at play behind the scenes. But whatever's going on, the end result is a more streamlined, Googley Sense, but at the same time a software experience that seems slightly diminished compared to the M9. The main tentpole features remain in place though. BlinkFeed, HTC's social and news reader, is alive and well, and redesigned to make News Republic's branding more visible. Including a somewhat obnoxious splash screen before every story. HTC's Gallery app allows you to view photos and video based on events and location, and create "Zoe" highlight reels, just like on earlier HTC One phones.
It's a solid software experience, though one that finds itself increasingly competing with Google in a few areas.