It has been some time since we last upgraded our device to the iPhone 6 Plus so we figured it was about time to switch back to an Android device since the new Flagships from HTC and Samsung are out. We decided on the HTC One M9 as the title of the post suggests. We ventured to the closest Wireless Wave to visit Osman Omar and see if he could hook us up. With one left in stock we upgraded from the iPhone 6 Plus to the HTC One M9 in less than 10 minutes and were out of the store to go set up our new device. Check out below for our thoughts on the new flagship device offering from HTC.
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The box is pretty much the same shape from the previous two years. The front is made to look like the HTC One M9 Dot View case. The back contains the specs of the device which for those of you still looking into specs are as follows:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Octa-core 64bit processor
  • nano SIM
  • 32GB Internal Memory
  • 3GB RAM
  • Up to 2TB Extended Memory (theoretical)
  • 5.0 inch 1080p screen

Once the box is open you may think that you have been stuck with the HTC One M7 or M8 as the front of the device is so similar. Our guess is that once HTC found a winning design they are going to milk it as long as possible. The front of the device is home to the top and bottom boomsound speakers and the 5 inch screen protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The front facing camera is home to the 5MP UltraPixel display instead of the back this year. The Android buttons are on screen but the HTC logo is a nice touch above the bottom boomsound speakers.

Moving to the right side of the device, it is home to the MicroSD slot which is capable of 2TB storage (doesn’t exist as of yet so settle for 128GB card for now). Below it are the volume rockers and close to them is the power button which does get confusing to use as it can be mistaken for the volume button. The left side of the device is where the nano SIM is house in a metal housing not unlike the MicroSD card holder. The top of the device is the IR blaster which we think is one of the more underutilized features in the last 3 years flagship devices. The bottom of the device has a mic and the micro usb charging port a little off center so charging docks might look a little off if this device is placed in them.

The back of the device is home to the 20MP camera which we were quite impressed with. We have always had a few gripes with the Android cameras over iOS and one of the major ones (not HTC’s fault) is the time to shoot. We have a need to take a picture immediately once the button is pressed. If the device tries to focus then take the picture there is too much time passed to get the shot we want. When testing the camera we liked it in lit situations but when it came to low light shots it didn’t seem as good in comparison to our iPhone 6 Plus. The back is also home to another mic and the HTC logo in the middle of the backing.

The device itself feels good in the hand with plenty of heft but not too heavy, just enough to feel solid and built well. The device this year is actually thicker than last years HTC One M8 but it didn’t pose a problem for us. HTC has said they improved the scratch resistance of the M9 but we still went out and grabbed a case to cover this solid device.

This is usually the time where we take a couple key aspects like the Camera, Battery Life, Connectivity, Hardware and Software and we let you know our thoughts on each element and then give you an overview and conclusion. This time we will be mixing it up as this device had to be returned to the carrier twice before we decided to call it quits. Before we get started on our two problems we had we want to state that we are big HTC fans and have enjoyed the likes of the Windows Phone HTC Titan, HTC One M7 & M8 to name a few so we don’t do this lightly.

Issue #1 – Hardware

The first device we received from the carrier had us quite excited. Just looking at the box and the excitement of opening it was almost too much. After returning to HQ we busted the device out and snapped some shots for this article. After that we started the device up and ran through the setup. After we set the device up as a new device instead of restoring from backup we proceeded to download all of our previous apps that we wanted. Before we did that we made sure to plug the M9 into an outlet using the cord and wall plug that came in the packaging. The heat coming from the device when we started downloading apps was almost unbearable. When we checked the device before we started downloading it was at 59%. After all apps were queued we decided to grab a coffee and then come back and check on it.

Usually we see the device at 90%+ after 3 hours but it seemed to be stuck at 80%. This struck us as odd but we decided to leave the device powered off for the night to give it the extra kick it needed to complete to 100% for the morning. Well, when we came back to check on it in the morning the device would not even turn on. We tried everything including seeing if the device was on but screen wasn’t by connecting through ADB and it still did not show. This was about the end of this device as it seems it was Dead On Arrival (DOA) so we returned it for another one.

Issue #2 – Software

The new device we got after returning the defective one above seemed to work a lot better, mainly because it charged higher than 80% in the first 3 hours. Getting excited now we decided to be optimistic and start downloading our apps back onto the device so we could make the switch from iOS to Android. Once the device apps were queued we left them to finish downloading. An hour and a half later we came back and restarted the phone to complete the process. Once this was done we went through the arduous task of logging in to all of our downloaded apps and getting them ready to just dive into and use. About half way though we started getting triangle icons with an exclamation mark in the middle in the notification pane letting us know that Google Play Services had stopped working or that multiple apps had crashed. Trying a hard reset fixed nothing and so our second HTC One M9 was returned to the carrier.

Conclusion

In previous years, HTC has impressed us with there skill and ingenuity when designing a new phone. This year, trying to attempt the same thing and failing to deliver a solid device twice is more than we can handle. We apologize to our readers for not giving you a more in depth review. Make sure to check out the gallery below and if you have an HTC One M9 let us know what you think in the comments below. We hope that in the coming years, HTC can recover and deliver a more solid device. Until the next article/review, Happy Hacking!

HTC One M9 Gallery

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