HTC revealed three stylish new Desire series smartphones at Mobile World Congress, but the real star was the One X9, an upper-range model with a spec sheet to suggest it’s the successor to the HTC One A9. You know, the one that looks like an iPhone.
For the new X version, HTC walked back from its Apple-inspired design, turning to the recognizable HTC look and feel.
HTC One X9 features a 5.5-inch Full HD display (1080p), MediaTek octa-core Helio X10 SoC, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage (with a microSD card slot), 3000 mAh battery, stereo speakers, Dot View case, 13-megapixel rear camera with OIS and a dual-LED flash, as well as a 5-megapixel selfie camera.
The One X9 has a metal finish reminiscent of HTC’s more powerful models, complete with a unibody construction and rounded edges. It also feels solid, and actually quite heavy. It weighs .37 pounds and measures .31 inches thick, making it heavier and thicker than the 5.5-inch Samsung Galaxy S7 edge.
The display has a 401 pixel-per-inch density, which is sufficiently sharp but below the 500+ ppi counts found on other Android flagships. The contrast is above average, with very dark black shades and almost pure white tones. Contrast sustainability is also praiseworthy as the phone offers exactly the same imaging regardless of the viewing angle. The colors are a bit unsaturated, but this could be because the brightness seems a bit lacking at its brightest setting.
MediaTek’s octa-core chipset proves a surprisingly good pick for Full HD and Android 6.0 devices, even if it won’t break any benchmark records. We expect the One X9 to run well long after it’s first powered on, stuffed with apps. The memory capacity is also sufficient, as is the 3000 mAh battery.
On the other hand, the camera gives us pause. We tested the One X9 at the Barcelona show in difficult and dynamic lighting conditions, and the camera took a long time to focus, the images lacked that pleasant dynamic range more commonly associated with mobile photography. To be fair, the show floor at Mobile World Congress doesn’t lend itself well to decent photo output. More to the point, if One A9’s camera is anything to go by, the One X9’s camera should still provide above average results. However, it will be well behind the pack if measured against the direct competition.
The HTC One X9 should ship out by early March, but there is no word on pricing. Meanwhile, we await word on the next HTC flagship, the M10. It’s expected in April, with hopefully a bit more originality than previous iterations.