Performance and Battery Life
Qualcomm’s new octacore chipset keeps both Android 5.0.1. (Lollipop) and the HTC Sense UI 7.0 running fluidly, as expected. The HTC One M9 is responsive, and finger swipes across the display present no lag when navigating.
The HTC One M9 has a place atop just about all synthetic benchmark rankings, and, perhaps more importantly, the Snapdragon 810 presented none of the issues with overheating that plagued the processor earlier in the year, particularly with the LG G Flex 2.
In terms of battery life, the HTC One M9 is above average, and slightly improved from the One M8. Compared with other flagships, it proved better than the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in our time with all three. Like the Samsung models, the HTC One M9’s battery is sealed and cannot be changed by the user. Unlike the Samsung handsets, it doesn’t support wireless charging.
HTC’s BoomSound speakers were always relatively good (relative to typically lousy smartphone speakers), and now they are a bit better thanks to the inclusion of Dolby technology. While it’s not the most necessary upgrade, it’s still welcome.
HTC did the right thing by moving the questionable “UltraPixel” camera from the back to the front. While the One M8’s UltraPixel image sensor delivers excellent results in poor lighting, its 4-megapixel resolution was just not enough for a flagship. It does make for a great selfie camera.
The back now features a 20.7-megapixel image sensor. While the pixel count is appropriate for a high-end device, the image quality still lags. Its photos don’t match the level of those taken by other flagships, which have made great strides in recent years.
Noticeably, night shots have too much noise. To make matters worse, images also lack detail, frequently feature incorrect exposure, and suffer from abnormally cold colors and incorrect white balance. Overall, the photos are average. While this is still an improvement over the One M8, it’s still far from the best.
The HTC One M9 has been given a slight software upgrade as well. In addition to Lollipop, it has the latest HTC Sense UI. The updates are minor, but still useful.
The best addition is a new capacitive key that can join the trio typical of Android handsets. This key removes the capacitive key bar, freeing up more screen real estate. A simple swipe up from the bottom of the display brings the key bar back.