HTC is making an attempt to flip its fortunes with the flagship One A9

HTC is trying to flip its fortunes with the flagship One A9

HTC has been retaining its courageous face on, however 2015 hasn’t been very sort. After releasing its excessive-finish One M9 to combined critiques, the Taiwanese telephone maker crept alongside to the purpose the place its market worth was value much less the sum of money it had in its coffers. Lengthy story brief, it has been a troublesome yr for HTC followers (and staff, for that matter). That is why HTC’s been engaged on one thing new — the One A9 — behind some not-so-closed doorways. Pre-orders for the unlocked model of this new hero gadget begin as we speak for $399/£429 forward of a launch within the first week of November, however what’s the firm truly bringing to the struggle?

The corporate insists that the A9 is a flagship telephone, however — for higher or worse — HTC skipped on the 800-collection Snapdragon chipsets it used earlier this yr. As an alternative, the A9 runs an octa-core Snapdragon 617, a sixty four-bit affair with 4 cores clocked at 1.5GHz and the others thrumming away at 1.2GHz. There will probably be a couple of variations of the A9 obtainable as it really works its means across the globe, however we’re solely getting the highest-tier mannequin with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of inner storage right here within the States. That will not be sufficient room for a lot of of you, however HTC continues to be dedicated to the entire expandable reminiscence factor so you’ll toss as much as a 2TB microSD card into the telephone’s left edge. Even higher, since this factor runs Android Marshmallow, you possibly can format the cardboard to behave as an extension of the A9’s correct, inner storage.

Talking of Marshmallow, Google’s new software program replace performs nicer with fingerprints for authentication and funds — fortunately the fingerprint sensor slightly below the display appears wonderful. All these battery issues in Android ought to assist the A9 and its 2,150mAh cell too, and it is already been surprisingly good (extra on that in our full evaluation). You will additionally discover a barely cleaner model of HTC’s customized Sense interface on sure fashions; theming and advised apps are nonetheless there, and the app launcher and core design parts nonetheless look acquainted. It is extra a problem of pre-loaded apps — HTC has carried out away with its personal Mail and Music apps, and needs customers to have the ability to delete service-put in apps too.

When you’ll indulge the flashback, there’s an virtually Droid Unimaginable vibe concerning the A9, and never simply due to its lean, hand-pleasant physique. The A9’s, 1080p display is HTC’s first AMOLED display in ages, with prior decisions skewing towards Tremendous LCD screens. Identical to the previous days, the display can be utilized in one in every of two methods — the default setup has brilliant, punchy colours for mass shopper attraction, however there is a extra correct sRGB mode for those who’re into that type of factor. There is no method we have been going to get a Quad HD display in a tool this small and that prices so little, however I have never had cause to complain.

HTC is trying to flip its fortunes with the flagship One A9

Nonetheless, there isn’t any denying this factor lacks a few of the niceties we obtained with this M9. Probably the most tragic loss? The entrance-dealing with audio system that have been an indicator of HTC’s BoomSound expertise; there’s one grille etched into the A9’s backside edge. Whereas it isn’t dangerous so far as single speaker setups go, it does not maintain a candle to the immersive sound we squeezed out of earlier flagships. The BoomSound aptitude hasn’t disappeared utterly, although — it simply advanced. Plugging in a pair of headphones triggers the included Dolby amplifier, including a bit of additional oomph and brightness most tracks I threw at it. You possibly can toss 24-bit tunes onto the A9 too in the event you’ve obtained any laying round; I am stocking up on them whereas we gear up for a full assessment. Throw in a thirteen-megapixel digital camera with actually snappy optical picture stabilization and a Professional Mode that helps RAW picture seize and we have got a strong competitor for the worth. Prefer it or not, although, HTC considers the A9 the flagship successor to the M9 and can exchange it utterly in some aggressive retail markets.

HTC is trying to flip its fortunes with the flagship One A9

And sure, the A9 is harking back to one other telephone, too — maybe disturbingly so. HTC is nicely conscious that individuals are calling the A9 an iPhone copy, and actually, who might blame them? The similarities — a rounded all-metallic chassis, a single speaker, the spherical digital camera setup (in comparison with the M9’s charming squircle) — are onerous to overlook. Particularly, the corporate is aware of the parallel placement of the A9’s polycarbonate antenna bands appears so much just like the iPhone 6’s, however HTC made these a factor first. In equity, there’s quite a bit happening right here that is does not really feel Apple-y in origin. The textured energy button provides some a lot wanted tactile distinction from the graceful quantity rocker above it, and HTC’s mastery of metallic shines with an plane-grade aluminum that has two distinct tactile feels on the A9’s again and sides. If there’s one factor HTC is aware of how one can do, it is learn how to construct a tool with impeccable match and end.

With the A9, HTC is doing plenty of insisting — it is a flagship, it is not an iPhone clone, and so forth. Finally, although, that is not their choice to make. It is ours. After a little bit of playtime, it is clear that HTC has had time to mirror on what they’re good at and what smartphone consumers need. The top result’s a telephone looks like a strong — if sort of protected — subsequent step for a corporation on the brink. What’s not clear is whether or not the A9 truly has the facility to win the hearts, minds and wallets wanted to revive HTC’s former glory.