New Delhi, Aug 19 - South Korean electronics giant Samsung's India arm on Wednesday launched…
It all started with the HTC One in 2013, HTC’s romance with metal (brushed aluminium) hasn’t stopped since. In a smartphone space (flagships included) cluttered with plastic and glass, HTC’s flagships have been the shining (pun intended) exception. Apple fanboys have dubbed them the iPhone of the Android world (obviously a back-handed compliment). The HTC One M8 was the perfect follow up and HTC looks all set to dominate the design sweepstakes with the HTC One M9+. With the S6, and the LG G4 almost around the corner a mouth-watering battle is brewing on planet Android.
The One M9+ has been unveiled mainly for India and China (it’s odd, some industry experts still like to refer to them as emerging markets) while US and Europe have already seen the debut of the One M9 with a slightly smaller screen and without HTC’s trademark Duo camera. First things first, the HTC One M9+ feels every inch the premium device we have now come to expect from them. The brushed aluminium chassis gets a slight reboot – a unibody back with contrasting polished edges. It’s gorgeous but it’s not a major departure from the HTC One M8. HTC chooses to play safe at a time when competitors like Samsung and Apple have opted for radical makeovers. The power button, volume rockers and Micro SD card are lined up along the top half of the left spine while the Micro SIM slot sits on the left corner. The home key in the bottom centre also doubles up as a fingerprint reader – now a must-have feature for flagships that come with a stiff price tag. Just like the HTC One M8, this device also makes room for an expandable memory slot; comforting. We were disappointed not to see a camera hot key, one of the redeeming features on the HTC Desire Eye.
What we didn’t like
The other change is the slightly expanded real estate – 5.2 inches, which makes the device just a tad heavier (168g). The larger screen is one of the noticeable improvements in the HTC One M9. With a pixel ratio of 1440x2560p and a scorching 565 pixels per inch (PPI) density, it joins the Samsung S6 in a league of extraordinary mobile phone displays. Watching videos and web browsing are sheer pleasure; add the One M9+’s sensational speakers and you have a pocketable entertainment powerhouse.
While the HTC One M9 (not available in India) ditches HTC’s ultra cool Duo camera, the One M9+ opts to stick to this clear differentiator. The duo Camera’s two coolest tricks are the ‘unfocus’ option – which allows you to render DSLR type ‘depth of field’ images and Zoom blur which adds energy to images. It’s the same list of camera tweaks we saw on the HTC One M8. The One M9+ opts for a 20MP shooter, finally letting go of HTC’s tryst with the ultrapixel cameras on the One and the One M8. Images are quite spectacular across lighting scenarios but the mobile camera to beat still remains the Samsung S6 (and the Edge).
The One M9+ might not have a radically new form factor but it has upped its hardware game by some measure.
HTC manages a hat-trick of sorts with the HTC One M9+; the device trumps with its superior build quality and user interface (which is still the best Android custom UI). The 5.2 display is quite spectacular while the camera won’t let you down easily. If there’s one thing other than the average battery life that might hurt this device it is a sense of déjà-vu (Especially if you already own a HTC One M8) at a time when fickle consumers are always seeking a brand new experience.