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Review: HTC One M9

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HTC has crafted a fine phone in the One M9, but it's not without significant shortcomings. The classy industrial design and leading-edge specs are impressive, no doubt. A single flaw, however, might sink the entire ship.

HTC refined last year's phone to make a more precisely-engineered piece of hardware. The M9 is made from top-grade materials and fitted together in impressive fashion. I'm not sold on the band that circles the outer edge of the phone, however, and wish HTC had differentiated the M9's design more. The phone has a great screen, and the cellular radio performed well on AT&T's network despite the lack of LTE and proper optimization. The BoomSound speakers sound great for both music and phone calls, and battery life is just about good enough for this class of device.

HTC's Sense 7 user interface mostly compliments Android 5.0 Lollipop, and it offers far more customization options than most other handsets on the market today. The phone is packed with media options, and the Peel app, with its remote control, is a nice tool to have in hand.

Sadly, the camera isn't up to par, at least not yet. (HTC hasn't said if it intends to tweak the camera further — we can only hope that it will.) Though HTC improved the sensor compared to the M7 and M8, it simply doesn't perform well enough with the current software. If imaging is important to you, stick to HTC's competitors.

Companies that only make one flagship smartphone per year can't afford to make mistakes. HTC is in a precarious position with the One M9. Flagships have to fire on all cylinders. While most aspects of the M9 are commendable, the poor camera seriously hinders this phone's chances in the market. For that reason alone, I am reluctant to recommend the M9 to anyone.

Our Ratings

Battery Life
Hardware Usability
Hardware Quality
Interface Speed
Audio Volume

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