HTC One M9 hands on and first impressions

Since I’m here in Barcelona for PhoneDog, I figured I should share some of the new devices with you on TmoNews as well. After all, all the flagships are making their way to the Magenta carrier a little later this Spring. And one of those is the much-leaked HTC One M9. In looks, it’s similar to its predecessors. It has the solid unibody metal design, the beautiful hairline brushed finished and the ergonomic curved back.

We hear the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” quite a lot, but with the new HTC One I feel that’s exactly the right motto. They’ve kept everything that was right: The big, clear display, the solid design, BoomSound and fast performance. And changed everything that wasn’t so hot: Camera, power button placement and battery life. As much as I can understand and feel the disappointment that nothing more revolutionary was announced, I do admire HTC for sticking to its principles. And, from first impressions, there’s very little not to like.


The phone feels fantastic in hand. And it’s noticeably less slippery than the last generation. The two-tone design is a very take-it-or-leave-it situation for me. But at least having different color edges to the rest of the body will help distinguish it from the M8. Corners are nicely rounded, and the curved back sits perfectly in the palm.

On the front is a 5-inch fullHD IPS LCD panel which looks just as good as last year’s. The content sort-of floats along the surface fluidly and quickly. And that’s thanks mostly to the new Snapdragon Octa-core 810 series processor. Just based on our initial hands-on, the phone operates really quickly. Response to gestures is instant, and there’s no noticeable lag or stutter that I’ve seen.

I didn’t get a chance to properly test the 20MP camera, but the shutter speed is really quick. The time between pressing the camera shutter icon on-screen and the photo being taken is the blink of an eye. It’s that fast. But we’ll need to spend more time with it to get a proper sense of what the new image sensor is like. Check out the hands-on video I posted on PhoneDog last night and let me know what you think of HTC’s latest flagship.

Tags: , , , , , ,

  • brybry

    Why would anyone get this when they can just pick up an m8.

    • Roger Sales

      Hopefully because of B2/12 LTE bands on board and voLTE.

      • J-Hop2o6

        LTE Band 2/4/12 & VoLTE confirmed by Tmo.

    • Derp Hurr-Durr

      You are joking, right?

      I cannot believe you asked that question seriously. I refuse to believe any human is that utterly clueless.

      Would you seriously ask why people by current model-year cars?

      • brybry

        No i’m dead serious. This is a minor upgrade to the M8 so why would people who already have the m8 jump to the m9. Looks pretty much identical. it has a faster processor but from the Verge review regarding the camera wasn’t that great. The biggest fail with the HTC phones were the camera so if that was a huge improvement i could see people jumping. But this doesn’t even do that.

        • KingofPing


          First post: “Why would anyone get this when they can just pick up an m8?”

          Second post: “why would people who already have the m8 jump to the m9.”

          What’s your stance here?

          From your initial post, you seem to be implying a person buying a new device (not already owning one) should get the M8 (Same price, lower specs, deserving of the “Derp” response.)

          From the second post, you’re talkin about upgrading – an entirely different scenario than the one posited in your initial post. You are attempting to support your initial stance by defending a completely different one…?

          Odd. Did you just word the first post badly??

          And…minor…? I guess it might be debatable in regards to upgrading an existing M8, but:

          Double the cores, 32/64 bit, 330 vs 430 GPU, huge memory-speed increases (9.33GBps to 25.6GBps)…just to name a few spec-bumps.

          One has to wonder what you would consider to be an “average” upgrade, much less a “major” one.

          I’ll be keeping my current M8 because it’s “fast enough”. If I were looking to buy right now, however, I would most definitely wait for the M9. (Two entirely different scenarios, you see…)

        • brybry

          Well my question/answer while vague was for both upgrades (jump) and new buyers. (But t-mobile you’re paying full price so essentially buying new).

          If you are on the m8 and eligible to jump~ would you jump to the M9?
          If you were buying new unsubsidized , would you spend $700+ bucks on this when the m8 can be had for probably half that price?

          Spec wise more ram, faster processor, 32bit to 64bit etc was all expected, but I don’t think gen pop notice that much of a difference from the m8 to the m9 performance wise especially since the M8 was a flagship that was pretty well spec’d out.
          If you’re a hardcore gamer possibly, but if you’re a hardcore gamer~ it definitely wouldn’t be on the phone.

          I just don’t think the M9 has the *buy/upgrade to me factor. If I was in the market for a flagship device, I don’t think the M9 would be on my list and if I were to consider the M9, I’d take a good look at the M8.

          This is all my opinion of course ;)

        • KingofPing

          “would you spend $700+ bucks on this when the m8 can be had for probably half that price?”

          I think we can logically assume most folks would rather buy new than used.

          “If I was in the market for a flagship device, I don’t think the M9 would be on my list”

          Out of curiosity, what flagship would? – because there is nothing out there right now that beats this by any margin greater than the one you seem to be implying is negligible between the M8/M9.

        • brybry

          Of course i’m talking new.
          M8 prices should drop further like the M7 did when the M8 was released. I wouldn’t be surprised to find the M8 between $300-400 bucks new.

          With the disappointment with the S6 and the M9, I may end up just picking up a Note 4 and calling it a day.

          Awesome Camera, top notch specs (currently out). best rated screen, and microsd slot + replaceable battery.

        • KingofPing

          ” I wouldn’t be surprised to find the M8 between $300-400 bucks new.”

          After about 6 months, perhaps. :)

          Wife loves her Note3, so I doubt you’ll go wrong with the 4. As I said, I think I’ll stick with the M8 – but if I were shopping, I would definitely be getting the M9….even if only to get Sense 7 first (Yeah, I know…I know…I’m probably one of the few who actually really like Sense).

        • TYLERDERK

          Note 4 is a great device, best Samsung ever made but some software glitches like camera not focusing has become an issue.

    • Erik Tyler

      I actually get your question. The overall user experience will be identical (like the M9 will really feel “faster” than the M8, which is already completely fluid). Sense 7 is also on its way to the M8. Same screen, same phone. The new rear camera is even getting poor reviews (and horrible low light reviews). I also think the sides look terrible on the M9 with that unfinished looking lip. I actually like the M8 better overall, which is a real shame.

      • dontsh00tmesanta

        band 12, volte 3gb ram and better cpu

        • Erik Tyler

          And 99.9% of users will notice no difference. At all. And the design is actually uglier (that lip!).

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          Better camera, which tons will notice!!!!!! Button on the side now!?!?!

        • Erik Tyler

          The camera is definitely better on paper, but it’s getting poor initial reviews (and horrible low light reviews). The side button is nice, but talk about a minor thing.

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          The camera performance 99% won’t notice. They will see high megapixel and side buttons. You said no one will notice but people will notice this dude.

        • Andrew Singleton

          Who uses buttons?? Double tap ftw!!!

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          99% of people do…….

      • Andrew Singleton

        I’m excited to see battery runtime tests

      • Guest

        Except in low light, my m8 camera steals the show

    • Andrew Singleton

      My m8 just saved me about $650!

  • 9to5Slavery

    They should of made the camera bigger

    • Andrew Singleton


      • 9to5Slavery

        that was sarcasm.

  • Adrayven

    The overheating issue was slander spread by Samsung .. they want to push their own SoC .. and thats how they play with competitors.. If you went to the CES 2015 Samsung table, they were mentioning the ‘overheating’ issue while pitching their own Exynos solution to vendors..

    Of course, Samsung was the only one who ‘experienced’ the overheating issue so .. there you go..

    • Roger Sales

      Pretty much every phone overheats when under pressure – personally after a while on FaceTime my iPhone 6 grows rather warm. There’s always going to be a way to throw a cheap shot at the competition.

  • Whiskers

    Although i’m disappointed HTC did’nt upgrade the front looks of the device like the earlier renders TMO showed above that had the finger scanner but it’s still a nice phone with nice specs and probably still be my next phone i upgrade to from my 925 .
    Not a big fan of touchjizz and Samsung products so that does’nt leave me much options at this moment for me .
    My wife has the Iphone , it’s ok but the only thing i like about Apple is facetime and that they make their phones light weight.

  • Allen Alberto Enriquez

    I love HTC One m9, samy looks so much like iPhone 6 just add Android wala they got themselves a samy wanna be iPhone 6 with a fancy big thumb button to differentiate, now its called “samy 6“ the next big copy of iPhone, I hope HTC one m9 can shit samy down at least once to show unique can still win the audiences around the world. Go HTC!

  • superg05

    Can’t tell from old ones

  • Jimmy James

    Car companies keep some models of a car looking the same for 7 years, but add some features, and fix some things. This is no different. Wasting money on new designs every year, only cost the customer more, as shown with the cost of the Galaxy Edge. I will probably buy the HTC One, but might wait for the LG G4 (supposedly coming out in April or late spring), as I want a slightly larger screen.

    • Andrew Singleton

      Take it from a pro: you DO NOT want non-native flash media in your device. Spend the cash on upgraded storage or cloud options. It will crash, its just a matter of time.

      • Jimmy James

        I purchased an ultra fast microSD card that is as fast as the phones internal storage. Not one of those cheap $9.99 cards. I use it mostly for Rhapsody and podcasts. I go to a park that has a so so signal, and need my music and podcasts downloaded offline. I have a wide taste in music and podcasts, so I have GBs of Rhapsody music and podcasts downloaded. No crashing or any other strange issues as you might see with low speed microSD cards. I’ve also found that keeping all of that data on the internal storage, slows my phone down. Moving it to the external microSD, helped noticeably.

  • David Coleman

    I need to know the LTE frequency bands!

    • J-Hop2o6

      2/4/12 (1900/1700/700A)

      • David Coleman

        Thank you!

        Not too many bands there…

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          meant for tmo

        • J-Hop2o6

          I didn’t list all LTE bands. Just saying that it works with all Tmo LTE bands.

  • kgraham182

    Nice article about the Microsoft Lumia 640/640XL. Few correction it has a 5″/5.7″ 720HD screen not FullHD, 8 MP/1 MP on the 640 and 13 MP/5MP cameras on the 640XL not 20MP, unfortunately it has Snapdragon 400 not 810 as stated but lag shouldn’t be noticeable as the OS is Windows.

    • ray

      Just a correction to this comment. This article is about the HTC M9, not a windows device.

  • Rob

    Looks like I’m keeping my Nexus 6 until the fall. All of the new phones are fails. Such a shame HTC didn’t launch a Plus model with a 2K screen as rumored.

  • inick1

    I like how a lot of phones coming to T-Mobile doesn’t have T-Mobile branding on the actual phone. I used to hate when I was a AT&T Customer seeing an AT&T Logo or Cingular Logo on the phone I got on Contract.

    • Andrew Singleton

      I like to show off T-Mobile

    • moose


  • Andrew Singleton

    I agree with your HTC enthusiasm but I think your imagination has got the best of you haha

    • Allen Enriquez

      Thanks Andrew yes my imagination defiantly got the
      Best of me i hope to see HTC making a completely new look within a year and that they have three variations low,mid & high end!