My post 1 week review of the M9

Habiib

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I've recently upgraded to the M9 coming from the HTC One Max. I’m still within my 14-day return period, but I’ve had more than enough time to decide if the M9 is the best device for me based on my usage. I’ll go ahead and cover my observations based on certain categories that are of most importance to me.

Battery Life (Like It)

The battery life is better than I expected and will easily last me all day with some to spare. I’m averaging about 4.5 hours SOT. So far I have not found myself hunting for a power source before I get home. Also the quick charging is a nice feature to have though it can warm the phone up a little.

Performance (Love It)

The Sense 7 UI is as smooth and functional as ever and I’ve not had instances of force closures, non-responsive apps, delays, etc with the native nor core Google apps. I’ve not had performance issues with task switching, gaming, etc. Also I think something is wrong with my M9 because it hasn’t overheated yet.

Display (Could be better)

I’m not too pleased with one aspect of the display. It has nothing to do with the resolution, brightness, or outdoor visibility. All of those qualities are very good to my eyes. However (and this is nitpicking), the color temperature calibration is driving me insane, especially when it comes to taking pictures in manual mode. It makes it almost impossible to get the white balance to match what the eye sees, since the display is so far off to begin with.

Audio (Love it)

This is HTC’s best iteration of BoomSound to date. The headphone output is ridiculously good and I was pretty impressed with the internal amplifier and the BoomSound audio processing when engaged. The external speakers too are the best sounding I’ve heard so far. I’ll also add that the Theater Mode really allows the Dolby processing to shine.

Camera (Could be better)

I’ll preface this by saying that I do shoot with a FF DSLR on a regular basis. Also, under no circumstances will I ever take pictures using a smartphone camera for any reason other than posting to social media or adding as an attachment to text messages. I would never print images taken with a smartphone nor view the images at 100% crop on my monitors.
With that said, I find the rear facing camera to be decent to good under the right lighting conditions. In lowlight indoor environments, it isn’t something that I’d bother with, unless I’m using the flash. I’m pleased with how the flash performs in lowlight settings. It seems that HTC has learned how to tune the flash output as to not overpower the subject. The front facing camera gives good results and the Ultrapixel tech really shines in low light environments. I will say I’m glad that HTC addressed a common issue with the M8 and added sapphire glass to cover the rear camera.

Video (Hate It)

This is a functionality that I would personally use on a smartphone before I would use it on my DSLR and is of great importance to me. When I’m out with my family and or friends, 9 times out of 10 I’d use the video recording capability before taking stills. The M9’s video recording prowess needs a lot of work that I doubt HTC has the time or resources to address them. The aggressive metering/exposure compensation, inconsistent bitrate, schizo autofocus, poorly implemented image stabilization all result in a very mediocre experience. The metering and exposure adjustment are so strong, that even under ideal lighting conditions, the experience is ruined due to the exposure changing too fast when the focal point changes (unless AF/AE lock is engaged). In lowlight, the video quality is too underexposed to be saved even by engaging the flash. My anger with HTC is that this behavior has been observed by me since the EVO 3D days and I am confused as to why they haven’t changed or improved it.

Build Quality (Love it)

Not much else to say, other than the materials and craftsmanship (not to be confused with design) is the best I’ve seen to date for any smartphone (IMO). Every square inch is constructed with absolute perfection. I can’t think of any other phone with better build than the M9.

Conclusion

I can say for sure that I will be keeping the M9. Had I strictly gone off of the reviews, I probably would not have even bothered looking at the M9. Once I owned it and used it for myself, then I realized that all of my apprehensions were way overblown. Not to mention that I feel a lot of the reviewers were being glorified drama queens all because it didn't live up to the leaked renders. The battery life for me isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, the BoomSound sounds better than I thought it would, the Sense 7 UI is the best iteration ever (which at first I thought the time spent adding the themes was a waste of time). The user experience has been very good for me (sans my complaints about the video recording).

I feel that best aspects of the M9 are:

  • Media consumption (audio in particular)
  • UI Performance
  • UI Customization
  • UI social networking integration
  • Build quality
  • Call quality

However, when it comes to the best display, I'll give that title to Samsung. When it comes to the best battery life, no one comes close to Sony. That’s it for me.
 
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firedfoxd

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something i like to point out, coming from the M7.

i don't know if it is lollipop or just sense 7 but on my verizon m7 everytime i will touch the picture of my last call or just when searching the contact list from the dial pad to make the call and hit their picture it will automaticly make the call.
now on the m9 i touch the picture and i have to still need to push the "call" key for the call to start.

a little annoying
 

bhatech

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Good points made, but have to disagree that reviewers were glorified drama queens. They were right in criticizing HTC for mediocre camera (current standards set by S6, iPhone 6) since we expect the best for phone with flagship price. Overheating yeah haven't seen it other than getting warm which most phones get.

I agree with almost everything you said and I'm keeping the M9 as well because I'm OK with certain limitations partly because I own multiple phones :) .. but I do get why many of them are disappointed as well.
 

anon(5630457)

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Excellent review. Now, I've only had my M9 for 12 hours or so, but I can tell already that I'll be keeping the phone. I absolutely love it. I have been downloading apps and playing games on it all day and I haven't noticed any overheating issues. I think they were blown way out of proportion. As for the rear camera, I have no problems with it. I don't take a lot of photos and the test photos I did take today were okay. If I wanted a high-quality camera, I'd get a Canon.

Posted from my HTC One M9.
 

n8nagel

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Thanks for the info. I've posted elsewhere but since you did such a nice review I'll summarize my thoughts here so people searching can get the info they need to make a decision all in one place.

I am apparently not a typical smart phone user. I typically use my phone primarily for running Waze as I drive a lot; so functionality in the car is important to me. I do use the camera essentially as a cheap utility device, I'm not trying to take "great" pictures, I'm usually trying to take pictures to document something for work, so as long as it works, I'm happy.

So out of the box the phone is apparently a big step up from my last phone, a Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE (there's a mouthful!) which worked splendidly for my needs but I'm assuming that it was software and app updates had taxed it to the point where it was just so slow and unresponsive to be essentially unusable. I ended up buying the HTC One M9 in a hurry and without testing it in store because while several local Sprint stores had them on display, none of them were functional (!) I was breaking a fundamental rule of mine but I found myself needing to stay in touch with people reliably and my old phone simply wasn't cutting it.

First of all, as you'd expect, the phone only ships with an AC charger and Micro USB cable. So you'll need a rapid car charger to use this in a car. I'll have to pick up one of those, because my old Motorola charger barely keeps the battery level constant while running Waze with the screen on low brightness. With the screen brightness on "automatic" the battery will slowly discharge. So this is a "must have" accessory.

Additionally, it appears that there is no official car kit for this phone. This is a HUGE drawback for me as I was used to just slapping my old Photon into the mount and having it automatically go into car mode, hit the Waze button and I'm going. I'm still quicker now plugging the phone in, sitting it in the ashtray, and manually starting Waze than I was waiting for the Photon to do its thing toward the end, but it is still not convenient. If you look on HTC's web site, they do sell a universal car dock, but for $50 I shouldn't have to manually insert a cable after placing my phone in it. Hopefully this will be rectified soon.

Additionally, I've found that my last two phones (both Motorola) apparently had dual radios while the HTC One M9 does not. What this means is apparently until Sprint gets their act together with VoLTE I will be unable to use data while on the phone. This means that I don't get real time updates from Waze if I have to make a phone call while driving. Again, a real drawback.

Possibly due to the metal case, I seem to drop connection in marginal areas more often than I did with the Photon, but then again, Motorola pretty much is the top of the class when it comes to radios.

Overall, I'm happy with the phone, and it does appear to be a stylish, rugged piece of equipment, but the lack of what I consider crucial accessories and the lack of data while talking do kind of put a few points against this phone. Just some things to think about and look at if you're comparison shopping for a new phone and your usage aligns with mine.
 

trsbbs

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Overall, I'm happy with the phone, and it does appear to be a stylish, rugged piece of equipment, but the lack of what I consider crucial accessories and the lack of data while talking do kind of put a few points against this phone. Just some things to think about and look at if you're comparison shopping for a new phone and your usage aligns with mine.

Someone posted that turning on "Advanced Calling" allows data/voice usage. . I haven't checked it out, just saying...

Posted with my HTC One M9 via Verizon...
 

n8nagel

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Someone posted that turning on "Advanced Calling" allows data/voice usage. . I haven't checked it out, just saying...

Posted with my HTC One M9 via Verizon...

I saw that post, I believe that that user was on Verizon (or was it AT&T?) In any case that option is apparently not available for Sprint users.
 

Altema22

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I saw that post, I believe that that user was on Verizon (or was it AT&T?) In any case that option is apparently not available for Sprint users.
And that is the biggest reason why I did not switch to Sprint a few months ago. I've had data+voice for years on AT&T, and need it for my job when I got to a remote site and they have no network (because I'm there to fix it). It's a carrier issue.
 

Altema22

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Possibly due to the metal case, I seem to drop connection in marginal areas more often than I did with the Photon, but then again, Motorola pretty much is the top of the class when it comes to radios.

Did you have the same carrier as your Moto? I know Motorola has good radios, but my wife and I get signal where previous phones had no service. This is on the M8, but I believe the antenna design is identical to the M9. Those poly-carbonate bands on the back are for antenna signal.
 

Habiib

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Good points made, but have to disagree that reviewers were glorified drama queens. They were right in criticizing HTC for mediocre camera (current standards set by S6, iPhone 6) since we expect the best for phone with flagship price. Overheating yeah haven't seen it other than getting warm which most phones get.

I agree with almost everything you said and I'm keeping the M9 as well because I'm OK with certain limitations partly because I own multiple phones :) .. but I do get why many of them are disappointed as well.

I too understand that they will have a certain opinion about the M9. However, when they allow their bias or disappointment to dictate the tone of their review, that's when I question their motives.

For a reviewer to persistently mention how underwhelmed they are throughout the entire article, instead of taking everything about the device at face value and not allow their feelings to influence their ratings, is less than admirable. I've lost count of how many times I've read or heard a reviewer mentioned that the design of the M9 is virtually unchanged and the tone of the article takes a nose dive from that point on.

The double standard I've read about the design of the M9 being long in tooth, is confusing. I'm not saying this to discredit the S6 (which Samsung did an amazing job with), but the design language for the non-edge variant is hardly a departure from that of the S5/4/3. Yet, it doesn't receive the same amount of criticism of the M9. Also, before anyone chimes in about how the S6 uses more premium materials compared to its predecessor, let's not confuse term design with the build of a device. They are not synonymous with each other and reference two completely different aspects of a device.

Posted via the Android Central App
 

Phil Nickinson

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I too understand that they will have a certain opinion about the M9. However, when they allow their bias or disappointment to dictate the tone of their review, that's when I question their motives.

For a reviewer to persistently mention how underwhelmed they are throughout the entire article, instead of taking everything about the device at face value and not allow their feelings to influence their ratings, is less than admirable. I've lost count of how many times I've read or heard a reviewer mentioned that the design of the M9 is virtually unchanged and the tone of the article takes a nose dive from that point on.

The double standard I've read about the design of the M9 being long in tooth, is confusing. I'm not saying this to discredit the S6 (which Samsung did an amazing job with), but the design language for the non-edge variant is hardly a departure from that of the S5/4/3. Yet, it doesn't receive the same amount of criticism of the M9. Also, before anyone chimes in about how the S6 uses more premium materials compared to its predecessor, let's not confuse term design with the build of a device. They are not synonymous with each other and reference two completely different aspects of a device.

Posted via the Android Central App

I think reviewers get bored. And simply saying that HTC should have done something totally new JUST BECAUSE shows a lack of creativity on the writer's part. Completely agree that improving on the M8 design is hardly a bad thing. (It can't be a bad thing!)

And, in fact, I think the M9's a hell of a lot easier to hold than the GS6. How's that a bad thing, then?
 

Habiib

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Also when a writer starts off a review like this, you know that the review is damned already. Taken from Droid-life

The One M9 is HTC’s third attempt at this whole all-metal design thing that they think is a major selling point. It’s also their third attempt at getting a camera right, selling us on why we need BoomSound in our lives, and why you should actually buy into this phone and HTC’s ecosystem, since most of you haven’t been

Seriously, how can anyone not read this and tell that the writer has an axe to grind since the renders never became a reality.

This is a tired design on a line of phones that once stood for almost everything we wanted in a phone. Today, it feels dated, looks dated, and comes with new flaws and issues that weren’t asked for while other areas that needed change are left unaddressed.

And of course, HTC and its “HTC black bar” are back again this year. They will tell you time and time again that this phone needs that black area to hide or house important pieces of the phone, but we all know that’s code for “We didn’t want to spend the money to re-do the phone’s entire design even if it is a major eye-sore and flaw.”

It's sad that there are readers who believe this stuff and swear that they are right, as if they have inside knowledge of the planning process. These same readers will take the nonsense from this writer, run with it, and troll every site under heaven with the same vomit.
 

anon(5630457)

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I think reviewers get bored. And simply saying that HTC should have done something totally new JUST BECAUSE shows a lack of creativity on the writer's part. Completely agree that improving on the M8 design is hardly a bad thing. (It can't be a bad thing!)

And, in fact, I think the M9's a hell of a lot easier to hold than the GS6. How's that a bad thing, then?

This is the best comment I have seen about the M9.
 

ollieg

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Wrapping up week two. The M9 is really really nice. It fits better in the hand than the M8 looks better, sounds better, Sense 7 is great, theming is fun.

And the amount of grief the camera endures. As someone who prefers to control focus and exposure (and doesn't trust any camera's auto mode) I'm finding the camera extremely capable of taking great photographs. Its dusk photography is able bring in more light than the eye sees. In the dark focus tends to be on a spot I'm not interested in, but why would expect to take a photo where there isn't any light?

This phone is mine.
 

n8nagel

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Did you have the same carrier as your Moto? I know Motorola has good radios, but my wife and I get signal where previous phones had no service. This is on the M8, but I believe the antenna design is identical to the M9. Those poly-carbonate bands on the back are for antenna signal.

Yes, both on Sprint.

I'm starting to wonder, however, if the Moto was crashing so much because it was losing signal and the M9 is just handling it more gracefully.

I'm also starting to wonder if Sprint is actually getting *worse* coverage wise than they used to be and that I'm making a mistake sticking with them.
 

ram1220

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Yes, both on Sprint.

I'm starting to wonder, however, if the Moto was crashing so much because it was losing signal and the M9 is just handling it more gracefully.

I'm also starting to wonder if Sprint is actually getting *worse* coverage wise than they used to be and that I'm making a mistake sticking with them.


I have been with Sprint for just over 5 years. Sprint is getting worse. I am finished with them come October when my contract expires.
 

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