HTC One A9: Nothing much to cheer about
The HTC One A9, released during late 2015, captured our eyeballs with regard to the handset running Google’s newer Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) operating platform. We were eager to test out the performance of this phone, as it combines both the HTC flagship nature as well as the Google Marshmallow. Hence, we decided to procure the smartphone and subject it to multiple performance tests.
Design and Display
The HTC One A9 features a full metal body, in a unibody design, seemed to us to be very much similar to the Apple iPhone 6S. As far as dimensions are concerned, the HTC One A9 measures 145.8 x 70.8 x 7.3 mm and weighs in at a comparatively light 143 grams. At the back, the primary camera can be found predominantly at the center, rather than towards the upper end.
When we positioned the HTC One A9 in one hand, the phone despite its glossy unibody design seemed a pleasure to hold (in one hand) with a firm grip without having to worry about the smartphone slipping away. This was true even when we tested out the HTC One A9 during the move as well. On the right hand side, we could easily find the volume and power keys. On the left, there are the microSD and SIM card slots respectively. Located below are the microUSB and headphone jack ports.
One important aspect of the HTC One A9’s design is that it offers Fingerprint sensor integration with the Home button, but users can also disable this integration manually. We could record 5 fingerprints within the custom fingerprint database to unlock the handset via fingerprints. The HTC One A9, during our testing, responded well to gestures that activate the phone’s display. As far as the actual display is concerned, the HTC One A9 comes with a comparatively smaller 5-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen that has resolution of 1080 x 1920 along with pixel density of approximately 441 ppi.
This display is covered by an external Gorilla Glass 3 protector. The touchscreen supports both Multitouch as well as 16 Million colors. During our testing, the display of the HTC One A9 rendered comparatively sharp images along with richly highlighting all the essential colors. The Blacks are properly highlighted, whereas the white balance is near perfect. In summary, we were quite impressed with the rendering of content on the screen.
Processor and Memory
Under-the-hood, the HTC One A9 incorporates a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 SoC that comprises of a 1.5 GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 and 1.2 GHz quad-core Cortex-A53 CPUS and an Adreno 405 GPU. Due to the Snapdragon 617 SoC, the HTC One A9 offers the most expected Quick Charge 2.0 functionality.
During our testing, in a multitasking/multi-app environment, we could not observe performance lags; our testing also involved tasks like creation/editing of Office documents. Other intensive tasks such as video streaming were comparatively slower, but not bad. Even games, involving extensive graphics such as Asphalt 8: Airborne and Asphalt: Overdrive played well even more than expected; to be honest. The HTC One A9 comes in two internal storage variants viz. 16/32 GB which in turn come with 2/3GB RAM respectively working in tandem with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor. The internal storage can be expanded till 256 GB with the help of an external microSD card.
The HTC One A9 features a 13 MP rear camera; and a 4 MP front snapper. The rear camera also offers a dual-LED flash unit. During our testing, we could capture fairly good shots of nature and wildlife in daylight. But imagery/photography in low-light conditions was a disappointment as pixellation and external noise took centre-stage even in the case of photos captured with the dual-LED flash on. The 4 MP snapper at the front, is restricted more to video calls rather than capture selfies.
The HTC One A9 runs Google Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) operating platform. The phone is eligible to receive the newer Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow) firmware update due to seed shortly. The HTC Sense UI custom interface also runs on top of the Android 6.0 OS. On-screen navigation seemed intuitive, but a tad slow-paced. Even aspects such as opening-up of multiple menus, scrolling through the open menus, and in-phone navigation and the speed seemed to be on par with current flagship smartphone standards.
Exclusive Android Marshmallow-only aspects such as Google Now on Tap, Predictive Input worked up to our expectations. The overall user interface (UI) is colorful and smooth. Then there is the BlinkFeed that streams news feeds dynamically based on user preference.
The HTC One A9 is powered by a 2150 mAh Lithium-Ion battery that is fixed. During our testing, testing, the battery offered backup lasting for nearly a whole day, however resorting to half-an-hour of gaming reduced the battery life considerably and it dropped down to less than half a day.
Watching movies within the phone deteriorated the battery life even further. A redeeming aspect, here, is the Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 technology that charged up the battery by almost 60% in 30 minutes of charge.
The HTC One A9’s performance came across as very average, without too much extravaganza. Its metal unibody design is good to flaunt; but virtually nobody would prefer a smartphone to just flaunt.