Today's a pretty big day for Android smartphone fans, with the Samsung Galaxy S6 hitting stores as well as this guy — the HTC One M9. Two major Android smartphones hitting shelves on the same day. It's been quite some time since we can remember that happening. And a lot of folks are going to have a lot of tough decisions to make.
We've written a lot about the M9, but here we'll boil things down to their most basic for you. If nothing else, these are the things you must know about the HTC One M9.
Let's get to it.
1. What's good about the HTC One M9
If you're familiar with HTC's phones from the past couple years, you'll be right at home on the M9. It's got a large display that's not as high-resolution as some of the other phones out there, but it's plenty good. It's got a decent camera. And the design has been refined a little bit from last year's model, making the phone a joy to hold. It's just got enough heft to it as well.
But what really stands out both physically and when you're actually using the phone are the front-facing speakers. Known as "BoomSound," they change the your experience when playing games and watching videos or even listening to music on the phone. Ask someone why they use an M9 (or an M8 or an M7), and chances are the speakers will be one of the first things they rave about.
And HTC continues to have some of the best custom software you can find. Some of the included features we could take or leave, but the simple fact is the overall experience is fast, rock-solid and (carrier delays notwithstanding) generally receives system updates sooner rather than later.
2. What's not so good about the HTC One M9
You also can't get more than a few sentences into the HTC One M9 without talking about the camera. HTC's moved from an "UltraPixel" deal to a more traditional 20-megapixel sensor for the rear camera. While that increases the total resolution, it's led to a bit of a decrease in the quality of images, particularly in low light. It's not that you can't take some really good pictures with the M9, you're just going to get them more easily on other phones. The Auto mode just leaves us wanting.
And while we said the software is rock-solid, that's not to say there aren't features that leave us scratching our collective heads a little. The predictive widget on the home screen tries to figure out which apps you use at different times of the day, at home, work and when you're "Out." We finally just deleted it. Along with the "Suggested" apps folder, and the "Downloads" folder. We just kept going into the app drawer instead. Also, the design of the quick settings looks a bit tired. It's time for something new.
And a slightly more minor niggle is the display tech. It's tuned a bit blue this time around and just doesn't stand out the way it used to. Or maybe it's that other screens have gotten that much better.
3. Where to buy the M9
If you're looking to get your hands on the M9, you've been able to do so online for a few weeks now. You'll also be able to get it in stores (starting today) at all the major U.S. carriers and retailers. That includes, of course, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. You'll also be able to snag an M9 at big-box stores like Best Buy.
4. Top M9 discussions to check out
We could talk all day about the HTC One M9 — and on occasion we've done so. But some of the best discussion comes from you folks in our HTC One M9 forums. Here are a few threads we think you should check out:
5. The first M9 accessories to consider
Getting the M9 is just the beginning, of course. Now it's time to trick it out.
As the M9's battery life hasn't really blow us away, we're also big fans of this 10,000 mAh battery from Aukey. The big bonus here is it sports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 feature, so you'll be topped off in less time.
And speaking of quick charging, the M9 supports it but doesn't actually come with a quick charger, which is a bit ridiculous. We've taken a look at a few for the home and office, as well as some for the car.