HTC One M9

Now that we've got our massive HTC One M9 review out the door, it's time to step back and take a top-down view. Because for as much as we care about the details, we get that it can be a bit much. And there are few important things about the M9 that help define it as a smartphone, as well as help put it in context with everything else that's out there — and with what's to come.

So here, now, are the top five things you need to know about the HTC One M9.

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This is a beautiful, solid phone

HTC One M8 and HTC One M9

If there's one thing HTC knows how to do, it's design and manufacturer beautiful products. The M9 is its third flagship phone to be milled out of solid aluminum, and it's easily the best thus far. It's slightly smaller than last year's M8 and definitely easier to hold. The gold trim is subtle but still stands out. And the total package is just even more put together than the M8.

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The BoomSound speakers are just a tad quieter than last year. And we're just hoping the new finish on the M9 — it's more matte now — stands up to the test of time better than our M8 has.

The Snapdragon 810 processor is just fine

HTC One M8 and M9

The Internet had itself a bit of a freak-out over the Snapdragon 810 processor that's being used in the HTC One M9. (It's also used in the LG G Flex 2.) Early press stories and the odd blog post with pre-production hardware and software definitely didn't help things. So what did we find? Allow ourselves to quote ... ourselves. From our review:

The result on the M9? Pretty much nothing. I could feel the phone heat up some, but not to anywhere near what anyone would reasonably call uncomfortable, let alone dangerous. It simply did not happen under what is considered normal, if not solid, use. Not even enough cause for concern to even worry about taking its temperature.

Someone will try to melt their M9. And if you see an infrared video of it looking obviously hotter the other phones, remember sixth-grade science class — metal conducts heat better than plastic. Of course it'll look hotter. Our experience with production hardware and newer software simply showed heat to be a non-issue.

The software is solid, but the home screen's not for everyone

HTC One M9 home screen

The new Sense 7 shakes things up a little bit by including a predictive, adaptive widget by default. That is, there's a big widget on the home screen that tries to learn which apps you use at home, at work and when you're on the go, and then surface them to the top throughout the day. If you're the type who configures your own home screen, then this "Sense Home Widget" isn't for you. (Same goes for the "Downloads" and "Suggestions" folders within.)

The good news is it's a widget, so you can just kill it off the home screen. Or, install a new launcher app from Google Play.

More on the HTC One M9 hardware

HTC's new themes are excellent

HTC One M9 themes

There's a whole new theming community to go along with the M9, and it's excellent. It takes just a couple taps to browse, download and apply a new theme, which can swap out your wallpaper and fonts, apply new icon styles and ringtones — and even change up the on-screen buttons at the bottom of the phone. (Want planets down there? No problem.)

Once you've applied a theme, you can change it up however you want. (It'd be nice if you could do that first — select what you want to apply.) You also can use the theme maker and contribute to the community.

Check out HTC's theme site

The new camera is just OK, and actually a little disappointing

HTC One M9 camera

Here's the thing about the M9 camera: You're going to be able to get some perfectly fine shots with it. In a vacuum, it's fine. But the M9 will live on shelves alongside the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6, which are two of the best at imagery. And LG and Sony aren't far behind. And while all of those manufacturers have been improving the cameras, HTC in the M9 seems to have struggled to just keep up with last year's M8.

If camera quality is that important to you, you might need to look elsewhere.

More on the HTC One M9 camera

Check out our HTC One M9 forums!

HTC One M9 forums

We've got plenty to say on the M9. But perhaps more important is what you have to say. And we've got more than 2.5 million members in our forums who have just as many opinions about things. So head on in and ask questions. Or provide answers. Our forums are a great place to start for any smartphone.

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Check out these top HTC One M9 accessories!

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