Ever since the first leaks of the HTC One A9 appeared, it's been apparent that HTC's new "hero" device looks just a tad familiar. Between the curved aluminum chassis design, antenna cutouts and camera design, there's a definite resemblance to Apple's current iPhone models. So with the A9 now officially official (go check out our hands-on preview, by the way), we've united these two handsets for a quick side-by-side comparison.
There's no denying the resemblance between these two phones. But as we note in our initial preview, there are two sides to the story —
Ask HTC and it'll tell you the A9 is an amalgam of many of its previous designs. The subtle brushed texture present on the back of the device can be traced back to the M8, while the polished sides mirror those of the M9. HTC's being doing plastic antenna lines in metal phones since the M7. And the raised, centrally-placed rear camera? Kinda reminiscent of the China-centric One E9 from earlier in the year.
And yet show the A9 to the average person on the street and they'll tell you it looks like an iPhone 6 or 6s, pointing out the overall shape, antenna lines, camera design, tapered glass edges, LED flash design and port placements. It's a disservice to call the A9 a straight-up clone of the iPhone — and HTC would likely find itself in hot water even if it were — but there are undeniable similarities.
So how do they actually feel in-hand? The HTC One A9 is less curvaceous than the iPhone, with sides that are slightly more angular, and sporting a reflective "two-tone" trim not unlike the One M9. As a result, it's a little easier to grip onto than the iPhone, even with its larger size. (The A9's 5-inch screen puts it somewhere in the middle of the regular and "Plus" iPhones.) Nevertheless, from a distance you'd be forgiven for mistaking the two.
This argument isn't going to be settled anytime soon.
Elsewhere, the antenna cutouts — necessary in any metal-bodied phone — wrap around the body of the A9, whereas Apple's are arranged in an enclosed layout. HTC has a plastic panel along the top of the A9 for additional RF visibility. The design and arrangement of ports is different too — though the same three are positioned on the bottom of both phones. And the camera, while sporting an iPhone-style polished metal trim, is smaller and centrally-located. Then there's the front-mounted fingerprint reader — a sensor that also doubles as a home key — though it's a capacitive button, not a clicky one like Apple's TouchID.
Let's also remember that the A9 isn't a flagship-level product for HTC, rather a less expensive "hero" phone with premium design elements. In the U.S. it'll sell for $399.99 unlocked, versus $649 for the cheapest iPhone 6s.
So you get the picture. For every iPhone-like similarity there's another HTC-unique design trait, and the two are targeted at different market segments. Nevertheless, HTC fans will argue that there are only so many ways to make a thin phone out of aluminum. And Apple fans will argue that this iconic design belongs to then. This argument isn't going to be settled anytime soon. In the meantime, take a look at our side-by-side shots below and decide for yourself.