Performance & Battery Life
It’s the spec sheet that relegates the HTC One A9 to “second flagship” status, behind the One M9. It sports Qualcomm’s SoC Snapdragon 615 with four Cortex-A53 cores running a 1.5 GHz clock and four Cortex-A53 cores running a 1.2 GHz clock. Its graphic system is also a notch below the best, an Adreno 405. The 16 GB model has 2 GB of RAM, while the 32 GB unit has 3 GB of RAM. Keep in mind that this Android smartphone can be expanded with microSD cards.
In practice, One A9 offers complete fluidity, even loaded up with apps. Some high-end games and other demanding apps may fire up faster and run smoother on more powerful hardware, but they perform well enough on the A9. The HTC One A9 offers a satisfactory experience, especially considering its mid-range status.
Its battery is a different story. It will require charging every night, and last an entire day with average use. It’s sufficient, but many other smartphones are better. On the other hand, the phone’s connectivity praiseworthy – it’s a global phone, supporting all active LTE signals.
As of this writing, this is the only mid-range device with Android OS 6.0 (Marshmallow), which HTC modified it by adding its recognizable Sense UI 7.0. Overall, it’s an incremental update from Lollipop, with one exception: microSD cards can be mounted as internal storage. This is probably why HTC added 3 GB of RAM to the 32 GB version. Without it, there’s no reason to spend more for internal storage capacity.
The phone does not feature much crapware, which is a good thing. All the familiar Google applications are here (Chrome, Docs, Drive, Gmail, Hangouts, Keep, Maps, Photos, Play Music, Play Store, Sheets and Slides). HTC’s useful additions include a file manager, flashlight and FM radio app.
The Sense UI is not that intrusive, and it features an interesting option for changing the home screen based on the user’s location. For instance, when at work, the One A9 home screen may feature productivity apps and work email, while at home it shifts to entertainment apps and personal messaging. The Sense UI also includes BlinkFeed, a special display that combines news and social media notifications.
HTC took its formerly rear, 4-megapixel, UltraPixel camera and put it on the front as the selfie camera. This is a more appropriate solution. A “live makeup” option helps to achieve above average results.
The rear-facing camera is now significantly better thanks to its 13-megapixel resolution, BSI sensor, OIS, and f/2.0 lens. A “Pro” mode even offers users granular controls for composting shots.
Images taken at both day and night have plenty of detail, a good dynamic range, and excellent contrast. The colors are vivacious and precise, while white only the onboard flash throws off the whites. The night shots are a bit noisy, however.