The Samsung Galaxy S6 wasn’t the only major Android phone debut at the 2015 Mobile World Congress. On Sunday, the tech world was abuzz following the launch of the Galaxy S6 and the HTC One M9, the latter being the Taiwanese company’s own new flagship. But some believe that the One M9, which follows up last year’s successful One M8, may be worthy of the dreaded “evolutionary” tag that was also slapped on the Galaxy S5 when it debuted at last year’s MWC.
On the plus side, the HTC One M9 is still a beauty of a phone. HTC has never failed when it comes to designing smart, aggressive-looking flagship phones with personality. Then again, there isn’t much change to the lines and the curves of the One M9, making it especially difficult to differentiate from the One M8; we can argue that HTC is not fixing what isn’t broken, but a few more obvious changes would have been better. This is also something HTC has done by design, as it has stated that it wants to “build an icon” with a rather standardized and “widely appreciated” design, much like Volkswagen has done with the Beetle or Porsche with the 911, for instance; both cars, after all, still have the same basic design language decades after the first versions debuted.
While the HTC One M9 still comes with the same display size (5 inches) and the same display resolution (1080p), the good thing is that there have been some changes made to the device’s basic specs. The phone runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 64-bit chipset, while the rear camera is now a standard 20-megapixel shooter; the 4 Ultrapixel camera from the One M7 and One M8 can now be found in front.
In terms of features, the One M9 still comes with those BoomSound stereo speakers in front, while the back of the phone has a sapphire lens cover jutting out as a small, yet arguably important feature. The power button is now located on the side, which is consistent with earlier leaks hinting at some changes to feature placement.
MWC 2015 was chock full of hands-on reviews and observations from the tech world’s most popular and influential sites, and as we said above, the HTC One M9 hasn’t been a hit with everyone. The Verge was one of those publications submitting a critical review, and according to reviewer Vlad Savov, the feature placement changes were welcome, if not done perfectly; he felt the power button was located too low. The grip of the phone seemed to improve with some subtle changes to its lines and curves, and that also proved to be a strong point.
Still, The Verge’s Savov seemed to find the HTC One M9 to be a bit too evolutionary. While pleased with the camera changes, he stressed that “more megapixels don’t mean better images,” something that Apple has proven time and again with its iPhones. Comparing the One M9 to the iPhone 6, he added that he doesn’t find it “more desirable or ergonomic” than Apple’s current flagship. And when talking about software features as seen on the Sense 7 UX, Savov wrote that “there’s nothing here that would revolutionize the mobile user experience” or make consumers choose the One M9 over another high-end flagship.