The biggest challenge the HTC One M9 has to face is the fact that its predecessor such a good phone. HTC cornered the market with the release of the One M8 with its beautiful design and great screen, although didn’t pack the punch when it came to its camera. The M9 for example holds a 20.7MP camera, a vast improvement upon the M8’s. But is this enough to make already M8 fans run to the stores to pick one up, or has it been designed to bring new customers aboard the HTC One train.

The HTC One M9 is packaged nicely in a neat white stylish box. It comes with an AC adapter, headphones and a USB cable. All are relatively small so you’re not lugging around huge accessories with you if you’re on the move.

The phone itself is made from a brushed aluminium which feels extremely substantial.. It looks and feels great although due to its smooth body, the M9 can feel kind of slippery in the hand. It sits at 9.6mm thick, slightly thicker than the M8. There is a two-tone design of gold and silver going on with the M9 which is a strange but desirable effect. It looks superb.

Inside is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 CPU running at 1.5GHz. Backing that up is an Adreno 430 GPU and 3GB RAM. Quite a powerful phone. There has been some speculation about whether or not it would melt in your hand if put through any kind of power-hungry apps. We have not found this to be true. The phone has stayed cool all throughout use.

There is already 32GB of onboard storage to take advantage of which is on par with some of the other top-tier phones on the market. The added microSD card slot offers up to 128GB more space from the use of a microSD card. This is substantially cheaper than going for a huge storage device from another manufacturer such as Apple and Samsung.

The popular BoomSound speakers are back offering the best sound from any mobile phone on the market. The BoomSound speakers consist of two front facing stereo speakers that can playback everything on your phone from ringtones to YouTube videos. They’re not very loud, but they’re designed to give you a richer sound with music. Dolby sound mode enables you to set the speakers to what you’re watching. Movies makes the sounds larger, while the music setting makes the sound richer and gives a better tone.

HTC have decided to stick with their HD technology for the M9, simply because of screen size. At 5.0″ there really is no need to cram any extra pixels in there. The M9 does have a pixel density of 441dpi, which is still way ahead of Apple’s 326dpi. There are some added improvements such as viewing angles and glare problems you had with the M8. The M9’s colours are a lot more natural as well which is great for watching movies through Netflix.

This time around HTC are running Android 5.0 Lollipop. There are a few things with the HTC interface that Android users may not be too familiar with such as the up and down scrolling menu system and the Blinkfeed rolling news feed on your home screen. Previous HTC users will feel right at home with the HTC Sense Android overlay.

Battery life is actually quite good considering its screen size and internal spec. A full tank of juice will easily last a day and also leave you with a good chunk of power left for the next morning. Surprising seeing as most Android phones are now barely pushing a day’s use.

The 20.7MP camera takes some beautiful snaps which we have displayed below for you. The front facing UltraPixel camera can also take some very sharp selfies, although we haven’t included our ugly mugs in the review for censorship reasons, we wouldn’t want to put you off TechNuovo. The UltraPixel marketing name really just means 4-megapixels with a large megapixel sensor. However, it works, and we were impressed with the quality of the results we got. There is a full set of manual controls which control shutter speed, aperture and ISO levels as well as exposure metering. A nice touch to a mobile phone camera and a way to get more creative with your Instagram snaps. Video is shot at full HD. All the photos we took were using the auto settings on the HTC One M9.

Overall I liked the HTC One M9. I wouldn’t say it’s a huge improvement over the older One M8, but there are some features of the M9 that really shine through. It also keeps everything we loved from the M8 too such as its performance, great camera and flawless design. The BoomSound speakers making a return just adds fuel to the fire. It’s a stunning phone, and definitely one I would consider upgrading to. They are available from Vodafone on 24-month contracts.

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Stef Murphy

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