Having delivered the first Android phone, the first Windows smartphone, the first 4G smartphone, and now the first all-metal smartphone—HTC has many firsts to its credit. The Taiwan-based firm’s devices have always captured people’s imagination with their high-end design, great specifications and powerful battery life, and their latest device (HTC One A9) carries that legacy forward. The new phone delivers a bold new choice for people who want an elegant design without compromising on style or performance. Basically, the A9 melds a good-looking design with the latest features of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It retails for Rs 29,990. Whether this phone will be well received by customers across metros, Tier-1 & Tier-2 towns and cities remains to be seen, let us check out some of its interesting features.
The A9 comes in Carbon Gray and Pearl Silver colours. Once in the hand, one can make out that the device’s new curves, refined edges and precision-cut ridges on the power button neatly combine with the super-thin metal frame giving the phone a natural and lightweight feel (it weighs 143g). Another point to be noted is that the A9 has an interesting fusion of metal and glass. Its 5-inch, edge-to-edge 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass, Full HD Amoled screen cascades into the metal frame, giving you bright and more vivid colours for a superior graphics and gaming experience, even in direct sunlight.
Few are aware but the A9 is the first non-Nexus smartphone powered by Android Marchmallow operating system. It features the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor with integrated X8 LTE and 64-bit octa-core CPUs. For an
ordinary person, it means that this new HTC phone will deliver a perfect balance of powerful performance, fast connectivity and better battery life.
More on the battery front: The A9 has been designed with all new power-saving capabilities to maximise battery life. Its new battery saving feature, Doze, automatically turns off power hungry applications when your phone is left idle, such as when charging overnight, while App Standby knows when an app open in the background isn’t being used and shuts it down until you need it again. Just to give you an indication, these power-saving features incorporated in the device mean that you can play, for example, 12 hours of HD video on one charge, pretty amazing isn’t it?
HTC officials claim that the A9 delivers more high-definition streaming videos, high-resolution audio and more storage in the cloud to hold everything your heart desires. The phone comes in 32 GB configuration and features expandable memory, supporting upto 2 TB in SD card storage, perfect for storing all your apps, games, photos, music and videos.
Some of the other new impressive features include Google Now on Tap; this intuitively provides contextual
information about whatever is on your screen—look up for reviews for a movie from a text, hear a song mentioned in a blog post, all at the press of a the Home button.
On to the phone’s performance. Does the HTC One A9 tick all the smartphone boxes? After almost two weeks of usage, I am pretty convinced that it genuinely ticks them well. The phone features a super-thin metal frame with an elegant finish. Its octa-core processor bundled with 3 GB of RAM ensures that the phone can handle multitasking and normal daily usage without any hassles. The device’s signal quality is good indoors as well as outdoors, while audio call is pretty clear. Smooth and fast internet browsing is a given. The primary camera unit can take fairly good quality pictures with good detailing and colour reproduction. A user can take take blur-free photos with optical image stabilisation (OIS). One can also speed up videos upto 12x for a dramatic effect with Hyperlapse feature.
My verdict: the HTC One A9 is slim and relatively light with a good set of features. It is also easy to use with its highly responsive software. All in all, a solid performer.
Dimensions: 145.75 x 70.8
Display: 5.0 inch, Full HD 1080p, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 617, octa-core
Operating system: Android 6.0 with HTC Sense
Memory: 32 GB ROM;
3 GB RAM, microSD upto 2 TB
Camera: 13 MP main camera; HTC ultrapixel front camera
Battery: 2150 mAh with Quick Charge 2.0 support
Estimated street price: R29,990