HTC launched the One A9 smartphone at its Be Brilliant event yesterday. This is a capable, smartly designed, Android device featuring a 5-inch AMOLED display with 1080x1920 resolution, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 SoC and the latest version of Android (v6 marshmallow). Since it was revealed many news sites have concentrated upon how much this new HTC smartphone looks like Apple's iPhone 6 range. I'll leave those judgements up to you, but on the official product page HTC rather cheekily includes the strapline "Design worth imitating."
According to Pocket Lint HTC originally codenamed this handset 'Hima Aero' which makes it a related development to 'Hima', the codename for the HTC One M9. Nevertheless this is definitely a new range of devices for HTC which seems to be positioned slightly behind the best flagship specced phones with an eye on wooing those who prioritise design. As to whether the HTC A series is high or mid-range, the CPU powering this swish looking new smartphone is classed as a mid-tier SoC by Qualcomm.
HTC One A9 specifications:
- Screen: 5.0 inch, AMOLED, Full HD 1080p, Corning Gorilla Glass 4 with 2.5D edges
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 617, Octa-core 64-bit, 4 x 1.5GHz + 4 x 1.2GHz, Adreno 405 GPU
- Cameras: Main camera: 13MP with sapphire cover lens, auto-focus , BSI sensor, OIS, ƒ/2.0, 1080p video recording. Front camera: HTC UltraPixel, fixed focus, ƒ/2.0, 1080p video recording
- Memory: ROM: 16GB / RAM: 2GB or ROM: 32GB / RAM: 3GB, both variants support microSD cards
- Connectivity: 2G/3G/4G via nano SIM, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz), micro-USB 2.0 (5-pin) port
- Sensors: Ambient light sensor, Proximity sensor, Motion G sensor, Compass sensor, Gyro sensor, Magnetic sensor, Sensor Hub, Fingerprint sensor, GPS + GLONASS
- Audio: Dolby audio with high res audio, 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
- Battery: 2150mAh with Quick Charge 2.0 support, offering up to 12 hours of HD video playback
- Size/Weight: 145.75 x 70.8. x 7.26 mm / 143g
- OS: Android 6.0 with HTC Sense
As you can see from the above specs the A9 is slim and pretty light for its size. Its construction is 'all-metal' with an 'edge to edge' Gorilla glass display. Whilst on the topic of appearance HTC is giving buyers a choice between five different metallic colours (depends upon region).
Interestingly HTC has chosen to vary the RAM installed depending upon the storage. Buyers of the 16GB variant get 2GB of RAM, those who splash out on the 32GB version get 3GB of RAM.
HTC has equipped the One A9 with a respectable pair of cameras. On the back you have a 13MP camera with its optically stabilised f/2.0 lens protected by sapphire glass. It uses a BSI sensor and low light shooting is supported by a dual-tone flash. The maximum video resolution supported by the camera is 1080p.
While the battery capacity seems meagre at 2150mAh for a 5-inch device, and it is non-removable due to the phone's design, it sounds like the combination of components provides decent stamina with up to 12 hours of HD video playback touted for a full charge.
Hopefully signalling a shift in the Android smartphone industry in general, HTC has promised to provide fast Android updates for the One A9. In the US this smartphone will get Android updates within 15 days of Google pushing updates to Nexus devices. Its bootloader is unlocked.
The HTC One A9 will be available globally starting in November. Unfortunately the UK seems to have got hold of the wrong end of the pricing stick again, as for us this smartphone costs £429 with 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM. Still in the UK, O2 will have exclusivity on the 'Topaz Gold' version. In the US the HTC One A9 with 32GB of storage and 3GB of RAM costs only $399, and includes 6 months Google Music and 6 months accident protection insurance from HTC.