After several weeks of being leaked, HTC has finally made its long-rumored smartphone official. The device maker took the wraps off its new HTC One A9 on Tuesday. The handset will be offerred alongside the recently released HTC One M9 flagship model.
If users go through its official specifications, this latest smartphone from the Taiwan-based company is apparently not a top-of-the-line device. However, it would be interesting to put it up against the company's current flagship. The One M9 has only been released about half a year ago to moderate fanfare, to say the least.
There is not much to choose between the two models' display. Both of them feature the same 5-inch screen with HD resolution (1080x1920) and even have the same protective Gorilla Glass 4 which keeps them safe from scratches. The One M9 and A9 both come with an all-metal body. However, the newer model is slimmer at 7.26mm-thin and weighs lighter at 143g. The A9's thinner profile is an obvious difference; while the M9 has a curved rear, the A9's back is flat.
One area where the model's similarities starkly ends lies under the hood. The HTC One M9 is powered by a Snapdragon 810 chipset with 3GB RAM. The One A9 comes with a Snapdragon 617 chip coupled with 2GB RAM, but it also offers a 3GB RAM variant. The 810 has more powerful processing power so it may be better suited to more resource-intensive tasks or apps.
The slimmer body also has an effect on the A9's battery as it only comes with a lower 2,150mAh capacity, compared to the One A9's 2,840mAh. There is a 13-megapixel camera fitted at the back of the One A9, down from the M9's 20 megapixels. However, the A9's camera does come with optical image stabilzation (OIS) which is absent from the current flagship.
The part where the mid-range One A9 actually beats the flagship M9 is its software. The newer model is among the first smartphones to offer the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS by default. As of now, only Google's Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X run the said OS. HTC also claim that the One A9 will be updated not more than 15 days after another update hits those Nexus devices. Furthermore, one advantage of running the Marshmallow is its support for fingerprint scanners, which is also present on the HTC One A9.
One of the biggest drawbacks to the new device, though, is its price. The unlocked version of the One A9 is priced at $399, but it will cost less when its purchased together with a plan from AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile. For the said amount, users can already buy Motorola's flagship Moto X Pure Edition smartphone. Nevertheless, given HTC's reputation of offering quality designs, along with the integrated fingerprint scanner and Android Marshmallow OS, the HTC One A9 can potentially to be one of the best choice in the mid-range class.