HTC just launched a new high-end smartphone, the One A9, which addresses many of the shortcomings of HTC’s other 2015 flagship mobile, the One M9. Here in a nutshell is why the One A9 is so great (and if you don’t believe us, check out our hands-on HTC One A9 review).
The elephant in the room is unquestionably the A9’s aesthetic, which appears to be a blend elements from the iPhone 6/6s and Samsung Galaxy S6. Fortunately, the result is a great looking device that retains HTC’s penchant for premium metal unibody design, whilst assimilating new elements not yet seen in the rest of the company’s portfolio, including the M9.
Compared to the One M9, the A9 doesn’t suffer from the same level of bulk either, boasting a narrower, slimmer, lighter body (available in a wider range of colours) that retains the same great 5-inch Full HD display, albeit with punchier colours and better contrast as a result of the AMOLED panel used.
Whilst we’d never turn our noses up at a 20-megapixel camera, megapixels aren’t everything and that showed in the One M9’s rear snapper. The camera produced usable shots, but versus the competition photos fell short of the mark, partly down to general image quality, but also as a result of poor image stability.
The One A9 supports RAW shooting and the camera produces punchy, vibrant shots – for our full thoughts, check out our HTC One A9 camera review
HTC first teased the existence of the One A9 on the day Google launched Android 6.0 and the phone’s timely arrival is no coincidence, practically purpose-built to take advantage of the new functionality found within Marshmallow. HTC’s also upgraded the UI it uses on its devices, with the A9 serving as the first handset to debut Sense 7.
In that you get improvements to the camera experience, enhanced personalisation and customisation tools and new Google goodies like the power of context-aware search courtesy of Now on Tap. It’s also ahead of the curve in the way of being able to utilise Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0 fast-charging standard earlier than its predecessor too.
HTC hasn’t even set a date for the availability of the Marshmallow update on the One M9.
Another by-product of joining team Marshmallow is enhanced security, with features like fingerprint sensor support through a new native API. Unsurprisingly the One A9 follows in the footsteps of the HTC One M9+ (which never formally made it to the UK) in that it packs an integrated fingerprint sensor that based on our first encounter with the device, is pretty responsive.
Eventually it’ll be able to not only unlock your device, but authenticate mobile payments through Android Pay too. Back in One M9 land, lock screen security is limited to a PIN, pattern or password and adding a fingerprint sensor to the phone after the fact is effectively out of the question.
Read next: Our hands-on One A9 review and best UK deals, UK price and release date for the One A9