HTC One A9 hands-on: A midrange smartphone that feels like a flagship

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It’s not much of a secret at this point thanks to a whole heap of leaks, but HTC has officially revealed the HTC One A9, a mid-range addition to its flagship HTC One Android phones. And yes, there’s no getting away from it, the A9 looks a lot like an iPhone 6. Whether that’s by coincidence or by design is up for debate—naturally, HTC says it’s the former. In either case, the A9 is most definitely a looker.

Specs at a glance: HTC One A9
Screen5-inch, 1080p AMOLED, Gorilla Glass 4
OSAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
CPUSnapdragon 617, 64-bit octa-core Cortex A53: 4 cores @ 1.5GHz; 4 cores @ 1.2GHz
RAM2GB (3GB in 32GB storage model)
GPUQualcomm Adreno 405 GPU
Storage16GB or 32GB, plus microSD expansion
Networking802.11 Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz)
PortsMicro USB, headphone jack
Camera12MP rear camera, 4MP HTC ultrapixel selfie camera
Size145.75mm length, 70.8mm width, 7.26mm depth
Network Bands2G: 850/900/1800/1900MHz, 3G: 850/900/AWS/1900/2100MHz, 4G (EMEA/Asia): FDD bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, TDD bands 38, 40, 41, 4G (USA): FDD bands 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 29
Other perksQuick Charge 3.0 support, 24-bit DSP and DAC, RAW image support

The unibody metal chassis of the A9 (the company has been churning out unibody chassis since the original HTC One M7) is just 7.26mm thick, and houses a bright, colourful 5-inch 1080p AMOLED display. It’s as reassuringly solid as anything in the “M” range, plus it’ll come in four colours: Carbon Grey and Deep Garnet (red) with black facias, and Opal Silver and Topaz Gold with white facias. The chassis does, however, feel different to other HTC phones. Gone is the gently curved back, replaced instead by a flat back along with rounded metal sides. The Gorilla Glass 4 front is gently curved at the edges, to blend it into the body.

HTC’s signature Boomsound speakers have also disappeared, replaced instead with a single speaker on the bottom of the phone. Their absence has resulted in a couple of additions. At the bottom of the phone is a fingerprint scanner (and non-clicky home button) that was insanely quick at reading my fingerprints in testing. There’s also a renewed focus on headphone audio. As someone who’s suffered at the hands of underpowered headphone jacks on phones before, this is most certainly a good thing.

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