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Oct 28

HTC One M9 Front and Side
HTC One M9

HTC is known throughout the smartphone industry as creating premium quality, solid phones with metallic designs that keep fans coming back to each year. A few years ago I tested the HTC One M7, HTC’s first in this line. They incorporated a premium metallic curved back, two excellent sounding forward facing speakers, great battery life and the first UltraPixel rear facing camera. HTC has continued with refining this phone line for the US market and is now available on Verizon.

HTC One M9 Unboxing

When Verizon Wireless selects a phone to be on their flagship roster, you know it is going to be a great one. The M9 fits that flagship moniker and then some. This year’s model, announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, brought us the world’s first forward facing UltraPixel camera.

VZWBuzz Ambassador Badge

Disclaimer: I am a Verizon Wireless Buzz Ambassador and the company has sent me a phone to review at no cost. I have not been compensated for this review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

HTC One (M9) Gold on Silver
by HTC
on Sketchfab

The new rear-facing camera is upgraded to 20MP, with a sapphire camera cover lens that is capable of recording 4k-video. While it is somewhat weird that the company decided not to add optical image stabilization, it makes up for that in how rich the photos are produced. They have thankfully fixed the unsightly light banding when taking panoramic photos.

Many of the newest phones on the market are going to a closed system of finite power and storage. At least for now HTC is allowing users to insert a micro SD memory card to expand storage space. This is highly welcomed, as 4k-video takes up many gigabytes worth of space in a short period of recording time.

HTC One M9 Verizon Wireless
HTC One M9 Verizon Wireless

Having the best signal available from a new phone is key to get clear calls, send social media updates quickly and receive text messages. There is nothing more unproductive than not being to do any of those activities above during big events or while on trips. The M9 includes cellular technology that allows it to connect at Verizon’s newer 4G XLTE speeds.

Protecting a fresh smartphone is always on my mind from screen protectors to innovative cases. I had seen the HTC Dot View case while visiting the first Verizon Destination Store at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. So I knew I wanted that cover for my M9. And in case I drop the phone, HTC offers Uh Oh Free Replacement Protection for the first twelve months.

The @HTC Dot View has been added to an M9. It has a retro, almost Back To The Future vibe to it.

A photo posted by Chris Rauschnot (@24k) on

The Dot View case is genuine HTC so everything fits perfectly. It has cutouts for the rear camera, ports, volume control and forward facing sensors to know it is there. The case fully protects the back and the front of the phone. The Dot View cover flips open to access the screen. Tap twice on the dots to bring up the latest weather, time and missed calls.

Once the case is open, the 5” M9 screen presented itself with an iPhone 6 besting 441 pixels per square inch. HTC decided to not include a Quad HD display to help with extending the life of its sealed 2,840 mAh battery.

Battery life on this smartphone can automatically be extended when it reaches a predefined critical level. Once it is in the battery saving mode, features are switched off. A few percentage of remaining battery life can turn into a day with minimal functionality still available.

HTC continues the tradition of its BlinkFeed news software whenever you want to know what is happening in the world around you. Apple is only now providing a News app on iOS and even then, it is not integrated into its operating system like BlinkFeed is into HTC Sense.

Rounding out the wireless features of the M9 are dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi (fastest currently available), Bluetooth 4.1 to pair with headsets and portable speakers like the UE BOOM and NFC for making purchases wirelessly. Curious though, HTC did not include wireless Qi charging. Maybe it has to do with the metallic case? They chose form over function, which is ok for now.

Overall, the HTC One M9 is certainly a big upgrade from the M7 and fans of the M8 may enjoy the nicely done two-tone gold finish that graces its midsection. Some of the newer thinner phones are harder to hold onto with slippery glass backs. The M9 has a solid contoured back that feels great. I liked how fast it was with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, 64-bit, octa-core processor. A great multi-core CPU and 3GB of RAM made everything fluid. For mobile photography enthusiasts, its 20MP rear-facing camera does a fine job of taking photos during the day and in the evening. Its UltraPixel selfie camera could be the best one available from anyone.

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