Back in the noughties, HTC was constantly fighting with Samsung for supremacy over the Android market. However, a series of mistakes and failed products has eaten into HTC’s profits and the company has been in a nosedive ever since. Although both the South Korean company’s HTC One (M8) and M9 were excellent phones, they failed to sell; the latter suffering due to a perceived lack of innovation from its previous iteration.HTC has decided to throw itself fully into the premium end of the mid-range market with the A9 at £419/$499.99 with reasonably high-end specs.
The first thing we have to mention about the A9 is the fact that it is the first non-Nexus handset to run Android Marshmallow. Yes, HTC’s non-flagship is going to beat the likes of Samsung, LG, Sony and even Motorola to the punch in getting the very latest version of Android. This could prove crucial to users who want to get the new operating system as quickly as possible without rooting their device.
One of the major criticisms of the M9 was the fact that HTC took no risks with the design. HTC has steered away from the look of the M range with the A9 by flattening the handset, making the huge camera lens smaller, shifting the camera to the very top of the handset and placing a fingerprint scanner on the front. This design departure has been a success and the A9 looks like a sleek, premium device. It feels top quality too, encased in an all-metal unibody that screams class.
On the other hand, that fingerprint sensor heralds the end of one of HTC’s major selling points. The dual front-facing speakers have gone and have been replaced by a single speaker on the bottom of the handset. Nevertheless, the A9 has lost none of its audio quality as BoomSound technology is still to be found inside the device with Dolby Audio surround sound and 24-bit lossless audio. The sound quality is staggering, even through earphones where you can really feel thumping bass and pure high notes. If you love listening to music through your phone, this could be the one for you.
Find out more about what we thought of the HTC A9 in our review in issue 58 of Android Magazine, available for instant download now.