HTC One M9 Unboxing!

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HTC One M9 has finally arrived!  After a week of delays, my HTC One M9 (T-Mobile edition) has arrived.  Every year, HTC has some kind of logistics problems so I’ve actually never had it arrive on time.

I was hoping HTC to have something new features and changes, especially the camera.  And boy, that 20 megapixel back camera got me excited all week while waiting for my phone.

The HTC One M9 is slightly shorter than the last year’s M8, there are subtle design changes like putting the Power button on the side, sharper edges, and shinier metal back.  But other than that, there’s really no major design changes to the HTC One M9, it’s basically the same phone from last year with identical design.  However, that’s not necessarily bad thing, I’ve always liked HTC One’s design, and I would definitely not change much if I were HTC.  It’s always the camera that was flawed with HTC One or the software, never the design.

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One of the major changes this year include the motion launch gestures.  Similar to OnePlus One, you can double-tap the screen to turn the screen on and off.  Now, this is a bit flawed as you can only do from the launcher home screen, not during any apps like OnePlus One.  I like new features like this though and I hope HTC fixes the issue with future software updates.  There were also many other gestures you could use, some of it I had to try couple times to actually get it working.  I think HTC is definitely on the right path here as far as adding new software features but it doesn’t feel refined and polished.   Again, this may be fixed with future software updates.

Judging by how late they shipped my HTC One M9 this year, I think HTC was definitely working around the clock to get a stable software release as they shipped them out.   This is the latest HTC has ever shipped my HTC One.  In the original HTC One M7 two years ago, I remember HTC launched the phone months before Samsung.  This year, they definitely lost that advantage and perhaps many more customers as I received my Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge a week before the M9.

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The 20-megapixel camera seemed very promising.  Although I didn’t include my video test in my unboxing video (as I was unboxing it), soon after unboxing I did some quick camera tests.  My initial results are very disappointing.  Although there a huge number of pixels, it doesn’t always mean the best photos.  The camera itself has a hard time setting the correct exposure.  In fact, this is so bad, it’s worse than most older Android phones for 2-3 years ago.  You can confirm the camera (in)abilities from various other tech bloggers/YouTubers, it’s not just me.

The good news?  This may all be just bugs.  But heck, no one wants to buy an unfinished product!  I hope they can fix this issue before I do a full review because it certainly is something they must have known before releasing the product.

For now, my initial impressions tell me HTC didn’t try hard enough this year.  First, HTC One M9 is missing 1440P resolution screen that is on all flagship phones like the Galaxy Note 4/S6, and LG G3 (that’s last year’s flagship).  I didn’t emphasize 1440P resolution last year in 2014 but this year in 2015, I do really think it’s necessary on a flagship phone.

Okay whats good?  The design itself is good, the phone feels a bit more edgier than last year but it still feels like HTC One that I want to buy.  The Sense software seems much more refined with more new features including gesture shortcuts.  Overall, it’s not a bad phone if they can at least fix the camera issues.  If you still haven’t bought the phone, I would at least hold out until HTC solves the camera issues or they drop the prices for not having 1440P screen, earbuds, and fast charging adapter.

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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of HighOnAndroid.com. Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.