By Rich W Woods
Since receiving the HTC One M9 to review, this is the comparison that I’ve been most looking forward to doing. I’ve had the HTC One M8 for a year now and it’s still a great phone.
Now, the HTC One M9 has taken the HTC One M8 and overhauled any faults it had, including a higher resolution camera, more RAM, a powerful 64 bit Snapdragon 810 processor, they moved the ultrapixel to the front, and more.
The design of the HTC One has been revered almost universally since its inception with the HTC One M7; however, many are finding the HTC One M9 to be too minor of an upgrade for the sole reason that there wasn’t a physical redesign. It’s sad, but that’s how people look at things. Personally, I think the minor changes that they did make in design is perfect.
HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8: Specs
|HTC One M9||HTC One M8|
|Processor||Snapdragon 810, 1.5 GHz Quad Core, 2 GHz Quad Core||2.3 GHz Quad Core Snapdragon 801|
|GPU||Adreno 430||Adreno 330|
|Body||144.6×69.7×9.6 mm, 157 g||146.4×70.6×9.4 mm, 160 g|
|Camera||20 MP, 5376×3752, 4 MP Front||4 MP, 2688х1520, 5 MP Front|
|Video||K – 30 fps, Front 1080p – 30 fps||1080p – 30 fps, Front 1080p – 30 fps|
|Focal Length||27.8 mm||28 mm|
|Pixel Size||1.2 μm||2 μm|
|Storage||32 GB, Expandable to 128 GB||32 GB, Expandable to 128 GB|
|RAM||3 GB||2 GB|
|Battery||2840 mAh||2600 mAh|
Note that the price is current. The HTC One M8 was originally $649 but is now $499 since the release of the HTC One M9.
HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8: Rear Camera
I always start these things off by saying that resolution doesn’t matter, and most of the time, it doesn’t. This is because most of the time, photos are going to need to be scaled down for the display that they are being viewed on anyway.
This may be a different case. The rear camera on the HTC One M8 has been widely criticized for having such a low resolution, as 4 MP leaves almost no room to crop or zoom in on the image. That, combined with the saturation of the images, made it great for average consumers that simply want to post their pictures to Facebook and Instagram, but not so great for more professional phoneographers.
The HTC One M9 has a lot more of those features. The key new feature is RAW support. You can think of a RAW file as the digital equivalent of a negative. The user must process the file himself using third party software such as Adobe Light Room, but once the art of processing the photo is mastered, it is a priceless tool.
Keep in mind that just because HTC only included this feature for the HTC One M9, it doesn’t mean that the HTC One M8 can’t do it. It only means it can’t do it from the native Camera app. Ever since Android Lollipop released a RAW Camera API, there are tons of third party apps that can do it.
Please note that in order to enlarge the photos, click or tap on the images. To view the full size images, there is a link in the carousel.
|HTC One M9||HTC One M8|
I have to go with the HTC One M9 all the way here. There are a few flaws that go across both phones. You can see that both have trouble focusing from time to time. In using the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, LG G Flex 2, and iPhone 6 cameras a lot lately, I’m finding that it’s not that the HTC One M9 doesn’t have a great camera. It does. It’s that this is a great camera that has to go toe to toe with amazing cameras.
The big feature that both of these cameras is missing is phase detection autofocus, or in the case of the LG G Flex 2, laser focus. Ultimately, it’s the HTC One M9 between these two. The color balance is better and it’s even better at night.
HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8: Front Camera
I would predict that the HTC One M9 will have the better front camera here. One thing that I have always hated about the front camera on the HTC One M8 was the front camera. I always felt it to be subpar for a 5 MP front camera.
Like I said, I’ve never been a fan of the front camera on the HTC One M8. It’s like it tries to artificially add color where there shouldn’t be any. It’s just too oversaturated. For God’s sake, it looks like I have a tan when winter is only ending.
HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8: Benchmarks and Techy Stuff
I don’t like benchmarks. They so rarely reflect the real world usage of a device. Because of that, I always tell people to take them with a grain of salt. Unfortunately, benchmarks are the best tool we have for writing down the performance of a device.
If you’re into that sort of thing, there are some brilliant web sites that do some really extensive testing. I would recommend Anandtech. It’s really fantastic. I always try to focus on judging a device based on my personal experiences.
The first test is a battery test, done with Geekbench 3. Geekbench 3 has a toggle to dim the screen during the battery test. I’ve been experiencing anomalies with the test as of late, with the dim screen returning better battery life than the brighter screen.
|HTC One M9||HTC One M8|
As you can see, battery life is worse on the HTC One M9 than the HTC One M8. This is a bit odd, as they have the same resolution display and the HTC One M9 has a larger battery. Like I said, take it with a grain of salt.
As we can see, the scores from the HTC One M9 are marginally better. It’s nothing crazy. It’s pretty much the expected upgrade.
Next, we have graphics benchmarks. I’ve recently added graphics benchmarks to the routine after seeing the Galaxy S6 Edge test so high in benchmarks and seeing high performance games stutter.
As we can see, the Adreno 430 GPU that is paired with the Snapdragon 810 is far more powerful than the Adreno 330 that comes with the Snapdragon 801.
I think it’s fair to say that the HTC One M9 is a fair upgrade over the HTC One M8, although I’m not sure that HTC prioritized the things they should have. The HTC One M8 was universally recognized as an amazing phone, with the exception of the rear camera, so they fixed the camera issues and made the improvements to the processor that you would expect from a next generation model.
Then Samsung came out with the Galaxy S6 and set a new bar. This is what overshadows the HTC One M9. Like I said, it’s not that the camera is bad, by any means. It’s that it’s surrounded by amazing cameras. They could have done better with the display as well. Sure, it’s a great display and 1080p is enough, but it could do better with color accuracy and white balance. Like I said, it’s not that it’s not a beautiful display, it’s just surrounded by amazing displays.