Today, HTC had their Be Brilliant event, where they announced the HTC One A9. While appearing as a flagship, this is actually a mid-range device, which is powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 617 chipset.
I say it appears as a flagship because quite frankly, the HTC One M9, HTC’s actual flagship, doesn’t. The HTC One M9 was underwhelming. It gets too hot and the camera was mediocre at best.
The HTC One A9 will use a 13 MP camera with phase detection autofocus (PDAF). If you go back to my review of the HTC One M9, I pointed out that PDAF was the feature that it was missing. This is the technology that Apple and Samsung use in their phones to take fast, perfectly focused pictures. It wasn’t that the camera on the HTC One M9 was bad. It’s just that it didn’t measure up to the amazing stuff that competitors are doing.
The rear camera on the One A9 also records 1080p video and can take RAW photos. HTC promised a great manual mode and a great automatic mode, which, if pulled off, would be an unprecedented success, as no phone has really pulled off both.
The HTC One A9 has everything else that HTC is known for, including BoomSound speakers. It also has a fingerprint scanner, which I can’t wait to test out.
Of course, there’s the elephant in the room. It looks like an iPhone. It really depends on who you ask, whether an iPhone looks like an HTC phone or an HTC phone looks like an iPhone.
There was a lot of “everyone else copied us” in the announcement, which is absolutely true. Unfortunately, HTC isn’t as strong as they once were, so the public probably isn’t going to see it that way. Sometimes we see it as “it shouldn’t be that way” rather than “it is that way and it’s not going to change”. Unfortunately, the former attitude doesn’t help anyone.
Nevertheless, the HTC One A9 looks to be an amazing phone. Really, HTC fans have no reason not to rejoice in this beautiful and powerful phone. This is what the HTC One M9 should have been, albeit with a better processor.
Oh and did I mention? The HTC One A9 is only going to run you $399, you can buy it unlocked, and they promised to release Android updates within 15 DAYS of Google’s Nexus release.