HTC One A9: An Unpretentious Phone That Offers Bang for the Buck

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-10-21
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    HTC One A9: An Unpretentious Phone That Offers Bang for the Buck
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    HTC One A9: An Unpretentious Phone That Offers Bang for the Buck

    With its new midrange One A9 smartphone, HTC isn't going after the likes of the iPhone 6s Plus or Samsung's Galaxy Note 5. Still, the device is no lightweight.
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    This Is a Midrange Smartphone
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    This Is a Midrange Smartphone

    HTC hasn't denied that the One A9 is a midrange smartphone. The device is not designed to compete with the iPhone or the Nexus 6P. Instead, it's designed for customers who want fewer features and thus a better price. That element of a better price is critical to customers seeking such devices, and at $400 unlocked, the One A9 delivers great value for what it offers.
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    Snapdragon Will Handle Most Needs
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    Snapdragon Will Handle Most Needs

    The Qualcomm Snapdragon processor built into the One A9 won't impress those who want the best possible experience. However, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 in the One A9 should be able to handle most apps and get the vast majority of jobs done. The octa-core processor has four cores with clock speeds of 1.5GHz and four others at 1.2GHz. Those aren't blazing-fast speeds, but they're good enough.
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    13-Megapixel Camera Is Fine for This Midrange Handset
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    13-Megapixel Camera Is Fine for This Midrange Handset

    The cameras built into the One A9 are actually on par with some of the higher-end smartphones available. The rear-facing camera built into the One A9 has 13 megapixels. The front-facing camera has what HTC calls "UltraPixel" technology, which is essentially its way of saying the sensor will work just fine for selfies. With midrange devices, that's about all customers care about in front-facing cameras, anyway.
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    It Will Ship With the Latest Android Version
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    It Will Ship With the Latest Android Version

    It's nice to see HTC adopt the latest Android version in the One A9. In many midrange smartphones, device makers offer older versions of Android. But with Android 6.0, the One A9 will have all of the security patches and other critical features customers are looking for in a new smartphone.
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    HTC's Sense Platform Will Run on Top of Android
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    HTC's Sense Platform Will Run on Top of Android

    Although fewer companies are now putting their own skins atop Android, HTC continues to do so with its Sense platform. With Sense, users will find a slightly different experience than what they would find in the standard Android build, as well as some HTC-specific apps. Those who like Sense will like the One A9.
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    HTC Goes With Gorilla Glass 4
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    HTC Goes With Gorilla Glass 4

    Although the One A9's 5-inch screen is nothing to write home about (it offers full HD resolution), it's rather surprising to see HTC offer Gorilla Glass 4 in its device. The vast majority of midrange smartphones today have protective coating that tops out at Gorilla Glass 3. By offering the fourth iteration of Corning's screen-protection technology, HTC is reducing the chance that users will have to deal with a cracked or shattered display.
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    The Battery Could Be a Selling Point
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    The Battery Could Be a Selling Point

    HTC has long been a leader in delivering solid batteries in its products, and the One A9 is no different. The smartphone offers up to 12 hours of battery life during constant HD video playback and up to 60 hours when users are listening to audio. Talk time is similarly impressive, measuring up to 16 hours on 3G. One other important feature: The device includes support for Quick Charge 2.0 out of the box, which adds some extra battery life in mere minutes.
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    One A9 Design Includes Ideas From iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S
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    One A9 Design Includes Ideas From iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S

    The HTC One A9 comes with a rather familiar design. In fact, one may discover that the One A9's design takes ideas from both the iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S line. The device's Home button, for example, looks awfully similar to the one in Samsung's handsets. The use of bands around the back and the rounded corners may remind users of the iPhone. HTC didn't take many chances with the One A9 design.
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    HTC Expands Its Focus on Sound Quality
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    HTC Expands Its Focus on Sound Quality

    One of HTC's hallmarks has been delivering devices that offer solid sound quality. The One A9 follows on that tradition with a feature that automatically up-converts 16-bit audio to 24-bit high-resolution sound. In addition, the One A9 offers Dolby Audio Surround and a high-output amplifier. The handset even comes with six free months of Google Play Music streaming.
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    HTC's 'Uh Oh' Protection Is a Winner
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    HTC's 'Uh Oh' Protection Is a Winner

    It's not often talked about, but HTC's Uh Oh Protection service could be the Trojan horse that helps the company retake some market share. The One A9 is part of the Uh Oh Protection program, which provides automatic replacement in the event of a broken screen or water damage. While it's only available once and within the first 12 months of ownership, it's nice to know that HTC will replace devices when mistakes happen.
 

The HTC One A9 represents smartphone maker HTC's latest effort to make a strong impression in the mobile device market. The One A9 is designed to be a midrange handset for customers who aren't seeking the high-end features built into Apple's iPhone 6s Plus or Samsung's Galaxy Note 5. However, the One A9 is no lightweight in terms of features or performance. It's a sound choice for the average user who wants an appealing smartphone without paying for a lot of extra bells and whistles. The One A9 also represents HTC's latest hope at becoming more than just another afterthought in the smartphone market. For the last several years, the company has watched Apple and Samsung dominate the marketplace and has tried a variety of moves to improve its position. Each time, however, HTC has come up short in terms of winning attention from buyers. While the One A9 won't necessarily change the company's fortunes, HTC hopes the handset will give it a much-needed sales boost going into the holiday season. Will the One A9 achieve this goal? Read on to find out more about the One A9.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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