Wednesday , October 18 2017

HTC One A9 is unveiled; a premium handset that offers a bold choice without compromise

HTC One A9 _lifestyle_2

After a series of leaks and a lot of speculation, HTC has unveiled the newest phone in their HTC One series this morning in an online event. Until now, the HTC One brand has focused mainly on its flagship – the M series – and its mid-range contender – the E series. The new A line marks a new entry, with stunning aluminium unibody designs.

HTC describes the A9 as ‘Design worth imitating’, which is a curious choice of wording given the high degree of similarity between the A9’s design and the Apple iPhone. Similar, but with enough HTC-ness to keep it unique. Just as with the HTC One M9, each A9 is ‘painstakingly brushed with hairline detail and bead-blasted before the sides are polished, giving additional depth and richness that is unique to the smartphone market’.

Design and style are all well and good, but if what’s under the hood is no good, its all for nothing. HTC has paid heed to the lessons of past camera forays; there’s no more 4MP UltraPixel camera on the rear here, nor is there the 21MP camera lacking OIS from the One M9; rather, the A9 features a 13MP camera with Optical Image Stabilisation to deliver blur-free photos, with less noisy and jitter especially in low-light settings. The front-facing camera retains HTC’s UltraPixel heritage, making for  great low-light selfies too. There will be RAW support for aspiring photogs, and a 12x Hyperlapse mode for videographers.

While the front-facing BoomSound speakers have been removed, HTC say that the A9 will still deliver ‘high-resolution audio’ mostly when paired with the headset which includes Dolby Audio Surround technology to deliver an immersive sound. The One A9 also includes a high-quality, built-in DAC (digital to analog converter) that delivers audio at 24-bit, 192KHz quality. Until now, this has been fairly uncommon in the mobile audio sphere.

HTC sums up the phone as ‘the smartphone that gets all the important elements right’. Company chairperson and CEO, Cher Wang said of the One A9:

“HTC is a smartphone pioneer, having delivered the first Android smartphone, the first Windows smartphone, the first 4G smartphone, and the first all-metal smartphone.

Today we’re taking that heritage of innovation to the next level, unveiling a phone that stands apart in a market increasingly dominated by a company which controls every aspect of your phone. The HTC One A9 breaks from this trend by offering an incredible design, fantastic performance, cutting-edge software features and the freedom to take full control of your smartphone experience.”

Perhaps the biggest standout feature on the HTC One A9 is not its hardware; it is also the first phone announced to be running Android Marshmallow out of the box (besides the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P). The One A9 includes all the Marshmallow highlights, including Google Now On Tap, Doze, and support for fingerprint sensors — yes, the One A9 has one of those built-in to the front of the device as well, all integrated with a refined, minimalist HTC Sense skin.

Even though HTC Sense remains on the device, a lot of it has been de-coupled from the OS itself; Blinkfeed and other HTC Sense features are now separate apps that can be updated without updating the underlying Android version, and this has an added benefit. HTC has committed to delivering ‘every Google Software update within 15 days of Nexus devices’.

So, what’s inside the HTC One A9? Aimed squarely at the upper mid-range, the One A9 promises to be no slouch:

  • 5″ Full HD 1080p, Corning Gorilla Glass 4
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 617, octa-core, 64-bit, 4×1.5GHz + 4×1.2GHz
  • RAM: 2GB / 3GB (* market dependent)
  • Storage: 16GB (on 2GB RAM model) / 32GB (3GB RAM), expandable to 2TB with MicroSD
  • Cameras
    • Rear: 13MP with sapphire lens cover, f/2.0 aperture, auto focus, BSI sensor, OIS, 1080p video recording
    • Front: HTC Ultrapixel, f/2.0 aperture, fixed focus, 1080p video recording
  • Cellular:
    • 2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
    • 3G UMTS: 850/900/1900/2100 MHz
    • 4G LTE:
      • FDD Bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28
      • TDD Bands 38, 40, 41
  • Sensors: Fingerprint, Ambient light, Proximity, Motion G, Compass, Gyro, Magnetic, Sensor Hub processor
  • GPS + GLONASS
  • Bluetooth 4.1, Wifi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4+5GHz), 3.5mm stereo audio jack, microUSB 2.0 port
  • Dolby Audio and Hi-Res Audio (manufactured under license from Dolby Laboratories)
  • 2,150mAh with Quick Charge 2.0 support (forward compatible with Quick Charge 3.0)
  • 145.75 x 70.8 x 7.26 mm @ 143 grams

The HTC One A9 will be available in a range of colours, including Opal Silver, Acid Gold, Cast Iron, Deep Garnet and Carbon Grey.

Launch is set for early November, and though we don’t have confirmation at this early stage of local pricing and availability, the US outright price starts at $399 (though this appears to be a promotional price) so something in the realm of $599 to $699 seems about right for the specs. The appearance of the HTC One A9 on the Australian HTC website certainly suggests quite strongly we’ll see the A9 on our shores in the not too distant future.

We’ll be on the phone to HTC today to find out more about their plans for Australia, and we’ll keep you updated as that information comes to hand!

 
Source: HTC.

Daniel Tyson   Editor

Dan is a die-hard Android fan. Some might even call him a lunatic. He's been an Android user since Android was a thing, and if there's a phone that's run Android, chances are he owns it (his Nexus collection is second-to-none) or has used it.

Dan's dedication to Ausdroid is without question, and he has represented us at some of the biggest international events in our industry including Google I/O, Mobile World Congress, CES and IFA.

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21 Comments on "HTC One A9 is unveiled; a premium handset that offers a bold choice without compromise"

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TheCatMan
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TheCatMan

The HTC One A9 has disappeared from HTC Australia’s website. This does not look promising at all. Really disappointed if the A9 is not coming to Australia. Was looking forward to the phone for its specifications and pricing. I was even prepared to forgive it for mimicking an iPhone. But now it looks like it may not even arrive :(.

Pumpino
Valued Guest
Pumpino

To confuse matters, HTC has just announced the M9s – another mid-range phone. So much for them reducing the number of phones they release as previously advised.

TheCatMan
Valued Guest
TheCatMan

I purchased the M8s which is a Vodafone exclusive. And never again will I purchase an s model that is exclusive to a network. Why? Updates. I am patient about OS version upgrades but would like any bugs/vulnerabilities patch quick smart. I am still waiting for Vodafone to provide an update to fix the StageFright bug. Most phones (my wife’s M7 for example) was patched 3 months ago. So the s version of any HTC phone might be a sort of flagship phone without the sort of flagship support behind it.

aum11
Valued Guest
aum11

On the note phones I have had, currently note 3, I listen to music from my front pants pocket by having the phone upside down. The sound comes out quite well. Also I like a flip wallet to protect the phone( I am a farmer and builder). Won’t front facing speakers be blocked by a wallet and be muffled inside a pocket, or am I missing something.

drone3
Valued Guest
drone3

I’m not sure whether to rejoice or vomit…

EricYew
Valued Guest
EricYew

Vomit! Unless you really like iPhone. But removing the signature boomsound for no other reason than to look like an iPhone just show how much HTC has lost the plot!

Pumpino
Valued Guest
Pumpino

Updates within 15 days? Just like their flagships will receive updates within 90 days? The M8 never received 5.1, so why should we believe HTC now? Apart from that, it looks like a decent mid range phone, but for the money, one might as well buy a Nexus.

TheCatMan
Valued Guest
TheCatMan

Hehe! That is called Wishful Thinking.

David Anderton
Valued Guest
David Anderton

Small battery and lack of front speakers if it’s downfall

Chris
Valued Guest

True, but on the flipside, it charges like a banshee — fifteen minutes on a turbo charger should take it back to nice and full.

kefir
Valued Guest
kefir

How well will the LTE bands work in Australia?

Chris
Valued Guest

Well.

TheCatMan
Valued Guest
TheCatMan

“Today we’re taking that heritage of innovation to the next level, unveiling a phone that stands apart in a market increasingly dominated by a company which controls every aspect of your phone. The HTC One A9 breaks from this trend”. How about going the whole way and providing us with an officially rooted phone that is fully supported by HTC, out of the box. Now that would be breaking the trend.

SachmoJoe
Valued Guest
SachmoJoe

Looks pretty nice – but I don’t think I could handle the iPhone crowd berating my phone for being a cheap knock-off. I know that’s not the full story, but perception is reality unfortunately.

Then again, iPhone build quality, running Marshmellow? What’s there not to like?

Tony Soprano
Valued Guest
Tony Soprano

>I don’t think I could handle the iPhone crowd berating my phone for being a cheap knock-off
Don’t be so insecure. Mature, grown adults shouldn’t care about the nasty opinions of others.

SachmoJoe
Valued Guest
SachmoJoe

What can I say, I’m self conscious. Besides, there’s also the point that they’ll give it a flagship price here notwithstanding it’s mid-range specs.

Tony Soprano
Valued Guest
Tony Soprano

You should work on the self consciousness. You shouldn’t care about what other people think. It’s impossible to do it all of the time, everyone is to a point, but a smartphone of all things should not at all be important. I can’t believe it’s come to the point where they’ve become a fashion statement.

Will Dutton
Valued Guest
Will Dutton

I’m going to have to say that I really like the look of this phone ( personally I would have liked a bigger screen but I get that lotsa of people dont) now i’m torn between 6p, meizu mx5 pro and this

Member
5sNo11

Very tempting so far but that battery life and pricing are a concern.

mrjayviper
Valued Guest
mrjayviper

425 pounds in the UK

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