HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8

HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Introduction


The life cycle for today's flagship smartphone is one year: the time needed to naturally make improvements and tweaks, while also adding some new features, in order to make the new product more lust-worthy than the last. The HTC One M8 was undoubtedly a refined model over the M7, making great strides in the design department, but as history has shown us, the overall package still didn't quite make a significant impact on hungry consumers looking for that perfect all-around phone. With its latest iteration, the HTC One M9 aims to capitalize on the opportunities presented with the M8. At the same time, though, we’re curious to find out if the M9 is a monumental leap, or just an incremental step up from its predecessor.

Design

The M9 looks closely similar to the M8, but it addresses some of the design concerns of its predecessor.

Viewing it from a cursory approach, the design between the two phones will appear similar to most folks, as the M9 clearly retains its predecessor's premium design language, but makes some logical changes in the process. We can't deny that the two are one of the most beautifully designed phones out there, but there are clearly a few more qualities found with the M9 that make it more favorable.

Specifically, its new scratch resistant finish doesn't make it as slippery to hold. Meanwhile, the dual-tone finish unexpectedly gives the M9 a slightly sharper feel in the hand – whereas the M8 has a seamless, rounded look around its sides. However, we absolutely like how the power button on the M9 has been relocated to the right side, making it more accessible. What’s apparent here is that the M9 recycles the design of the M8 for the most part, which is a common practice amongst _phone_ makers. There’s nothing wrong in that decision, partly because they’ve addressed the few issues we’ve had with the M8.

 

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Front view | Side view
HTC One M9
HTC One M9
5.69 x 2.74 x 0.38 inches
144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm
5.54 oz (157 g)

HTC One M9

HTC One (M8)
HTC One (M8)
5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches
146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
5.64 oz (160 g)

HTC One (M8)



Display

Going with the same screen size and resolution, the M9’s display strangely exhibits a colder tone.

Interestingly enough, HTC decided to slap the M9 with the “same” 5-inch 1080 x 1920 (1080p) S-LCD 3 display we’ve seen already in the M8. Therefore, when it comes to detail, they deliver the same sharp visuals that make it easy for our eyes to view miniscule details.

On paper, the specs are identical between the two, which leads us to believe that there should be nothing too different, but that’s certainly not the case. Above all, we’re most irked about the M9’s screen color temperature of 8100K. In comparison, the M8’s value of 7200K is a lot closer to that reference value of 6500K, so it means that the M9’s display is considerably colder – giving it a bluish tone. At the same time, there’s more saturation evident in the M9 screen, but we gladly like how it produces a stronger brightness output of 508 nits, a marginal increase over the M8’s mark of 490 nits.

Yes, the color temperature isn’t an improvement for the M9, but nevertheless, most folks will probably view it as negligible – or more likely, attracted to its more vibrant look.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
HTC One M9 508
(Excellent)
10
(Average)
1:1347
(Excellent)
8114
(Poor)
2.21
5.89
(Average)
8.24
(Poor)
HTC One (M8) 490
(Good)
16
(Poor)
1:1362
(Excellent)
7182
(Good)
2.11
4.33
(Average)
4.82
(Average)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
HTC One M9 78.7%
80%
83.4%
13.9%
3.2%
9.7%
18.8%
HTC One (M8) 79.6%
81.3%
67.8%
9.9%
1.4%
9.9%
24.7%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8

HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Introduction


The life cycle for today's flagship smartphone is one year: the time needed to naturally make improvements and tweaks, while also adding some new features, in order to make the new product more lust-worthy than the last. The HTC One M8 was undoubtedly a refined model over the M7, making great strides in the design department, but as history has shown us, the overall package still didn't quite make a significant impact on hungry consumers looking for that perfect all-around phone. With its latest iteration, the HTC One M9 aims to capitalize on the opportunities presented with the M8. At the same time, though, we’re curious to find out if the M9 is a monumental leap, or just an incremental step up from its predecessor.

Design

The M9 looks closely similar to the M8, but it addresses some of the design concerns of its predecessor.

Viewing it from a cursory approach, the design between the two phones will appear similar to most folks, as the M9 clearly retains its predecessor's premium design language, but makes some logical changes in the process. We can't deny that the two are one of the most beautifully designed phones out there, but there are clearly a few more qualities found with the M9 that make it more favorable.

Specifically, its new scratch resistant finish doesn't make it as slippery to hold. Meanwhile, the dual-tone finish unexpectedly gives the M9 a slightly sharper feel in the hand – whereas the M8 has a seamless, rounded look around its sides. However, we absolutely like how the power button on the M9 has been relocated to the right side, making it more accessible. What’s apparent here is that the M9 recycles the design of the M8 for the most part, which is a common practice amongst _phone_ makers. There’s nothing wrong in that decision, partly because they’ve addressed the few issues we’ve had with the M8.


Front view | Side view
HTC One M9
HTC One M9
5.69 x 2.74 x 0.38 inches
144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm
5.54 oz (157 g)

HTC One M9

HTC One (M8)
HTC One (M8)
5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches
146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
5.64 oz (160 g)

HTC One (M8)



Display

Going with the same screen size and resolution, the M9’s display strangely exhibits a colder tone.

Interestingly enough, HTC decided to slap the M9 with the “same” 5-inch 1080 x 1920 (1080p) S-LCD 3 display we’ve seen already in the M8. Therefore, when it comes to detail, they deliver the same sharp visuals that make it easy for our eyes to view miniscule details.

On paper, the specs are identical between the two, which leads us to believe that there should be nothing too different, but that’s certainly not the case. Above all, we’re most irked about the M9’s screen color temperature of 8100K. In comparison, the M8’s value of 7200K is a lot closer to that reference value of 6500K, so it means that the M9’s display is considerably colder – giving it a bluish tone. At the same time, there’s more saturation evident in the M9 screen, but we gladly like how it produces a stronger brightness output of 508 nits, a marginal increase over the M8’s mark of 490 nits.

Yes, the color temperature isn’t an improvement for the M9, but nevertheless, most folks will probably view it as negligible – or more likely, attracted to its more vibrant look.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
HTC One M9 508
(Excellent)
10
(Average)
1:1347
(Excellent)
8114
(Poor)
2.21
5.89
(Average)
8.24
(Poor)
HTC One (M8) 490
(Good)
16
(Poor)
1:1362
(Excellent)
7182
(Good)
2.11
4.33
(Average)
4.82
(Average)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
HTC One M9 78.7%
80%
83.4%
13.9%
3.2%
9.7%
18.8%
HTC One (M8) 79.6%
81.3%
67.8%
9.9%
1.4%
9.9%
24.7%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and Functionality

Sense 7.0 brings an unprecedented level of customization.

Widely acclaimed for having an already modern looking user interface, HTC naturally enhances the experience towards the correct direction with its latest version of Sense. Between them, Sense 6.0 and 7.0 share the same attention to detail when it comes to their designs and layouts, while also being complemented with staple features like BlinkFeed and various Motion Launch Gestures, but HTC takes the next step by giving Sense 7.0 an unprecedented level of personalization.

In particular, Sense 7.0 now offers users the ability to customize the interface through downloadable themes – or ones that users can create themselves. Additionally, the new HTC Sense Home widget gives hardened users a degree of organization, as apps within the widget will change accordingly based on your location and usage. All told, there’s more of an expressive quality with Sense 7.0, which we can’t get with Sense 6.0. The more we analyze the differences, it becomes apparent that the change between Sense 6.0 and 7.0 is more evolutionary than revolutionary. We’ll take it, seriously.

HTC Sense 7.0 on the One M9 - Sense 7.0 now offers users the ability to customize the interface through downloadable themes - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
HTC Sense 7.0 on the One M9 - Sense 7.0 now offers users the ability to customize the interface through downloadable themes - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
HTC Sense 7.0 on the One M9 - Sense 7.0 now offers users the ability to customize the interface through downloadable themes - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
HTC Sense 7.0 on the One M9 - Sense 7.0 now offers users the ability to customize the interface through downloadable themes - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8

HTC Sense 7.0 on the One M9

Sense 7.0 now offers users the ability to customize the interface through downloadable themes - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Sense 7.0 now offers users the ability to customize the interface through downloadable themes - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Sense 7.0 now offers users the ability to customize the interface through downloadable themes - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Sense 7.0 now offers users the ability to customize the interface through downloadable themes - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8

Sense 7.0 now offers users the ability to customize the interface through downloadable themes


Sense 6.0 on the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Sense 6.0 on the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Sense 6.0 on the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Sense 6.0 on the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8

Sense 6.0 on the HTC One (M8)


Processor and Memory

The hardware is different, but their performances generally remain unchanged.

Without mentioning the hardware under the hood of both phones, we can agree at the very least that the two are peppy and responsive with their overall performances. In fact, you might not notice the difference at all. Still, the M9’s newer octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip with 3GB of RAM makes it more equipped at handling those demanding processes – like 3D gaming. That’s not to say that the M8 is a slouch with its quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor with 2GB of RAM, but it’s just a notch down with its gaming prowess.

At the bare minimum, they both boast 32GB of internal storage. Best of all, though, is the fact that their capacities can be supplemented thanks to their available microSD slots.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
HTC One M9 56896
HTC One (M8) 31075
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
HTC One M9 2218
HTC One (M8) 1171
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
HTC One M9 4195
HTC One (M8) 3657
Sunspider
Lower is better
HTC One M9 721.3
HTC One (M8) 693.1
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
HTC One M9 49
HTC One (M8) 28.3
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
HTC One M9 24
HTC One (M8) 11
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
HTC One M9 1413
HTC One (M8) 1071
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
HTC One M9 1209
HTC One (M8) 888
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
HTC One M9 3738
HTC One (M8) 2613
View all


Internet and Connectivity


Somewhat of a shakeup, the M9 ditches the traditional “Internet” app featured in past phones, favoring instead to solely go with Google’s Chrome browser. Honestly, the two phones are effective for the web surfing experience, since they share the same speedy page loads, fluid navigational controls, and spot-on page rendering.

Chrome browser on the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Chrome browser on the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Chrome browser on the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Chrome browser on the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8

Chrome browser on the HTC One M9


The web browser of the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
The web browser of the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
The web browser of the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
The web browser of the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8

The web browser of the HTC One (M8)


World travelers will especially take note of the M9’s expanded LTE band support, which gives it more flexibility when traveling frequently. Aside from that, they offer similar connectivity features – like aGPS with Glonass, Bluetooth (4.0 for the M8, 4.1 for the M9), dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, NFC, IR, and MHL.

Camera

Details are no problem with the M9’s new camera, but it falls short with its low lighting performance.

Even now, HTC continues to defend the “UltraPixel” camera, but as we’ve seen in the M8, it just couldn’t compete in the same level as its peers. Well, HTC decided squash any concerns with the M9’s camera, a beefy sized 20-megapixel rear camera, which replaces the 4-megapixel “UltraPixel” snapper of its predecessor. Interestingly, the UltraPixel camera lives on in the M9 – it’s been made as the front-facing camera. Without question, the camera hardware is arguably the most drastic change in the M9, but does it make a mark improvement over its predecessor?

Camera interface of the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Camera interface of the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Camera interface of the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Camera interface of the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Camera interface of the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Camera interface of the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Camera interface of the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Camera interface of the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8

Camera interface of the HTC One M9


Well, one of the biggest concerns about the M8’s camera was its lack of capturing fine detail. That’s no longer the case with the M9, seeing that it capitalizes on this front by doing justice in gathering more detail in its outdoor shots when lighting is ideal – albeit, its color reproduction is a bit reserved in comparison to the M8.

The camera of the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
The camera of the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
The camera of the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
The camera of the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
The camera of the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
The camera of the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
The camera of the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
The camera of the HTC One (M8) - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8

The camera of the HTC One (M8)


However, we’re just perturbed by how the M9 squanders in low light. Comparing the shots, we find the low lighting performance of the M8 to be superior, which shouldn’t be a shock to tell you the truth, seeing that the UltraPixel is renowned for its stronger performance in this particular area. Going with HDR, the M8 also proves to be better – mainly because the M9 is prone to blurring due to its longer image processing.

To its credit, the M9’s UltraPixel front-facing camera proudly delivers selfies you won’t be disappointed in sharing with friends. From the looks of it, details are undoubtedly sharper than the 5-megapixel wide-angle front camera of the M8.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 2.3
No data
444
363
HTC One M9 3.75
No data
No data
No data
View all


Indeed, the M9 benefits from having 4K video recording capture, enabling it to produce greater detail than the M8, but in comparing apples-to-apples, 1080p video recording quality in this case, the M8’s performance proves to be the more favorable. That’s unfortunate for the M9, just because you’d expect better results, but the videos don’t lie, as the M8 exhibits a sharper, overall quality. And of course, it doesn’t shock us to see the M8 handling low light better too.



Multimedia

Dolby Audio Surround support gives the M9 a higher degree of audio fidelity.

Sense 7.0 adds more fun to the M9’s photo editing toolset, where the gallery offers us some cool and nifty artistic effects that we have fun using on our photos. Usual staples such as face fusion and frames are available on both phones, but the M9’s arsenal is expanded with the availability of adding photo shapes and prismatic effects – giving our shots a dose of hipster-ish to them.

HTC One M9 - Galleries - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Galleries - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
HTC One M8 - Galleries - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Galleries - HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8

HTC One M9

 

HTC One M8

 

Galleries


The Sense music player are nearly identical on both phones, which pay special attention to the aesthetics – one that’s deserving of Sense’s overall modern touch. Also, they’re outfitted with dual front-firing HTC BoomSound speakers, but the M9 is greeted with Dolby Audio Surround support. Technically, the M8’s pair emits the stronger tone of 75.2 dB, in comparison to the M9’s mark of 72.8 dB, but the enhancements that accompany its Dolby Audio Surround gives the M9 greater fidelity.

It’s especially most profound when it comes to watching videos, as the sound through the M9’s speakers produce a sense of depth. As for the rest of the video watching experience, either one suffices for the occasion.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 1.28
HTC One M9 1.022
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 75.2
HTC One M9 72.8
View all


HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Call Quality

It’s a win with both phones in the call quality department.

HTC didn’t mess around with the recipe it delivered with the M8’s phone call quality, as the M9 produces the same top-notch results. Not only is the earpiece powerful, making it usable in noisy environments, but the speakerphone also proves to be equally handy as well. And it helps, too, that voices on both ends of the line are clear, distinct, and robust.

HTC One M9 vs HTC One M8
Battery

Ouch, even with the higher capacity battery, the M9 lags behind the M8.

Sadly, even with a higher capacity 2840 mAh battery, the M9 falls shorter in our battery benchmark test than the M8’s 2600 mAh battery. Specifically, the M9 reaches a mark of 6 hours and 25 minutes before it’s tapped out completely, which is short of the M8’s tally of 7 hours and 12 minutes. That’s shocking, especially knowing that it’s boasting a 1080p screen and a more power efficient chip under the hood.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 7h 12 min (Good)
HTC One M9 6h 25 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
HTC One (M8) 207
HTC One M9 106
View all


Conclusion


Weighing in on what the HTC One M9 delivers over its predecessor in the HTC One M8, we continue to find the good and bad in it. Starting with the former, the M9 is still a darling gem with its meticulous and premium design – even though there are minor changes in tow with it, which we find to be logical in decision. The hardware, too, receives the customary upgrades in the form of Qualcomm’s latest piece of silicon, more RAM, and a beefier 20-megapixel camera. On the software side, the approach is unequivocally the same with the rest of the phone, as the enhancements in tow make it evolutionary by default.

However, for as much as HTC solved some of the outstanding complaints we’ve had with the M8, we encounter some new ones with the M9. First and foremost, there’s the matter regarding its new camera – you know, that beefier 20-megapixel snapper in the rear. Certainly, the detail deficiency of the M8’s camera are no longer present, but the M9’s low lighting performance is simply, utterly, laughable. It’s made more poignant when the M8 handles the condition better than the new product. We do hope that a software update will be able to fix this issue, since it really seems to be caused by inappropriate algorithms rather than the sensor itself.

And the last major thing to point out is the M9’s weaker battery performance, one that’s made evident in our battery benchmark test. Being outlasted by the lower capacity battery of the M8, we can at the very least say that the M9’s battery performance is average – enough to last most people through a solid day of normal usage.

Now, the ultimate question that remains unanswered is whether or not it’s a logical decision to upgrade to the M9 if you currently own the M8. A tough question indeed, it purely comes down to whether or not you can tolerate the M9’s displeasing performances. At the end of the day, however, we can attest that there’s more good than bad going for the M9 over its predecessor. Like we plainly stated time after time, the M9 is an evolutionary phone for HTC – it’s not a dramatic leap, but it bears enough favorable qualities to make it the superior phone. That said, should you with to hold on to the M8 for another year, and wait for the next generation of flagships, you sure aren't going to miss that much.

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