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HTC One A9 vs One M9: Should You Upgrade?

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HTC unveiled its One M9 smartphone at the MWC earlier this year and has now followed the phablet up with another powerful offering: the One A9.

We take a look at how the latest One A9, revealed on Oct. 20, and the One M9 compare against each other and if it is worth upgrading to the newer HTC offering.

Processor

The One M9 houses an octa-core processor with the Snapdragon 810 (quad-core 2GHz + quad-core 1.5 GHz), while the One A9 also boasts an octa-core processor with the Snapdragon 617 (quad-core 1.2GHz + quad-core 1.5 GHz).

On paper, it is difficult to ascertain which smartphone's processor offers more power. The better performance can only be determined after benchmark tests.

Display

These premium-looking all-metal HTC handsets each have a 5-inch screen with a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution. Both have Gorilla Glass 4 for a robust display.

Dimensions

The One M9 measures 5.69 x 2.74 x 0.38 inches compared to sibling One A9's 5.74 x 2.79 x 0.29 inches, making the latter fractionally taller. In terms of thickness, there is little separating the two HTC handsets.

At 143 grams (5 ounces), the One A9 is lighter than the One M9, which weighs 157 grams (5.5 ounces).

Memory

The HTC One M9 is only available as a 32GB model, whereas the One A9 comes in 16GB and 32GB variants.

Since the smartphones have a microSD card slot, the memory of both the One M9 and One A9 can now be upgraded to 2TB.

The One M9 has 3GB of RAM, which is the same as the RAM of the 32GB One A9. However, the 16GB One A9 has 2GB of RAM.

Camera

The HTC One M9 houses a 20MP primary camera with an F2.2 lens. This rear-facing camera on the older One M9 easily betters the 13MP one on the One A9, which has an F2.0 lens. Both devices have a sapphire camera cover lens for protection.

The cameras of both HTC phones support dual-LED flash, autofocus and auto real-time HDR. However, the One A9 offers OIS support unlike the One M9. Nevertheless, the One M9's camera can take 4K or, in essence, 2,160p videos at 30fps compared to the One A9's 1,080p videos at 30fps.

For selfie lovers, the One M9 and One A9 both offer an UltraPixel front-facing camera capable of 1,080p videos.

Operating System

While the HTC One M9 is preloaded with Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box, the HTC One A9 will ship with the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow, giving the latter a clear edge over the former. With that said, HTC has already confirmed that the One M9 will also get the Android M update.

Battery

The One M9 is fueled by a non-removable 2,840mAh battery, which offers 21 hours of talk time on 3G. The newer One A9, on the other hand, houses a smaller non-removable 2,150mAh battery, which offers only 16 hours of talk time on 3G.

The One M9 is clearly better in this department since it offers a more powerful battery and longer hours of usage.

Additional Features

The One A9 has an edge over its sibling as it packs in the fingerprint and Motion G sensors, which are notably missing in the One M9.

Both devices have an ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, compass, gyro sensor, magnetic sensor and Sensor Hub. The two smartphones also support NFC and Bluetooth 4.1 and have Quick Charge 2.0 for fast battery charging.

Price

The unlocked 32GB variant of the HTC One A9 can be preordered from HTC's website for $399.99 — a promotional price. It will be released in November and is available in four hues: Opal Silver, Carbon Gray, Deep Garnet and Topaz Gold.

The 32GB HTC One M9 is priced at $649.99. The smartphone is available in Gunmetal Gray, Amber Gold, Silver/Rose Gold, and Gold/Pink.

The One M9 is a tried and tested smartphone compared to the newcomer, the One A9. While the One A9's introductory price may be attractive, the older One M9 is clearly better when it comes to battery and camera performances — two features that most smartphone lovers take into consideration prior to buying a handset.

Verdict: Upgrading to the One A9 may not be worth it in our opinion. It might be better to wait for the next-gen One M9 instead.

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