HTC One M9 Review From an iPhone User

This HTC One M9 review compares how well the new HTC One smartphone handles in the hands of an iPhone user. If you are thinking about switching from the iPhone to the HTC One M9, this will walk you through important details that buyers need to know.

After spending a month using the Verizon HTC One M9 alongside the iPhone 6 and to a lesser extent the iPhone 6 Plus there are several features that stand out, but ultimately there is not enough to convince me to put down the iPhone 6 and make the HTC One M9 my primary smartphone.

Read our in-depth HTC One M9 review for a closer look at each area and feature that the HTC One M9 delivers to users. In this shorter, focused guide potential buyers can get a closer look at how these two smartphones compare and which one is worth buying.

Here's a HTC One M9 review from an iPhone user.

Here’s a HTC One M9 review from an iPhone user.

I am using a Verizon HTC One M9 review unit for this comparison with Verizon pre-installed apps, access to XLTE speeds and Android Lollipop software with a HTC Sense overlay that changes the look and adds special features.

You can buy HTC One M9 is $199 on a two-year contract from Verizon and at Amazon. Shoppers can also purchase it for $0 down and $24.99 monthly payments at Verizon.

The HTC One M9 looks and feels very much like the HTC One M8 from last year. In some ways this is good. HTC kept the front-facing BoomSound speakers that the iPhone doesn’t even tough when it comes to sound quality and volume. The single downward facing iPhone 6 speaker is quiet compared to what the HTC One M9 delivers, and the new HTC One quickly became my go to device for listening to Spotify without headphones.

The HTC One M9 BoomSound speakers beat the single iPhone speaker.

The HTC One M9 BoomSound speakers beat the single iPhone speaker.

Even with two front facing speakers the new HTC One is not that much taller or wider than the iPhone 6. The HTC One M9 is thicker, but the curved back makes this less of an issue. It is easier to hold on to the One M9 than the iPhone, but the set back edge that defines the HTC One M9 design does not look as appealing as the iPhone 6’s curved edges.

The iPhone 6 and the HTC One M9 are both made of metal and glass with antenna breaks on the back and no space for a replaceable battery. HTC managed to combine a gold and silver color throughout the metal, which changes based on the light and movement.

HTC offers the One M9 with 32GB of storage standard and Apple still sticks with a 16GB iPhone 6 at the same price. The biggest difference is that the HTC One M9 includes a Micro SD card slot that makes it easy to add a lot of extra storage without spending $100 to $200 on a higher capacity phone up front. My 64GB iPhone 6 is $100 more than the base price of the HTC One M9.

The HTC  One M9 display is good, but the whites include a blue tinge.

The HTC One M9 display is good, but the whites include a blue tinge.

The HTC One M9 screen looks good with a 5-inch, 1080P display. This is bigger than the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 display and offers a higher resolution, but the difference is not as noticeable as what I see when comparing the LG G4 and the iPhone 6 displays.

HTC’s display is bright enough to use outdoors and large enough for watching a short TV show on Netflix, but so is the slightly smaller iPhone 6 display. The iPhone 6 display also delivers whiter whites, while the HTC One M9 display’s white areas include a bluish hue. If I had to pick one display to look at for the next two years the iPhone 6 is the clear winner.

A physical home button with a fingerprint sensor is very useful.

A physical home button with a fingerprint sensor is very useful.

Apple’s physical home button is easy to find without looking and it includes a fingerprint reader that unlocks the phone for fast user. Combined with the easy access to Siri, a voice assistant, with a long press and the iPhone buttons are more user-friendly.

The HTC One M9 includes on-screen buttons for home, back and recent apps. Physical volume and power buttons on the right side don’t stick out very much and there is not enough space on between the power and volume down button for my liking.

I like that it is easy to turn the HTC One M9 off with a double tap on the blank screen, but without a fingerprint reader there are many times where I still need to enter a password.  Smart Lock on Android 5.0 helps ease the pain of unlocking the HTC One M9 in trusted areas or when connected to a Bluetooth device, but I definitely miss a fingerprint reader for the ease of logging into apps like a password manager.

The iPhone 6 camera is better than the HTC One M9 in most situations.

The iPhone 6 camera is better than the HTC One M9 in most situations.

One area that HTC focused on upgrading is the camera, but the new 20MP camera on the rear of the HTC One M9 does not come close to the quality that the iPhone 6 delivers with an 8MP sensor. In the best of conditions the HTC One M9 camera takes good photos, but it fails to capture detailed texture well and the low light performance is not up to par with the competition. The iPhone 6 also delivers more consistent results and a more reliable camera app. The One M9 includes a decent front-facing 4 Ultrapixel camera that takes good selfies and delivers good quality for video calls. 

On the software side the HTC One M9 includes a theme manager that lets users change the look and sound profile for the device using built-in themes or even from photos that you take. Themes look great and custom themes work very well. I wish Apple included this level of control and customization without the need to jailbreak the iPhone 6. Unfortunately the themes cannot make up for HTC Sense skin that sits on top of Android Lollipop and feels clunky and dated compared to iOS 8 on the iPhone 6.

Apple also scores a win on call quality on the same Verizon network. This doesn’t even include FaceTime Audio calls that a standard phone call cannot compare to. For more, check out 15 reasons the iPhone is better than Android.

Ultimately the iPhone 6 is a better phone for many users.

Ultimately the iPhone 6 is a better phone for many users.

The HTC One M9 battery life is very good, lasting a full day of moderate to heavy use without a problem. The iPhone 6 battery life comes close, but on days with heavy calling the iPhone 6 battery will drop out sooner than the HTC One M9.

At the end of the day the HTC One M9 is not on the same level as the iPhone. The poor camera performance on the HTC One M9 and HTC Sense software aren’t where they need to be in 2015. Even with excellent speakers, expandable storage and themes the iPhone 6 is a better overall smartphone.

Android vs iPhone: 15 Reasons Android is Better

More Choice with Android

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More Choice with Android

Apple offers more choice than we've seen from them before with the iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE as well as older models -- but you still only have three screen sizes and two designs to pick from. 

Android delivers more options with waterproof phones, different screen sizes, more colors, different materials and other differentiating factors. 

With Android smartphones users can choose a waterproof option like the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge or go with a modular design like the LG G5. There is also support for a huge screen with a built-in stylus with the Note 5. In addition to these big names, there are many other options from Motorola and if you include last year's releases a number of other interesting options. 

There are also options to buy an Android phone with wireless charging or a replaceable battery, neither of which is available without adding a case to the iPhone.

Users can pick the phone size and design they want, and they can also pick a phone that offers a replaceable battery, a great camera or another feature without limiting to just two phones for the latest features and user experience.

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