It all looks like a no-brainer. Essentially each and every Android power user in the market for a new “handheld PC” seems to be after Samsung’s Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge. The LG G3 is dated, although not by much, the G Flex 2 continues to keep an inexplicably low profile, while Sony’s Xperia Z3 started out obsolete last fall. No wonder carriers are already nixing it.
But what about HTC’s One M9? Sure, the S6 pair prevailed in our head-to-head specs comparison, yet the all-aluminum, “dual-toned” HTC had a few things going for it. On paper. Now that it’s out, and the odds-on heavyweight title favorites as well, it’s time to further explore the make-or-break elements derived from reviews and whatnot.
There’s also the key question of availability and pricing, plus a detail we didn’t take into account up to this point. Without further ado, here’s why you should still consider the M9, why you shouldn’t, and every place, store and website you can pick it up from stateside.
Reasons to buy the HTC One M9
- Uh-Oh protection plan
Face it, there’s no such thing as an unbreakable slab, no matter if it’s made of metal, glass, plastic or clay. So, why worry when you can get a free replacement in case of screen rupture or water damage? No catches, no strings attached.
We’re well aware of the vexing performance gap reported by Geekbench back when both the S6 and M9 were in final stages of market preparation. But now GFX Bench, a just as reputable speed evaluator, puts the two fully polished devices on mostly equal grounds.
HTC’s gold medal contender is actually better in “long term performance”, “battery lifetime”, plus T-Rex and Manhattan, two very trusted graphics inspections. Bottom line, the Snapdragon 810/Adreno 430 CPU/GPU combo looks at least as capable as the Exynos 7420/Mali-T760 MP8 dyad.
Why not to buy
- Average cameras
If there’s one thing M9 reviewers agree on, it’s the 20.7 MP rear snapper’s mediocrity. Oh, so it wasn’t all the fault of Ultrapixel technology.
- Overheating concerns
- Bland, way too familiar design
If HTC can’t tell the difference between an M8 and M9, how do they expect us to distinguish the two?
Where to buy
- $650 factory unlocked with US warranty in gunmetal grey; $700 gold on silver
- $200 with AT&T pacts; $710 outright in grey or gold on silver (pre-orders only, release date April 10)
- $200 and $750 on Sprint with or without contracts respectively (April 10 delivery)
- $200 on-contract at Verizon; $750 free of obligations
- $200 with AT&T agreements; starting at $23.64 a month with Next installments; $709 replacement device (3-5 business day shipping; store pickup unavailable)
- $200 with two-year Sprint contracts; $27 a month for 24 months with EasyPay; $700 replacement device (1-2 business day shipping)
- $200 and $750 on or off-contract at Verizon; $25.45 a month with Edge (pre-orders only, delivery date unspecified)
- Available April 10, up for pre-orders at the moment in silver gold or metal gray at $24.99 a month on Edge, $200 with carrier agreements, $599.99 full retail.
- Offered with free shipping and worry-free returns, in gunmetal gray or gold on silver, starting at $23.64 a month with Next 24
- Next 18 pricing – $29.55 every 30 days for 24 months
- Next 12 – $35.45 for 20 months
- $200 on-contract; $709 no strings attached
- Available with $0.99 bundled LG G Pad 7.0 LTE for One M9 Next purchases and two-year G Pad activations
- $0 down, $20 for 24 payments with lease
- $0 down, $30 for 12 payments with lease
- $0 down, $27 a month with two-year Easy Pay
- $199.99 with 24-month service agreements
- $648 upfront
- Two-five business day delivery promised
- $50 off Harman/Kardon One speaker when paired with the HTC One M9
- Sold with free overnight shipping if ordered immediately, in exchange for $649.92, split into 24 monthly payments of $27.08 each. No advance fee. Silver and gunmetal paint jobs available.
HTC online store
- In addition to all the above carrier possibilities, gathered here together, the M9 can also be bought unlocked or in a Developer-ready edition, aka with the bootloader unlocked out the box.
- Developer version – $649 in gray or silver/gold, in stock
- Unlocked model – $649, in stock, except for the amber gold flavor, listed as “coming soon”
- Backordered online, not yet available in physical stores, starting at $200 with Verizon, AT&T or Sprint pacts in gunmetal gray
Right, so clearly, if you’re just making a decision now, it’s easier to swiftly score the M9 than the hugely in-demand GS6 or S6 Edge. It’s worth emphasizing you’ll be eligible for Uh-Oh protection regardless of the retailer or carrier you choose to do business with.
Also, if you’re holding off for the 64 GB variant, well, don’t. We’ve no idea when, or if, it’s headed to the US. But hey, 32 gigs of internal space is plenty when there’s a microSD slot endowed with up to 128 GB support.
Interestingly enough, T-Mobile’s free Netflix and Best Buy’s complimentary wireless charging pad GS6 promos have no equivalent in the M9 camp. Still, the new One is overall cheaper, and if you take good care of it, HTC will give you 100 bucks toward the purchase of a sequel.
Last but not least, it’s a little odd no smaller service providers have joined the launch party yet. No US Cellular, no MetroPCS, no nobody besides the “big four”. Point Samsung there, as USC sells the S6 along with Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mo.
At the end of the day, we don’t want to tell you what phone to buy and where from, but we strongly believe it’d be foolish to rule out the One M9 without proper consideration.