Review: HTC One (M9) Smartphone

Having been an Android user for several years, I wanted to make the switch last year to the Apple iPhone 6 to see what I’ve been missing.

cq5dam.web.280.280I have to admit that I generally liked the iPhone 6 with its many unique features: larger screen size, Apple Pay, fingerprint sensor, etc. But I missed many features I was used to with Android, so I just switched back to Android with the HTC One (M9) Smartphone.

The iPhone was an easy to set up and use phone with limited customization required. What’s wrong with that? Nothing, but I enjoyed tinkering with the phone to give it the look and feel that was me.

For many years the Android world featured larger screen sizes than Apple until the introduction of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in September. My previous phone to the iPhone was the HTC One (M8). This phone had a bright 5.0” screen with double speakers for better sound.

Last month HTC introduced their replacement for that phone—the flagship One (M9) phone. What appealed to me was that it did not make any drastic changes. Its cool aluminum back and screen had not gotten larger as many Android models had done.
In fact, the only major changes on this phone was a new 20 MP camera display and a larger battery for longer time between charges. The new 20 MP camera replaced last year’s Ultra Pixel display that was a lower resolution camera that required less light.

iOS vs. Android

So why would I want to leave Apple and go back to Android? Let me count the ways.

htc-one-m9-11) Clock Options – With the iPhone you have limited ways of changing the look of the clock on the home page. With the HTC One (M9) there are many more possibilities using Google’s widgets. My option is to have retro flip-clock with the battery life included.

2) Weather on the Clock – I like having a large clock on the main page (like the iPhone) with the current weather automatically updating. I tried this option with an app that was supposed to do this in tandem with Apple’s clock. The only problem was that the current weather was never updated!

3) Navigation Buttons – The iPhone has navigation buttons that do exactly what you would expect. But good luck making changes! With the HTC One (M9) your home screen has 3 standard buttons, but you have the option of adding a fourth button to do one of 4 tasks. My chosen task is to put it to sleep without hitting the hard power button.

4) Battery Info – Apple’s standard battery notification is an icon of the battery with a percentage number next to it. The HTC One (M9) offers multiple ways of showing the battery life including a percent number, a larger battery icon directly on the desktop.

5) Multiple Home Pages – Apple provides one home page with many configuration options including color scheme, wallpaper options including adding your own photo, etc. But HTC offers several home pages you can use. Besides the usual home page and its different themes, HTC has an unusual BlinkFeed® page with current photos of headline or entertainment news.

6) Notification LED – If you receive a notification on your iPhone, it will appear on your lock screen. There is an easier way to spot notifications on your HTC phone. It has a small LED light that blinks green when you receive a notification. Other uses for this LED: a solid green light indicates battery fully charged, flashing orange light when battery level is low and solid orange when battery is being charged. The whole point of this option is that you do not need to pick up the phone each time to see notification alert or battery status.

Memory

Apple’s pricing for memory is just outrageous. Look at the iPhone 6, for example. A minimum 16GB is $649 and if you want to bump it up to the next level of 64GB, that will cost you an extra $100 or 128GB, an extra $200. You cannot add additional memory.

Compare Apple’s memory with the One (M9). HTC offers 32GB of standard memory for the same price as the iPhone 6’s 16BG version. But what makes the HTC phone more attractive is that it includes an external memory slot for a micro SD card. The One (M9) phone can accept micro SD cards up to 128GB.

The cards can be purchased for as little as $7-30, considerably less than what Apple charges for their internal memory. My phone now has 48GB of memory for considerably less than Apple’s 64GB version.

Conclusion

I am not suggesting that Android phones like the HTC One (M9) are better than Apple’s current iPhones. Both phones have their advantages and disadvantages. Selecting a cell phone is a personal choice. I love the ability to make customization changes on my phone. Apple’s customization options are limited.

So if I don’t have some of Apple’s “cool” features such as Apple Pay or fingerprint sensor, it’s OK. I just prefer to have the ability to make more personal changes on my smartphone!

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