HTC has been pushing some great phones to fill in the mid-range market recently. In Asia, there’s tons of competition because of the Chinese brands flooding the mid-range market with high end features, and with the use of HTC’s pioneer brand recognition, NFC and iPhone like style, priced at RM 1,099, can HTC’s One A9S hold up to the competition? Let’s find out.
|DISPLAY||1280 x 720 px SuperLCD|
|PLATFORM||OS||Android OS, v6.0 (Marshmallow)|
|Chipset||Mediatek MT6755 Helio P10|
|CPU||Octa-core (4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4×1.0 GHz Cortex-A53)|
|MEMORY||Card slot||microSD, up to 256 GB (dedicated slot)|
|Internal||16 GB, 2 GB RAM or 32 GB, 3 GB RAM|
|CAMERA||Primary||13 MP, f/2.2, 28mm, autofocus, LED flash|
|Features||1.12 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR|
|Secondary||5 MP, f/2.8, 33.7 mm, 1.12 µm pixel size|
01| The Unboxing Experience
The box of the A9S is really solid. Keeping the phone safe and sound, the box also comes with that classic square box style to give you that HTC vibe while unboxing it. Cracking open the box first reveals the phone itself. Removing the thin paper tray then reveals what HTC has packed into it.
Inside the box, you’ll find the phone, charging adapter, a single USB cable, an earphone, some manuals and a few more extra earbuds to replace the applied ones. Other than that, it’s just white cardboard.
02| Design & Build Quality!
The HTC A9S has to be called the best iPhone clone ever! After having quite some beef with Apple, HTC has stuck with their design. With antenna bands spanning across the top and bottom of the device, the device surely gets 10/10 in the imitation department. Now as long as HTC doesn’t sue me after this, the phone actually is pretty well built, with rounded sides (built to perfection, destined be slipped out of small hands) and a manageable size. Other than that, HTC actually have some great, yet subtle color options with the A9S. The one we have here is the HTC A9S in Ocean Blue color.
Talking about the color, the phone is actually well-built aside from the jokes, due to the nature of the color, it does a damn good job of hiding dirt and fingerprint on the back of your phone. Although the subtle colors do make up for that and a lot of times remain unnoticed.
Looking at the front of the device reveals the manageable 5-inch 720p HD display and the fingerprint sensor on the bottom of the device. Taking a close look at the device, I was thinking if HTC could have improved the screen-body ratio as there’s some noticeable gaps, like bringing the fingerprint sensor closer to the screen or even extending the screen to the fingerprint sensor.
The same could be said about the top of the device where the earpiece could have been pulled closer to the screen allowing for a smaller footprint.
On the right side of the device you’ll find the power button and the volume rocket. On the left side of the device you’ll find the SIM and MicroSD card slot.
When we speak about the build quality of the A9S, I actually think that it’s built very well, while rounded sides do have a higher chance of slipping, they do really feel comfortable in your hands. Since the phone utilizes metal on the back of the phone, the phone is usually cool to touch and could also withstand some drops without any major damage.
The display on the HTC One A9S isn’t actually all that bad despite being limited to 720p, but I would have really loved to see a 1080p panel, since many budget phones are actually implementing Full HD displays nowadays. However, the display really impressed me outdoors, while not ground breaking, the display is actually quite bright allowing to see the screen under bright sunlight. Colors and saturation are natural and the sharpness is just okay. Viewing angles are also good.
Coming over to the audio experience on the HTC One A9S, the speaker placement on the A9S really disturbs me. While many phones nowadays really focus on symmetry, here the A9S places the speaker almost towards the center of the phone where the Micro-USB charging port usually is. The speakers are serviceable for a low noise environment usage. But outside of that, it is recommended to use the included earphones since you won’t be able to hear in a louder place. Using the included earphones really did aid my media consumption experience, especially since HTC’s legendary BoomSound only works with headphones on the A9S.
The performance on the A9S is as zippy any smartphone would get. The RAM management is on point and could handle almost every single task you can throw at it.While it may not be the highest end beefy phone with capabilites to run high end games at smooth frame-rates, it’s still a great option for multi-taskers and gamers. Under the hood, you’re getting the MediaTek P10 running @ 2Ghz, 3GB of RAM paired with 32GB of storage powering a 5-inch 1280x 720 display which eases the processor and the runs a bit lighter on the battery.
Talking about numbers, the phone lies within the 60K mark on Antutu. On GeekBench, the A9s scored 764 for single core and 2729 for the multi-core score.
The camera on the HTC One A9S is far from great. Colors are inaccurate indoors, and needs some work to be done, but hey, that’s a common bottleneck in smartphones in this price range. But what really impressed me on the opposite side was the selfie camera, it indeed delivers better colors, better light and overall a better image despite being 5MP. I think HTC was too lazy to check on the rear camera. Although, the shots from the camera aren’t that bad, have a look.
As soon as you zoom into most of the photos, even in good light, most of the details are lost. But I guess the selfie camera works best because of the large pixel size that HTC has been implementing for quite a while.
The battery on the A9S is okay. I was able to keep the phone alive 3/4th of my day with medium/heavy. Brightness was usually set to about 40% since the phone was mostly used indoors. But if that’s not enough, thankfully, the A9S comes with quick charge. Using the included cable and adaptor, the A9S too just over an hour to fully charge thanks to it’s small 2300mAh battery.
If you want to extend the battery even further, an Extreme saver option is also available that disables your data connection when the screen is off and also manages the apps running in the background.
The HTC A9S is a great phone, it comes with an okay battery, fast charging, a great selfie camera, excellent multi-tasker and much more, but it’s let down by a a few choices that may be a determining factor for many, such as the rear camera, the large chin and the thick rounded-body. Overall, we’d recommend you use this phone as an extra if you really do, otherwise there’s better options out there. But if you are an HTC fan and need that great selfie cam and like the features of the phone, go get it! From our side, it’s recommended!