- Poor battery life
- Lag and stutters during current-gen games and when opening some apps
- Slippery grip
- Copycat design
The HTC One A9 made waves not because of its price point, but because of its design. Reviewers and consumers alike note the design similarities between the A9 and the iPhone 6S. Both feature a brushed aluminum back, inset lines on the top and bottom and even a home button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner. Upon closer inspection, however, they did notice some subtle differences: it is slightly larger than the 6S at 5 inches, the edges are a bit squarer, and the camera is located in the center instead of the side. Regardless of whether HTC purposely cloned the iPhone or not, critics still agree the A9 is an attractive device. The one downfall of the design is its grip. Due to the flat back and metal body, experts had a difficult time with the grip describing it as one of the slipperiest phones they've used.
The 5-inch AMOLED display offers a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Experts didn't have any issues with it, but nothing particularly wowed them either. Despite not having QHD resolution, they had no problems with the overall sharpness and clarity of the display. On top of this, they add color reproduction was fairly accurate and unlike many AMOLED screens there wasn't any noticeable oversaturation. They describe sunlight legibility as decent though they add auto brightness mode could use a little work. Tech Radar sums up the display by saying, "It's not the best out there, but the upper limit of what we'd be happy to accept."
The A9 comes with a 1.5GHz octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM. For the most part, this combination allowed reviewers to have a fairly zippy experience during most tasks. With that said they did run into some lag most noticeably when playing graphics-intensive game and when launching certain apps like the camera. Battery life is another issue, due to its small size of 2150mAh. Critics needed to charge it daily even with moderate use. The A9 comes in two flavors – 16GB or 32GB. While this might seem small, Android Marshmallow now allows external storage to be used as internal space, which means users have as much space available on their microSD card.
The 13MP main shooter for the A9 offers several features, most notably optical image stabilization. For the most part, reviewers describe its performance as decent but still not on par with the cameras on iPhone or Samsung phones. Still, their photos came out fairly sharp with colors skewing a bit towards the warm end. While they describe daytime photos as simply okay, they were more than impressed with low light images. Thanks to optical image stabilization technology, they were able to capture fairly detailed and sharp pictures.
Despite its positive qualities, reviewers have a difficult time recommending the A9 to anyone but HTC fans. Techno Buffalo states, "For someone who just needs a new Android smartphone? There are better options out there in the same price range." Gizmodo adds, "…do you desperately want an iPhone form factor with the versatility of an Android phone? Then yes, you should buy it…For most people, springing for iOS or…Nexus 6P will be the better option."