HTC today announced the arrival of the HTC One M9+ flagship and mid-range HTC Desire 826. The two devices were teased on HTC's official social channels, with the message "More Than One" and subsequently appeared on the local SIRIM database.
If you've been wondering what has happened to the HTC One M9, well, your guess is as good as mine. I suspect though, that the M9 was pretty much DOA from the get go, firstly due to its "more or less like the last One" looks and underwhelming specs. Also, being powered by the troubled Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, it brought more heat than performance gains. The other main killer reason --- the Samsung Galaxy S6 (and S6 edge).
Here comes a new One
So, here comes a HTC One M9+, an enhanced version of the shortlived "best of HTC", sporting better hardware and a bigger promise. The phone was recently launched in Beijing, together with the budget Desire 826.
The One M9+ packs a higher resolution 5.2-inch 2K Super LCD3 display (534PPI) protected by Gorilla Glass 4.
In terms of design, the M9+ retains the signature One look of the M7 and M8 --- all-metal unibody with polished edges and a two-tone finish. It tips the scales at just 168g with 9.6mm at its thinnest point.
What's different is the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor in between the bottom-front BoomSound speaker grille.
A key difference of the M9+ from previous generation One M series phones is the move from the Qualcomm platform to MediaTek. As mentioned earlier, the Snapdragon 810 hasn't quite lived up to expectations as the leading 64-bit chip. Bogged with reported heat issues and constant throttling, the Snapdragon 810 was also no match for Samsung's octa-core Exynos that powers the Samsung Galaxy S6.
So in comes the 64-bit MediaTek MT6795T SoC running at 2.2GHz, mated to a PowerVR G6200 GPU and 3GB RAM. Not Exynos-beating for sure, but more power-efficient and less of a burning stove.
The One M9+ gets 32GB of storage, upgradeable to 2TB via microSD.
It takes a single nano-SIM, and supports 4G LTE. Battery is a 2,840mAh unit, not the biggest on a smartphone, but should last a full day's worth of usage.
The (in)famous Duo Camera makes a return, the 20MP + 2.1MP rear camera with HTC Eye Experience software giving you post-editing and effects. The camera comes with a dual-LED (dual-tone) flash and is capable of 2K video recording.
The front gets a 4MP UltraPixel that is claimed to provide 300% more light than standard pixels, and is also capable of Full HD video recording and HDR.
HTC BoomSound with Dolby Audio provides immersive audio, and should be excellent, from what I've experienced on the M7, M8 and HTC Butterfly 2.
Perhaps the key enhancements of the M9+ from previous generations lie in the software side of things. The M9+ runs Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, with the famed HTC Sense UI 7 on top.
HTC Sense 7 is much enhanced, with the intelligent, behavious-detecting Sense Home providing some personalised experience.
There's also a HTC Themes app that lets you change the look and feel of the device --- icons, ringtones and wallpapers.
HTC BlinkFeed is enhanced with recommendations and links based on your location.
A Desire by any other name
The new HTC mid-ranger sports a 5.5-inch Full HD Super LCD3 display (401PPI) and runs a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor clocked at 1.7GHz. It gets 2GB RAM and 16GB storage, expandable via microSD.
Design-wise, it has similar fit and finish as the Desire EYE with a soft-touch matte finish and the centre-placed front-facing camera.
The main snapper is a 13MP f/2.0 unit with LED flash, while the front sports a 4MP UltraPixel module.
The Desire 826 comes built-in with a 2,600mAh battery that should last you at least a day's worth of usage.
The new phone supports dual-SIM (nano-SIM) with dual-standby.
The phone runs Android 5.0.2 Lollipop out of the box, with HTC Sense UI 7 on top.
Pricing and availability
The HTC One M9+ retails for RM2,599 and is available in Gold on Silver, Gunmetal Gray. Gold on Gold will be available later.
The HTC Desire 826 is priced at RM1,359 and is available in White Birch, Blue Lagoon and Purple Fire.
General availability will be from 30 April onwards.