HTC One A9 hands-on: Looks like an iPhone, feels like a good phone in its own right

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Gizmag went hands-on with the HTC One A9 at a NYC launch event this week(Credit: Will Shanklin/Gizmag)

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Earlier this week HTC announced a new One handset that's a little mid-ranged, a little high-end and (as you may have heard by now) looks a hell of a lot like an iPhone. Read on for our early impressions of the HTC One A9 from this week's launch.

Most reviews and hands-on coverage you read about the One A9 are likely to focus on its striking resemblance to the latest iPhones. And for good reason: it's very close to being a spitting image. Metal body, rounded edges, dual horizontal antenna lines on the back.

But if you can get past that, the One A9 also looks like a promising handset. HTC says it wanted to combine the best parts of the high-end One and mid-ranged Desire lineups, and we think that's a pretty good description. It isn't completely mid-ranged like the Desires, but it also doesn't quite have the cutting-edge specs we'd expect from a One M flagship. It's a premium phone with highish-end (but not quite highest-end) specs.

The A9 feels very light in hand (it weighs the same as the iPhone 6s, despite being a bigger phone) and, at 7.3 mm, is also thin.

Its Snapdragon 617 processor zips through Android 6.0 Marshmallow with no perceptible lag (at least in our limited use during the hands-on time). HTC's Sense UI is subtler than it's ever been, to the degree that the A9 feels very close to being a Nexus phone.

HTC's new software approach is a bit like Motorola's from the last couple of years: more about adding unique features to stock Android, less about re-branding Android with a custom UI that may slow things down (though HTC's Theme store is also back, letting you customize the look of the UI to your liking).

It's way too early to comment on camera quality and battery life, but our overall first impressions are that the One A9 is worth paying attention to. Launching at a limited time price of US$400 unlocked and paid in full, it's priced well below most flagships, with a premium design that you won't find elsewhere in that price range.

Stay tuned for Gizmag's full One A9 review. The handset is available to pre-order now from the link below.

Product page: HTC

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