Mobile Technology

Asia-only HTC One ME: A glimpse of what the M9 could have been?

The (likely China-only) HTC One ME
The (likely China-only) HTC One ME
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The (likely China-only) HTC One ME
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The (likely China-only) HTC One ME
Instead of all-metal, the ME has a plastic back with metal sides
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Instead of all-metal, the ME has a plastic back with metal sides
Different color variants for the HTC One ME
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Different color variants for the HTC One ME

HTC, known for its consistently high quality in the smartphone space, laid a bit of an egg this year with its somewhat underwhelming One M9 flagship. Ironically, a new Asia-only variant has some qualities that could have given the M9 a better shot at being one of the best phones of 2015.

The biggest of those qualities is display. While the flagship One M9 had a last-gen. 5-inch 1080p display, the One ME cranks that up to a 5.2-inch Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) screen. That change alone could have made the M9 a much more tempting alternative to the Galaxy S6 and GS6 edge.

The ME also has a fingerprint sensor, another category that gave Samsung's flagships a leg-up on the M9. It isn't yet clear, though, whether the ME's sensor is swipe-based or touch-based.

Instead of all-metal, the ME has a plastic back with metal sides
Instead of all-metal, the ME has a plastic back with metal sides

The ME's back is made of polycarbonate, but it does use the same parlor trick that we've seen on phones like the Nexus 6, Moto X and Note 4: it has metal sides, to provide a more premium feel than an all-plastic phone would. Despite its plastic it isn't the lightest phone around, weighing in at 155 g/5.5oz (just a smidge lighter than the M9), nor the thickest (at 9.8 mm/0.38-in), but it does carry over some qualities of the trademark HTC One design.

The ME appears to use the same cameras as the M9, with a 20 MP (ƒ/2.2) rear sensor with a 4 MP UltraPixel camera on the front. It also shares 3 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage with the M9, as well as a microSD slot.

The HTC One ME does stray from Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, instead using an octa-core MediaTek helio X10, clocked at 2.2 GHz – a high-end chip in itself, though not one we've spent any time with in the US.

Different color variants for the HTC One ME
Different color variants for the HTC One ME

If nothing else, the One ME certainly seems a lot more interesting than the M9. Swap its plastic back for the M9's aluminum build, and we'd have a flagship worthy of a rivalry with the GS6.

The ME appears to be a China-only release, at least for the time being. We'd say it's beyond a long-shot that this phone will make its way to the US or Europe, but based on its spec sheet and design, we'll keep our fingers crossed nonetheless.

Source: HTC

3 comments
TN
With everyone putting cases on their phones to protect them, why the push for all metal phones???
willemco
Agree with TN and I have been saying this for a long time. I MUCH rather have a plastic phone where you can quickly swap the battery and/or a Micro SD slot. Even better would be to have a plastic phone with a battery that lasts a WEEK! The only thing where the iPhone is better is their cable where you don't have to look whether you're inserting it correctly. My first smartphone was an HTC (the Wildfire) and I loved it until it slowed down to a crawl within 6 months because I keep all my messages. I guess that HTC may have found a solution to that problem in the meantime? I then has a Samsung S3 for 3 years and when I finally - after 3 years - went for the Note 4 (both plastic) and the S3 still looked and performed like new! Let's PLEASE focus on what's important... it's what INSIDE the phone that makes or breaks a smartphone. Very few people don't use a case so who cares?
Daishi
HTC's market share peaked in 2011 at 10.7% and by the end of 2014 it was 2%. They were betting big on the M9 to be successful to make a come back but the reviews I have seen on the M9 were pretty disappointed with it. Phone Arena did a blind camera comparison and the M9 didn't do so great. In some photos it rendered terribly: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-Galaxy-S6-edge-tops-our-blind-camera-comparison-HTC-One-M9-lags-behind_id67882 HTC's stock is down 30% since April.