Mobile Technology

HTC One M9 vs. One (M8) and One (M7)

HTC One M9 vs. One (M8) and On...
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the HTC One M9 (far left), HTC One M8 (middle) and HTC One M7
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the HTC One M9 (far left), HTC One M8 (middle) and HTC One M7
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Camera aperture (rear)
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Camera aperture (rear)
Battery
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Battery
Build
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Build
Camera megapixels (front)
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Camera megapixels (front)
Camera megapixels (rear)
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Camera megapixels (rear)
Color options
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Color options
Processor
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Processor
Depth sensor
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Depth sensor
Dimensions
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Dimensions
Display (resolution)
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Display (resolution)
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the HTC One M9 (far left), HTC One M8 (middle) and HTC One M7
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Gizmag compares the features and specs of the HTC One M9 (far left), HTC One M8 (middle) and HTC One M7
MicroSD card slot
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MicroSD card slot
Navigation buttons location
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Navigation buttons location
Starting price (at launch, full retail)
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Starting price (at launch, full retail)
Starting price (at launch, on-contract)
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Starting price (at launch, on-contract)
RAM
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RAM
Release
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Release
Software
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Software
Storage
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Storage
Weight
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Weight
Windows Phone variant
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Windows Phone variant
Display (size)
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Display (size)

Two years ago, a struggling HTC rebranded itself with an outstanding (not to mention gorgeous) flagship smartphone, the HTC One (M7). Today, though the company is still making stunning handsets, it also looks hesitant to depart too far from that formula, as we now have the second iterative update to that original design, the HTC One M9. Let's compare the three generations of the One.

Size

Dimensions
Dimensions

The HTC One M9 is roughly the same size as last year's One M8. Compared to 2013's One M7, though, the M9 is 6 percent taller and 3 percent wider.

The HTC One is the rare mobile product lineup that has actually gotten a little thicker every year.

Weight

Weight
Weight

The HTC One M9 is a smidge lighter than last year's model, but it's still 10 percent heavier than the smaller M7.

Build

Build
Build

That aluminum unibody build is no less stunning two years later, but it is a lot more familiar. It also makes us wonder how long HTC is going to cling to this same basic design scheme. On one hand, you could say "if it ain't broke" ... but on the other, we have to wonder if the company is becoming a little risk-averse with its flagship.

The new model does have some subtle design changes, like a more square-ish camera hole and a two-toned finish with different colored edges.

Colors

Color options
Color options

Three of the four colors are the same with the M9 as they are with the M8, with a pink option standing as the only newcomer.

Display (size)

Display (size)
Display (size)

No screen size change for the M9, as it sticks with the 5-incher we saw last year. The M7 only gives you 88 percent as much screen area.

Navigation buttons

Navigation buttons location
Navigation buttons location

The original HTC One did, however, have capacitive keys below its screen, rather than the onscreen navigation buttons we've seen the last two generations. In most places, that has all three phones' available screen real estate coming out around the same size.

... the exception is when Android's Immersive Mode kicks in (places like e-reading and video apps) to fade out those buttons, letting you use the full 5 inches in the M8 and M9.

Display (resolution)

Display (resolution)
Display (resolution)

This could be the biggest disappointment with the One M9, as it stands pat with 1080p resolution – even as many Android flagships are moving into Quad HD land.

These phones' full HD is still very sharp, but the Quad HD displays in rivals like the Galaxy S6 give you more eye candy.

Storage

Storage
Storage

Unless HTC adds different variants later, it's going to stand as the rare mobile flagship that's only being offered in one storage tier.

MicroSD card

MicroSD card slot
MicroSD card slot

The One M9 and M8, though, do let you complement that internal storage by popping in a microSD card (sold separately).

Processor

Processor
Processor

In several of these categories, it almost looks like the product hasn't evolved ... but its performance certainly has. The 64-bit, octa-core Snapdragon 810 in the new model should be a significant upgrade over last year's CPU.

RAM

RAM
RAM

The M9 is also the first HTC flagship to jump into 3 GB of RAM.

Battery

Battery
Battery

These capacities don't necessarily mean a lot on their own; stay tuned for our full review for the low-down on the M9's battery life.

Last year's M8 had some of the best battery life of any 2014 flagship, so it will be interesting to see if HTC improved on it with the 2015 model.

Camera megapixels (rear)

Camera megapixels (rear)
Camera megapixels (rear)

Remember the last two years, when HTC insisted that the megapixel argument was a bunch of baloney? Well, the company would probably like you to forget that now, as the M9 drops the "Ultrapixel" (fewer, but bigger, pixels) camera in favor of a much higher-resolution 20 MP sensor.

Camera megapixels (front)

Camera megapixels (front)
Camera megapixels (front)

The Ultrapixel camera does live on, though, on the front of the M9. How humiliating: once touted as a groundbreaking rear camera, it's now been demoted to selfie duty.

Camera aperture

Camera aperture (rear)
Camera aperture (rear)

The older models' rear cameras did have wider apertures than you'll find in the One M9.

Depth sensor

Depth sensor
Depth sensor

Though it was a little hit-or-miss, we enjoyed playing with the depth effects made possible by the second camera on the One M8's backside. We'll have to find other ways to entertain ourselves this year, as HTC dropped the polarizing feature.

Software

Software
Software

If you own the HTC One M7, you're likely still waiting for the Android 5.0 Lollipop update, but at least the unlocked version is already running Google's latest.

The One M9 will launch with the latest version of HTC's custom UI, Sense 7. We'll have more on that when we get a review unit in hand.

Windows Phone variant

Windows Phone variant
Windows Phone variant

We're only looking at the original (Android) version here, but there is also a Windows Phone variant of the One M8. Who knows, maybe we'll eventually see a Windows 10-running One M9.

Release

Release
Release

What do you say we get together in March of next year to ring in the arrival of the HTC One M10?

Starting price (at launch, full retail)

Starting price (at launch, full retail)
Starting price (at launch, full retail)

HTC hasn't announced pricing for the One M9 yet, but if past is prologue, you can probably guess what it will cost off-contract.

Starting price (at launch, on-contract)

Starting price (at launch, on-contract)
Starting price (at launch, on-contract)

... ditto for on-contract pricing.

Stay tuned for our full review of the One M9. In the meantime, you can revisit our reviews of the HTC One M8 and One M7.

4 comments
Matt Sedore
do you think maybe the new processor, combined with larger battery and not upping the ppi should get better battery life? I sure do and I think that's why they aren't upgrading the screen to be the "eye candy". the ppi at 12" is well above retina display and like TVs, the quality is still limited to the source. Just curious, how many people actually watch 2K videos on their phone?? Good comparison guide to later models but I wouldn't be so quick to judge that they aren't updating things because they "aren't" broken. Maybe they have their reasons.
coverturtle
Would like to see more from Will! Great for the OCD Type-A personalities among us. Thanks, Will!
telocity
Amazing what they can put in phones now. But do I really want to carry a device that cost more then my desktop in my pocket? Nokia lumia 520 is nothing spec wise compared to these. 1Ghz dual core, Win8 phone, 4.0" IPS 15:9 LCD 800 x 480, 24-bit 235 ppi display screen. But it is only $70 unlocked on amazon and it works. Email, web browse, camera, phone calls and text. It works, if it breaks, well I can get 8 more for price of one of these.
AdamSears
Thanks for the article. Really clear comparisons. I have the M7 and was thinking of getting the M9. I'm pretty sure I will be upgrading to the M9 now.