Do we have a good one for you today – this is a special comparison where we will look at the newly announced HTC One A9 smartphone. We will compare it to the original HTC One M9, the LG G4, the Moto X Pure Edition and the new LG Nexus 5X. This will not be an in depth comparison, just a quick look at the main areas – Display, Processor, Camera, Battery, etc. – just to see how the new HTC One A9 stacks up to some of its competition…and no 'winner' will be proclaimed. Because we are mainly looking at the new HTC One A9, it will be our main focus in each of the areas we discuss. We have other mid-range devices, such as the new LG Nexus 5X and the HTC One M9, as well as the more aging LG G4 and the newer Moto X Pure Edition.
The HTC One A9 is a little smaller device with a 5-inch display and a full-metal build and a fingerprint sensor built-in the 'Samsung-looking' home button. It will be available in Topaz Gold, Carbon Gray, Deep Garnet and Opal Silver – HTC claim all colors will be available at launch. Also unusual for an HTC model, is the fact that the display will be AMOLED based and not their usual LCD variety. The One A9 has an "advanced DAC" coupled to the headphone amp to give you great sound, although on the device there is only one speaker, not the usual dual front-facing stereo – so no BoomSound here.
Different models will show up in different countries, but North America will receive the 3GB/32GB model with a microSD card slot for expansion. Not only will the One A9 arrive with Android 6.0 Marshmallow out-of-the-box, HTC has also promised that the One A9 will receive its upgrades within only 15 days after the Nexus devices! This unlocked model One A9 will be available in November, can be pre-ordered from today and will cost you in the neighborhood of $399, which is a promotional price.
Please take a look below at that specification comparison table – it has the information on the HTC One A9 (to a certain extent) and the details we will discuss in the sections below.
The displays run from 5.0-inches on the new HTC One A9 and HTC One M9, and then we jump to 5.2-inches on the new LG Nexus 5X, and next is the 5.5-inches on the LG G4 and finally, 5.7-inches on the new Moto X Pure Edition/Style. The HTC One A9 uses the AMOLED display technology and the rest all use LCD technology. The HTC One A9, the LG Nexus 5X and the HTC One M9 have Full HD resolutions with 1920 x 1080 pixels and 441 PPI for the One A9, 424 PPI for the Nexus 5X and 441 PPI for the One M9. The LG G4 and Moto X use Quad HD resolutions with 2560 x 1440 pixels and 538 PPI on the G4 and 520 PPI on the Moto X.
When it comes to the brains for these five devices, the Qualcomm Snapdragon is the processor of choice – however, three different models are used, but they are all of the octa or hexa core variety and they are all 64-bit. The new HTC One A9 uses the model 617 octa-core processor with the higher four cores clocked at 1.5 GHz. The HTC One M9 uses the model 810 octa-core with four cores clocked at 1.5 GHz and four cores clocked at 2.0 GHz. The LG G4, Moto X and Nexus 5X all use the model 808 hexa-core with four cores clocked at 1.44 GHz and two cores clocked at 1.82 GHz
When it comes to the amount of RAM, the One A9, One M9, LG G4 and Moto X all offer up 3GB of RAM, with only the Nexus 5X putting in 2GB of RAM. When it comes to internal memory, all offer available expansion of the base amount except the Nexus 5X – with it you have a choice of 16GB or 32GB and that is all. The One A9, the One M9 and the LG G4 each have 32GB of base internal memory and the Moto X offers 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of memory…although why they even offer 16GB is beyond comprehension.
Cameras are always a tough one to nail down by simply looking at the specifications. So much of how good the pictures actually are, depends on size of pixels or sensors, speed of the autofocus and certainly the software has a huge impact on the picture quality. We know from our reviews that the One M9 and Moto X both take a good photo and the Nexus 5X takes a better photo and the LG G4 takes great photos – but the jury is still out on the One A9.
We can tell you the specs on these five devices and as you will see, they vary greatly. Starting with our new HTC One A9 we have a 13MP main sensor, autofocus, OIS and a dual-tone LED flash and a 4MP UltraPixel FFC. The HTC One M9 has a 20MP main sensor with autofocus and a dual-tone LED flash and a 4MP UltraPixel FFC. The LG G4 uses a 16MP main sensor, laser autofocus, OIS and a LED flash and a large 8MP FFC. The Moto X uses a large 21MP main sensor, autofocus and a LED flash and a 5MP FFC. The LG Nexus 5X uses a 12.3MP main sensor, laser autofocus and a dual-tone LED flash and a 5MP FFC. The FFCs are used for social media selfies and video chatting.
When we ask users what they most look for in a smartphone, battery life is always one of the top five items mentioned. Users do not want to be tethered to an electrical socket or even a wireless charger. They want one or two FULL days out of their battery and while that rarely happens, most newer devices at least offer some sort of quick or rapid charge option – no longer do we have to wait 3 hours to fully charge our device. Battery research has really accelerated these past few years due to the many electronic toys that we use and the demand for better battery life.
We can find four different size batteries in this group and all five batteries/devices offer some form of rapid charge for their respective batteries. Only the LG G4 of this group has a removable battery, these remaining devices use (what is becoming the new standard) non-removable batteries. Not many users are happy about it, but it is what it is. As designs become more premium with materials, such as metal and glass, the devices are sealed.
We will start with the star of this show – the HTC One A9 – and it comes with the smallest battery in the group weighing in at only 2,150 mAh. Next one in size is the LG Nexus 5X with a 2,700 mAh battery, followed by the HTC One M9 with a 2,840 mAh battery. The LG G4 and Moto X Pure Edition both have a larger 3000 mAh battery, with the LG G4 as the only removable battery. The LG G4 is also the only model in this group to offer an optional wireless charging back for the device – the other four models must be plugged in to charge.
A few other notables – the Moto X is the only one in this group which is dust and water repellent. The Nexus 5X and the new One A9 are the only two that have a fingerprint sensor…a quick and easy way to unlock your device and for authorizing mobile payments. The HTC One M9 and Moto X both have dual front-facing stereo speakers for great sound while watching videos, movies or playing games. All models have the usual suspects – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.1, except for the Nexus 5X which has 4.2, GPS, and a USB port for charging and data transfer, with the Nexus 5X sporting the new Type-C reversible connector.
Any one of these devices would satisfy all but the most critical user, although the LG G4 would have to be considered the top flagship in this group. The new HTC One A9 stacks up fairly well against the others that we looked at, but everybody looks for something different. Some users will buy nothing but a Nexus device, while others demand a Quad HD display and others demand long battery life and some want a removable battery and will not even consider a smartphone without that option. The HTC One A9 should satisfy many customers – will it help bring HTC back in the spotlight? Probably not, but that is an entirely different discussion.