Do we have a good one for you today – the HTC One A9 goes up against its 'big brother,' the HTC 10. These devices were released six months apart, and the One A9 was HTC's attempt to tackle the entry-level markets. We soon found out that the One A9 is really a mid-range device with a pricing that is definitely not entry-level. HTC seemed to be fumbling around, trying to recapture that Android magic that was once theirs. It looks like HTC may be back on the right track with the HTC 10 – but is it too little, too late?
HTC knows how to build a quality smartphone and both offer a premium build – the all-metal bodies on the One A9 and HTC 10 give them both a great feel in your hand. The A9 looks and even feels like an iPhone, but the HTC 10 has a more masculine, chiseled look. Let's see if these two devices have anything in common before we look at each device in more detail.
The One A9 and the HTC 10 are almost the same physical size with the HTC 10 being slightly thicker and weighing in at 18 grams heavier. Both devices use a Snapdragon processor, although different models that have a different number of cores. Both devices offer up 32GB of internal memory, expandable via a microSD card. The cameras are close in megapixels, although the HTC 10's is more sophisticated. While the HTC 10 has BoomSound Hi-Fi, the both have Hi-Res audio for earphones. They both have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth (v4.1 on the One A9 and v4.2 on the HTC 10), GPS, NFC, a microUSB v2.0 port (Type-C on HTC 10) for charging, and data transfer, and they both are running Android Marshmallow. The HTC One A9 and HTC 10 both sport a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device as well as authorizing mobile payments with Marshmallow. They both use a non-removable battery – a 2150mAh in the One A9 and a 3000mAh in the HTC 10 – and both offer Quick Charge.
Please take a deliberate look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each individual device in greater detail and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
HTC's management seems to always be in constant motion, trying everything they can to capture their long lost presence in the smartphone world. However, constant motion is bad if all you are doing is spinning your wheels and grasping at straws. The HTC One A9, for instance, is their way of breaking into the entry-level market – but you cannot accomplish that goal when your device costs $500. Another swing and miss. It is not to say that the HTC One A9 is not a nice smartphone, but it is too expensive for an entry -level device and not quite powerful enough to compete with the flagship devices that cost another $100-$150.
The HTC One A9 sports a 5.0-inch Full HD (FHD) AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 441 PPI. The One A9 uses the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.2 GHz and four cores clocked at 1.5 GHz. The One A9 packs 3GB of DDR3 RAM with 32GB of internal memory with 200GB of expansion available.
The One A9 uses a 13MP main camera with autofocus, a larger f/2.0 aperture, OIS and a dual-tone LED flash. It has a 4MP UltraPixel front-facing camera (FFC) for selfies and video chats. The One A9 has a smaller 2150 mAh non-removable battery that will last an entire day and can take advantage of Quick Charge 2.0.
The HTC A9 has no extras that its flagship brother is not already packing. The HTC One A9 was one of the first production smartphones to run Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The One A9 measures in at 145.8 x 70.8 x 7.3 mm and weighs in at 143 grams and comes in a range of colors to pick from – Carbon Gray, Opal Silver, Topaz Gold, Deep Garnet and Pink. It comes unlocked for approximately $430 (reduced from $500) – one model runs on AT&T and T-Mobile's networks and another model runs on Sprint's network.
The new HTC 10 has all of the desired specs in flagship smartphone and nothing out of the ordinary. The body is still all-metal, but to quiet the naysayers complaining that the design was getting old, HTC made it more angular – and there are still complaints. It has a QHD display, the best processor currently on the market, a powerful GPU to satisfy the most avid gamer and 4GB of DDR4 RAM and expandable memory. The HTC 10 finally has a great camera and a newly configured BoomSound Hi-Fi and Hi-Res Audio – but is it enough to sway new customers to try the HTC brand? HTC is hoping they will sell millions, recoup some of their former customers and gain new ones.
HTC finally ditched some old baggage – their FHD display. The HTC 10 sports a 5.2-inch Super LCD5 QHD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 565 PPI. HTC chose the best processor currently available – the Qualcomm 64-bit Snapdragon 820 quad-core with dual cores clocked at 1.6 GHz and dual cores clocked at 2.15 GHz. Qualcomm paired the 820 to the excellent Adreno 530 GPU to handle the most demanding graphics. The HTC 10 packs a full 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB of internal memory that is expandable to 2TB via a microSD card.
After years of making odd changes with their cameras, HTC finally got it right on the HTC 10. The UltraPixels are still there, but instead of trying to make us believe that 4MP was enough, HTC is now using a respectable 12MP sensor for their primary camera to capture more light and image. They added laser autofocus, a dual-tone LED flash, a large aperture of f/1.8 and OIS. They are using a 5MP FFC, but added the f/1.8 aperture, wide-angle lens, and even included a screen flash and OIS to ensure great selfies and video chatting even in low-light. The HTC packs a 3000 mAh non-removable battery with Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0, which will give you up to a 50-percent charge in only 30 minutes.
The HTC 10 made a few design changes – BoomSound is now BoomSound Hi-Fi. HTC placed their fingerprint sensor down front where the second speaker once resided, so they placed the woofer on the bottom end of the device and the high-end sounds now originate from the earpiece. The HTC 10 measures 145.9 x 71.9 x 9mm and weighs in at 161 grams. It comes in Carbon Grey, Topaz Gold, and Glacier Silver and it will cost you about $650 for 32GB of memory.
…And The Winner Is…
This was a tough decision because the HTC One A9 does have a lot going for it – it lacks the newer processor/GPU, 1GB of RAM, the QHD display, and BoomSound Hi-Fi, but for $220 less, you still have a great everyday driver. This is the reason I am giving the win to the HTC One A9.
The HTC 10 is a great smartphone, but nothing that jumps out at you – it has the same processor/GPU, QHD display, 4GB of DDR4 RAM and a top-rated camera…just as the Galaxy S7/S7 Edge and LG G5. If you like the looks of the HTC 10 better or really need the best processor, then go after the HTC 10 and you will not be disappointed and $220 poorer.
The HTC One A9 offers a lot for its price – sure, it will not be as fast or graphics-intense as the HTC 10, but for calling, texting, emailing, web browsing, watching videos, taking pictures and socializing, the HTC One A9 should not let you or your wallet down.