The HTC One M9 is, first and foremost, a beautiful phone. Some say it's not a huge advancement on the HTC One M8 which preceded it but the company has switched the camera to a new, higher resolution version that produces much sharper photos than its predecessor. No matter what people think about the One M9, HTC is a leader in design, and its handsets are always solid, well-built and reliable - and this is the best ever in terms of craftsmanship.
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Techradar's HTC One M9 verdict
For techradar, a flagship phone needs to hit a lot of marks to be considered impressive: it has to have cutting-edge performance, beautiful design, a powerful camera, long battery life and not be too hard on the pocket.
The HTC One M9 isn't at the top of any of those categories apart from design, where it still shows the rest of the market how it should be done. Upgrades over the M8 include a more mature camera and slightly more professional speakers. It's all nuanced tweaks, not powerful improvements.
This is a phone that has all the DNA of the HTC One M8 and polishes it well. Theme creator adds a lot of personalisation to create an emotional attachment to the phone, and the Sense Home widget is really useful too.
The main thing we like is the design though. It's easily the best looking phone on the market, feeling almost hand-crafted with a great aesthetic and great feeling in the hand – this is the One range grown up.
And while things like BoomSound, BlinkFeed and Sense haven't necessarily been improved much, they're still really great features that HTC is rightly proud of, showing it's still a market leading brand.
The battery: we expected next generation power management in 2015, as most of the smartphone buying world was, and instead we went backwards. That's a reduction in power with no discernible reason either – the full HD screen isn't any different from before, the battery is bigger and the software presumably stable. As with most phones today, you'll struggle to get a full day without needing a charge.
The camera is more powerful than we expected but the loss of the UltraPixel and duo camera combo is disappointing. We wanted to see an 8MP advance on the M8, maintaining the strong snapping speed, and instead we got a sensor with the same specs as the one Sony's been pushing for over a year – although it does take some great pics on occasion.
The biggest issue we have with the One M9 is that it doesn't impress as other models have. Good design is fine, but it seems like HTC's just remade the phone from last year as it didn't have anything new to add into the mix. Taking the DNA from the One M7 and One M8 doesn't mean that's fine for a new handset.
Let us make one thing clear: the HTC One M9 is an excellent phone, filled to the brim with good features, a clever interface and a design that it should rightly be proud of, once again showing every other brand how it should be done.
Some might say it doesn't improve enough though. The One M8 was pretty much the perfect phone, and not much has changed year on year. In fact, HTC has gone backwards on battery life and hasn't really done much more than polish throughout the phone.
Except perhaps in the camera, where things are improved and needed to be given that was somewhere HTC was struggling to gain consumer support. It's now just the same experience as on every other phone though.
HTC hasn't been as arrogant as Apple by simply bringing out an S version of its phone though – there are some genuine upgrades, which are evident the second you put the One M9 in the hand. It makes the design of last year's model look sloppy in comparison, for instance.
It's all tweaks and polish, an admission that HTC managed to create something brilliant with the M8 and is loathe to deviate too far from that formula. Which is a shame, as this is a brand we've almost come to rely upon to offer genuinely useful innovation time and again.
This is a phone sold on precision, but comes with far too many ragged edges to be considered worthy of a perfect score again. Fingers crossed 2016 will see something from HTC that lives up to that ideal. But for now we've just got a good phone - a pretty darn good one - but not brilliant.