HTC One A9 review: Rejuvenation

Rejuvenation

GSMArena team, 28 October, 2015.

Sense's Gallery with Highlights

The Gallery app uses an Android style navigation drawer to separate viewing modes. Timeline groups photos by date, while Albums work like folders. You can manually create albums, the app will ask you to select a number of photos and videos to either copy or move.

A nice little addition to the gallery is the custom search function. Interestingly enough it not only goes through photo meta data, but can also do a sort of reverse image search and find similar photos to a preselected one.

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The image gallery

All albums get a Highlight video as their title image. You can select which items go into the video, in what order and with what effects and music. There are options to go back to the default chronological order, music and theme so don't be afraid to experiment. The start and end clips can be selected manually if you want to create a sort of title card and credits.

You can manually create Highlight videos via the Zoe Video Editor app and export them into 1080p resolution.

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Zoe Video Editor creates Highlights

The Gallery's editing options range from basic crop/rotate/flip to frames and advanced effects like simulated lighting, adjusting face contour and eye enhancements. There are even RAW enhancements for the RAW DNG images.

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Viewing a single image Image editing options

You can also choose an image from the gallery and use it as a base for a custom theme. The theme generator automatically suggests a highlight color, among other things, and you can complete your custom theme in just a few seconds. Of course, you can edit it later through the Themes app.

There's a special Media gesture useful here and in the music and video players - swipe up with three fingers to "throw" the content you're viewing to a DLNA device.

Video player

There's no dedicated video player on the HTC One A9, you browse videos through the Gallery or the File Manager. The video players supports the most common containers - AVI, MKV and MP4 - while the video codec support is spotty - XviD and H.264, while DivX and WMV are no-go. There is no support for AC3 audio either.

There seems to be some kind of an issue with files with high video bitrate - some of them can't be played, while others can't sustain a pleasant framerate.

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The video player interface

As for the interface, you get basic playback controls and the option to snap a screenshot. Subtitles are not supported.

Google Play Music

Oddly, the music player in charge of your collection on the HTC One A9 is the Play Music app. Don't get this wrong, we love the app because of the Google Play Music streaming service, we were just surprised not find the HTC Sense music player.

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Google Play Music

Anyway, the Play Music offers more than enough sorting options for your local collection, while the Play Music service supports playlists and offline downloads.

The phone supports 24-bit, 192KHz lossless high-resolution audio and also offers BoomSound with Dolby Audio Surround sound experience for headphones, and although the two technologies are not connected, to experience either of them you would need compatible headphones and in the case of the Hi-Res audio, some pretty good hearing as well.

The HTC One A9 also packs an FM radio too with RDS support. It can play through the speakers but you still need a pair of headphones to serve as an antenna.

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FM radio with favorites but no RDS

Audio output is nicely clear, very loud

Audio output quality has traditionally been HTC's forte and the One A9 is not an exception. The smartphone delivers flawlessly clean output both with an active external amplifier and garnishes that with excellently high volume level.

Plug in a pair of headphones and you get a moderate amount of stereo crosstalk and a bit of intermodulation distortion, but neither of those is particularly bad and the output remains solid. Loudness remains high too, rounding up another great performance by an HTC handset.

It seems HTC have done a great job with the built-in audio hardware and you can really tell the presence of a dedicated headphone amp makes a difference in volume levels.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
HTC One A9+0.01, -0.05-94.893.90.00090.076-94.0
HTC One A9 (headphones attached)+0.12, -0.06-94.092.80.00620.148-65.4
Sony Xperia Z5+0.01, -0.04-95.589.50.00330.012-94.8
Sony Xperia Z5 (headphones attached)+0.22, -0.24-95.189.50.00570.212-59.8
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact+0.01, -0.04-95.989.70.00330.012-94.4
Sony Xperia Z5 Compact (headphones attached)+0.35, -0.11-95.089.40.00610.214-52.0
Apple iPhone 6s+0.03, -0.04-93.593.50.00160.0075-73.2
Apple iPhone 6s (headphones attached)+0.10, -0.06-93.893.90.00300.101-68.2
Samsung Galaxy S6 +0.01, -0.04-95.692.80.0024 0.0094-94.5
Samsung Galaxy S6 (headphones)+0.02, -0.05-92.691.90.0025 0.042-83.4
LG G4 +0.04, -0.07-93.493.30.0021 0.050-92.6
LG G4 (headphones)+0.93, -0.13- 91.491.90.013 0.244-50.4

HTC One A9 frequency response
HTC One A9 frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Reader comments

  • AnonD-392500

Why buy A9 while 10evo is better than this in every aspect?

  • Mmm

Htc one a9 has a very very very poor battry.

  • Anonymous

Most people complaining about performance are forgetting one basic aspect of computing - not everyone requires the highest performing hardware that's out in the market. You guys do have a computer at home, right? A real (ie, conventional) computer- a...