• Nice 1080p display
• Grippy ergonomics
• Dolby Audio, front speakers
• Slow multi-tasking
• Front camera could be better
• High battery drain on gaming
Spending a good amount of money on a smartphone nowadays means expecting luxury with features. Any phone in the sub 15k price band can provide standard features with a decent camera set, build quality, computing hardware and some extras – like a fingerprint sensor. There are plenty of options in the market right now – including but not limited to – Samsung Galaxy J7, LeEco Le2 or the one I hate to recommend – the Moto G4.
The HTC X9 was launched at the mega event with the HTC 10 and a range of HTC Desire series. It currently sells at a price range of 25,000 INR, though it was launched at a much higher MOP. From the price perspective of HTC X9, or rather of every non-flagship smartphone HTC sells around the world, it sends out a clear statement that it need not to be compared. Like a legacy – preserved and delivered time and again?
HTC has kept its word by keeping its fans in the comfort zone. The One X9 revisits the M series design in a slightly refined structure build in a unibody shape. The chassis is wholly metal while the screen is topped by a densely looking Corning Gorilla Glass (it’s not listed as a 2.5D glass though). HTC has tried to maintain an M8 like class on the X9 which could serve as a ‘side’ successor for the HTC 10 had been totally redesigned for a smaller, more stout look. Has it succeeded? Well, as far as the build quality is concerned, I’d be happy if it did.
X9 has capacitive touch keys below the screen and unlike all the smartphone with their back button on right and the recent apps button on left the position of these buttons is swapped in this device.
To the touch, the frame of the phone feels neither plastic nor wholly metal. It’s a little glossy, but whatever it is gives a good grip to handle, keeps it light weight without looking cheap (like last year’s One M9’s sidekick – the One E9 Plus).
It still carries the boom speakers in front- two speakers at top and bottom of the screen. Both the cameras rear and front are placed in the corners avoiding any hindrance. The audio is powered by a Dolby digital sound but I found the speakers not as powerful. You will get a reverberating surround with a heavier sound than what you hear from single speakers placed at the bottom edge. But it’s not as amazing as the One M8 or even the Huawei Nexus 6P.
As an HTC fan, you might not be disappointed by X9’s design. But phones like OnePlus 3 and Nexus 6P raise the competition to a new level and head the race.
HTC One X9 uses a Helio X10 processor under the hood, that has eight Cortex A53 processor cores clocked at 2.2GHz. The chipset was launched for mid-range devices, competing with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 615 for smartphones priced as low as 10k to up in the 20k+ range. In a stark comparison, OnePlus 3 and the Xiaomi Mi5 made news for using the top notch Snapdragon 820.
It’s interface updated on Marshmallow didn’t lag as such but the multi-tasking was a bit slow compared to devices in this range. For video content consumption the X9 has a 5.5 inch screen with 401 PPI display for a nice visual experience. It is a glossy, colourful screen with Full HD resolution, rendering softer Blues and mild Yellows.
Just like any usual smartphone the HTC one X9 provides a sound battery backup of 8 to 10 hours with wireless connectivity. And requires 2-3 hours until fully charged depending on the source used. But with the gaming mode (there are two modes to fire the processor only when required) ON, and while gaming, the battery drains quickly at the rate of 30% per half hour which is quite a number for a phone in that budget. Although the battery capacity is no smaller than a decent 3000 mAh battery.
HTC’s X9 would fail to fulfil the expectations of a Selfie lover. The front camera isn’t good at capturing low light photos, only proper light/daylight makes them a little satisfactory.
The rear camera has a 13MP sensor with OIS to prevent any photo blurring out due to hand movement. It has a 28mm wide lens with f/2.0 aperture. HTC keeps its camera app the good old way and its one of the most useful camera apps we have seen on an Android UI.
While HTC has certainly build some brand value to have its own pricing ecosystem keep a tag to its newest offerings, the competition outside has grown exorbitantly. HTC acknowledged that with its flagship HTC 10, but like last year, its mid-range and budget devices haven’t seen a new innovation, or a more market-driven price. The X9 is certainly an improvement over the last year’s sub-30k offering, but fails to offer something great beyond the brand value.