When HTC released their flagship – One (M7) back in 2013, it simply means that the “One” would be the only flagship that you should look at. While HTC do continue releasing their budget-friendly lineup – Desire, but that is perfectly fine because consumers would know whether they should look at the One or the Desire according to their budget.
Years later, HTC has release quite a number of “One” that we start to ponder the true meaning of the word itself. You can now have One M9 as the flagship device, One E9/E9+ as the phablet and One A9 as the designer’s device.
Nevertheless, since we’ve got our hands on the E9+ in our labs, join us for the full review of the HTC One E9+.
- Dimension: 156.5 x 76.5 x 7.5 mm (6.16 x 3.01 x 0.30 in)
- Weight: 150 g (5.29oz)
- SIM: Dual Nano-SIM
- GSM / HSPA / LTE
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz)
- Bluetooth 4.1
- Size: 5.5 inches
- Resolution: 1440 x 2560 pixels (~534 ppi) IPS LCD
- Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 4
Under the hood
- CPU: Mediatek MT6795M Helio X10, Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53
- GPU: PowerVR G6200
- RAM: 3 GB
- Storage: 32 GB, supporting MicroSD up to 128 GB
- Battery: Non-removable 2800 mAh Li-Po
- 20.0 MP BSI sensor, auto focus
- ƒ/2.2 27.8mm lens
- LED flash
- 4K video
- HTC UltraPixel 4.0 MP BSI sensor
- ƒ/2.0 24.7mm lens
- 1080p video
- OS: Android 5.0.2 Lollipop (Android 6.0 coming soon)
- UI: HTC Sense 7
Following the One M9’s latest packaging design, HTC removed the phone image from the front and replace it with words and dots.
The back remained the same with phone specs and packaging details.
Open box reveals the phone.
In the box:
- HTC One E9+
- 3pin USB charger (1.5A)
- USB cable
- In-ear earphones
- Product guides and warranty
Standard package with a bundled in-ear earphones and a few different size earbuds.
Design & Hardware
The One E9+ has only 2 color choices – Classic Rose Gold and Gold Sepia. Yep, Gold all the way.
The major difference between the 2 color would be the back panel where the Classic Rose Gold comes with glossy white finish while the Gold Sepia has matte goldish-brown back panel.
The unit we have in our labs is the Gold Sepia version.
Even though glossy surface has glamorous effect in photos, but they are terrible to maintain in real life due its fingerprint magnet surface. To be frank, the matte finish looks much nicer.
By the way, the camera bump at the back kind of spoiled the overall flat and uniform design.
The phone is around the size of Samsung Galaxy Note5 and iPhone 6S Plus, but it feels extremely light (150 grams) as it is mostly constructed with plastic. Take note that Samsung Galaxy Note5 and iPhone 6S Plus weighs 171 grams and 192 grams respectively. Yay or nay?
In my opinion though, the One E9+ still feels solid in the hands and for some reason I am less paranoid that the phone would drop. You know, some of us this paranoia when using a heavy phone, especially when handling it one-handed.
3.5mm audio jack at the top.
Power button and volume rocker at the right side. The power button is textured and easily recognized by touch.
Micro USB port at bottom.
Dual SIM and micro SD card slot under the side cover.
No tray required for micro SD card as it is spring loaded with locking mechanism.
One E9+ comes equipped with a 5.5 inch IPS LCD at QHD 2560 * 1440 resolution.
That translates to 534ppi which is extremely high resolution for a handheld device. The panel has bright and vibrant colors. Though it might not have deep blacks and saturation of AMOLED panels, but that’s perfectly alright because IPS panels usually produces more accurate colors.
Pairing up the display with HTC’s signature BoomSound speakers, you have the perfect multimedia consumption device.
Display size and device ratio comparison with Nexus 5 and Xiaomi Mi3.
The camera package on the One E9+ is a combination of 20 megapixel sensor with 27.8mm f/2.2 lens at the rear and 4 megapixel HTC UltraPixel sensor with 24.7mm f/2.0 lens.
I was very excited about the camera when I got the camera because of all the 20 megapixel Sony’s IMX sensor hype. The camera app is the first app I fire up after I got the phone set up. But then, few days playing around with the camera, I have mixed feelings.
The camera app itself is smooth and quick to respond, however, it suffers a bit at landing a sharp focus. Take the sample photo of the hand-stand hulk, that photo took me quite a while to pin point the focus as it keeps focusing to the curtains at the background. It could be due to the contrast between darker foreground and brighter background that cause the focusing issue. The camera works relatively well especially in bright conditions.
Front camera is a real performer, UltraPixel with f/2.0 lens means better low light performance for selfie shots.
The One E9+ runs Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with HTC Sense 7.0.
HTC had the Sense UI customized to fit the phone’s gold color scheme. Well, some commented that it looks like copper instead of gold.
The theme applies to all the corners of the phone, including the BlinkFeed.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow is scheduled for OTA in coming near future.
Final Thoughts – Actual Usage Performance & Battery Life
After using the phone for quite some time, I have to say that the SoC of the phone – MediaTek helio X10 which backed by 3GB RAM is quite a performer. Leaving aside the benchmark scores, I’m sure you can find Antutu and GeekBench charts out there for comparison. What I mean here is the actual real life performance and user experience. The fluid user experience remained consistent throughout the phone, be it at the OS level, general apps or games.
Battery life however is kind of let down. For the phone at that size, we’re looking forward to have a larger battery, somewhere around 3300mAh or more, not just 2800mAh. That explains why the phone at that size feels light in the hands. Despite so, it still manage to pull through an all day use but the Screen-on-time couldn’t make past 4 hours.
At RM1649, the One E9+ could face quite a bit challenge especially when there’s quite a few brands that offer a lot more at lower price. Take Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 as example, it sports the same MediaTek Helio X10 SoC and 3GB RAM but comes with 4000mAh battery and priced at RM900. I mean, you have to ask yourself if the 2K display, and BoomSound speaker worth the extra RM700 or not.
- Clean packaging
- Light weight
- Great performance
- Brilliant display
- HTC BoomSound speakers
- Good front camera
- MicroSD card support
- Sub-par rear camera performance
- Sub-par battery life
- Price & competition