HTC One A9s review
Small price, big features
The HTC One A9s is a smartphone well worth a review as it incorporates many premium features coupled with an extensive camera app. Priced from £13.50 per month on a 24 month contract, the HTC One A9s looks to be a star buy in the UK during 2017.
Metal meets durability
It is always a good idea to choose a phone that has a premium design married with durability, and the HTC One A9s is one such phone. The lightweight, thin and sleek metal frame has polished edges. Styling continues with diamond-like cut buttons and power button groves.
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The dual-finish metal body has undergone extensive durability testing and has withstood hundreds of scratch and drop tests, along with hundreds of hours of extreme weather testing. The body is just 7.99mm thick and weighing 149.8 grams, this is one of the lighter smartphones that you will find during 2017.
Display and processor
The HTC One A9s has a 5” super LCD HD display (1280 x 720 pixels), which presents 294 pixels per inch. The display is protected behind Corning Gorilla Glass and above it sits a handy notification LED.
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A 2GHz MediaTek Helio P10 octa-core processor provides a smooth and fast experience and consumers can choose between two levels of RAM and internal memory. The 16GB model gives the user 10.2GB of storage space and 2GB RAM. The 32GB model gives the user 24.5GB of storage space and 3GB RAM. Both models have a microSD card slot that can accommodate memory cards with a value of up to 2TB.
Call quality is assured through a dual microphone with noise cancellation and the bottom mounted speaker means that music isn’t muffled when the phone is placed onto a flat surface.
Phone Set Up
The HTC One A9s has an ultra-fast fingerprint scanner for security. The scanner recognises a finger pressed against it in almost any position or angle. The fingerprint scanner can be used to unlock the phone or unlock protected apps, which can be locked by using the App Lock function found in the Boost+ app.
To cater for all types of owners, the HTC One A9s also offers the option of pattern and PIN security. Users can also opt to use the Activate Smart Lock feature for unlocking the phone with facial recognition, although this isn’t quite as secure as the other methods.
Along with standard themes, the One A9s can use HTC Freestyle Layouts that break the restrictions of on-screen grids. With Freestyle Layouts you can place sticker, icons and widgets anywhere or link stickers to apps and remove app icons altogether.
You can also change the keyboard theme, re-sizing it, changing its background or splitting it into two, for typing with your thumbs. Bringing content from an old smartphone over is relatively easy through the restore function from Google or HTC backup. HTC Sync Manager can be used to get content moved over from an old iPhone.
Operating system and user interface
Google’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS has been combined with the HTC Sense UI to deliver an interactive blend of features and apps.
On Google’s part, there is Google Now that can give automatic updates on things like the weather, traffic or sports results, while Now on Tap can present links to connected content on any screen or webpage.
On HTC’s side there is the HTC Sense Widget and this can change the home screen apps based upon what you use at home, at work or while on the go. HTC BlinkFeed is also pre-loaded and this can collate your news and social media activity for viewing in one place.
The Boost+ app keeps things running smoothly by allocating resources, clearing junk files, deleting the cache and maximising battery life by reducing the power consumption of background apps, that you haven’t used recently.
Camera & Video
13MP main camera
The high resolution 13MP camera has autofocus and a BSI Sensor for capturing low-light detail in the evenings. There is a LED flash for nighttime photography and a 74.4-degrees wide angle lens.
The first thing that is noticeable on the HTC One A9s is that it uses an improved and clear camera interface. This makes it much easier to switch between shooting modes and change settings.
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The volume buttons can be configured to either activate the shutter or be set to zoom in or out. Moving objects in a scene can be tapped and the camera will then lock the focus onto them.
Further camera shooting modes includes:
- Pro mode - Image files are saved in RAW format for complete editing control
- Panorama mode - Pan to shoot up through 270-degrees
- Continuous shooting - Capture four frames per second
- Zoe Capture - Each photo is saved along with a three second HD video clip
- Video Pic - Take 2MP quality photos while shooting video in Full HD
5MP selfie camera
The 5MP portrait camera makes it easy to go hands-free. With Auto Selfie, the camera automatically takes shots when you smile or stand still. Voice Selfie lets you say ‘cheese’ or ‘capture’ to take a still picture or say ‘action’ or ‘rolling’ to begin recording Full HD 1080p video at 30 frames per second.
Live Makeup can be used to improve your complexion by smoothing out skin tones and by making further beautification adjustments. The 65.3-degrees wide angle lens gets more of the scene in the photo and if you wish, you can set an up to 10-seconds selfie timer.
The Google Photos app is pre-loaded and this offers Cloud storage for your videos and photos. The app has an easy search function and you can locate photos by face, object, theme or location, as well as making manual searches using keywords.
The 2,300mAh capacity battery isn’t the largest around but it does support fast charging and offers up to 13 hours of talk time or up to 432 hours of standby. When needed, power can be conserved by switching the HTC One A9s into Power Saver mode or Extreme Power Saving mode.
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Written by: Michael Brown