HTC announced a new flagship, the HTC 10, at the beginning of April. It's a new start for the company's flagship smartphone, dropping both the One name and the M designation.
It comes in to right the wrongs of the HTC One M9, a phone that took an awkward skew for HTC at a time when it needed a new hero. But that's now old news and we're looking at a fresh new phone.
We've pitched the HTC 10 up against the HTC One M9 so you can see exactly where the changes lie and decide for yourself whether HTC has done enough to right the wrongs. This is the HTC 10 vs the HTC One M9.
HTC 10 vs HTC One M9: Design
The HTC One M9 measures 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.6mm and weighs 157g. It features a dual-tone metal build and it is a clear evolution of the HTC flagships that have gone before it, which unfortunately is what goes against it. The One M9's build quality is fantastic, but there is only a minor difference between it and the One M7 that launched two years before.
The M9 comes complete with BoomSound front-facing speakers and a HTC logo at the bottom of the device on the front. The speakers eat into a lot of space but you do get the sound quality.
The HTC 10 is ever so slightly larger than the One M9 at 145.9 x 71.9mm but it offers a curved rear between 3mm and 9mm, making it slimmer than its predecessor at its thickest point. A metal build is still very much present, but HTC has refined the design, introducing chamfered edges on both the back and front, as well as a fingerprint sensor on the front, flanked by capacitive buttons.
HTC's new flagship hits the scales at 161g, making it a little heavier than the One M9, but only very slightly and it doesn't really matter because it is reassuringly solid. It also ditches the front-facing BoomSound speakers but don't worry as BoomSound is still supported, it's just called BoomSound Hi-Fi edition now. Hi-Res Audio is also on board so HTC hasn't forgotten about audio thankfully.
The ditching of the speakers has allowed the front of the HTC 10 to become more elegant and overall, the design is cleaner, more serious and less fussy in the new flagship.
HTC 10 vs HTC One M9: Display
The HTC One M9 features a 5-inch Full HD LCD display, delivering a pixel density of 441ppi. HTC has always been praised for its displays and its ability to deliver bright and vibrant colours, as well as white whites and black blacks, although the M9 wasn't its strongest.
It lacked some of the richness previous HTC handsets offered, delivering slightly more muted colours than its predecessor. The M9 still offers a great display with good viewing angles, but it isn't HTC's greatest.
The HTC 10 increases the display size to 5.2-inches, which, given the only very slight change in measurements, means the screen to body ratio on the HTC 10 is better than the M9. The resolution also increased to Quad HD, matching the likes of Samsung and LG, and bringing the HTC 10's pixel density to 564ppi. The result is a sharp, detailed display that can be tuned to warmer or cooler, but again, it isn't one of HTC's best displays, even if it is better than the One M9 in terms of size, resolution and colours.
In the HTC 10, it's a Super LCD 5 display covered in a single sheet of Gorilla Glass for a much cleaner finish. The viewing angles aren't amazing though and the auto-brightness is a little sluggish, which means the HTC 10 can look a little dim at times.
HTC 10 vs HTC One M9: Camera
The HTC One M9 features a 20-megapixel rear camera, coupled with an UltraPixel 4MP front camera. The main camera is capable of 4K video recording and it comes with an f/2.2 aperture lens and autofocus. The front-facing camera has a wider aperture at f/2.0 and is capable of 1080p video recording.
It looks good on the spec sheet, but the One M9 isn't the best camera in its class. It works well in bright conditions, but the rear camera is weak compared to its rivals. The front camera is good though, delivering excellent selfie results in daylight and low light too, even if the latter ends with a slightly pink tinge as things darken.
The HTC 10 offers a 12-megapixel UltraPixel rear camera with 1.55µm pixels. Laser autofocus is on board, as well as optical image stabilisation, auto HDR, and a dual tone LED flash. HTC has also widened the aperture to f/1.8, all of which results in HTC's best camera for a long time. In good conditions, the rear camera takes consistently good photos and although the laser autofocus is slower than some other devices, low-light performance is pretty good too.
A 5-megapixel front-facing camera is on board the HTC 10, offering 1.34µm pixels and an aperture of f/1.8, like the rear. Autofocus is on board again for the front, as is optical image stabilisation and an adaptive selfie flash and like the rear camera, it's a good performer.
The HTC 10 offers 4K video capture (among other resolutions), but boosts audio, with 24-bit capture. The HTC 10 outperforms the HTC One M9 camera in all areas.
HTC 10 vs HTC One M9: Hardware
The HTC One M9 features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor under its hood, supported by 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. It has a microSD slot for further storage expansion and its battery capacity sits at 2840mAh, charged via Micro-USB.
It's a good performing handset that is slick and fast in operation, even if it does get a little warm. The One M9's battery life is similar to that if the M8, offering around a day of use on a normal day but requiring a top up mid-afternoon on busier days.
The HTC 10 arrives with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip, coupled with 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. The new device once again offers a microSD for further storage expansion, with support for Marshmallow's adoptable storage feature allowing you to combine the phone's internal storage and SD card storage.
As you would expect, the HTC 10 is a hugely powerful phone that once again is slick and fast to use, entirely capable of whatever you throw at it. The fingerprint scanner is excellent and although we found the Wi-Fi connection on the HTC 10 a little weaker, there are no signs of excessive heating like the M9.
HTC has increased the battery capacity in the HTC 10 to 3000mAh, charged via USB Type-C, with full support for Quick Charge 3.0. Despite the increase over the One M9 however, the HTC 10 will still only really last the day before needing a top up. It does come with a Quick Charge charger in the box though, which is something that is sold separately for the One M9.
HTC 10 vs HTC One M9: Software
The HTC One M9 launched with Android Lollipop, coupled with HTC Sense 7 which made its debut on the device. It has since been updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The HTC 10 also launches with Android Marshmallow along with HTC Sense, but it isn't Sense as you know it. Instead, the HTC 10 comes with a much more stripped down version of Sense, which is closer to its Android origins. Think Marshmallow with the best of Sense and you get the HTC 10.
HTC's story in the 10 is about optimisation, aiming to give you a slicker, faster, smartphone experience.
HTC 10 vs HTC One M9: Conclusion
The HTC 10 arrives with upgraded hardware in comparison to the One M9, which was to be expected, but it also refines the design and adds a fingerprint sensor, all of which makes HTC exciting again.
Take the design and couple it with a higher resolution display, excellent sound quality, a big improvement in camera and a power jump and you have yourself a great successor.
Does the HTC 10 right all the wrongs of the One M9? Maybe not all of them, but certainly the majority. If you're choosing between these two handsets, the HTC 10 is a clear winner. It's the most compelling smartphone from HTC in the past few years.