Updated: November 26, 2015 8:43:04 am
HTC is struggling, its profits are shrinking and in spite of superior design, it is failing to move its flagship smartphones in huge numbers. In fact, HTC’s newest One A9 copies the design of iPhone 6s and runs Android Marshmallow in near stock form. There is absolutely no ‘Sense’ UI or BoomSound in One A9. HTC has even come to terms making mid-range smartphones with the flagship One brand. But it still seems to have a bright spot in India.
HTC One E9s
HTC One E9s is an example of flagship design and feel in a mid-range budget. From HTC’s proprietary BoomSound speakers to that mono-tone unibody design, everything is exemplary here. But then HTC is coming in to play a game already ruled by the likes of Motorola and OnePlus. So does it hold onto its grounds? We find out in our review.
Specs: 5.0-inch (720 x 1280p, ~294 ppi) LCD display | Quad-core 1.3GHz Mediatek MT6582 processor | 2GB RAM | 16GB storage (expandable up to 32GB) | 8MP rear camera + 5MP front | Li-Ion 2200 mAh battery | Android Lollipop OS
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Price: Rs 21,900
What is good?
This is HTC and first attraction has to be that LCD display. While colour saturation is best on an AMOLED display, HTC’s LCD display has been the sharpest. This One is no exception. The colours pop and everything feels super vibrant.
In our office, there was a moment when I wanted to dim the display but then there was no option. When I raised the brightness to maximum, it took me some time to come out of that lightning strike. The display when set to maximum is good enough to be your torch at night. During the review period, I never increased the brightness, which makes it one of the finest 720p panels in my books.
Since this is HTC, the second attraction has to be that BoomSound speakers. Yes, those dual front stereo speakers are the loudest ones ever packed onto a smartphone. I usually enjoy my Music on Bose’s Soundlink Colour bluetooth speaker but with One E9s, I never used my bluetooth speakers. Yes the sound is loud and clear. Every vocal will be easily distinguishable and Sam Smith’s pain is more realised here than on any other smartphone.
When it is HTC, we can’t stop but appreciate the design. Like many other One smartphones before, One E9s is slim and very easy to hold. It is not built out of unibody metal but the plastic used here seems very much assuring. This one has been built to last.
The camera on HTC One E9s is fast. It is quick to click a photo and is always ready to shoot the next one. But the colour reproduction is too bad. Most pictures turned out to be over-saturated. Especially while shooting flowers, the pictures are something not worth sharing. We hope HTC does fix this with a software update.
What is not good?
HTC One E9s is powered by MediaTek MT6582, processor that we saw on Lenovo’s K3 Note. The latter is a sub-Rs 10,000 smartphone. HTC is purely trying to play the brand equity here.
Another big caveat here is the storage. At the time of writing, I see only 500MB left on my One E9s review unit. Partly because of HTC’s own Sense UI sucking up some of the storage and rest courtesy my apps and games.
The need of the hour is a smartphone that lasts through the day and HTC One E9s is not that one. It can barely get through a work day and if you push it to the limits then you will only see low battery notification. HTC could have done better here for that huge Rs 21,900 asking price.
Also, while the display is good, cheaper phones like the Lenovo Vibe P1 are offering Full HD these days. Consumers are likely to keep that in mind.
Should you buy?
If you want to make your presence felt among the crowd with a flagship like One smartphone, the HTC One E9s makes for a good case. Otherwise there is nothing really to boast about.
At the asking price, Motorola’s Moto X Play offers a working design, a battery that can easily get past a day full of heavy use and a camera that is still one of the best in the business.
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