HTC is attempting a course-correction and the HTC One A9 is the phone to set it on its new path. Or rather its old path - HTC was synonymous with "premium Android" back in the day, but lost its way the last couple of generations.
The A9 may be a throwback to the days of the HTC Legend - a premium mid-ranger with a metal-clad body and an AMOLED screen, a handset designed with equal measures of form and function.
Like other premium design phones from HTC, the One A9 focuses on the trinity of Design, Camera and Audio. Here's the elevator pitch to get you started.
You may have fond memories of the Legend or of HTC's last attempt at an AMOLED screen paired to a metal unibody, the HTC One S. We doubt any One S users are still holding out for an upgrade, but now they have a chance to relive the premium mid-range experience that phone offered.
HTC's camera game has improved over the years. The One A9 has optical image stabilization and a relatively wide aperture, f/2.0 plus software tricks to provide pro-looking content with ease. No 4K video is a bummer though.
As with OIS, the company adopted fingerprint readers a few years ago with the One Max only to drop them later. The technology has been enjoying a comeback recently and the A9 is the second HTC smartphone to feature a reader under the screen after the HTC One M9+.
The audio experience is also subject to the great feature shuffle. We weren't very sad to see Beats go, especially now that HTC offers dedicated amps for high-quality headphones and hardware support for the best lossless audio. We do object over losing the front-facing stereo speakers though.
HTC is keen to point out that the A9 design is an evolution of previous One phones and if you look at the back of the HTC One the family resemblance is indeed clear. The front is a bigger break from the norm though. Even with pure-blooded lineage, the HTC One A9's exterior will be compared to the iPhone, that's for sure.