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HTC One M9 Professional Reviews

Hadron

Spacecorp test pilot
Aug 9, 2010
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Full reviews (thanks to @Cakeisspy for collecting the links):
Anandtech
Gizmodo
Engadget
Techno buffalo
Verge
BGR
GSM Arena
Phone Arena
Stuff.TV
ZDNet
Mobile syrup
Trusted Reviews
Tech Spot
Slash Gear
Pocket now
Pocket Lint
Android Central


And added by @El Presidente:
http://www.techradar.com/reviews/phones/mobile-phones/htc-one-m9-1285623/review/2

Original post:
Too early for full reviews yet, but many sites have posted hands-on previews, varying from a quick hands-on at the event to impressions gathered under NDA. Several have noted that the software was not final, so these need not be a perfect indication of the device when released.

Here are a few to get started with:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/9012/htc-launches-one-m9-handson
http://www.engadget.com/2015/03/01/htc-one-m9-preview
http://www.gsmarena.com/htc_mwc_2015-review-1215.php
http://www.phonearena.com/news/HTC-One-M9-hands-on_id66434
http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/1/8126431/htc-one-m9-hands-on-preview
http://www.androidcentral.com/htc-one-m9-preview
 
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That review wasn't great at all. He seemed like "meh" about the M9 all the way through his article. He should have just written "Refer to my article from last year on the M8." Then his review for the M9 would have been complete!

He also clearly states "These are preproduction phones, though, so we'll see what a retail One M9 looks and feels like when we review it"

This thread is for hands on and previews so as EarlyMon has already asked, lets keep disruption to a minimum. ;)
 
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Mr. Nickinson from android central said he doesn't even know what "final software" means. He spoke to HTC about their camera problem after having the phone for 36 hours. And he said you can't magically fix the camera problem with software. He was surprised that he was given the phone not ready for prime time. Go to the 38:00 minute mark to hear his comments. Sounds like he isn't expecting the software to do anything for the camera.

 
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A few of the previews assert the 1080p display is best balance for a phone and I agree, IF no VR type add-on option is offered or a user is not interested. The Gear VR though has made me a convert to "the more the merrier". An ideal set up would be a display that can adopt by switching to different resolutions and not look bad doing it. That way in VR mode it can use all pixels and scale down for phone use.

4K for VR and 108op or 2K for for phone use. VR cuts the resolution essentially in half for the two lenses. 2K is 720p with VR. 1080p is rough with VR when split.
 
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Last year there was very little gap between the announcement and the release of the M8, and most sites had their full reviews up within a day or so of the announcement (not the "we've only had the device for 24 hours but we're going to pretend this is a detailed review and even comment on battery life" stuff you see from some places - The Verge, I'm looking at you!). So clearly they had had the devices for a while, but with an embargo on publication.

So I would expect something similar this year, i.e. that they probably have the devices already (or if not will get them very soon) but can't publish until the date HTC have agreed. I don't see any advantage to HTC in publishing too long before the release: from a technical side that gives the reviewers less time with the device and means the review will be based on earlier software, while from a marketing side you'd want the "buzz" from a rash of reviews hitting the web to be followed by orders or people going out to see the device, rather than a by couple more weeks waiting. So personally I'd guess not more than a few days before the actual release. But I have absolutely no inside information at all here, just speculating based on what I've seen before and what I think I'd do in their place.
 
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When can we expect the pro reviews? (I'm dying to just hear it's got a great battery and half decent camera and I can just hit pre-order)

I assumed they would have access to some demo models before release day
I'm not trying to burst your bubble. Jeff Gordon who is the Senior Global Online Communications Manager for HTC said you probably won't see an increase in battery performance on the M9 when compared to the M8. Why? Because they put in a new processor, new software, and different components. With all of these factors the battery size doesn't mean you will see an increase in battery performance.
 

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Mr. Nickinson from android central said he doesn't even know what "final software" means. He spoke to HTC about their camera problem after having the phone for 36 hours. And he said you can't magically fix the camera problem with software.
On the other hand, someone who is actually testing the camera and the updates says that it is still improving.
 
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On the other hand, someone who is actually testing the camera and the updates says that it is still improving.

This improves horrible low light photos how? I have to give Mr. Nickinson more credibility simply because he gets paid to do this for a living with a variety of different phones. To say, you can't fix the problems he saw with software does speak volumes. And why was he given an "unfinished" phone? The One M9 will launch soon and HTC has been working on this problem since January? Can you say there is a problem?
 
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Low light photo quality is quite significantly affected by noise reduction and sharpening algorithms (noise reduction smears detail, and sharpening enhances noise - get them wrong and you can make a real mess). Algorithms can be improved, and experience with the properties of the (new) sensor comes into that. Not saying they'll get it right - HTC tend to be too heavy-handed by default, which is all most reviewers look at - but to say it's impossible to improve is silly.

Actually turning the resolution down to take advantage of oversampling in night shots will also help if their algorithms are any good, but most reviewers won't think of that.

As for being paid, I've read a lot of garbage by people who were paid to write it (in many fields), and also perfectly sensible people write stuff which turns out not to be correct. So it's not a guarantee.
 
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Low light photo quality is quite significantly affected by noise reduction and sharpening algorithms (noise reduction smears detail, and sharpening enhances noise - get them wrong and you can make a real mess). Algorithms can be improved, and experience with the properties of the (new) sensor comes into that. Not saying they'll get it right - HTC tend to be too heavy-handed by default, which is all most reviewers look at - but to say it's impossible to improve is silly.

Actually turning the resolution down to take advantage of oversampling in night shots will also help if their algorithms are any good, but most reviewers won't think of that.

As for being paid, I've read a lot of garbage by people who were paid to write it (in many different fields).
I am going to have to disagree with you. Sorry, but HTC didn't put the best camera/sensor combination into the M9. You get what you pay for and no amount of software can fix that at all. If that were the case, there was plenty of time since January to get it right according to the post from XDA.
 
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Digital zoom is worse than useless: crop then interpolate to scale the image back to full size. It's the first thing I turn off in any camera which has it.

(The worst of the launch-day "preview" shots looked like someone had used digital zoom at night! I must remind myself who did that, so that I never accidentally read a camera review by them...)
 
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Tlicious1020: Great initial review about the M9. You spoke highly about the phone until you talked about the camera. Can you explain to us why you are leery of people talking about final software? And is it normal for companies to give you phones at MWC that are not finished? Why would a company bring an unfinished phone to a major event and have it receive bad first impressions?

Mr. Nickinson: "The software itself was pretty damned solid, actually. I didn't see anything, performance-wise, that would have kept it from being my daily driver. But, yeah, I have some serious issues with being handed a phone to evaluate while being told "software updates are coming." That's not helpful to us as reviewers. And worse is that I think it sets unreasonable expectations for readers. That's what I was trying to get at during the podcast. That I was already hearing "Did you have the software update that fixes the camera yet?" proves that point.

I have no idea if there will be some sort of magical software update that cures any initial problems we saw with the camera. Ask me in a few weeks. (Or sooner. ;) )"

Aallison1882: Is the software update everyone is talking about for the camera app or is everyone referring to a firmware update for the actual camera hardware? The latter would be what could potentially resolve issues.

Just want to make sure I'm not miss understanding the definition of "software" in the context of the M9 camera discussion.

Mr. Nickinson: "I really don't know what "everyone is talking about." What we've been told is that the camera software isn't final. I take that to mean how the images are ultimately processed and presented — not how the camera app itself looks. But again, I strongly caution everyone against thinking that there will be some magical update that either makes this the best damn camera phone ever seen, or it crashes and burns. That's just not how these things usually work.

I'll share more when I can, but that's really all anyone knows at this point."
 
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Reasonable statements. As a reviewer it isn't helpful to him to be given a device but be told that he shouldn't assume it represents what will be released - I totally agree. And sure, you can't and shouldn't make assumptions or raise expectations about what may be achieved. I've no problem with anything he's said there, though I also note that in both cases he's not saying "give up, this is hopeless" but "ask me later and I'll be able to give a better answer, but don't assume that there will be a miracle in a few weeks just because they say they are working on it". I can't see how anyone could disagree with what he's said here.

So thanks, very helpful.
 
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Reasonable statements. As a reviewer it isn't helpful to him to be given a device but be told that he shouldn't assume it represents what will be released - I totally agree. And sure, you can't and shouldn't make assumptions or raise expectations about what may be achieved. I've no problem with anything he's said there, though I also note that in both cases he's not saying "give up, this is hopeless" but "ask me later and I'll be able to give a better answer, but don't assume that there will be a miracle in a few weeks just because they say they are working on it". I can't see how anyone could disagree with what he's said here.

So thanks, very helpful.
Still don't understand why HTC thought their actions was okay. For example, "Here, you can test drive this new car but it isn't finished yet, so don't hold us to it. Huh?...lol
 
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They said the same thing about the M8 camera..And as you can see 2 posts above, when it was finally released to the public a strange thing happened...People that knew how to take pictures without using digital zoom, and using the correct exposure settings took some good pictures. I truly do wonder if the folks taking the original pictures for the M9 took bad ones on purpose. There is so much noise and the exposure is all wrong. It looks as if they were using the digital zoom feature (worst feature on any phone) to try and take pictures.

T, we seem to be hearing the the same thing over and over in the threads here. I believe everyone is clear that you don't understand why they had an unfinished product at the show. The simple truth is, a lot of companies do it. Most of them don't admit it, but there is still a lot of QC going on in the background right up to release day. I am sure you will post again saying the same thing "Why, oh why" but regurgitating the same statement you have posted in multiple threads really isn't accomplishing much. If the phone is not for you, than it's not for you. There are plenty of other great devices out there. Samsung has a strong phone, of course it's hard to tell if someone is holding a S6 or an IPhone if you are more than 10 feet away with that design they used.

Now why is it so hard to release a perfect device on launch day? With software you have a distinct advantage because you can have it beta tested by thousands of users (and they still manage to screw it up-Especially games). With hardware that is under wraps it becomes much more complicated, especially when adding new tech & implementing it with a new major revision of Android that was only released in November. You have only a few people that can test it, and even those few folks have a hard time keeping the new device design a secret. Enough said. Wait for the phone to be released to the public, then judge it on it's merits, not based on some journalists that are looking to be the next big story.
 
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@SolApathy

I don't think they had much of a hard time keeping the M9 design a secret ;)

I also completely agree that this could be an "emperor's new clothes" story where one reviewer who can't take photos says the camera is terrible and get's a huge amount of website hits.

The others who think the camera is fine won't get any hits for saying "The camera is fine" so they also fabricate some terrible photos to latch on to the bandwagon and make sure people consider them as a competent reviewer.
 
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