HTC’s A9s improves on the A9 but only in terms of cloning the iPhone

Today at IFA 2016 HTC has announced an updated variant of the One A9 called the One A9s. In this case, the update is designed to put the One A9 at a more attractive price point, which involves a few spec changes. The best way to describe this phone is more a relative of the One A9 rather than a pin-compatible SoC change and display change. It’s not an upgrade per say but another variant. Why? Because if you see it as an upgrade, even incremental, you’re going to be disappointed.

HTC One A9s

SoC MediaTek Helio P10
4x Cortex A53 @ 2.0 GHz
4x Cortex A53 @ 1.1 GHz
GPU Mali T860MP2
NAND 16/32GB + microSDXC
Display 5.0″ 720p LCD
Dimensions 146.49 x 71.5 x 7.99 mm, 149.8g
Camera 13MP Rear Facing with F/2.2 aperture
5MP Front Facing with F/? aperture
Battery 2300mAh (8.86Wh)
OS Android ? with HTC Sense
Cellular Connectivity 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (MediaTek Category 6 LTE)
Other Connectivity 2.4/5GHz 802.11a/b/g/n + BT 4.2, GNSS, microUSB 2.0

HTC seems to be claiming that it has leveled up its design. To quote its very poetic words, the smartphone is “encased in a nature-inspired, dual-finish metal body that perfectly glistens with light from its frame.” What this means, in effect, is that the rear and side edges aren’t a single piece of metal but, at least visually, broken into two parts with different tones. That does give the One A9s a distinct “lip” around the edges that goes both ways. It does differentiate itself from the iPhone 6 but, at the same time, might not really work well aesthetically.

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HTC’s A9 was not a bad phone but it left a mixed and mostly negative impression in the market for being the most blatant iPhone ripoff. Perhaps HTC was thinking if Samsung can copy Apple and succeed, well, let’s copy better. Whatever the case must have been then, HTC is continuing that tradition and it has even borrowed the ‘s’ from the iPhones that indicates a small incremental update.

The thing is, it’s not even really that. Its “updated specs for 2016” confusingly include a lower-res 720p 5-inch LCD screen (down from a 1080p AMOLED), with a similar but non-OIS-packing 13MP rear-facing camera in tow, and a decidedly mid-range octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor replacing, well, the decidedly mid-range octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617.

The only obvious hardware improvements are a 5MP selfie shooter (up from 4), and 2,300 mAh battery (up from 2,150), with the same old, same old 2GB RAM/16GB ROM and 3/32 gig options.

The HTC One A9 is a single SIM (GSM) smartphone that accepts a Nano-SIM. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, FM, 4G (with support for Band 40 used by some LTE networks in India). Sensors on the phone include Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, and Gyroscope.

Being so passionate about technology and specially smartphones really makes it difficult to not express disappointment over such products. If it wasn’t the design, the supposedly “upgraded” specs are sure to let down a lot of HTC fans. If they are still here somewhere.

Anyways, Sony is about to announce its new smartphones tomorrow but the press photos have already leaked revealing multiple camera sensors and the professional design in a more detailed look, Lenovo just hit the mother-box of innovation with its new Yoga Book which is nothing like anything you’ve seen before which can also be said about Acer’s new predator 21X, not so innovative but you’ve definitely not seen anything like this either. Samsung launched the Gear S3 twins. So much is happening at IFA.

What are your thoughts on the HTC A9s? Is there an off chance you liked it? Are you disappointed or just don’t care? Either way check back with us later or tomorrow for the details or follow us on Facebook/Twitter for more updates on IFA 2016.

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