HTC's densely populated high-end lineup has a different model for everyone, but not one that covers all bases. It could be argued that the company attempted to specifically cater to different users in a bid to grab a wider market share.
In the end we get some distribution of features among a myriad of devices. Each model comes with a set of compromises and instead of getting praised for what it does have, the One M9 generation of smartphones ends up being an easy target for criticism.
The HTC One E9+ is the phablet in the range and that's its main selling point, simply because the rest of the models are smaller. But what if you want the large diagonal and, say, a fingerprint sensor? You'll have to look elsewhere. Also, the metal unibody of the One M9 could be scaled up to 5.2 inches for the M9+, but not to 5.5 inches?
Yes, the HTC One E9+ has an excellent 5.5-inch QHD display, which, we'd recommend in a heartbeat. It may not be the brightest, but there's little fault to find with it elsewhere.
It's not so with the choice of chipset. If looked at CPU benchmarks alone, you'd conclude that the E9+ is ready to fight the big boys. Yet graphics performance is nowhere near the competition as the GPU is simply not in the same league as the processor. The two are so unevenly matched that it makes you wonder how Mediatek decided to pair them in the first place. Why HTC went with it is the next question, but we'd probably need to ask the accounting department to find the answer.
HTC's phones were never the most compact, but at least they have the stereo speakers to show for it. The E9+ is yet another high-end handset to come with less than ideal footprint, but some music lovers might not mind it too much.
On a positive side, the software package is as good as it gets - Sense is as polished as ever in its 7th iteration and remains one of the better Android overlays. It's stylish, consistent between apps and offers plenty of opportunities for those keen to personalize. The video player could use some work, but HTC apparently thinks that users download third party apps to handle that task anyway and a basic solution is all that's needed just to get going.
With the UltraPixel tech sidelined, the camera is no longer the main source of complaints with HTC high-enders. While admittedly a notch below the very best, the newly adopted 20.7MP shooter is capable of some fine images, which stand up well to pixel-level scrutiny. The sensor is complemented by a very proficient app, another testament to the software engineers behind Sense.
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- Polycarbonate body, soft matte finish, thin and light for its size
- Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with HTC Sense 7 UI
- 20MP AF camera with a 1/2.3" BSI sensor
- 32GB of built-in memory; microSD card slot
- Active noise cancellation with a dedicated microphone
- Front-facing stereo speakers with BoomSound and Dolby Audio
- 2,800mAh battery
- Tall for a 5.5-inch phone, massive top and bottom bezels
- Non-removable battery
- Chipset looks more suited to a mid-ranger