HTC One X9 review

Nick Broughall 8 July 2016 NEWS

Quick Verdict
The HTC One X9 is clearly aimed at the premium-but-not-top-end market, with its solid balance of features, premium build quality and price.

Strengths

  • Booming sound
  • Crisper pics
  • Solid battery life
  • HTC Sense UI is solidly subtle
  • Solid construction
  • Profiles for work, rest and play

Could be better

  • Middle of the road performance
  • No fingerprint scanner
  • Micro-USB connection


The HTC One X9 promises high-spec design in a mid-range phone, though that promise comes at the price of power.

While the Taiwanese company’s HTC 10 flagship gets the bulk of the attention, it’s not the only new Android phone to launch this year rocking the HTC badge. The HTC One X9 is available outright through JB Hi-Fi, as well as on contract with Vodafone.

HTC One X9 Dual Sim, 5.5

HTC One X9 Dual Sim, 5.5" from Amazon AU

Get your own HTC One X9 today from Amazon.

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With its 5.5-inch Full HD display, the One X9 brings some of the One family’s better features to a more affordable device. Boomsound front facing speakers, optical image stabilisation in the camera and a similar processor to last year’s One (M9) all give this phone plenty of appeal to anyone looking for a premium device without a premium price tag.

HTC One X9 Specifications

HTC One X9
OS Android 6.0 ("Marshmallow")
Screen size 5.5in
Resolution 1080x1920
Display density 401ppi
Storage 32GB
Weight 170g
Processor Octa-core Cortex-A53
Rear camera 13MP
Front camera 5MP
Battery 3000mAh

Upsides: Why you’d want the HTC One X9

    • Booming sound. The top and bottom front-facing speaker system on the One X9 may look a little strange with its integrated glass cover, but there’s no denying that the audio quality out of the dual speakers far exceeds many other devices in this price bracket. Playing back music at loud volumes may be a little on the tinny side, but short of having an external speaker system connected, this is an impressive little sound system.
    • Crisper pics. Optical Image Stabilisation isn’t a common feature in smartphones, especially devices available for under $700. Admittedly it doesn’t completely counteract all camera shake, and in poor light you’re still going to end up with blurry shots if you move the phone too much while taking photos, but the camera is still a solid performer.The rear camera records 4K video, while the front facing camera can automatically snap a selfie whenever you smile, or keep your duckface pose perfectly still. In terms of pure photographic quality, you’ll still get better images from a flagship Galaxy S7 or iPhone 6S Plus, but those devices both cost a lot more money.

HTC One X9 review

  • Solid battery life. It doesn’t win any awards, but the HTC One X9’s 3,000mAh battery performs well, sitting on par the flagship HTC 10 when compared using the GeekBench 3 battery tests.
Handset Geekbench 3 Battery Test Duration Geekbench 3 Battery Score
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 11:55:00 7150
Huawei Mate 8 11:14:40 6659
Samsung Galaxy S7 10:01:20 6013
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 9:18:00 5580
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ 8:24:10 5041
Huawei P9 8:26:30 4948
Apple iPhone 6S Plus 7:48:10 4681
LG G5 7:36:10 4561
HTC 10 6:54:30 4145
Samsung Galaxy S6 6:51:30 4115
Sony Xperia X Performance 6:46:51 4068
Google Nexus 5X 7:14:20 4062
Oppo R9 6:41:50 4018
HTC One X9 7:03:10 3971
Google Nexus 6P 6:39:20 3754
Sony Xperia Z5 5:41:30 3414
LG Stylus DAB+ 8:11:40 3278
LG G4 5:27:50 3224
Oppo R7s 7:00:00 2800
Huawei P8 Lite 4:39:40 2768
Apple iPhone SE 4:27:10 2671
Apple iPhone 6s 3:52:10 2321
  • HTC Sense UI is solidly subtle. While many manufacturers used to impose a completely different user experience over the top of Android, the trend more recently has been to supplement the base experience with small customisations. HTC’s Sense is one of the best at this approach, offering subtle feature improvements over Google’s base operating system, like the Highlights news feed and HTC’s standard communications apps.
  • Solid construction. Behind that sheet of glass on the front of the One X9 is a solid aluminium unibody construction. While the phone doesn’t feel overly thick in its design, it does feel solidly built – there’s no real threat of it bending in your back pocket accidentally here.
  • Profiles for work, rest and play. One of the HTC Sense inclusions is a useful widget that offers different app shortcuts for work, home and out, which helps customise your experience depending on your location or Wi-Fi network.

Downsides: Why you might not want the HTC One X9

  • Middle of the road performance. The HTC One X9 may have a 64-bit octa-core processor running the show, but it can’t compete with the higher-powered processors of this year’s flagship models, as its GeekBench 3 scores attest.
Handset Geekbench 3 Single Core (higher is better) Geekbench 3 Multi Core (higher is better)
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 2169 6446
Huawei P9 1736 6357
Samsung Galaxy S7 2156 6240
Huawei Mate 8 1738 6092
LG G5 2305 5243
Sony Xperia X Performance 1988 5198
Sony Xperia Z5 2076 5165
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge 1324 4626
Google Nexus 6P 1251 4597
Samsung Galaxy S6 1347 4569
HTC One X9 892 4558
Apple iPhone SE 2538 4455
HTC 10 1942 4191
Sony Xperia Z5 1358 4134
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 1111 3686
LG G4 1190 3313
Oppo R9 867 3303
Google Nexus 5X 1188 3198
Oppo R7s 696 2980
LG Stylus DAB+ 470 1418

Things don’t look much better when it comes to 3DMark’s numbers, showing that this device won’t necessarily deliver on performance if you’re after a phone that doubles as a portable games console.

Handset 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited Result
LG G5 29597
Apple iPhone SE 29276
Samsung Galaxy S7 28903
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 28402
Apple iPhone 6s 28171
HTC 10 27392
Sony Xperia X Performance 26125
Google Nexus 6P 24703
Sony Xperia Z5 19197
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus 17981
Huawei Mate 8 17947
HTC One X9 16877
Oppo R9 11053
Oppo R7s 8390
LG Stylus DAB+ 4321
  • No fingerprint scanner. The inclusion of fingerprint scanners for additional biometric security is admittedly a premium feature found on the top-tier models, but given that last year’s flagship phones like the Samsung Galaxy S6 included the feature and can be bought for about the same price (or even a little cheaper), it’s a disappointing exclusion.
  • Micro-USB connection. While the old-school connection standard Micro-USB isn’t a bad thing in itself, some may find it disappointing that HTC didn’t follow the trend for the new reversible USB cable standard.

HTC One X9 review

Who is it best suited for? What are my other options?

The HTC One X9 is clearly aimed at the premium-but-not-top-end market, with its solid balance of features, premium build quality and price. The camera is solid, the speakers are better than most phones at this price point and there is a certain heft to the device that exudes quality craftsmanship.

Its comparative lack of processing power though means that in some cases, potential users would be better off buying one of last year’s flagship phones, like the Galaxy S6 or the LG G4. Even similarly priced devices like the Huawei Mate 8 offer a bit more in the way of performance, though with a slightly different feature set.

Where can I get it?

The HTC One X9 is no longer available from local retailers, nor is it offered on contract through Aussie telcos. You can still import a handset through sites like Amazon, however.

HTC One X9 Dual Sim, 5.5

HTC One X9 Dual Sim, 5.5" from Amazon AU

Get your own HTC One X9 today from Amazon.

View details

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