Time for an upgrade? We put HTC’s latest offering – the M9 – up against its predecessor to see if it’s worth the investment.

HTC’s ‘One’ range represented a significant leap forward in terms of design and features for the Taiwanese mobile manufacturer when it was first released in 2013.

However, HTC set about reinventing the smartphone wheel again in 2014 with the release of the M8, and for all intents and purposes the hard work paid off as the M8 has become widely regarded as one of the most beautiful smartphones on the market. But what of the M9 – HTC’s latest flagship smartphone – launched in March 2015? Can it steal the M8’s crown?
 

Design and display


HTC One M9 in useIn terms of design, HTC seem to have followed the ‘don’t mess with perfection’ mantra. To the naked eye there are very few differences between the handsets, with the M9 retaining its predecessor’s premium all-metal body. However, once you have the two phones in your hands, you’ll begin to notice the subtle, yet impressive improvements on the M9.

Offering a dual-tone, scratch-resistant finish, with a soft curve on the back – so the phone sits comfortably in your hand – the M9 adds durability to its beauty. You’ll also notice a difference in the button placement on the M9. Like the iPhone 6, the M9’s power button has been relocated to the right-hand side, just below the volume buttons, making it easier to switch your phone on and off using just one hand.

Similarly, while the display and resolution are the same as the M8 – coming in at 5-inches and 1920 x 1080 pixels, 440ppi – the M9 is a few grams lighter than its predecessor; 157g compared to the 160g weight of the M8. While it’s certainly not as light as the iPhone 6 or Galaxy S6, it’s a step in the right direction.
 

Functionality


So with only minor changes to the exterior of the phone, what sets the M9 apart ‘under the hood’? Well like the M8, it runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset, however with increases in both RAM and internal storage on the M9, users may find the M8 is lacking a certain ‘oomph’ in terms of power and speed, that the M9 has in spades.

Users should also notice improvements with the M9’s battery life. The 2,840mAh battery in the M9 should serve you slightly better than the 2,600mAh battery in the M8, with talk-time reported at about 21 hours for the M9.
HTC One M8 vs. HTC One M9

Camera


This is where things get interesting with the M9. Moving away from ‘UltraPixels’ on the rear-facing camera – which HTC previously claimed to be superior in low lighting – the M9 boasts an impressive 20MP, which trumps both the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 – and instead now offers UltraPixels on its front-facing camera,  which coupled with HTC’s extensive photo editing onboard software, should prove popular with selfie-lovers.
 

Price


Now onto the business end of proceedings and premium handsets come at premium prices. The HTC One M9 on pre pay will set you back a minimum of €629.99*; while the M8 currently starts at €499.99* from both eMobile and Meteor.

On bill pay, you can receive the M8 handset for free here if you sign up to Vodafone Red Essentials for 24 months at a cost of €35* a month. You can also get the M9 handset for free on Vodafone Red Super (4G) but you will need to commit to €75* a month for 24 months.
 
*Prices are correct as of May 14th 2015 but are subject to change.

You can check out our extensive review of the M9 here