Himanshu Juneja finds out what the handset has to offer
HTC, the Taiwanese consumer electronics firm, has been witnessing a much needed upswing in its fortunes of late. This follows the launch of a range of handsets, which included the flagship HTC 10.
With HTC's X9, the firm has again tried to take a crack at solving the mid-range segment conundrum, something which HTC has not been able to do since sometime now.
The HTC A9 saw a mixed bag of response and the X9, as its successor, will attempt to improve upon the sore points.
With the only mid-tier handset to feature the traditionally placed BoomSound speakers, premium built oozing quality, and a capable processor in tow, will the X9 succeed?
The phone measures 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.99 mm dimension wise. The phone is pretty slim, but weighs a decent 170 gms.
A metal unibody construction, the silken back adds to the premium looks. Despite the rounded corners assisting in gripping, the phone is quite slippery.
Slapping on a case would go a long way with this handset. Overall, this is a quality offering.
Provided with black bezels and a dash of chrome, the handset looks pretty neat. The 2.5D glass blends nicely with the edges as well.
From a distance, the BoomSound speaker grilles are almost invisible. Turn the handset over, and the chrome visor hosting the camera and the LED flash provides the oomph factor at the rear.
The metal body meant that the antenna lines became an automatic inclusion, and these look very much the part of the design.
The phone gets three capacitive buttons sitting below the display for Back, Home, and Recent. All of these keys are backlit.
The top edge carries the 3.5 mm audio jack, the bottom edge carries the microUSB port. The power and volume buttons along with SIM card slot are located on the right edge.
The left edge has a dedicated slot for the secondary SIM and the microSD card tray.
Given the price, HTC X9 not coming with a fingerprint scanner was a sore disappointment.
HTC X9 comes with a 5.5-inch full HD (1080 x 1920p) resolution. The Super LCD screen delivers a punchy display, and 401 ppi ensures good sharpness.
The screen was readable under direct sunlight as well, but could have been brighter.
Not getting an IPS panel is disappointing, but HTC has provided Corning Gorilla Glass protection here.
HTC opted for the Mediatek Helio X10 chipset with the X9. The Octa Core CPU is clocked at 2.2 Ghz, while PowerVR G6200 GPU takes care of the graphics.
3GB of RAM sounds about right too. The handset comes with 32 GB of storage memory, and users can add further storage space (upto 2TB) via microSD card.
There is no dearth of options here as the 4G enabled handset comes with Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth (ver 4.2), GPS, DLNA and even Miracast. Inclusion of FM radio option was a delightful news.
HTC decided to go with the trusted microUSB 2.0 port, which ensures no headaches of carrying extra cords.
The phone functions smoothly, handling strenuous tasks well, but users can bump into occasional delays while launching apps. An update from HTC should fix the issue.
The metallic casing got a bit warm during prolonged heavy duty tasks like the latest HD games. Dolby and BoomSound technology provides a massive boost to the credentials, making media consumption an absolute delight.
The bundled headphones are decent with good bass support.
The X9 is powered by a 3000mAh battery pack which is not user replaceable.
The handset can easily last a day on normal to heavy usage pattern on a single charge. To further assist the heavy users, Quick charging support has been included too.
The phone comes running the Android 6.0 Marshmallow as its base OS, with HTC's Sense UI slapped on top.
HTC has kept things bloat-free here, and the interface exhibits a certain zip.
Android's material design, Now On Tap, App permissions, Notification area, all exhibit the Google touch.
The theme store provides the traditional, as well as the Freestyle layout variation, allowing users to choose elements like characters, or objects placed anywhere on the screen instead of traditional icons.
HTC's promise of fortnightly updates after Google releasing them should rub its effect here as well.
The 13 MP rear camera comes with Optical Image Stabilisation, dual tone LED flash and a BSI sensor.
Front facing camera is a 5MP unit.
The focus speed is good, but shutter lag is sadly keeping it company.
Rear camera captures very impressive results during well lit conditions, with natural colours.
Night time photography is tricky, with grains being visible mostly. Being able to capture 4k videos and RAW photos is a huge plus.
Front facing camera is passable.
Camera app provides Pro Mode, and other notable shooting modes like HDR, Panorama, and Hyperlapse.
Priced at Rs 25,000, HTC X9 is a pretty good phone, but it faces a big challenge from the acclaimed One Plus 3 which is priced at Rs 30,000 .
If that was not enough, Xiaomi Mi5 is lurking around the corner as well with the same price tag. To make matters worse, there is the Oppo F1 too for only a few hundred more.
HTC X9 has the celebrated BoomSound speakers, a good camera, and the branding as strong points, but the other options provide better bang for the buck.
HTC should bring the X9 within Rs 20,000 price bracket to brighten up the X9's chances in a segment which has been HTC's enemy for quite some time.