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Meet the HTC One M9, a flagship smartphone that looks uncannily familiar

Jason Cross | March 2, 2015
The new model looks almost exactly like last year's M8, but there are substantial changes inside.

Fortunately, HTC has moved the power button from its difficult-to-press location along the top to an easy-to-reach spot on the side, just beneath the volume buttons.

HTC one m9
You won't notice a lot of design differences between the M8 and M9, but I'm glad they moved the power button to the side.

There's also a new silver-and-gold two-tone design to go along with the standard gunmetal grey.

Sense 7 feels a lot like Sense 6 with themes
We were big fans of Sense 6. Its not stock Android, but it kept customization to a minimum, and offered a sensible, simple, and most importantly, fast interface on top of Android 4.4.

HTC one m9
The M9 will be available in two colors: gunmetal grey and a two-tone silver and gold finish.

Sense 7 is built on Android Lollipop, but it still looks a lot like Sense 6. Most of the menus, fonts, and icons carry the same design, and many core Lollipop design elements are missing.

The key focus of Sense 7 is customization. An advanced theme editor lets you pick from a gallery of professional themes that change the background, colors, fonts, back/home/apps buttons, and clock widget. You can create your own, pulling colors from a selected background image and tweaking to your hearts content. 

A new home screen widget shows a selection of apps that changes based on your location, surfacing your most frequently used apps at home, work, or on the go.

An evolutionary update to a fantastic phone
The HTC One M8 was a fantastic phone. It had great design and craftsmanship, premium all-metal construction, industry-leading sound quality, and comparatively lean and mean software. 

But its a year later, and times have changed. Other manufacturers have stepped up their game, on both the hardware and software side. Can a relatively modest evolutionary update to last years best phone compete?

 

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