It’s sad to see how HTC has gone from one the best Android smartphone makers out there to a struggling company that’s been forced to copy Apple in order to boost sales. The company unveiled the long-rumored HTC One A9 this morning, and it’s the blatant iPhone ripoff that the rumors claimed it would be. Obviously this means the design is nice, but aside from that, the price tag of $399.99 is one of the only good parts about the smartphone, although even that comes at the cost of having specs that are much weaker than the average flagship.
The HTC One M9 introduced earlier this year was a disappointment, both to fans of high-end smartphones and, consequently, to HTC itself. Stung by criticism of that device’s camera and feeling an ever-greater urgency to change its ways, the Taiwanese company today introduces its second hero handset of the year in the One A9. This 5-inch smartphone will be among the first to ship with the latest Android Marshmallow software on board, and it will be available to buy unlocked for an attractive price of $399.99. It’s also the most blatant and highest-profile iPhone ripoff since Samsung’s original Galaxy S. Having spent the past two years cultivating a signature aluminum unibody look with its One series, HTC has now abandoned much of that heritage in favor of some unabashed iPhone cloning. Gone are the prominent BoomSound stereo speakers on the front, replaced by a capacitive home button with an integrated fingerprint reader. Gone is the subtle curve spanning the rear of the phone, replaced by a flat back that’s punctuated only by a pair of antenna lines, a circular two-tone flash, and a slightly protruding camera module. The resemblance to the iPhone is only extended once you pick up the One A9, which feels for all the world like the middle child between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
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