Reviews for the HTC One A9 are starting to come in, and the entire tech world seems to be unanimously unimpressed. The most notable thing about the One A9 is that the design is a blatant copy of the iPhone 6, regardless of what HTC says, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What is bad is that the fact that the smartphone offers lackluster performance at a premium price, but that’s not preventing reviewers from calling it a decent device. Unfortunately for HTC, a decent device probably isn’t going to be enough to turn its ever-shrinking sales figures around.
Since I started reviewing smartphones (amongst other gadgets, tech toys, and, err, puppies) years ago, I’ve been carrying two phones on me. For the last year it’s been my personal iPhone 6 and a second Android phone I’m reviewing. I’ve never confused an Android phone with my iPhone the way I did while testing the new HTC One A9. The One A9 is such an unabashed copy of the the iPhone 6 that I confused the two over and over again. I wasn’t alone in seeing the resemblance; everyone I showed the phone to said it looked like an iPhone. The dead giveaways that it’s not, of course, are the prominent HTC logos on the back and front. HTC’s defense on the cloning accusations is that the One A9’s metal design is the natural evolution of the design language that it introduced with the One M7 in 2013. Although the iPhone 6 arrived a year after the One M7, and has a metal body and the big showy antenna bands that the One M7 had first, they don’t look and feel that similar. For instance, HTC’s One M7/M8/M9 all have front-facing BoomSound stereo speakers and the iPhone doesn’t, and the iPhone has a glass front that curves on the edges and HTC’s are flat. Similar design aside, the only reason you’re reading this is to find out if the One A9 is any good. After testing it out over the last week, I’d say, yes, it’s good, but not flagship-stomping great.