Read First: The HTC One M9 Review Part 1

A good amount of time ago, we posted part one of our HTC One M9 review, which gave a good idea of some critical aspects of the One M9’s performance and design. Unfortunately, due to HTC’s last minute software changes there was a need to redo some of our testing as the changes were quite significant for some key aspects of the user experience, which were effectively any situation where the SoC was in a thermally throttled situation and overall camera performance. I’ve finally finished redoing our testing of the One M9, so we can finish the review and get the full picture of the One M9’s performance. Normally, we’d start by discussing the design of the phone, but much of the review has already been finished with part one. Instead, we’ll start with sustained battery life tests.

Battery Life Continued

As previously detailed, our sustained battery life tests either strongly stress the CPU or GPU. For our GPU tests, we use GFXBench 3.0’s sustained GPU test, which runs the T-Rex benchmark on the display at its native resolution for an infinite rundown test. We didn’t have the modified test to present for a comparison between the two software builds, but we can get a pretty good sense for the changes that have occurred for final shipping software.

GFXBench 3.0 Battery Life

GFXBench 3.0 Performance Degradation

As one can see, the One M9 delivered somewhat impressive sustained performance with the pre-release build, but this resulted in almost dangerous skin temperatures and poor battery life on the order of 1.73 hours. The new update produced acceptable skin temperatures, but frame rate drops rather dramatically as skin temperature rises. The end performance actually ends up being quite similar to the One M8, but performance during the test is much higher than what we saw on the One M8.

BaseMark OS II Battery Life

BaseMark OS II Battery Score

In the Basemark OS II test, we can see that the One M9 seems to perform poorly. One might be able to argue that the A57s provide more performance, but simple logging shows that past the first 20 minutes the A57 cluster is either shut down or throttled to the minimum clock state, although the A53 cluster manages to stay at 1.56 GHz for the duration of the test. For reference, the One M8 manages to keep the active CPUs at around 1.5 GHz throughout the test.

PCMark - Work Battery Life

While Basemark OS II and GFXBench function as power virus tests, I wanted to get a good idea of performance somewhere between these rather extreme tests and the mostly display-bound web browsing test. To do this, I tested a few devices against PCMark’s work battery life benchmark, which shows that the One M9 seems to perform comparably when compared against the One M8. There is a noticeable difference in performance, but the gap isn’t all that big when compared to the M8. More interestingly is that the battery temperature sensor (which isn't necessarily on the battery) gets noticeably higher than the M8, on the order of 5-10C higher.

It’s a bit frightening to see that the gap in performance that we saw with the web browsing test remain. The effects of panel-self refresh would be greatly reduced in these short-running tests, so the differences here are mostly due to the SoC. The level of throttling I’ve seen here is pretty much unprecedented, which doesn’t help with the issue. Overall, the performance of Snapdragon 810 here is bad enough that I would genuinely consider Snapdragon 805 to be an improvement. I can’t help but wonder if this was inevitable though, as leaked roadmaps in the past suggested that Snapdragon 810 would’ve been a very different SoC.

Camera Architecture and UX
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  • avs234 - Sunday, April 12, 2015 - link

    An inadequate review.

    Not a _single_ positive, just a bunch of some negative comments from a person who, for some reason, really disliked the device. Expecting he was advised in doing so.

    I DO OWN an m9, and dare say this review is thorough crap. Each author's argument (e.g., performance, screen, camera, etc.) just doesn't stand my experience whatsoever. I have no time nor reason to dispute these, just wanted to say fuck for the well deserved site.
  • vampyren - Monday, April 13, 2015 - link

    Strange that the most important competitor (S6) is not in the list. Most people are deciding between these 2 phones so leaving it out is sloppy.
  • evolucion8 - Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - link

    Saying that HTC needs a good camera to be relevant on the phone market is a bit of a bold statement. I don't think that the camera alone is the main reason for people to buy smartphones, people who are aficionados at taking pictures they will use a digital camera instead. As far as the camera is able to offer good/usable image quality, I think is enough.
  • FlushedBubblyJock - Friday, April 24, 2015 - link

    It's another elite snob issue - they just MUST have the best possible artistry - otherwise their glorified selfie may be - king and queen forbid - plebian in nature...

    It's just like the constant desire for thinner as if they are a heroin doused runway queen wannabe - couple with the "feel" it must have as they coddle it in their refined paws ...

    Thus .... we will have a twisted groupthink stinky mind melded horror as the top tier, thanks to all the primping tards
  • HangFire - Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - link

    HTC has traditionally done well with battery life? Huh? Someone has already forgotten the existence of the HTC Thunderbolt.

    Such a disappointment. The M9 won't be replacing my M7. My search continues.
  • FlushedBubblyJock - Friday, April 24, 2015 - link

    don't you just love the angle iron heads - oh it must be metal or she feels so cheap in my hand -
    yet metal feels very uncomfortable in the hand compared to plastic

    metal is a harsh object on the hands - then after begging for metal and glass and industrial design - and absolute thinness which means sharp corners not smooth bends - we get the sharp edge whine....

  • adsingh - Sunday, June 21, 2015 - link

    Worst hardware company
    I had bought htc desire x and wifi/host-spot problem occurred within a year. I gave it to the service centre and they changed motherboard because in case of any hardware issue they have only one option which is replacement of motherboard. And when they changed motherboard of my phone then 3 and half months later camera stopped working first and then phone get dead within one month. So this is htc (Htc Third Class). And again they asked me to replacement of motherboard (what the f**k they people) and motherboard cost is near about Rs.7500/-. Even htc dosn't trust on their hardware more that 3 months cause whenever they change motherboard they only gives an extended warrenty of only 3 months. Shame on you guys(htc team).

    There are lot of smartphone companies are there having more features as compare with htc in less price.

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