Notebookcheck

HTC One A9s Smartphone Review

Florian Wimmer (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 12/23/2016

Something new from the east? The One A9s from the Taiwanese manufacturer HTC is the much more affordable successor to the One A9 we reviewed last year. We will find out what changed compared to the previous model.

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For the original German review, see here.

HTC sold the previous HTC One A9 for 599 Euros (~$626). The performance was too low for the high-end price, but we liked the chassis as well as the screen. The HTC One A9s has a better market position in the mainstream segment for 299 Euros (~$313). However, there are numerous strong competitors in this price range by now.

The slightly older OnePlus 2 with numerous high-end features is not much more expensive. Another price breaker is the Lenovo ZUK Z2Samsung's Galaxy A5 is also a very decent mainstream device, the Gigaset ME an impressive newcomer. We will obviously compare the new model with the previous HTC One A9 to see the impact of the big price difference (300 Euros/~$314).

HTC One A9s (One Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
Memory
3072 MB 
Display
5 inch 16:9, 1280x720 pixel 294 PPI, capacitive Touchscreen, IPS, Gorilla Glass, glossy: yes
Storage
32 GB eMMC Flash, 32 GB 
, 17.7 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Card Reader: microSD up to 2TB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Accelerometer, Light sensor, Proximity sensor, Compass
Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.2, GSM (850/​900/​1800/​1900), UMTS (850/​900/​1900/​2100), LTE (B1/​B3/​B7/​B8/​B20); Bandwidth (Download/​Upload): 300Mbps/​50Mbps (LTE), 42Mbps/​5.76Mbps (UMTS); SAR: 0.49 W/kg (head), LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8 x 146.5 x 71.5 ( = 0.31 x 5.77 x 2.81 in)
Battery
8.7 Wh, 2300 mAh Lithium-Ion, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 13 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 432 h
Operating System
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera
Primary Camera: 13 MPix ƒ/2.2 aperture, 28x3 mm focal length (74.4° wide angle), AF, LED flash, Videos @1080p/​30fps
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix ƒ/2.8 Blende und 33.7 mm Brennweite (65.3° Weitwinkel), Videos @1080p/​30fps
Additional features
Speakers: Lautsprecher an der Unterkante, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, Power adapter, USB cable, headset, Boost+, News Republic, 24 Months Warranty, FM radio, fanless
Weight
150 g ( = 5.29 oz / 0.33 pounds), Power Supply: 49 g ( = 1.73 oz / 0.11 pounds)
Price
299 Euro

 

The chassis of the HTC One A9 was very similar to Apple's current iPhones. This is also the case for the One A9s, although we can find some small changes: Our dark gray test model now has a matte finish on the rear, whereas the old model had a brushed metal look. Other available colors are silver and gold, so HTC follows the current mainstream and does not experiment.

The front of the smartphone is completely covered by glass. The small oval fingerprint scanner is sitting pretty far underneath the screen. Similar to the predecessor, there would have been more space for the actual screen. At a length of 146 mm (~5.7 in), the One A9s is a somewhat long smartphone. Otherwise, it is a bit wider than before and much thicker at 8 mm (~0.3 in). The weight was also increased to 150 grams (~5.3 oz).

The chassis is stable and we can hardly twist it, but our attempts cause loud creaking sounds. Pressure on the screen will quickly result in ripples, but pressure from behind is no problem. The battery is integrated and you cannot open the chassis.

Size Comparison

Connectivity

The price of the HTC One A9 has dropped to the level of the One A9s by now, but the connectivity of the new mainstream smartphone was actually improved at some points, despite the lower starting price: We now get 3 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage, for example, which also beats some of the comparison devices. Lenovo's ZUK Z2 and the OnePlus 2 on the other hand are even better equipped in terms of memory with 4 GB / 64 GB.

USB-OTG is supported by the HTC One A9s, so you can attach external storage devices. You also get a microSD reader, which means the storage capacity can be expanded by up to 2 TB, even though cards with such capacities are not available yet. It is possible to format the card as internal storage, but it is not possible to transfer apps to the microSD when you only use the card as portable storage.

Left side: SIM and microSD slots
Left side: SIM and microSD slots
Right side: Standby, volume rocker
Right side: Standby, volume rocker
Top: No ports
Top: No ports
Bottom: Speaker, USB, microphone, headset port
Bottom: Speaker, USB, microphone, headset port

Software

HTC ships the One A9s with Android 6.0 and security patches from September 5th, so it is not the latest version. The smartphone could be upgraded to Android 7, but there is currently no timeframe from HTC.

The manufacturer always used customized software versions and tried to improve Android at many points. This is basically a good idea, but it also introduces problems, because the internal functions will not get any updates once the system updates will be stopped. HTC tries to avoid this problem with the implementation of its own apps for a couple of years now, so individual parts are easier to update. However, this also means that some app functionalities are similar to the preloaded Google apps, like HTC's Mail app and "GMail" or "Messages" and the Android messenger.

Also available is the iconic BlinkFeed, which can be accessed with a swipe to the right on the home screen. It shows news and notifications from social media. "Boost+" can be used to clean and accelerate the system. The "Zoe Video Editor" is also a typical app from HTC, which creates movies with several effects from pictures and videos.

You can also install themes on the smartphone, including so called "Freestyle Theme", where you can freely adjust app symbols and stickers on the screen without a predefined grid.

Communication and GPS

You will have to make compromises in terms of WLAN connectivity: While the HTC One A9 still supported fast 802.11ac networks, the HTC One A9s is limited to 802.11n. This should be sufficient for most Internet connections, but the smartphone cannot use very fast home networks. 5 GHz networks are still supported though.

The WLAN performance is decent in our standardized test, and we determine the expected values both in the send as well as the receive test. We can see, however, a significant performance difference to devices with 802.11ac.

Websites load quickly in practice in close proximity to the router and we have a full signal. The quality does drop significantly at a distance of ten meters (~33 feet) to 1/4 of the signal and loading times are a bit longer, but there is sometimes no connection at all.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Apple iPhone 7
A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 128 GB NVMe
532 MBit/s ∼100% +422%
Samsung Galaxy S7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash (Linksys EA8500, 5.0 GHz)
281 MBit/s ∼53% +175%
HTC One A9s
Mali-T860 MP2, Helio P10 MT6755, 32 GB eMMC Flash (AVM Fritz!Box 6490 Cable)
102 MBit/s ∼19%
HTC Desire 10 Lifestyle
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 32 GB eMMC Flash (AVM FritzBox 6490 Cable)
101 MBit/s ∼19% -1%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Apple iPhone 7
A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 128 GB NVMe
485 MBit/s ∼100% +345%
Samsung Galaxy S7
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash (Linksys EA8500, 5.0 GHz)
335 MBit/s ∼69% +207%
HTC One A9s
Mali-T860 MP2, Helio P10 MT6755, 32 GB eMMC Flash (AVM Fritz!Box 6490 Cable)
109 MBit/s ∼22%
HTC Desire 10 Lifestyle
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 32 GB eMMC Flash (AVM FritzBox 6490 Cable)
104 MBit/s ∼21% -5%
GPS Test: Indoors
GPS Test: Indoors
GPS Test: Outdoors
GPS Test: Outdoors

The GPS module cannot locate the position indoors, and it does not work close to a window, either. A connection with the satellites is quickly established outdoors though and the accuracy of six meters (~20 feet) is pretty decent.

Our two track measurements between the HTC One A9s and the professional navigation device Garmin Edge 500 differ by 300 meters (~1.9 miles) on the 7 km (~4.3 miles) bicycle ride. Garmin's Edge 500 follows our position more accurately, but the performance of the HTC One A9s should still be sufficient for casual purposes.

GPS HTC One A9s – Overview
GPS HTC One A9s – Overview
GPS HTC One A9s – Bridge
GPS HTC One A9s – Bridge
GPS HTC One A9s – Forest
GPS HTC One A9s – Forest
GPS Garmin Edge 500 – Overview
GPS Garmin Edge 500 – Overview
GPS Garmin Edge 500 – Bridge
GPS Garmin Edge 500 – Bridge
GPS Garmin Edge 500 – Forest
GPS Garmin Edge 500 – Forest

Telephone Functions and Voice Quality

HTC also updated and adjusted the phone app, but the functionality is still very similar to Google's default app.

The voice quality is average: The earpiece is very loud, but the voice from our call partner always sounds a bit dull. The same applies for the microphone: Our voice is a bit dull, but the overall quality of the microphone is still okay. Background noises are audible, but the voice is easy to understand. In general, for calls, there are worse smartphones. The voice output via speaker is also decent.

Cameras

Picture front camera
Picture front camera

The technical specs of the cameras look very similar to the previously reviewed HTC Desire 10 Lifestyle at first. The front camera was quite okay, but the main camera was not convincing. The situation is better here: If HTC uses the same camera module, the Taiwanese manufacturer did a much better job on the HTC One A9s.

The pictures of the 13 MP main camera with a single LED flash and autofocus show much more details in bright and dark areas. We can see slight color fringes at the edges when we zoom in, but the pictures are very sharp overall and the colors are okay, even though we can see a slight green cast. Videos can be recorded in Full HD at 30 frames per second with the main camera. The quality is good: Transitions between bright and dark areas are handled quickly and colors are accurate as well.

The front camera has a 5 MP sensor and takes decently sharp pictures, which are also well exposed. You can zoom in without seeing bigger blurs. The front camera can also take 1080p videos and the quality is good.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the zoom step. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

We check the color accuracy of the main camera with a picture of the CalMAN ColorChecker Passport under controlled lighting conditions. Compared to the reference colors, most of the colors are accurate, but bright colors are a bit too dark.

We also take a picture of the test chart under controlled lighting conditions to evaluate the sharpness. One noticeable aspect is that fonts fray on colored areas. The crop from the center is not perfectly sharp either, and we can once again see slightly frayed edges.

Picture of the ColorChecker Passport. The original color is displayed in the lower half of each patch.
Picture of the ColorChecker Passport. The original color is displayed in the lower half of each patch.
Test chart (click for original)
Test chart (click for original)
Crop test chart
Crop test chart

Accessories and Warranty

Besides the power adapter and the USB cable, the box of the HTC One A9s also includes a headset, so basically the standard equipment.

HTC will also sell a premium pack of the smartphone on its website for an additional 40 Euros (~$42). The set includes a transparent cover for the rear, a protective display cover and a better headset. It is currently not possible to get these accessories separately.

HTC grants a 24-month warranty for its smartphones.

Input Devices and Handling

HTC uses the virtual keyboard "TouchPal", which can be adjusted in many ways. You can change the size of the keyboard or split it. Due to the secondary functions, however, it is a bit too crowded compared to the default Android keyboard in our opinion. Of course, you can activate the default keyboard in the settings or download other layouts from the Play Store.

The touchscreen is precise and very responsive in the corners. The fingerprint sensor underneath the screen also works as a home button and there are surrounding touch buttons for the menu functions. At the right side of the case is the ribbed standby button, which is easy to find thanks to its surface. The volume rocker is easy to use as well.

Unlocking the smartphone via fingerprint scanner is easy and simple: Just put your finger on the sensor. Unfortunate: You have to tap the fingerprint scanner twice during standby to unlock it, one tap is sufficient for other smartphones.

Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard landscape mode
Keyboard landscape mode

Display

Subpixel array
Subpixel array

Compromises compared to the previous model have to be made in terms of the display as well: At the same size (5 inches), the resolution was reduced to 1280x720 pixels. It is not an AMOLED panel anymore, either, but a conventional IPS screen. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the average luminance of 320 nits is a bit low. The brightness distribution of 85% is okay, and you can only see slight brightness differences on large colored surfaces.

296
cd/m²
335
cd/m²
310
cd/m²
306
cd/m²
348
cd/m²
310
cd/m²
304
cd/m²
348
cd/m²
321
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 348 cd/m² Average: 319.8 cd/m² Minimum: 10.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Center on Battery: 348 cd/m²
Contrast: 1513:1 (Black: 0.23 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.5 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 4 | - Ø
95.1% sRGB (Calman)
Gamma: 2.3
HTC One A9s
IPS, 1280x720, 5
OnePlus 2
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
Lenovo ZUK Z2
IPS, 1920x1080, 5
Gigaset ME
IPS, 1920x1080, 5
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
Super AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5.2
HTC One A9
AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5
Screen
1%
-19%
-14%
31%
31%
Brightness
320
446
39%
502
57%
456
43%
380
19%
349
9%
Brightness Distribution
85
90
6%
84
-1%
93
9%
91
7%
93
9%
Black Level *
0.23
0.3
-30%
0.58
-152%
0.38
-65%
Contrast
1513
1503
-1%
883
-42%
1171
-23%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.5
3.84
-10%
3.8
-9%
4.29
-23%
1.95
44%
1.55
56%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4
3.97
1%
2.7
32%
4.97
-24%
1.86
53%
2.05
49%
Gamma
2.3 104%
2.46 98%
2.09 115%
2.57 93%
2.13 113%
2.15 112%
CCT
6527 100%
7283 89%
6076 107%
7625 85%
6376 102%
6267 104%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
58.07
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
90.14

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 59 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 655 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 28740) Hz was measured.

The black value of 0.23 cd/m² on the other hand is very good, which results in a good contrast ratio of 1513:1. However, the AMOLED screens of the HTC One A9 and the Samsung Galaxy A5 have completely black pixels and therefore an infinite contrast ratio.

We use the software CalMAN and a spectrophotometer for further analysis of the colors. The deviations compared to the reference color space sRGB are small, but the predecessor managed even better results. Still, you can hardly see differences on the HTC One A9s with the naked eye. The grayscale only reveals a slight green cast, otherwise, the individual shades are very accurate.

ColorChecker – Standard
ColorChecker – Standard
ColorChecker – Warm
ColorChecker – Warm
Colorspace – Standard
Colorspace – Standard
Colorspace – Warm
Colorspace – Warm
Grayscale – Standard
Grayscale – Standard
Grayscale – Warm
Grayscale – Warm
Saturation Sweeps – Standard
Saturation Sweeps – Standard
Saturation Sweeps – Warm
Saturation Sweeps – Warm

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
26 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 5 ms rise
↘ 21 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 41 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (27.4 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
30 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 13 ms rise
↘ 17 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 12 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (44.5 ms).

The low luminance of the HTC One A9s is a problem outdoors because you can hardly see anything on the screen in bright environments. The brightness sensor tries hard and reacts quickly, but it cannot further increase the luminance of the panel.

The viewing angles are good, but the brightness drops significantly when you change the vertical viewing position. Still, you can see the display contents very well even from extreme angles.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Outdoor use – maximum luminance
Outdoor use – maximum luminance
Outdoor use – average luminance
Outdoor use – average luminance
Outdoor use – lowest luminance
Outdoor use – lowest luminance
Outdoor use – brightness sensor
Outdoor use – brightness sensor

Performance

The Mediatek Helio P10 MT6755 is an upper mainstream SoC with eight cores, and all of them can reach a clock of 2.0 GHz. It supports the 64-bit architecture. Still, the performance of the HTC One A9s cannot keep up with the best devices: Smartphones with high-end SoCs from Qualcomm's 810 and 820 series in particular have an advantage.

The performance is still more than sufficient for the operating system in practice and ensures smooth handling. You will only notice differences when you use demanding apps.

The graphics unit is the ARM Mali-T860 MP2, and it can actually beat the Qualcomm Adreno 405 from the predecessor by a couple of frames in some tests. However, we obviously have to consider the lower display resolution in the onscreen benchmarks. Once again there are competitors with better performance in this price range.

AnTuTu Benchmark v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
51330 Points ∼28%
OnePlus 2
65936 Points ∼36% +28%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
122513 Points ∼66% +139%
Gigaset ME
54213 Points ∼29% +6%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
41676 Points ∼23% -19%
Geekbench 4
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
2936 Points ∼14%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
711 Points ∼14%
3DMark
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.1 Physics (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
1175 Points ∼46%
OnePlus 2
1517 Points ∼59% +29%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
1648 Points ∼65% +40%
Gigaset ME
1408 Points ∼55% +20%
HTC One A9
1060 Points ∼42% -10%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.1 Graphics (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
359 Points ∼7%
OnePlus 2
846 Points ∼16% +136%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
2792 Points ∼52% +678%
Gigaset ME
1027 Points ∼19% +186%
HTC One A9
326 Points ∼6% -9%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.1 (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
425 Points ∼11%
OnePlus 2
938 Points ∼24% +121%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
2419 Points ∼62% +469%
Gigaset ME
1093 Points ∼28% +157%
HTC One A9
385 Points ∼10% -9%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
1269 Points ∼49%
OnePlus 2
1414 Points ∼55% +11%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
1706 Points ∼66% +34%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
1479 Points ∼57% +17%
HTC One A9
1051 Points ∼41% -17%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
524 Points ∼7%
OnePlus 2
1854 Points ∼24% +254%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
4506 Points ∼58% +760%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
275 Points ∼4% -48%
HTC One A9
618 Points ∼8% +18%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
603 Points ∼12%
OnePlus 2
1734 Points ∼36% +188%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
3302 Points ∼68% +448%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
336 Points ∼7% -44%
HTC One A9
680 Points ∼14% +13%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
12025 Points ∼18%
OnePlus 2
10985 Points ∼16% -9%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
20910 Points ∼31% +74%
Gigaset ME
10927 Points ∼16% -9%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
9495 Points ∼14% -21%
HTC One A9
9423 Points ∼14% -22%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
10453 Points ∼2%
OnePlus 2
31858 Points ∼7% +205%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
32997 Points ∼7% +216%
Gigaset ME
25016 Points ∼6% +139%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
7542 Points ∼2% -28%
HTC One A9
9015 Points ∼2% -14%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
10766 Points ∼6%
OnePlus 2
22400 Points ∼12% +108%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
29241 Points ∼15% +172%
Gigaset ME
19445 Points ∼10% +81%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
7903 Points ∼4% -27%
HTC One A9
9163 Points ∼5% -15%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
18 fps ∼2%
OnePlus 2
48 fps ∼4% +167%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
91 fps ∼8% +406%
Gigaset ME
51 fps ∼5% +183%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
14 fps ∼1% -22%
HTC One A9
16 fps ∼1% -11%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
27 fps ∼6%
OnePlus 2
47 fps ∼10% +74%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
60 fps ∼13% +122%
Gigaset ME
50 fps ∼11% +85%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
14 fps ∼3% -48%
HTC One A9
16 fps ∼3% -41%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
7.2 fps ∼1%
OnePlus 2
23 fps ∼4% +219%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
44 fps ∼8% +511%
Gigaset ME
24 fps ∼4% +233%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
3.8 fps ∼1% -47%
HTC One A9
6.4 fps ∼1% -11%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
14 fps ∼6%
OnePlus 2
23 fps ∼10% +64%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
43 fps ∼19% +207%
Gigaset ME
25 fps ∼11% +79%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
3.8 fps ∼2% -73%
HTC One A9
6.7 fps ∼3% -52%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
2.6 fps ∼1%
OnePlus 2
19 fps ∼6% +631%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
30 fps ∼10% +1054%
Gigaset ME
17 fps ∼6% +554%
HTC One A9
3.8 fps ∼1% +46%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
11 fps ∼6%
OnePlus 2
19 fps ∼11% +73%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
29 fps ∼17% +164%
Gigaset ME
18 fps ∼10% +64%
HTC One A9
4 fps ∼2% -64%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
3350 Points ∼41%
OnePlus 2 (OxygenOS 2.0)
4282 Points ∼53% +28%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
6969 Points ∼86% +108%
Gigaset ME
4544 Points ∼56% +36%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
4008 Points ∼49% +20%
HTC One A9
4293 Points ∼53% +28%

Legend

 
HTC One A9s Mediatek Helio P10 MT6755, ARM Mali-T860 MP2, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
OnePlus 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Lenovo ZUK Z2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 MSM8996, Qualcomm Adreno 530, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Gigaset ME Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Samsung Exynos 7580 Octa, ARM Mali-T720 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
HTC One A9 Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 MSM8952, Qualcomm Adreno 405, 16 GB eMMC Flash

Our browser benchmarks determine average results for the HTC One A9s when they use modern technologies like HTML5 or JavaScript. It is at least a bit faster than the previous model in most tests. Subjectively, the browsing experience is pretty good. Websites are loaded quickly and the animations we tested ran smoothly.

Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
HTC One A9s (Chrome 54)
4395 Points ∼10%
OnePlus 2 (Chrome 44)
6955 Points ∼15% +58%
Lenovo ZUK Z2 (Chrome Version 51)
8436 Points ∼19% +92%
Gigaset ME (Chrome 43)
7109 Points ∼16% +62%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 (Chrome 38)
3611 Points ∼8% -18%
HTC One A9 (Chrome 46.0)
3911 Points ∼9% -11%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
HTC One A9s (Chrome 54)
9346 ms * ∼16%
OnePlus 2 (Chrome 44)
6585.3 ms * ∼11% +30%
Lenovo ZUK Z2 (Chrome Version 51)
3290.2 ms * ∼6% +65%
Gigaset ME (Chrome 43)
7670 ms * ∼13% +18%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 (Chrome 38)
11887 ms * ∼20% -27%
HTC One A9 (Chrome 46.0)
11053.7 ms * ∼19% -18%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
HTC One A9s (Chrome 54)
69 Points ∼12%
OnePlus 2 (Chrome 44)
80 Points ∼14% +16%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 (Chrome 38)
64 Points ∼11% -7%
HTC One A9 (Chrome 46.0)
69 Points ∼12% 0%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score (sort by value)
HTC One A9s (Chrome 54)
27.48 Points ∼9%
OnePlus 2 (Chrome 44)
44.286 Points ∼14% +61%
Lenovo ZUK Z2 (Chrome Version 51)
51.655 Points ∼16% +88%
Gigaset ME (Chrome 43)
28.475 Points ∼9% +4%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 (Chrome 38)
22 Points ∼7% -20%
HTC One A9 (Chrome 46.0)
24.79 Points ∼8% -10%

* ... smaller is better

We evaluate the performance of the microSD reader with our reference card, a fast Toshiba Exceria Pro M401. The HTC One A9s cannot utilize the possible performance and only manages mediocre results.

The situation is similar for the internal storage, but we can see a positive outlier for the random write results, where the HTC One A9s can take the top spot. The writing performance is generally better than the reading performance. The loading times of apps are rather long.

AndroBench 3-5
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
HTC One A9s (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
25.6 MB/s ∼39%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
HTC One A9s (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
39.6 MB/s ∼48%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
34.6 MB/s ∼46%
OnePlus 2
13.94 MB/s ∼19% -60%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
5.64 MB/s ∼8% -84%
Gigaset ME
15 MB/s ∼20% -57%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
11.2 MB/s ∼15% -68%
HTC One A9
3.61 MB/s ∼5% -90%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
21.3 MB/s ∼15%
OnePlus 2
21.87 MB/s ∼16% +3%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
21.27 MB/s ∼15% 0%
Gigaset ME
22 MB/s ∼16% +3%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
22.9 MB/s ∼17% +8%
HTC One A9
10 MB/s ∼7% -53%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
68.6 MB/s ∼36%
OnePlus 2
125.51 MB/s ∼67% +83%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
46.52 MB/s ∼25% -32%
Gigaset ME
131 MB/s ∼70% +91%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
60.4 MB/s ∼32% -12%
HTC One A9
39.61 MB/s ∼21% -42%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
HTC One A9s
210.2 MB/s ∼35%
OnePlus 2
234.21 MB/s ∼39% +11%
Lenovo ZUK Z2
239.42 MB/s ∼40% +14%
Gigaset ME
232 MB/s ∼39% +10%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
209.4 MB/s ∼35% 0%
HTC One A9
187.57 MB/s ∼32% -11%

Games

The SoC and its graphics adapter support modern interfaces like OpenGL ES 3.1, so you can also enjoy modern effects. The smartphone has no problems with the zombie shooter Dead Trigger 2, where the smartphone breaks the 30 fps barrier and reaches 58 frames per second on average. The racing title Asphalt 8: Airborne also runs well on the test model, even though 30 fps are just missed at maximum details.

We did not have any problems with controls via touchscreen or the position sensor.

Asphalt 8: Airborne
Asphalt 8: Airborne
Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2
Asphalt 8: Airborne
 SettingsValue
 high29 fps
 very low30 fps
Dead Trigger 2
 SettingsValue
 high58 fps
Discussion

Emissions

Temperature

GFX Bench Battery Test
GFX Bench Battery Test

Considering the mainstream performance figures, there should not be any problems with high temperatures, and the HTC One A9s does not disappoint: Up to 33.5 °C (92.3 °F) under load are hardly perceptible. The values are even a couple of degrees cooler while idling.

We use the GFXBench Battery Test to check the performance under sustained workloads. The HTC One A9s can maintain its performance and we can only see small deviations of the frame rates.

Max. Load
 32.5 °C31.4 °C32.3 °C 
 32.9 °C31.4 °C33.5 °C 
 32.4 °C30.9 °C32.3 °C 
Maximum: 33.5 °C
Average: 32.2 °C
30.5 °C31.4 °C30.9 °C
30.8 °C31.8 °C32.1 °C
30.9 °C31.9 °C32.3 °C
Maximum: 32.3 °C
Average: 31.4 °C
Power Supply (max.)  32.2 °C | Room Temperature 22.2 °C | Voltcraft IR-350
Heat map rear
Heat map rear
Heat map front
Heat map front

Speakers

Speakers and the sound are the highlight on many HTC smartphones. Similar to its predecessor, however, the HTC One A9s only gets one speaker at the bottom and software optimizations for the sound output via headset port. The latter is therefore much better compared to the speaker: The sound from the smartphone does not have any bass and puts too much emphasis on the mid-range and high tones. The maximum volume is quite high, but it will get a bit unpleasant when you crank it up due to the missing bass.

Both the stereo jack and Bluetooth provide a clear audio signal without interferences.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2027.628.827.62526.626.426.63125.726.325.74027.725.127.75027.924.827.96322.825.422.88024.223.224.210027.123.527.112536.930.936.916035.12035.120041.519.941.525046.921.746.931553.124.253.14005521.25550056.421.156.463057.617.957.680059.32059.3100062.520.462.5125067.918.167.9160068.414.868.4200070.51670.5250072.914.972.9315074.814.474.8400075.213.975.2500072.213.372.2630067.912.867.9800068.812.968.81000058.312.958.31250050.613.250.61600044.912.844.9SPL82.629.282.6N48.71.248.7median 58.3HTC One A9smedian 17.9median 58.3Delta10.83.610.829.635.529.628.529.528.526.328.226.329.631.529.627.927.427.925.125.725.124.729.424.733.831.333.843.732.143.742.620.442.64620.84647.920.247.950.419.750.451.922.351.960.820.160.866.318.966.367.517.767.567.116.767.166.91766.97014.87072.915.972.965.914.665.971.514.471.574.714.174.774.813.874.873.413.773.472.613.872.662.313.762.355.213.755.255.113.655.183.128.683.154.11.254.1median 65.9Apple iPhone 7median 16.7median 65.910.53.410.5hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
HTC One A9s audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 18.2% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (13.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.4% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (5.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 11.7% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (8.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (27.5% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 58% of all tested devices in this class were better, 8% similar, 34% worse
» The best had a delta of 15%, average was 26%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 77% of all tested devices were better, 5% similar, 17% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 48%

Apple iPhone 7 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.06 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 21.8% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.3% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (6% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.9% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (8.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (20.1% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 9% of all tested devices in this class were better, 5% similar, 86% worse
» The best had a delta of 15%, average was 26%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 39% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 54% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 48%

Frequency Comparison (Checkboxes select/deselectable!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Our measurements determine rather high consumption values. This might be a result of the SoC with eight fast cores instead of some frugal cores we know from other SoCs. It is interesting that the load consumption is not that high in comparison. Overall, the results are still a bit disappointing. Thanks to its low resolution and the dark display, the HTC One A9s could have been a very frugal smartphone.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.1 / 0.18 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 1.29 / 2.28 / 2.52 Watt
Load midlight 4.06 / 5.91 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
HTC One A9s
2300 mAh
OnePlus 2
 mAh
Lenovo ZUK Z2
3500 mAh
Gigaset ME
3000 mAh
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
2900 mAh
HTC One A9
 mAh
Power Consumption
13%
-4%
-20%
25%
25%
Idle Minimum *
1.29
0.6
53%
1.31
-2%
0.75
42%
0.96
26%
0.9
30%
Idle Average *
2.28
1.7
25%
2.03
11%
1.7
25%
1.64
28%
1.2
47%
Idle Maximum *
2.52
1.8
29%
2.08
17%
1.84
27%
1.71
32%
1.4
44%
Load Average *
4.06
5.7
-40%
5.45
-34%
7.18
-77%
2.98
27%
3.8
6%
Load Maximum *
5.91
6
-2%
6.75
-14%
12.75
-116%
5.08
14%
5.9
-0%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

The high consumption figures–except for load scenarios–are combined with a small battery capacity of just 2300 mAh or 8.7 Wh. The HTC One A9s still manages a decent runtime of 8:37 hours in our WLAN test, and the overall stamina is not bad. Yes, Samsung's Galaxy A5 lasts even longer, but the results of the HTC are at least better compared to the previous model.

The HTC One A9s should also last a demanding business day if you do not use extremely complex apps. Even two days should be possible when you only use it occasionally. Thanks to the two power-saving modes (standard & extreme), the runtimes can be increased even further.

The HTC One A9s does support quick-charge, and a full charge takes about 1:45 hours. 35% is already available after half an hour.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
25h 43min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
8h 37min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
9h 47min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 05min
HTC One A9s
2300 mAh
OnePlus 2
 mAh
Lenovo ZUK Z2
3500 mAh
Gigaset ME
3000 mAh
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
2900 mAh
HTC One A9
 mAh
Battery Runtime
-12%
6%
-45%
46%
-26%
Reader / Idle
1543
1393
-10%
2323
51%
1154
-25%
Load
245
229
-7%
83
-66%
483
97%
176
-28%
WiFi
WiFi v1.3
517
356
-31%
546
6%
393
-24%
626
21%
368
-29%
H.264
587
580
-1%
672
14%
465
-21%

Pro

+ sophisticated metal chassis
+ high contrast display with accurate colors
+ decent camera pictures, good videos
+ usable runtimes in practice
+ power-saving modes and quick-charge
+ precise input devices
+ low temperatures

Cons

- chassis can creak under pressure
- occasional connection drops in wireless networks
- dark display with low resolution
- mediocre speaker
- microphone a bit dull
- often high power consumption

Verdict

In review: HTC One A9s. Test model courtesy of HTC Germany.
In review: HTC One A9s. Test model courtesy of HTC Germany.

HTC's One A9s is definitely a solid mainstream smartphone. You can live with the low-resolution screen thanks to the high contrast ratio and decently accurate colors, but the panel is too dark. The missing wireless standard 802.11ac should not be a big deal for many users, either. Performance and memory equipment were even improved – a reason to cheer?

Yes, the HTC One A9s is actually a good mainstream smartphone, but it is a segment with many good devices from Lenovo, OnePlus or Samsung. The competition is therefore strong for the HTC One A9s, and some of them even offer more high-end features compared to our test model. But do you really need dual-LED flash, laser autofocus or higher camera resolutions? Only you can answer that for yourself.

The HTC One A9s is a successful upgrade of the HTC One A9 and puts up decent performances in almost all test sections, but does not stand out from the rivals. There are no real highlights, but you get a reliable device without any frills.

The list of serious drawbacks for the HTC One A9s is quite small: The speaker could sound better and the WLAN signal could be better. Otherwise, the test results are good, but there are no highlights. It is therefore a solid mainstream device and an inconspicuous as well as reliable companion in practice, which can be a quality as well.

HTC One A9s - 12/15/2016 v6
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
86%
Keyboard
67 / 75 → 89%
Pointing Device
91%
Connectivity
38 / 60 → 63%
Weight
92%
Battery
91%
Display
86%
Games Performance
20 / 63 → 32%
Application Performance
34 / 70 → 48%
Temperature
93%
Noise
100%
Audio
52 / 91 → 57%
Camera
72%
Average
71%
82%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > HTC One A9s Smartphone Review
Florian Wimmer, 2016-12-23 (Update: 2016-12-26)