Before we even breakdown HTC\u2019s newest flagship phone, it\u2019s only right to address the elephant in the room. Yes: the HTC One A9 looks exactly like an iPhone 6\/6s clone. Yet in hindsight, this is actually what is drawing people to the Android-operated smartphone. If we\u2019ve learned anything from some of the brand\u2019s previous devices, it\u2019s that looks can be deceiving. And while the One M series remains a mobile engineering masterpiece, it\u2019s performance (primarily on the camera end) left much to be desired. Now backed by Android 6.0, some updated features, and a flattering design\u2014the latest powerhouse from HTC is poised for stardom, even if it means sharing the spotlight with its iOS equivalent.\r\n\r\n \r\nThe Great\r\n\r\nThe Software\r\nHTC Sense has always been the best-looking, most reliable UI for Android. Anyone who thinks differently is in denial. Much of the same look remains intact here, though there are some meaningful upgrades found in the camera app, multitasking menu, and notification drawer. It\u2019s also a sigh of relief knowing the company removed many of its unnecessary preinstalled apps and widgets, though we\u2019re still learning to part ways with its Calendar widget. However, the transitions were made for the sake of material design and it\u2019s a message that translates accordingly to the One A9\u2019s design.\r\n\r\nThe inclusion of Google\u2019s latest mobile operating system, Marshmallow, is an incredible marriage that focuses primarily on delivering the significant features of the OS. Many of the new functions such as Now on Tap and Android Pay are present, enhancing the user experience with instant accessibility to numerous commands be it discovering your favorite music or providing mobile payment at the local department store. In terms of battery life, Android 6.0\u2019s Doze option will help the One A9\u2019s relatively small battery last longer than expected, while the phone\u2019s compatibility with Qualcomm\u2019s Quick Charge technology welcomes rapid recharging for those equipped with a QC charger.\r\n\r\n\r\nImproved Camera\r\nIt took a while for HTC to finally admit that it\u2019s UltraPixel camera was a complete bust. Finally acknowledging the backlash of its patented shooter, the company chose to run with a 13MP sensor residing behind an f\/2.0 lens, even bringing back optical image stabilization to produce super-sharp images. Despite 4K video recording being MIA, the ability to shoot 1080p from both the rear and front camera is a plus. This obviously makes taking selfies more enticing.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe internals are on-point delivering better results than the Galaxy S6 and uniquely comparable to that of the iPhone 6 when capturing in-door footage. That\u2019s an impressive feat even for a phone being dubbed an iPhone knockoff. Some of the other notable features on the camera are the quick toggles for HDR, flash, and front camera switching that can be found on the viewfinder, alongside the Raw photo editor to snap RAW shots in Pro Mode\u2014something that should appeal to professional photogs.\r\nSharp-Looking Screen\r\nGoing back to its Droid Incredible roots, HTC decided to plaster an AMOLED screen onto the front of the One A9, its first in ages. The 5-inch, 1080p display does a great job producing high-quality visuals with crisp results. Mobile photogs and Instagram mongers also have the luxury of utilizing the screen\u2019s sRGB mode, which adds more depth and detail to images. Videos look just as good with HD Netflix content running smooth.\r\n\r\n \r\nThe Getting Used To\r\n\r\nThe Look\r\nYes, we get it! The One A9 looks like an iPhone. Get over it! The irony is that it still looks great and sustains the premium feel of holding any current iPhone model in-hand. It\u2019s thinner than the Galaxy S6 and is about half a millimeter thicker. The premium metal finish gives the phone a sharp look that doesn\u2019t deviant from the brand\u2019s design pedigree, in some ways paying homage to the franchise starter: the One X.\r\n\r\n\r\nSmaller, Yet Effective Battery\r\nA few compromises were made in order to accommodate many of the One A9\u2019s special attributes: one of them being the battery. Underneath its slim profile is a 2,150mAh, which is a smaller capacity than most of the cells found in most current smartphones. Not exactly something HTC fans want to hear considering the brand\u2019s less-than-stellar reputation for battery management. Still, the One A9 holds up surprisingly well, generating close to 8-10 hours during heavy engagement and 12 hours of HD video playback on moderate use. The better news is that a future update will enable QuickCharge 3.0 for faster charging speeds. We just wish HTC bundled the phone with a QC charger.\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Fingerprint Scanner\r\nThe technology isn\u2019t anything new. Though it\u2019s only been until now that we\u2019ve encountered a good-working fingerprint scanner. Sure, the ones found on the iPhone and Galaxy S series do a decent job, but the One A9 falls in the same territory as the new Nexus phones. The readings are faster and deliver more accurate results, leading to a better Android Pay experience when shopping on the go.\r\nAbsent Trademark Features\r\nThe one feature that always resonated with us was the BoomSound Stereo speakers. In a surprising move, HTC chose to remove the popular front-end sound blasters in favor of hi-res audio and Dolby Surround Sound. Audiophiles will enjoy the built-in DAC that bumps 16-bit audio to 24-bit, therefore supporting the sound quality of elite headphones. Another interesting twist is the inclusion of a capacitive home button, though it\u2019s only utilized for fingerprint scanning. Some of the design elements were also tweaked with the sexy curve of the One M9 gone and replaced with a flat back to support the phone\u2019s smaller frame.\r\n\r\n \r\nConclusion\r\n\r\n\r\nThe HTC One A9 introduces a variety of fresh multimedia features, along with the latest Android software and some novelty functions, while masking it behind some of the iPhone\u2019s physical properties. Though if you ask HTC, Apple\u2019s been the one to copy their immaculate designs over the years. No matter what you choose to believe\u2014HTC\u2019s new hero phone is still an incredibly sexy handset designed to draw attention the moment you expose it in public. Just so happens to be high-performance stunner with some cool multimedia powers as well.