The wait is over for the HTC One M9 — It’s in retail stores everywhere

As promised, HTC pulled the veil back on its latest flagship smartphone – the One M9 – at this years Mobile World Congress show. The new phone continues HTC’s tradition of building gorgeous looking phones, and although the design isn’t necessarily a game changer, it still remains one of the best looking smartphones on the market. Now, we finally know when the attractive new flagship phone will arrive in the United States.

Updated on 04-10-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added news of HTC One M9 availability in stores at various locations.

In the U.S., the unlocked variant of the M9, which is priced at $650, was made available from HTC’s website starting at 12:01 a.m. on March 27, and the subsidized models launched on April 10. You can now walk into any of the following stores to pick up a One M9: AT&T, Best Buy, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, Amazon, Best Buy Mobile specialty stores, Costco Wholesale, and Target.

Verizon’s pricing

Verizon finally announced pricing for the HTC One M9 after much ado. The 32GB version of the HTC One M9 will cost $200 with a contract, $600 full price, or $25 a month on Verizon’s contract-free Edge payment plan. You can preorder the phone now from Verizon’s website in either silver/gold or gunmetal gray color options, or just buy it in store.

Available at: Verizon

Sprint’s pricing

You can get the HTC One M9 on the Sprint Lease plan for $0 down and $20 a month. If you pay $10 more a month, you can upgrade to a 12-month lease and get the option to upgrade once a year. Otherwise, you stick with the One M9 for two years, and then you must decide whether to upgrade or pay for the phone outright. Other pricing options include $200 with a two-year contract, $648 full price, or $0 down on Sprint Easy Pay with 24 payments of $27.

Sprint also has a special offer, which will get you the new Harman Kardon One Bluetooth speaker for $100 when you buy a One M9, saving you $50.

Available at: Sprint

AT&T’s pricing

AT&T announced pricing and availability for the M9 in a press release. Starting on March 27, you can order the HTC One M9 in AT&T stores or online. AT&T says the phone will ship the same day, so long as you order the handset before 1:00 p.m. CT. The device hit store shelves on Friday, April 10. If you want to signup for an AT&T Next plan, there’s nothing to pay upfront, followed by 24 monthly payments of $23.64, $29.55 a month for 18 months, or $35.45 a month for 12 months. Alternatively, you can get it with a two-year contract for $200 or pay for the phone outright, though it’ll cost you $709.

Available at: AT&T

T-Mobile’s pricing

The release dates are the same over at T-Mobile, where pre-orders started at 6am PT on March 27, and availability in stores began on April 10. The phone costs $27.08 per month with nothing to pay upfront, bringing the total at the end of the 24-month term to $650.

Available at: T-Mobile

Other retailer’s pricing

Should you prefer alternative storefronts, the usual retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, Best Buy Mobile, Costo, and Target, also sell the M9.

The One M9 comes with 32GB of internal storage, and fans have the option of either a Gunmetal Gray, Amber Gold, Silver/Rose Gold, or Gold/Pink model. Despite the phone’s apparent lack of significant differences, we still walked away from our time with the phone impressed, and think there’s much to like about the M9.

To help you get a better look at HTC’s next flagship, we went hands-on with the device to give you everything you’d ever want to know about the phone. Our full review is also out, and you can read it here.

Next page: Top-flight specs

Impressive specifications

In terms of specifications, HTC’s One M9 stands toe-to-toe with the likes of Apple’s iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy phones, LG’s G series, and Sony’s Xperia Z phones. Though not a huge upgrade in specs over 2014’s HTC One M8, the M9 does feature Android’s gorgeous Lollipop 5.0 operating system, as well as HTC’s “Sense” user interface. HTC increased the phone’s internal storage from 16/24GB to 32GB and also included a Micro SD Card slot for users to add up to 128GB of additional storage.

Size 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.6 mm
Weight 157 g
Screen 5-inch LCD
Resolution 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
OS Android 5.0
Storage 32GB
SD Card Slot Yes
Processor Snapdragon 810
RAM  3GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, NFC
Camera Front 4MP, Rear 20MP
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.1 + LE
Water Resistant No
Battery 2,840mAh
Marketplace Google Play Store
Ave. Price $650
Availability Unknown
DT Review Available Soon

Premium Performance

In terms of performance, HTC’s One M9 is at the top of its class, boasting many of the industry’s latest and greatest features. With an upgraded Android operating system, the latest 64-bit quad-core Snapdragon chipset, and 3GB of RAM, it’s clear the M9 packs some serious performance punch.

The phone’s 2,840mAh battery should last users roughly a day and a half of moderate use sporting 25 hours of talk time and a whopping 391 hours of standby time. Like nearly any top-flight smartphone on the market, the M9 packs Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connectivity and sports GPS, Accelerometer, Digital Compass, and Gyroscope sensors.

Flashy OS and UI

Though HTC doesn’t provide any drastic improvements in terms of the M9’s software, the phone does feature Android’s stunning 5.0 Lollipop operating system and HTC’s sparkling “Sense” interface. Users also have the ability to heavily customize the phone’s colors and themes, download custom themes, or share and upload created themes with friends.

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Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends
Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends

HTC also included a handy new widget which suggests applications to use or download based on a user’s location. For instance, the phone may recommend the Netflix app while user’s lounge around the house, or the calendar app during the day at work.

Click on a link or go to the next page:

Next page: Familiar design that leaves something to be desired

A plastic phone that’s wearing a pair of metal pants

Like 2014’s HTC One M8, the One M9 comes standard with a brushed-metal rear design which rivals the beauty of even its Apple competition. However, during our hands-on with the device it felt a bit cheaper and much more plasticky than the M8.

To us, the M9 looks like a plastic phone that’s wearing a set of metal pants; nitpicking aside, it still ranks as one of the best looking phone’s on the market. Aside from the body, the One M9’s gorgeous 1080p screen makes it a beauty to look at and operate.

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Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends
Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends

Following the lead of many leading smartphone manufacturers, HTC split the One M9’s volume control into two buttons and placed the Power button on the side of the phone. These two advancements make it much easier for users to adjust the volume, or lock the phone, without having to change grip — decreasing the chances of a dropped phone.

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Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends
Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends

Next page: HTC throws its hat in the ring for best smartphone camera

The HTC One M9 packs a serious camera

The biggest upgrade to grace HTC’s One M9 is no doubt the phone’s new and improved camera. HTC outfitted the M9 with its signature 4-megapixel “Ultrapixel” camera on the front, then slapped a brand new 20-megapixel camera on the back and covered it in scratch-resistant sapphire glass.

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Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends
Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends

After spending roughly an hour shooting photos with the device we feel comfortable saying the One M9 is certainly in the running for having the best smartphone camera.

The camera’s built-in filters also proved a nice touch, especially the phone’s ability to double expose two photos on top of each other, as well as its “prismatic” effect which offers 10-15 ways to create prism-like patterns out of any photo.

Next page: HTC doesn’t mess around with the One M9’s speakers

Industry best sound for a smartphone

Music lovers prepare to drool. HTC’s One M9 comes standard with industry-leading front stereo speakers capable of providing the absolute best sound you’ll hear on any phone in 2015. Whereas most phone companies outfit their devices with a single speaker (in a poor location, no less), HTC packed two speakers into the M9 which pipe stereo sound right at the user. With the added Dolby filtering upgrades, the M9 provides the clearest sounding audio of any smartphone on the market.

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Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends
Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends

For the audiophile in everyone, the phone also supports the BoomSound Connect application which allows users to play all kinds of media through connected speakers via Qualcomm AllPlay.

Click on a link or go to the next page:

Next page: What’s on deck for HTC One M9 accessories?

Accessorize

While dozens of 3rd party manufacturers scramble to produce their own line of new accessories for the One M9, HTC’s had the benefit of producing some alongside the phone’s development. At the time of the phone’s launch, expect HTC to release a slew of new accessories ranging from stylish cases and grips to car chargers and mounts.

One accessory in particular which struck our fancy is the upgraded Dot View case — first made popular after its release for last year’s HTC One M8. This time around HTC allows users to fully customize the various lights, notifications, and what’s seen through the case while the screen remains closed. Rumor has it users also have the ability to play a series of mini games directly on the case itself; color us intrigued. Last year’s Dot View case cost roughly $50, so fans should expect HTC to follow a similar path regarding this upgraded case for the One M9.

Next page: Reality check time, what do we really think? 

To upgrade or not to upgrade

HTC’s One M9 is no doubt an amazing phone. It’s got first-class specs, one of the most outstanding smartphone cameras, and the best speakers you’ll find on any phone, period. With that said, HTC’s lack of an upgrade in the phone’s design left us wanting more and honestly feels like a step backward among the company’s “One” line of phones. Because of this, there’s no good reason for HTC One M8 owners to ditch their current phone and opt for an upgrade to the M9.

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Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends
Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends

HTC One M7 owners, however? Upgrade with confidence. Though the phone doesn’t knock our socks off, it still represents a step forward as HTC’s latest flagship and should end up as one of the best overall phones of 2015.

Updated on 04-01-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added news of HTC One M9 availability at Verizon and Sprint.

Updated on 03-26-2015 by Kyle Wiggers and Malarie Gokey: Added news of HTC One M9 availability in stores and through HTC, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

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