Review: New HTC One Phone Is Strong Contender

HTC's flagship One phone has a lot going for it -- except for strong sales. In Samsung's and Apple's shadows, HTC barely has any market share despite having good phones. But the latest edition of the HTC One, dubbed M9, is even better than previous year's models, as it addresses a major shortcoming: the camera.

The latest One keeps an elegant, all-metal design with a few changes. The power button moves from the top to the right side to keep the phone from sliding down and out of your hand when pressing. The back edges are also sharper to improve grip, though it does give the phone a boxy feel. The M9 screen stays at 5 inches, as measured diagonally.

Advance orders for the One have already begun in the U.S. The phone will be in retail stores on April 10, though it might ship sooner for those ordering it now. No-contract prices range from $600 at Verizon to $709 at AT&T.

Here are other things to know before you buy.

Better Pictures

The 4 megapixels in previous One cameras was quite low, resulting in fuzzy images, especially when cropped or enlarged. HTC had turned its attention to making each pixel capture more light, but the phone didn't always succeed in taking better indoor and night shots.

The new One fixes that by squeezing in a standard 20-megapixel rear camera. Images are indeed better when enlarged. The new One does well in low light, too, compared with test shots taken with last year's model.

The One still doesn't always do as well as the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 in focus, color and exposure, especially in extreme situations. Many indoor shots had a purple tint, and outdoor close-ups were out of focus. You can get good everyday shots, but don't get the One just for the...

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