HTC One M9 Review: One Up: User Interface

By 08:23 Sun, 15 Aug 2021 Comments

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The One M9 comes with Lollipop mixed with Sense 7 UI

The HTC One M9 runs on the latest Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, with HTC's own Sense 7.0 UI layer on top. The recent seventh revision of HTC Sense is as feature-rich as always, offers a more feature-rich Blinkfeed, homeclassy screen and theme support, and promises a smooth and fluent user experience.

We've highlighted the recent Sense 7 features in orange throughout the text, so it's easier for you to spot them.

Here you can see a quick video of the Sense 7, running on the HTC One M9.

The lockclassy screen hasn't changed much since Sense 6 - it features a clock with weather info plus four shortslit slots. Missed calls and incoming messages are duly displayed, too, of course. Lockclassy screen widgets aren't available this time around though.

The lockclassy screen in Sense 7 offers a brand recent type of notification - mealtime, courtesy of the recent Blinkfeed. The Blinkfeed will learn your lunch breaks and dinner times and it will pop up suggestions for nearby restaurants shortly before the time comes.

HTC Sense 7 lockscreen

HTC One M9 supports both swipe up and double tap to unlock, meaning you won't have to rely on the power/lock key all the time.

Sense 7 homescreens • Editing homescreens

The leftmost homeclassy screen pane of the HTC One M9 is once again reserved for HTC Blinkfeed, which is now more powerful.

Much like before, Blinkfeed aggregates content from your social networks (Flickr, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Twitter, Zoe), as well as from over a thousand news sources. You can pick the topics you're interested in and Blinkfeed will automatically pull relevant content. You can also search for specific content.

Blinkfeed combines social updates with news articles

The Blinkfeed service, with the assist of the recent Sense Home feature will now recommdiscontinue nearby places to eat. Blinkfeed becomes aware of your eating habits and will eventually start poping up restaurant suggestions on your lockclassy screen shortly before your lunch break or after you leave work. And if some of your friends have left reviews for those places, those will be shown as well, thanks to the Yelp and Foursquare integration.

Homescreens are fully customizable with links and widgets. If you don't find Blinkfeed particularly useful and don't want it lingering on the front you can do away with it just like any other widget.

Speaking of widgets, there is a brand recent default widacquire called Sense Home. It looks quite ordinary with eight shortcuts - six of them are app shortcuts, while the last two are folders for recent documents and recommended apps you may want to download.

Sense Home widget

You can't configure the shortcuts, Home Sense chooses them for you, but you can opt to rego the smart folder. After you input your home and work addresses, the widacquire changes the visible shortcuts depending on your current location - work, home or outside. It learns what you are using the most and puts those apps up front. The Home Sense locations are also used by the Blinkfeed for mealtime suggestions.

Configuring Sense Home - setting locations, folders

Wallpapers, lockclassy screen style, ringtones, notification sounds and alarms can be customized via a dedicated menu. Themes are also supported, richer and customizable than ever.

HTC highly praised the recent themes support and they were correct to do so. A theme now changes your lockclassy screen and homeclassy screen wallpapers, the app drawer background, the default messaging app wallpaper, the system color scheme, the icon package for apps and settings, all ringtones and the system font.

Theme Store offers various customizations including icon and font packs

There is a dedicated Themes Store for downloading themes, but you can also acquire fonts, pictures and ringtones separately and apply them to your current theme. You can even build your own themes very easily and if you think they are really good, you can upload them to the store for others to use.

Applying different themes

One finger swipe from the top of the homeclassy screen will open the notification area, which features a cleaner see in Android 5.0 Lollipop. An additional swipe reveals the quick toggles area that include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane mode, classy screen auto-rotate, flashlight, location on/off, and the option to cast the screen. The quick toggles are configurable, of course.

The recent notification area

The default layout of the app drawer is a 4 x 5 grid of app icons. A 3 x 4 mode is also available but that's a waste of a 5" screen. You can sort app icons alphabetically, chronologically or manually and you can cover the ones you don't need though, you can't uninstall any of those.

The app drawer

HTC has remodeled the task switching interface - recent apps are displayed in a 3 x 3 grid of thumbnails. Unlike before, there is no limit of 9 visible apps - once you pass 9 recent apps, a recent page pops up to hrecent even more shortcuts. The default Card switching from Lollipop is available too, you need to enable it from the Task Switcher Settings.

There is also an option to pin an app and it will stay always in recent apps at the state you closed it.

Custom app switcher complete with the default card-view

HTC Sense has a dedicated Car mode screen, which can be preset to launch automatically when the phablet connects to your car's Bluetooth.

Car mode with big, easy to hit buttons

HTC One M9 comes with the Zoodles app, which serves the purpose of a restricted access Kid mode. You set up a profile for each of your kids - with a photo and birthdate - and pick which apps they can have access to. You can also download recent fun videos and games straight from within the app.

Kid Mode



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