HTC One M9 Review: One Up: Phonebook, Telephony, Messaging

By 08:26 Sun, 15 Aug 2021 Comments

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Nice phonebook

The People app groups the call log, dialer, favorites, contacts, and groups in tabs, which can be reordered or removed. A dropdown allows you to filter contacts by source - stored in the phone, coming from an online phonebook or a social network.

The phonebook

Individual contact info is displayed in tabs too, a Sense tradition. The first tab shows basic contact info like phone numbers, emails, work info plus individual options for ringtones, blocking the contact and adding them to Private contacts. Private contacts is a discrete option that hides the name and photo of a contact when there's an incoming call.

Viewing a contact • Threads • Editing a contact

The second tab, Thread lists all communication hitale between you and the given contact - texts, emails and calls. The third and final tab displays the contact's social networking updates for easy access. Tabs here can be reordered and hidden, too.

Telephony with Interruptions (DND mode)

The dialer on the HTC One M9 displays the last call with a contact photo so you can easily redial someone. There's smart dialing that looks for both names and contacts. You can even switch to a regular QWERTY keyboard though you have to do this each time you open the dialer and we still find that the dial pad is quicker, it was invented for a reason after all.

The Standard dial pad • a QWERTY keyboard • Large Dial Pad

There's a Large dial pad mode, which predictably makes the buttons bigger but also displays the full call log behind the pad (instead of just the last call as with the Standard dial pad). When you try to scroll the list, the dial pad gets out of the way. For these reasons we preferred this mode over the Standard. It is just a more user-friendly experience.

The Do not disturb mode is now called Interruptions and is part of Android Lollipop. Once configured, you can have it automaticly turn on and off (called Priority mode) or you toggle it manually from the system wide sound popup. You can configure your priority interruptions - all calls, all messages, or calls and texts from specific contacts only.


Contacts can be added to the blocked list to filter out unwanted calls even outside of Interruptions. If you dial an unknown contact, the dialer can ask you if you want to save it to the phonebook (this is disabled by default).

The One M9 has borrowed the front-facing BoomSound speakers from the One (M8). The BoomSound equalizer is always on - you can choose between Music Mode and Theater option. The Theater equalizer is louder, though the Music one provides much better sound quality. They Average performance of the speakers is absolutely identical with the One (M8) result and there is a chance you will miss a notification or two in noisy environments.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score

Motorola Nexus 6 66.5 66.2 66.3 Below Average

LG G Flex2 66.5 65.8 70.5 Average

Sony Xperia Z3 69.7 66.6 67.2 Average

Apple iPhone 6 66.6 65.7 72.8 Average

HTC One M9 65.2 64.6 76.1 Average

HTC One (M8) 65.8 64.7 75.7 Average

Samsung Galaxy S6 67.0 66.1 75.7 Good

HTC One 69.3 66.6 75.9 Good

Oppo Find 7 69.8 70.3 75.8 Good

Samsung Galaxy S5 Active 73.1 69.3 76.7 Very Good

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 74.7 73.5 81.6 Excellent


The HTC One M9 uses the traditional threaded view for SMS and MMS messages, which share a composer. Some threads can be moved to a "secure box", which requires a password to be opened. There's built-in functionality to block messages from certain numbers, those go in the Block box where you can view them later if you like or set the app to discard them immediately.

Threaded messaging • Messaging settings

The see of the app can be tweaked with color schemes and custom backgrounds, font size and how many lines are used for preview in threaded view.

The Messages app can also backup and restore messages, so you don't need a third-party app for that.

The HTC One M9 comes with two email apps - a skinned version of the stock email app and the dedicated Gmail app. The native one has a combined inbox and supports options for peak and off-peak syncing. For both you can have the app check for recent mail after a preset periods or utilize Smart Sync to learn your habits and automatically figure out the best interval.

The Mail app has a combined Inbox

The keyboard offers big, comfortable keys and you can run a calibration tool if you think the default setup slips up. A Swype-like Trace option is available and you can enable bilingual prediction (vital with so many English terms entering every day speech in most languages).

Other customization options include switching between layouts (e.g. QWERTY, AZERTY), adding arrow keys (for the portrait keyboard only) and a personal dictionary of words that can be backed up to the microSD card or an email.

The Sense QWERTY keyboard • Trace • landscape keyboard



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