Even though it regularly makes stunning phones, HTC hasn’t had an easy time in stores. Sales of the M9 are poor, and the company needs to recover quickly. Making a less-attractive iPhone imitation worked the magic for Samsung with the Galaxy S3 years ago (and again with the Galaxy S6 this year), but can it work for HTC’s arguably better looking iPhone 6 lookalike? Only time will tell, though we suspect the pricing may sink this ship before it even has a chance to leave port.
Initially, HTC priced the 32GB One A9 at $400, making it $250 less than the iPhone 6S. It was a great deal – you got a phone with more or less the same specs and build quality for less money. However, $400 was the promotional price, which ends on November 7. From that point on, the One A9 will cost you $500.
For that price, you can get a 64GB Moto X Style Pure Edition, which has a significantly better processor, sharper screen, more storage, and a customizable design that’s also quite premium. It may not be all metal, but it’s a more powerful phone, which will likely get software updates more quickly than the A9. The only area in which the One A9 trumps the new Moto X is with that Android Pay-ready fingerprint sensor and the all-metal body.
The $500 price also puts the One A9 at about $100 more than a 64GB OnePlus2, which has comparable specs, but its much harder to get. Google’s Nexus 6P also offers faster processing, a better screen, Pure Android, and a comparable all-metal build for the same price.
To sell this phone, HTC needed to cut the price down to the bone and blow away the “flagship killer” competition. A $300-$400 price tag would have worked, but $500 will not – The competition is just too fierce this year.
If you want a stellar Android phone on the cheap that looks good and has high-end specs, the Nexus 6P and Moto X Style Pure Edition are better deals than the HTC One A9.