HTC One M9 The HTC One M9 feels smaller than the M8, but not by much at all. It measures 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61mm and weighs 157g, so it's only a minor difference between the two devices - 2mm shaved off the height, 1mm from the width, and 0.2mm added in thickness.The HTC One M9 inherits its predecessor's stunning metal design and strong speakers, and has a bright, sharp display. It runs the latest version of Android, and the new Sense 7 software is simple, responsive and highly customisable. It's one of the few flagship phones to still feature expandable storage, and it offers a unique one-year replacement program in the US. Performance
Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core; 3GB RAM
Qualcomm’s 800-series processors dominated 2014 flagships, and with good reason. The Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and Sony Xperia Z3 all packed a serious wallop and made mincemeat of intense 3D games and processor-hungry HD video conversion.
The 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 810 the One M9 totes is Qualcomm’s latest and greatest and provides twice the number of cores of the M8's 801. Twice the power, then? It doesn’t quite work that way, I’m afraid.
The Snapdragon 810 uses ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture. This let’s a low-powered 1.55GHz quad-core processor be paired with another, more powerful, 1.96GHz quad-core processor on the same chipset. The benefits of this aren’t just about increasing power – last-gen quad-core processors are already powerful – it’s about energy efficiency. Most of the common tasks your smartphone does – make calls, send texts, collect sensor data, listen to music and browse the web – don’t need much power. Using a mighty processor for these is overkill, and uses more of the battery than it should. That’s where the LITTLE quad-core comes into play. It takes care of all those smaller, daily, tasks in a more energy efficient way, thereby conserving power. It also means that HTC no longer needs the co-processor that handled all the sensor data on the M9’s predecessor.
The processor is restricted in Power Saver mode. This means that the HTC One M9 performs differently depending on how much juice you’re willing to sacrifice.
Let’s leave the benefits to the HTC One M9’s battery life to one side for a moment and focus on its performance. As you can expect the Snapdragon 810 and 3GB RAM helps the One M9 fly through common tasks like flicking through menus, opening apps and browsing the web, regardless of which quad is being used.
Battery life Battery life on the HTC One M9 should be brilliant in comparison to what's been before. The Snapdragon 801 chipset finally made an HTC phone decent at lasting throughout a day last year, and with a larger power pack and an improvement from Qualcomm things should be awesome.
Sadly, they're not. I'm not saying that it's a problem and this phone won't last long enough to tap out a couple of tweets, but the performance hasn't been moved on much from last year.
The issue is that the phone heats up really easily doing the most mundane of tasks. Anything that takes a little bit of wireless connection is a quick way to watch it drop, be it mobile data or listening to music over headphones.
Where most phones these days won't have much of an issue losing no more than 10% on my morning commute, even with a bit of video action, the One M9 has dropped as much as 17% through Bluetooth music streaming and emails, which is odd as this doesn't usually munch too much power.
The good news is Google's new Android 5.0 gives you a good way of checking the problems, letting you shut down (or get rid of) the apps which are misbehaving. However, in this case it's 'Google Services' which is the issue, elements fundamental to the running of the phone, which means there's not a lot to be done about it.
I usually see this in the first few days of reviewing, but the issue has pervaded. Hardcore testing - be it standby, heavy apps, web browsing and YouTube videos, for instance - has proven the HTC to be a poorer choice than the rest of the competition, with poorer background battery management.
This means you can't lean on the One M9 too heavily for playing games or watching videos, which is irritating if you want to have a little bit of battery left at the end of the day.
Gaming is really heavy on the battery, with a quick 15 minute game sometimes sucking 10% juice - although the issue is often that mobile games these days are constantly communicating with servers for online play or in app purchases, which hurts the battery.
Running TechRadar's standard battery test on the One M9, where we looped a 90 min full HD video at maximum brightness showed that the new HTC phone was one of the worst performers of recent times, with 31% of the battery disappearing.
If you consider that the LG G Flex 2, another big phone on the market with the Snapdragon 810 chipset, only lost 13% in the same test, then you'll see that there's something going on with the software here.
I also ran the same test on the newly-Lollipopped HTC One M8 and HTC One M7, and they managed 24% and 30% respectively - and the phone from 2013 had barely enough battery to make it through the day too. This shows that for some reason HTC has managed to go backwards in battery life, even with the larger capacity and theoretically more efficient processor.
I'm confident battery life will improve, but it's actually a small step back from the One M8, which can be had for nearly half the price of the new version, and that's just not good enough. The other big thing here is QuickCharge 2.0 – although this offers a pretty amazing 60% charge in just 30 mins, the charger in the box isn't QuickCharge enabled to get the maximum speeds on offer.
This is just ludicrous – I thought by this point that they'd be standard as the tech began appearing in phones last year. It's really frustrating that you'll need to spend so much more given this is an already expensive phone.
THE BAD The M9's camera quality and battery life don't measure up to its competitors. For better or worse, the phone feels like a rerun of last year's HTC One.
THE BOTTOM LINE The updated HTC One M9 packs speed and software improvements into a handset that remains lustworthy in middle age, but it doesn't exceed the competition where it counts.
Key Features: 20-megapixel rear camera ; 4-megapixel Ultrapixel front-facing camera; 5-inch 1080p LCD screen; BoomSound speakers with Dolby Surround; Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, 3GB RAM; 32GB onboard storage with microSD slot; HTC Sense 7 on Android 5.0 Lollipop
Manufacturer: HTC VS Apple iPhone 6s The iPhone 6s keeps the same design as the iPhone 6, but packs better cameras, a snappier processor and 3D Touch, a smart new way to get things done in fewer steps. Beyond that, the combination of iOS 9 and some well-built hardware help makes the 6s one of the best iPhones ever made... even if we wish it had some of the 6s Plus' niceties. Improved speed everywhere (new processor, faster wireless, quicker Touch ID sensor); a sturdier body; better front and rear cameras; a bold new 3D Touch pressure-sensitive display that could end up being a really useful tool in apps down the road, and which already offers new iOS shortcuts. Performance
Providing the power behind the scenes on the iPhone 6 is a 1.39GHz dual-core A8 processor with 64-bit architecture and 1GB of RAM.
The iPhone 6 seemed to be the slicker of the two new iHandsets when it comes to chugging away under the finger, although when looking at the Geekbench 3 scores, we can see it's almost identical to the iPhone 6 Plus (average score of 2905 vs 2911 for the 6 Plus).
This puts it below 2015's crop of smartphones like the and, but right with the Samsung Galaxy S5 and below the One M8 and One E8 - although HTC has admitted to slightly gaming those results with a special 'high power mode'.
In short, despite the dual-core processor, Apple seems to have eked out enough power to make the iPhone 6 a strong enough contender day to day. Battery Life
“Battery life could be a problem,” was my first thought when I started my iPhone 6S review, and with good reason. Wonderful though 3D Touch and the Taptic Engine are, Apple had to reduce the battery capacity from 1,810mAh to 1,715mAh to fit them in. It made the 6S slightly thicker and heavier, too, though not enough that anyone should care.
The iPhone 6 didn't have a stellar reputation for battery life, and while some of those complaints are overblown, they’re not without foundation. Certainly, the ‘Plus’ variant is the phone to go for if you suffer range “range anxiety”.
Through my week using the the iPhone 6S, I consistently managed 15 to 17 hours per day. Switching off Bluetooth and disabling the Facebook app’s background refresh made a big difference, though I always left Wi-Fi on.
For whatever reason, the Facebook app uses more background time than other app. Before the change Facebook was responsible for close to 25% of the phone’s battery drain, despite being on screen for just 20 minutes or so. iOS 9’s improved battery monitoring was a godsend here. Navigation puts a big strain on the battery, though, particularly in built-up areas. One 15-minute walk with directions drained 7% from the battery. Streaming video over Wi-Fi burns through around 12% of battery per hour, depending on the quality and how bright your screen is.
The new Low Power won’t extend your life indefinitely, but it’s useful and effective enough. iOS prompts you to turn it on when your battery hits 20% and it turns off all background activity, while also throttling down the CPU and GPU.
The iPhone is already frugal when idle, but Low Power extends that further still – I once got five hours of very light use after passing 20%, which is handy if you’re staying out late. And you can turn Low Power on earlier if you know you have a long day ahead – the iPhone 6S runs fine when it’s on. Ultimately, while some management is needed from time to time, I never felt like I would run out before I got home, and it would only concern me if I was on a “night out” and got home late. In those cases, a few simple precautions will avert problems.
Power users who stream video all day, use navigation lots or play games often should look at the 6S Plus, but the 6S’s battery life is fine for the majority of people.
But,Same battery life as the iPhone 6. The 6S Plus model remains the only way to get optical image stabilization for photos and video, plus better battery life. You'll need to pay extra to vault past the too-small storage of the entry-level 16GB version.
Key Features: 4.7-inch, 326ppi LCD; 7.1mm thick; 143g; 1.8GHz Dual-Core; 2GB RAM; 16/64/128GB storage ; 12-megapixel iSight camera; 5-megapixel Facetime HD camera
VS Samsung Galaxy S6's The new super-skinny build does mean that this Samsung gets very warm in use, however. Actually, not warm, it gets plain hot. Finger-burning hot. This is something that's becoming more and more common with today's increasingly thin smartphones, particularly those that have metal bodies. But I'm pleased to report that even when it's got a fever on performance doesn't appear to be affected. The upscale Samsung Galaxy S6's smooth glass-and-matte-metal body, improved fingerprint reader, and convenient new camera shortcut key make the phone a stunner. Samsung's decluttered take on Android 5.0 brings the beauty inside, too.
Octa-core Exynos 7420 big.LITTLE Processor; Mali T760 GPU; 3GB RAM
The Galaxy S6 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop integrated with a newly streamlined version of TouchWiz and it’s incredibly snappy to use. One of the best features is the multi-window functionality – I used it frequently.
Multi-window lets you open and use two apps simultaneously by holding down the option button or dragging from the top left corner of the screen. It’s great for writing an email while checking details online, or sharing posts from social media while talking about them with a friend on WhatsApp, for example.
Overall, the streamlined look and feel of the TouchWiz is a winner. We did experience a couple of instances where downloaded and native applications would randomly stop working, but we imagine this will be smoothed out fairly easily with updates.
TouchWiz gets a huge helping hand by the fact this is the most powerful smartphone on the market right now. Only the HTC One M9, with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, gets close to matching its performance.
The credit goes to the 64-bit Samsung Exynos 7420 octa-core processor and 3GB RAM – it’s the first time Samsung has used this chip in a phone. It seems that switching away from Qualcomm’s top-end Snapdragon processor in its flagship phone has paid off handsomely.
The Exynos 7420 processor has an advantage over the powerful Snapdragon 810 processor used by the HTC One M9 because the chip is smaller and more energy efficient. You can read the software and performance sections of our Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review for a more detailed breakdown of how it compares to the competition, but needless to say the S6 impresses.
One of the best demonstrations of the Galaxy S6’s power is how smoothly it handles graphically intensive games like Real Racing 3 or Asphalt 8. There are no dropped frames whatsoever and the games are rendered better than we’ve seen on any other phone. Battery life
Battery life on the Samsung Galaxy S6. Now we get to the real issue of this phone. It's not good enough, and that's hugely frustrating.
Let me put this into context: it's as good as the and in terms of being able to last just about through the day. Given that last year we were seeing phones that could easily make it to bed time without running out of juice, it's maddening that Samsung, like others, has gone backwards here.
The reason is simple: the battery pack in the new S6 is smaller than last year, 2550mAh compared to 2800mAh. The reduction is there solely so Samsung could make a slimmer phone, focusing on design over functionality. And unlike previous years, the battery can no longer be removed, taking away one of the big things fans loved about the phones. BUT,Longtime fans will bristle at the Galaxy S6's nonremovable battery and absent expandable storage. The phone has an intensely reflective backing and looks embarrassingly like the iPhone 6. Battery life, while good, falls short of last year's Galaxy.
THE BOTTOM LINE Worldly looks and top-notch specs make the impressive, metal Samsung Galaxy S6 the Android phone to beat for 2015. Key Features: 5.1-inch 1440 x 2560 resolution screen; Octa-core Exynos 7420 chipset; Wireless Charging; 3GB RAM; 2,550mAh non-removable battery; Android 5.0 L with TouchWiz; Samsung Pay; IR Blaster