HTC just released its new One A9 on AT&T and Sprint. The phone is gorgeous and looks suspiciously like an iPhone – even down to the oval-shaped button on the bottom of the case.

But is the One A9 worth the $500 price tag? Let’s see what the One A9 has to offer.

The unlocked version of the HTC One A9 is priced at $500. Some early adopters were also able to take advantage of the $400 pre-order bonus for the unlocked version. The unlocked version of the A9 comes with some extra benefits like Uh Oh Protection, which gives you one free replacement within the first 12 months of device ownership even for problems that you caused yourself – like water damage or a broken screen.

5-inch display with 1080p resolution

3GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage space (microSD slot supports adding up to 2TB (!) of additional storage)

-13MP rear-facing camera, 4MP front-facing camera

Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box

Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 dual quad-core processor

The A9 is available in four color options, including silver, gray, burgundy, and gold.

Ultimately, those specs make the One A9 a mid-range phone. Benchmark tests reinforce this mid-range status:

htc one a9

Benchmark tests courtesy of GreenBot.com

Nevertheless, the HTC One A9 does have one major advantage over its competition: it has surprisingly strong battery life. Check out the battery life results below:

htc one a9 2

Early reviews for the HTC One A9 have also wildly praised the camera. While HTC still has trouble with low-light environments, the phone’s HDR makes a big improvement in difficult lighting situations.

There’s one other problem that reviewers tend to bring up: HTC’s Sense UI no longer feels as smooth and sexy as it did when combined with Android’s Material Design. HTC hasn’t done enough to improve its UI or adapt it to modern design standards. As a result, the UI tends to feel a bit more aged – especially when you’re switching between HTC apps and interfaces and Material Design interfaces.

htc sense ui

Your mileage may vary, and there will always be some people who like the Sense UI better than anything else in the Android world.

There’s nothing wrong with being a midrange phone. The problem with HTC is that they’ve priced the A9 way too close to their flagship M9 phone. $500 USD for an unlocked mid-range device is a steep price to pay.

Both AT&T and Sprint are selling the HTC One A9 for $99.99 on a two year contract, by the way. But still, when you can get a Galaxy S6 for $150 or less on a 2 year contract, it’s tough to justify the One A9’s price.

The question is: who is the HTC One A9 for? It’s too expensive for many users in developing countries. Its specs aren’t impressive enough to attract customers in developed countries. And it’s going to have trouble selling against similar-priced competitors wherever it goes, like the Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 4, and LG V10.

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