Even though it's Christmas Eve, we're getting used to seeing the odd product announcements coming from the Far East around this time of the year (ugh). Today, the culprit is none other than HTC, who has announced yet another metallic "hero" Android device, the One X9. Judging by its looks, you may as well say the Butterfly S (front) and Lenovo's Phab Plus (back) made a baby here, especially with how the X9 even re-introduced HTC's long-gone back-lit capacitive Android buttons. More interestingly, this device is going for just 2,399 yuan or about $370 off-contract in China, making it HTC's most affordable hero device ever.
On paper, the X9 is pretty much what you'd expect from a premium mid-ranger these days, as it comes with a 5.5-inch 1080p display (likely IPS), an octa-core MediaTek X10 chipset (8x Cortex-A53), 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a dedicated microSD slot (up to 2TB), a 3,000 mAh battery and dual Nano SIM slots. Radio-wise, you get the regular UMTS 3G (850/900/1900/2100) plus China Mobile's TD-SCDMA 3G (1900/2000), along with dual-mode LTE (FDD bands 1/3/5/7/8/28; TDD bands 38/39/40/41).
Like the smaller but more expensive A9, the X9 is also garnished with a 13-megapixel f/2.0 main camera with optical stabilization plus dual-tone flash, as well as an UltraPixel f/2.0 front camera on the other side for better low-light shots; and yes, you can capture RAW images here. It's worth pointing out that even though the A9 costs more than the X9, only the latter comes with BoomSound front-facing stereo speakers, thus making it a somewhat more attractive deal. What's uncertain is whether the X9 will ship with Android 6.0, nor has HTC provided a date for pre-ordering or shipping.
At 2,399 yuan, this is HTC's boldest attempt yet to steal a bigger slice of the pie from the likes of Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo who dominate that price tier in China. Having said that, these other brands still tend to offer slightly better specs at similar prices, so it's up to HTC to market the X9 properly in that region. For the rest of us outside China, here's hoping that we'll get a similar bargain.