HTC has taken something of a new direction recently — following the likes of Huawei and OnePlus — in delivering premium-looking smartphones with mid-range prices. Its latest phone, the One A9 aims to deliver a flagship experience at a lower price. Its upcoming One X9 is likely to be a slight step down from that, but more importantly, it’s a step up and possibly step away from its plastic-body Desire range…

Asus Chromebook Flip

A bunch of high resolution images of the HTC One X9 have shown up at whbear.com (spotted by NowhereElse.fr) and show the unreleased device in far more detail than we’ve seen previously. As we’ve seen before, the front panel is very minimal, although the top and bottom portions are fairly large. Unlike other One-series phones with stereo front-facing speakers, the X9 looks to be hiding them under some subtly designed grille panels, rather than an eye-catching grid of machined holes.

On the right edge there’s a textured power/sleep button along with the volume rocker and a flap covering some kind of card slot. With the flap on the left side being much larger than the right-edge covering, I’d guess that the smaller one is for MicroSD card expansion, and the larger is for a possible dual-SIM model.

Although it may not seem it, I think the most important detail here is the panel surrounding the camera module on the back. As you can see from the images below, it’s clearly a different material from the rest of the housing. That, along with the antenna bands on the edges, clearly indicates that the One X9 will be made primarily from metal. While it will gain the One-series moniker, it’s clear to me that this phone is a replacement for (or upgrade to) the HTC Desire range. It’s a mid-ranger with decent specs, but made from metal instead of plastic.

We first heard of the X9 a couple of months ago, at which point a promotional poster leaked along with some unbelievable specifications. Later on, the device showed up on China’s TENAA pages with images to match some more realistic-sounding specifications. Those specs include a full HD 5.5-inch display, 2.2GHz octa-core processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage (expandable to 1TB)and a 13MP rear camera. Unlike the One A9, it won’t run Marshmallow, and will ship with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop out of the box. It also happens to be considerably larger than the One A9, and doesn’t have any fingerprint sensor on the front or back.

HTC is yet to announce this new device officially, but it’s expected the manufacturer will launch the product at some point over the next few weeks, more than likely after the holiday season.