The HTC One X is the new flagship device by the Taiwanese manufacturer HTC. Announced at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona on the 26th February 2012, the device features: a 1.5Ghz 4+1 quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, 4.7″ touchscreen with Corning gorilla glass, HTC Sense™ 4, 8mp rear camera with a single LED flash, 1.3mp front-facing camera, 1080p HD video recording, Beats Audio™, Bluetooth, WiFi, DLNA and GPS connectivity. All-in-all it’s quite the beast.
Super-fast quad core processor
4.7″ HD 720p Super LCD2 screen
8mp Camera with ImageSense™
Ice Cream Sandwich with HTC Sense™ 4 UI
Additional 23GB Dropbox storage
The HTC One X is a slim 8.9mm thin and while the length (134.36mm) and width (69.9) make it feel like quite a large device in your hand, it fits in the pocket really nicely. The Corning glass is subtly curved and the matte finish rear looks very impressive. The corners are gently curved which make the device feel even slimmer. It is also noticeably lightweight and, at 130 grams, I think it’s the right balance of not feeling too flimsy yet maintaining a qualitative feel.
HTC have clearly put a lot of thought into the design. So much so in fact they dedicated quite a few minutes to in their announcement.
When HTC boasts about the HTC One X camera, they do so with good reason. While it doesn’t come with the Goliath 41 megapixels of Nokia’s Lumia PureView, it does come with a pleasing 8mp and features HTC ImageSense™ technology. This includes: auto-focus, smart LED flash, BSI sensor and dedicated imaging chip. Add to this the speedy F2.0 aperture and 28mm lense and you have the beginnings of something quite special. HTC takes the camera capabilities a step further by allowing you to shoot video while simultaneously taking camera shots. The cherry on the cake is the continuous shooting mode. This lets you take multiple pictures in quick succession, giving you a great chance of capturing the perfect moment.
After using the camera for a while I’ve been blown away by the image quality. Colours are incredibly life-like and vibrant, using the camera is very straightforward and the F2.0 aperture is practically as responsive as a dedicated camera. The BSI sensor is especially good in lower lighting conditions and helps pictures look natural.
I have yet to see one video that actually does the screen justice. The best description I have heard is that images seem to be floating on top of the screen. They really do. The Super LCD2 1280 x 720 display is arguably one of the best in the smartphone market and, combined with the smooth Corning gorilla glass both looks and feels out of this world.
Ice Cream Sandwich with HTC Sense™ 4
The much maligned HTC Sense UI has received quite an overhaul in Sense 4. Gone are the heavy transitions, the bloated integration and sluggish navigation. Version 4 feels light, speedy and incredibly responsive. I have admittedly spotted an almost unnoticeable lag when you first leave the homescreen, but once this is out of the way so-to-speak, you can push and push and push the UI and you’ll never get any slow down. This lag, I imagine, can surely be ironed out with an update.
The thing about Sense 4 is that it compliments ICS rather than sullies it. Manufacturer overlays can really hinder Android; just check out the likes of Sense 3.5, which just smothers Gingerbread to death. Obviously there will be purists who demand a vanilla Android experience but given time I’m sure the developer community will come up with some truly belting ROMs.
Some ICS elements have tweaked; most noticeably with the task manager. HTC have given this function a dedicated soft-key and pressing it brings up a lush 3D line of running applications that can be casually flicked away. Other aspects, such as face recognition are faithfully included and, unlike in Google’s first demonstration, worked well for me! Overall, ICS is of course a huge leap forward from Gingerbread. Design and menus are slicker, more beautiful and contain loads more features and tweaks.
Now, the HTC One X comes with 32GB of onboard storage, of which about 26GB is purely for the users pleasure. The device does not feature the ability to expand this memory, opting for a sleeker device than include access points to increase memory. This has divided many prospective users who prefer to upgrade where possible. Personally, I was used to having a 16GB card on my previous phone, so the extra 10GB is great. Perhaps HTC have tried to allay fears by striking a deal with Dropbox to include an extra 23GB of storage with their cloud service, meaning you essentially can have 51GB of storage with the device.
I know this still annoys some people, but seriously- how much storage do you need? If you want even more, get a Box.net account which comes with 50GB of free space to compliment the 51GB you have here. I just can’t see the problem- sure it’s not flexible, but I think it must have more than enough room for 99.9% of smartphone users.
Performance and Battery life:
The international version (reviewed here) has a 1.5Ghz 4+1 quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. The +1 is a hidden stealth processor which handles a number of basic tasks and helps preserve battery. The cores are incredibly powerful. While these clearly don’t always count for everything the benchmark tests I performed (included above) destroyed practically every other device listed, even rivalling the mighty Transformer Prime tablet.
I’ve heard a few people suggest the quadcore is a overkill. I couldn’t disagree more. Do they really think we should just stop making faster chips now? I’ve spotted certain so-called ‘brand neutral’ websites try to level this against Android and HTC as a negative, but I guess they won’t be doing so when Apple make a quadcore device. More powerful devices can only mean more possibilities for gaming and app developers, so I’m sure software will soon be created that really makes the most of the power. In everyday usage, the cores handle everything you throw at them, nothing is slow, it’s a real speed King. I did notice the device gets a little warm sometimes, but not uncomfortably so.
I usually spend most of my time with easy access to charging points, but I recently had to make a long trip to really test out the battery. I played games, listened to music, made numerous phone calls, replied to emails, sent several texts and MMS. I used GPS often and had my display brightness on 50%. While I could have gone for conservation, I wanted to give the device fairly typical daily usage. From this I got approximately 11 hours of usage. Now, this isn’t perfect but I thought pretty reasonable. There is a rumoured software update on its way which will allegedly boost this more.
Camera with HTC ImageSense™
8 megapixel camera with auto focus, smart LED flash, and BSI sensor (for better low-light captures)
F2.0 aperture and 28mm lens
1080p HD video recording
1.3 megapixel front camera (720p for video chat)
Dedicated imaging chip
Capture a photo in the midst of recording HD video
Continuous shooting mode captures multiple snapshots
Auto flash smartly determined by distance from your subject
Video stabilization feature removes annoying, shaky motion
High quality slow motion video capture and playback