The HTC One X brings the most desirable processor, an HD screen and an awe-inspiringly thin chassis as the company looks to recreate the success of the original Desire.
The One X is a phone that intrigued everyone for a while, running a quad core CPU (Nvidia’s Tegra 3) plus one of the largest screens on any HTC and that’s without being given a gigantic name like the Titan.
The One X is a big device, there’s no escaping it. Still, at 134.36 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm and 130g it’s surprisingly lightweight considering the fact you get a 4.7-inch 1280 x 720 display. Build quality of the polycarbonate chassis feels slightly cheaper than the metal-bodied Sensation-series devices of last year, but the upshot is a more pocket-friendly device. It’s creak and flex-free, too, though the downside to that is the non-user-accessible battery. Beyond a microSIM slot, complete with an HTC branded tray-opening pin, no less, the casing is a solid lump.
One X packs NVIDIA’s 1.5GHz quadcore Tegra 3 chipset, paired with 1GB of RAM and 32GB of non-expandable storage. It’s an ambitious chip, especially given the non-accessible 1,800 mAh battery, though NVIDIA insists that its 4+1 core design means performance won’t outweigh longevity.
The One X matches the Rezound’s 720p resolution, but houses it in a new Super LCD 2 panel and gifts it with 4.7 inches to play with, which translates to a pixel density of 316ppi. At this resolution, it embarrasses the rest of its similarly-sized cousins when compared side by side. And while we’re not sure whether it’s the pseudo-concave design of the display, that drops ever-so slightly on both edges or the thinner Gorilla Glass, the high definition pixel matrix seems to skim across the face of the phone, viewing angles are great, especially if the brightness is cranked up. Super AMOLED Plus aficionados, this is what your rival looks like. On the non-PenTile One X, colors seemed more natural and the whites were whiter than on AMOLED devices like the Galaxy Nexus. When outdoors, we had to max out brightness, but once we did, the screen was both navigable and readable.
The One Series is the first of HTC’s devices to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, woven through with the latest iteration of Sense. HTC’s custom interface and apps suite had become over-stylized and unnecessarily hefty in its latter versions, and there’s been a conscious move to pare it back to basics which is obvious from the start.
Gone are the eye-catching but GPU-sapping 3D homescreen widgets of last year, replaced with cleaner range more in keeping with Ice Cream Sandwich. You wouldn’t necessarily realize Google’s newest version is under the hood, with the app launcher controls and other buttons redesigned, and even the app-switcher UI has been replaced, a CoverFlow-style carousel of running software instead of the basic thumbnail previews of the Galaxy Nexus.
The menu system has been changed again on this HTC phone, we don’t know why? with a new side-swipe action rather than the long list of apps scrolling vertically. It’s sometimes hard to keep track of which screen you’re on as the numbers at the bottom are a little small, and there’s also the confusion of the ‘Frequently Used’ and ‘Downloaded’ applications panes too, which look very similar.
Camera and Video
HTC is particularly proud of its camera technology in the One Series; according to the company’s research the camera is the number one deciding factor when a buyer eyes up their next phone. The One X gets an 8-megapixel CMOS with a backside-illuminated (BSI) sensor for improved low-light performance, along with an F2.0 aperture, 28mm lens and a dedicated imaging chip.
As well as 8-megapixel images, the One X can record Full HD 1080p video. In fact, the phone can shoot still images at the same time as recording footage: both the video recording and the shutter release button are on-screen at all times, along with a new effects control with a range of the image tweaking options.
There’s also an LED flash. We’ve generally been unimpressed with LED photo-lights on smartphones, they usually have a narrow sweet-spot outside of which images are either washed out or hopelessly under-illuminated but HTC’s flash can automatically adjust between multiple levels of brightness according to the proximity of the subject.
The 1080p Full HD video, meanwhile, shows some jerking in fast pans, though the picture quality itself is relatively strong. We also noticed an occasional jitteriness during the first few seconds of recording at times, though that’s easy enough to trim out of the final clip. A camera button shown during playback allows 1920 x 1080 stills to be grabbed too.
Media on the HTC One X is, predictably, a great experience. We’ve moaned about certain aspects of the music and video player before, and while they’ve not all been addressed, we’re still happy that they’ve at least been evolved.
We’ll get a big problem out of the way first though: there’s no expandable memory card slot on offer here, with HTC ramming in 32GB of storage to compensate. This will probably be enough for most people, but there are those that really love to pack their devices with media, and hate the thought of having to pick and choose because of storage limitations.
The music player on the One X is improved massively from the standard offering on the likes of the HTC Hero from just three years ago – there’s a new and re-tooled option to play with here, and it comes with high resolution album art and SoundHound integration. While we’re on that, there’s a wide range of format for playback on offer: AAC, AMR, OGG, M4A, MID, MP3, WAV and WMA if you’re interested.
One X is a great device for video playback, with rich colours, an excellent frame rate to minimise blur, and Beats Audio providing pretty rich sound. However, the navigation system needs to be sorted out somewhat, and the opportunity to get content on there needs to be boosted as well.
Connectivity and Battery Life
The HTC One X comes jam packed with every top-end connection we can think of – be it Wi-Fi 802.11n to Bluetooth 4.0, it’s all present and correct under the hood.
There’s also a first from the Taiwanese brand in the shape of NFC, brought in to take advantage of Google’s Android Beam service. Right now it’s a pretty rudimentary offering – all you can realistically do is tap the One X against another Ice Cream Sandwich-enabled phone (with an NFC chip inside, obviously) and share things like Map directions, YouTube videos and contact details.
In terms of wired connections, the HTC One X will also let you connect up to a TV using a MHL lead, which is sadly not supplied in the box. This mini HDMI connection uses the same microUSB port that powers your phone, which makes it really easy to mirror the content on the tiny HD screen on a much larger one.
The HTC One X comes with an 1800mAh battery that’s unfortunately sealed within the chassis of the phone – meaning no chance of being able to swap it out in the event of a power-outage on the go. This is one the major failings of the HTC One X, the battery life on this device follows many others from the HTC range: meaning it’s terrible.
The HTC One X is a beautiful piece of kit. It’s stylishly designed, light, has a cracking screen and comes with enough future-proofing to make us believe our grandchildren may still have one.
But for a phone that’s touted as coming with a ‘Battery Saver Core’ we can’t understand why it’s so heavy on the power drain when in use. Sure, in idle mode the HTC One X survives just fine… but we don’t buy a phone to not use it.
But whether you buy the HTC One X will come down to 2 things:
Do you want a phone that rewards you the more you explore its features?
And can you live with an iffy battery life?
If the answer is yes to both of these questions, run down to your local retailer and pick up an HTC One X. You won’t be disappointed.
- 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
- 3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
- SIZE 134.4 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm
- Weight 130 g
- DISPLAY Super IPS LCD2 capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 720 x 1280 pixels, 4.7 inches
- - Corning Gorilla glass display
- - Multi-touch input method
- - Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate
- - Proximity sensor for auto turn-off
- - HTC Sense UI
- Internal Memory 32 GB (26 GB user available), 1 GB RAM
- Card slot No
- GPRS Yes
- EDGE Yes
- 3G HSDPA 21 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
- WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
- Bluetooth Yes, v4.0 with A2DP
- NFC Yes
- Infrared port No
- USB Yes, microUSB (MHL) v2.0
- CAMERA 8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, face and smile detection
- Video 1080p@30fps, stereo sound rec., video stabilization
- Secondary Yes, 1.3 MP, 720p
- OS Android OS, v4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
- Chipset Nvidia Tegra 3
- CPU Quad-core 1.5 GHz
- GPU ULP GeForce
- Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email
- Browser HTML, Adobe Flash
- Radio Stereo FM radio with RDS
- Colors Gray, White
- GPS Yes, with A-GPS support
- Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
- Other Features
- - MicroSIM card support only
- - TV-out (via MHL A/V link)
- - Beats Audio
- - Beats Headset
- - SNS integration
- - Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
- - Google Search, Maps, Gmail
- - YouTube, Google Talk, Picasa integration
- - MP3/eAAC+/WAV/WMA player
- - MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV player
- - Organizer
- - Document viewer
- - Voice memo/dial/commands
- - Predictive text input (T9 Trace)
- BATTERY Standard battery, Li-Po 1800 mAh
- Price HTC One X price is about 64000 PKR.