HTC One X Review

16/07/2012

HTC One X HTC One X Review

HTC didn’t have a good 2011 at all, their phones just didn’t have that wow factor and Samsung was stealing the show. HTC knew they had to pull their act together and they did by coming out with an actual series of phones, consisting of the cheap and affordable One V, then the mid range One S and the high-end One X, which is the one we have here.

This is HTC’s flagship phone, the big hoorah, the one that is supposed to be the king of the hill. Read on to find out whether this is a phone worth getting or another HTC failure.

Pros:

- Stunning display
- Beautiful design
- Newest version of Android

Cons:

- Camera could be better
- No MicroSD card slot


Specs

First we’ll go through the specs. But remember nowadays it doesn’t matter how good the specs are, if the software and design are ugly then the phone just won’t do well.

Size – 134.36 x 69.9 x 8.9mm
Weight – 130 grams
Display – 4.7-inch Super LCD, resolution of 1280×720 (HD)
CPU – Quad-core processor
Software – Android 4.0 with HTC Sense 4
Storage – 32GB | RAM – 1GB
Sensors – Gyro sensor, G-sonsor, Digital compass, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
Connectivity – 3.5mm headphone jack, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi, MicroUSB
Camera – 8 megapixel, f/2.0, 28mm lens, 1080p HD recording | Front camera – 1.3 megapixel with 720p HD recording
Beats Audio
Battery – 1800mAh


Design

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Let me say straight away, this phone is one of the best looking phones out right now. It might not be made out of glass and metal, but HTC have somehow found away to make plastic feel and look expensive. Also with that beautiful Gorilla Glass screen, it makes it look so classy. For those who don’t know what Gorilla Glass is, it’s a special kind of glass which is basically scratch proof. You can even run your keys on it and it’ll be fine, trust me I’ve tried it.

The plastic which is just one piece moulded all the way round is really top-notch. I feel like Nokia does a better job on their Lumia series, but HTC aren’t far off. Also round the edge of the phone the plastic is glossier than usual, giving it a real classy look.

The phone feels really thin, even though it isn’t. The reason for this is because of the curved design. The phone isn’t your average straight slabbed design, it curves a little. By doing this HTC has made the phone really nice in the hand and made it feel thinner than it really is. If you want an ultra thin phone, check out their One S, that does a mighty fine job at making a phone feel skinny.

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HTC tried to minimize on hardware buttons so they’ve added touchscreen buttons at the bottom, back, home and the app-switching button. You still get the sleep/wake and volume buttons. I’ve found that the these buttons can be pressed real easy accidentally and they don’t have much, if at all feedback to them. After using the phone for a month though I think most will get used to this.

With this one piece and curved design does come with one main drawback. There is no user replaceable battery. However, the battery isn’t awful, we’ll get on to that later. This also seems to now be the standard in most new phones now.

HTC really wanted to make a statement when it came to design and they have done a great job. However, with me being really picky, there was one thing that annoyed me and that was the LED at the top of the phone which bleeds hideously. I mean like c’mon HTC, why should something like this be overlooked.

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Display

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I’ve been used to using the iPhone 4S for the last 6 months and everyone will know what an amazing display that has. Well the HTC One X blows it out of the water, seriously. It is such an amazing display. With that huge 4.7-inch screen and the 720p HD resolution you’re practically carrying around a HD TV in your pocket. Text is super crisp and video viewing experience is absolutely amazing. This is the kind of device where you want to watch whole movies on when on the go because the detail is incredible.

With Android Ice Cream Sandwich being optimised for 1280×720 resolutions, it looks and performs very well.


Camera

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When HTC announced the One series they placed heavy emphasis on the camera part of all the One series phones. They said it has things like a BSI sensor, HTC ImageSense and a dedicated camera chip. And to be honest, I was quite disappointed. I thought the HTC One X would have the best camera for any smartphone (excluding the Nokia 808 Pureview), but it doesn’t. My iPhone 4S still does better job of taking pictures. Even the full HD recording isn’t that great. Sure the camera isn’t awful, it’s great, but it could be better.

I couldn’t take many sample pictures because of the terrible weather we’ve had here in the UK. I recommend heading over to Flickr and looking at pictures from the HTC One X, a lot better than the ones I took. Also if you want to check out video recording quality, head over to YouTube, you’ll find a ton of sample footage.

One thing I did love was the ability to take photos while recording, this is a great feature which I think should be included in all new cameras these days.

I wish there was a dedicated camera shutter button though. With manufacturers like HTC, Samsung and Apple placing heavy emphasis on cameras in phones, they still don’t seem to be adding two-stage shutter buttons. It would elevate the camera experience a lot more, making you want to pictures.

HTC One X Sample Pictures

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Beats Audio

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There is obviously a lot of hype over Beats audio and HTC even have a stake in the business. This specialist audio group are supposed to offer high-end sound equipment and technology. HTC have even integrated Beats technology into their recent line of phones. Is it good? No, not really. Beats audio is just a gimmick, it’s a part of branding and HTC know it. I listen to a lot of hip hop, rap and R&B but all Beats audio does is raise the bass. It doesn’t make the audio any clearer or anything.


Battery

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With the HTC One X being having a one piece design there is no replaceable battery. So you’re stuck with the 1800mAh battery in the phone. My average use of the phone includes 4 email accounts, all on push notifications, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, news reading via Flipboard, 30-50 texts a day, weather updating every hour, a little bit of web browsing and a little but of game playing. When doing all this on the One X it easily lasted a day no problem. Which is very good for a smartphone nowadays because most will run out by evening time. When I had all notifications turned off and only did texting the phone actually lasted me two days, I was quite amazed. I think the reason for this even though the battery is only 1800mAh is due to the blend of the processors and Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Hardware and software are being optimised more and more and are now working together, by doing this manufacturers are able to reduce battery usage.


Software

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I won’t be doing much of a review into Android Ice Cream Sandwich because I’ll be here forever. If you want to find out more about Ice Cream Sandwich just Google it, there are enough in-depth reviews of it. I’ll be doing more of an overview of HTC Sense 4.0, HTC’s new Android overlay.

When first waking the phone you’re presented with HTC’s beautiful lockscreen which is very useful. If there are no new messages or missed calls, you’ll be presented with the weather and it looks absolutely stunning. It really makes use of that huge display. When it rains, little droplets of water come on to the screen and then are wiped away by a windscreen wiper. Sure this isn’t entirely useful but it looks darn amazing, these are the kind of things which really sets HTC Sense apart from other Android overlays. The lockscreen also provides quick access to things like phone, mail, messages and camera.

HTC App Switcher HTC One X Review

The phone has a dedicated app switcher button at the bottom right of the phone. However HTC for some odd reason have made their own app switcher and made it worse. Ice Cream Sandwich’s app switcher was perfectly fine. HTC’s one takes up the whole screen and shows only one app at a time, making it very wasteful.

Other than that HTC Sense 4.0 just adds a whole lot more colour and I can see why HTC has done this. Ice Cream Sandwich is mainly just black and blue, quite dark and muted colours. HTC want the screen to pop and be super colourful, like stock iOS on iPhone. It’s a good way to go about it because when using it on the street, on the train or bus, people do notice. They see the huge screen and all those colours, they’re instantly drawn to it.

HTC Sense 4.0 still feels a little bloated though. It’s not the smoothest OS and can stutter here and there, not because there isn’t enough power, but because of the software. This is also partly due to Android. With the recent release of Android Jellybean, smoothness has been worked on massively, making UI animations and transitions a lot nicer. Once HTC get Android Jellybean on this device I’m sure it’ll be as smooth as Windows Phone and iOS.


Overall

The HTC One X is one of the best phones out there right now. It’s an all round phone which has power underneath it but does not comprise on style. It’s a stunning looking device and I think this is what it has going for it most. I would buy this any day over the Samsung Galaxy S3, purely because it looks a lot better. If you want a high end Android phone which does well in all areas and is gorgeous, the HTC One X is the one to go for.


Have I missed something? Have a question? Or have anything to add? Leave a comment below!

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