Intro and Packaging
Let me tell you straight away that the HTC One X is the best Android Smartphone currently in the market. If that is what you wanted to know and want to buy an Android phone today or this week, then go right ahead and come back assured that you have purchased the best Android device there currently is. For the rest of you that are still in two minds and are not sure if they prefer Android over iPhone or BlackBerry, or even those that aren’t looking into purchasing an Android device right now, let’s go ahead and see what the HTC One X offers over other Smartphones and where it falls short.
I didn't receive the retail version but more of a white vanilla box so I can't really comment on how well the product is packaged or do an unboxing video. With my review sample of the One X came with a charger and a USB cable and that was it. From what I know the retail version includes a pair of earphones however, they are not the Beats by Dre kind that were bundled with the HTC sensation XE. Instead, you'll find the usual set of buds that sound average at best. At least they have a flat cable which makes them look a bit cooler.
Build quality & design
If I was to use one word to define the One X’s build quality, it would be solid. The Polycarbonite body of the HTC One X shows no flex and is available in black as well as white. I received the black version which I think looks nicer than the white but that is not to say that the white one doesn’t look good. Measuring 69.9mm x 134.36mm and just 8.9mm thin, the One X feels rather large in your hands but impressively slim.
You have the usual assortment of buttons and connectors such as the power button and 3.5mm jack on top, volume keys on the right and a USB connector on the left. The volume keys are a bit too easy to press and considering the large form factor of the phone, your thumb keeps sliding up and down accidentally changing volume levels. A camera is present on the front as well as the back which protrudes from the chassis making it a bit thicker in that area.
The front of the unit is largely covered with Gorilla Glass making it tough and hopefully one that will survive a fall or two- although I didn't test that out. Below the screen you have three touch backlit buttons that sadly lack any feedback when touched. I’m not sure why HTC chose to build actual buttons as Google’s reference design brings these buttons within the UI.
Like the iPhone, the HTC One X has a micro-sim tray that pops out and HTC includes a pin in the packaging for that purpose. Also like the iPhone, HTC decided against a user-replaceable battery which means that you get a better constructed device with no wiggly parts but at the expense of not being able to swap out batteries. For most people this won’t really matter- there is a very small percentage of people that carry additional batteries with them.
Specs and Comparison
The HTC One X is based on the quad-core NVIDIA Tegra SoC with 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage memory. Even compared to the latest smartphones, the HTC One X ends up being the one with the best specs and fast speeds. The following table compares the HTC One X to some of the other phones we have test of late.
HTC One X
Samsung Galaxy Nexus
HTC Sensation XE
|Android 4.0+SenseUI 4|
|Android 2.3+SenseUI 3|
|NVIDIA Tegra 3|
|TI OMAP 4460|
|Quad Core 1.5Ghz|
|Dual Core 1.2GHz|
|Dual Core 1.5GHz|
|Super IPS LCD2 4.7"|
|Super AMOLED 4.65"|
|Li-Po 1800 mAh|
|Li-Ion 1750 mAh|
|Li-Ion 1730 mAh|
|134.4 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm|
|135.5 x 67.9 x 8.9 mm|
|126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3 mm|
While the HTC One X has better specs than the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, it managed to finish the SunSpider benchmark just a tad bit slower than the stock Android based Google Galaxy Nexus. What this suggests is that thought SenseUI makes the UI prettier, it is taking a toll on performance of the device.
Screen, UI and Apps
The screen on the HTC One X is massive in size- measuring 4.7 inches with an HD 720x1280 resolution on what HTC calls Super LCD+ screen. While the colors aren’t as vibrant as a Super AMOLED display, I actually liked the HTC One X’s display more as it feels more natural. The high resolution screen also translates into a crisp picture that is especially helpful when viewing web pages on the devices. One area where the screen does fall short is visibility under direct sunlight- you’ll really need to crank up the brightness to be able to read the display outdoors in the UAE sun.
As fast and high-end the HTC One X is, there are still times when the phone feels a bit sluggish and you can notice this lag quite easily. I don’t know what it is with Android but it has never been as butter smooth as iOS or even Windows Phone both of which sport hardware that is weaker in specs. The following video goes through the HTC One X and shows you the UI.
The HTC One X continues to advance HTC’s SenseUI to 4.0 which I still feel is still the best custom skin on the Android platform. However, with the latest Ice Cream Sandwich OS Google made some great strides with the UI and put in a lot of effort into making the stock UI look pretty good and consistent. In fact, the stock UI has reached a level where I now think it’s better than most custom Android UIs.
If there is one outstanding feature that I would pick on the HTC One X, it would be the camera. Not only does it take pretty good pictures, it takes them fast too. Really fast. You can do burst shots by simply keeping the shutter button pressed which takes consecutive shots at full resolution or alternatively, snap a picture while take a video. The only thing missing is a hardware button for taking pictures. The following video shows the HTC One X camera in action.
Coming to the specs, the HTC One X features an 8MP camera that also takes full 1080P videos. HTC uses a dedicated chip on the phone for the camera which is why it ends up being really fast. The lens is 28mm with F2.0 aperture allowing for some reasonably wide-angled shots. The following samples show pictures taken from the HTC One X using the burst mode.
[gallery link="file" include="60020, 60019, 60018, 60017, 60016"]
Usability, Battery life and Conclusion
I used the HTC One X for about a week and the biggest complain that I have is that it randomly tends to get hot- not uncomfortably hot but warm enough to be noticed. The unit starts getting hot even during times when the display is switched off- as per this website
HTC has said that there is nothing unusual about the One X getting warm and it is within safety limits as long as it's under 55C. I find that a bit worrying.
Other than that, there really isn’t much not to like. The usual suspects like call quality, 3G signal etc. are pretty much like most modern smartphones- I did not notice anything out of the ordinary. Battery life is also decent on the HTC One X which is surprising as I didn’t think it would last a full day of moderate usage. But it does and I never really ran out of juice by mid day or evening so kudos to HTC as Android devices are generally not known for impressive battery life.
So would I recommend the HTC One X? There really is no one right answer, as is the case with almost any new Smartphone. If you are certain that you want an Android device and want it now then yes, the HTC One X is as good as it gets. If you are willing to wait for a month or so, then rumour mill is suggesting that the follow-up to Samsung’s Galaxy SII is around the corner and I don’t know what specs it would carry or how it would look but it is the follow up to the most successful Android phone ever.
If you’re more of a first time Smartphone buyer and looking at Android as well as iOS then I suggest playing with both. I personally prefer the iOS because it’s more snappy and smooth to operate and has all the apps I can use but the iPhone can be a bit limiting for a power user. Alternatively, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus has fallen quite a bit on the price and offers a pretty amazing experience as well but you won’t get a quad core Tegra, the build quality or a camera that is as good as the HTC One.