The Galaxy S III has been out for more than a month but another top Android smartphone is still holding the fort down real well against the Samsung superphone: the HTC One X. What exactly sets the HTC One X apart from its South Korean fellow top dog? We’ll find out with this HTC One X review roundup.
Design, Build Quality, Feel
This is what I was referring to when I say “that Xtra edge”; it’s the style this phone brings. This superphone sure looks great and feels good to touch and hold. Its design has that inconspicuous sense of style that grows on you more and more as you become accustomed to the phone. This sense of style is one that you feel is timeless and is not one of those things that looks great now but looks dreadful a year or so in the future.
The design of the HTC One X also makes the phone look smaller than it actually is. Remember that this smartphone has a 4.7-inch touchscreen which is quite large even with the torrent of massive-screened phones today. Couple this with great build quality and the phone screams “premium” at you quietly when you hold it.
Just about every other HTC One X review also agrees with this.
“If a phone were judged by its physical design and materials alone, the One X would’ve been an instant winner before I ever even turned it on. It can’t be overstated what a beautiful device this is,” Chris Ziegler says on The Verge’s HTC One X review.
Ziegler goes on to point out that the HTC One X “looks (and feels) as though it’s a culmination of everything HTC has learned over the years about the way consumers handle their phones.”
“It’s just a great-looking phone from top to bottom. It’s a quantum leap beyond any HTC in recent memory,” he adds.
For those wondering if the phone is too large, PC World’s Armando Rodriguez says that it is not. This is also helped by the design of the One X.
In the site’s HTC One X review, he says “The HTC One X is a great-looking phone. The white polycarbonate body makes the phone lightweight without compromising durability, and the 4.7-inch 1280-by-720-resolution Gorilla Glass display should be roomy enough to accommodate even the pudgiest of fingers. Though the phone packs a large screen, it never felt too big to hold, and I had no trouble slipping it in or out of the pocket of my jeans.”
Meanwhile, PCMag’s Jamie Lendino says “It’s very well built, with top-quality plastic around the back and sides with a nicely textured matte finish,” in the publication’s HTC One X review. He did say, however, that he “did miss the gradient anodized aluminum housing on the HTC One S,” the smaller sibling of the One X.
Mashable’s Emily Price on the site’s HTC One X review has a few reservations about the device though. “While white is certainly eye-catching and pretty to look at, over the week I was toting it around it also picked up quite a bit of dirt and grime and started to look pretty dingy on the back,” she says.
“The phone has a unibody design which looks great, but also means you can’t remove or replace the battery,” she adds.
Nathan Olivarez-Giles in Wired’s HTC One X review says that “The One X is a handsome, well-designed phone.”
So impressed was Olivarez-Giles with the HTC One X that he says that “The One X, being a stellar phone, serves as a testament that Android handset makers should go the iPhone route and make fewer phones of higher quality available through multiple carriers.”
Engadget equally admired the phone. Myriam Joire in the publication’s HTC One X review says that “There’s absolutely no doubt that the One X is a masterpiece of an Android device: it obliterates pretty much all of its competitors by giving even the mighty Galaxy Nexus a run for its money.”
“This handset looks and feels stunning, with top-notch materials and build quality, the most gorgeous display we’ve ever stared at on a phone, a fantastic camera that’s fast and easy to use and a laundry list of every possible spec under the sun,” she says. “Pinch us, ’cause frankly, we’re smitten.”
We agree that this is a great-looking phone. Unlike the Galaxy S III which polarizes people with its design, there’s a consensus that the design, build quality and feel of the HTC One X is great. As a top Android smartphone though, it needs more than just looks to compete with the other superphones. We’ll look at the hardware of the HTC One X in the next section.
Hardware and Performance
This HTC One X review roundup is not finished with just the looks department as this HTC smartphone can run with its fellow top dogs in the hardware side. Here we look at the underpinnings of the HTC One X which makes it a very capable superphone.
Processor, Memory and GPU
The HTC One X is equipped with a quad-core 1.5 GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 processor with ULP GeForce graphics processing unit. Although the quad-core Tegra 3 processor and ULP GeForce GPU of the HTC One X is not as fast as the Galaxy S III’s Samsung Exynos 4212 Quad and Mali-400 MP combination, it’s well over enough to deliver great performance for the phone.
“The HTC One X also comes with a Tegra 3 quad core 1.5GHz processor, which to the uninitiated is the next level of mobile power packed into a smartphone. This is backed up by 1GB of RAM, and translates into a superbly slick action under the finger,” writes TechRadar.
“Gaming on the HTC One X is something that we think deserves a special mention as it brings such a new level of realism to a mobile phone,” the site adds. It praises the HTC One X for console-quality graphics on a smartphone.
However, the publication says that “the graphics still look cheap in places, meaning the water will lap over objects and not interact with them – nor will gravity play a proper part in the gameplay,” adding that “the power is clearly there, but there’s a lot of potential left to be exploited when it comes to titles that really push the quad-core power of phones like this.”
“The One X is our first Tegra 3 smartphone to arrive for testing and it doesn’t disappoint. We tried to push the hardware as much as we could and it handled nearly all of our tasks effortlessly. GTA3 loaded effortlessly — and was fast. Even task-switching couldn’t sink the phone, although it does pause to think when you jump between heavier tasks like video and gaming,” Engadget writes.
“Browser performance is a revelation too. We couldn’t spot any tiling issues as we scrolled at high-speed through the front page of Engadget — none — pictures were there before we even got to them,” the publication’s HTC One X review adds.
Wired says that “Performance is blazing-fast, and though the AT&T handset doesn’t pack the Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor found in Europe and Asia’s One X, it doesn’t feel any less capable. The U.S. model is just as good and just as impressive as what HTC is offering overseas.”
The HTC One X also has an LTE version which is equipped with a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 CPU with 1GB in RAM for the U.S.
“The next-gen, 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and 1GB of RAM power the One X to blazing speeds,” PCMag says. “But the Qualcomm chip’s dual core, A15-like Krait on 28 nanometer silicon stacks up nicely next to the Tegra 3’s quad-core A9, 40-nanometer CPU.”
From the first time I saw the phone, I was taken by the gorgeous screen. It’s the best screen I’ve seen on a smartphone, better for me than the Galaxy S III’s display.
Most other tech news sites agree with this.
The Verge writes: “The One X’s display is, without a hint of hyperbole, the best I’ve ever seen on a phone. Full stop. Seriously, I’m struggling to find fault with it in any way: it’s got a near-perfect 180 degree viewing angle and perhaps the most accurate color reproduction and color temperature available.”
“At 720p, it falls well into “retina” territory where the individual pixels become invisible to the naked eye. It also lacks the infamous pentile subpixel arrangement commonly employed on high-resolution AMOLEDs like that found on the One S, and it runs circles around the Galaxy Nexus’s 4.65-inch Super AMOLED for overall quality,” it says.
“It’s gorgeous in every sense of the word, with beautiful color, bright whites, and deep blacks. It’s even unusually resistant to reflections. Typing on the on-screen keyboards is a breeze in both portrait and landscape mode,” PCMag says.
Wired says the HTC One X has “One of the best displays on the market,” in its HTC One X review.
Mashable’s Emily Price says that the screen of the One X “is easily one of the nicest screens I’ve ever seen on a smartphone. The screen displays colors perfectly, and the screen is easy to read from any angle.”
“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,” Engadget says.
As for the camera of the HTC One X, it packs a very quick unit which Engadget says is “the quickest cameraphone we’ve ever reviewed, the 0.7-second startup time and 0.2-second delay between shots beating even the speedy Galaxy Nexus.”
It’s an 8MP unit with autofocus, LED flash, HD image and video synchronized capture, face and smile detection and full HD 1080p (24fps) capture. The phone also has a 1.3MP unit out front for chatting and self-captured portraits.
“On the software side, I believe that the One X’s camera functionality — ImageSense, as HTC calls it — is the best and easiest use of any Android device on the market. In some ways, it runs circles around the benchmark-setting iPhone 4S as well,” The Verge says.
In an unusual criticism, Wired’s Nathan Olivarez-Giles says “The one downside with the camera is that sometimes, I feel like it takes a photo too fast. This, however, isn’t so much HTC’s fault as it is a part of Google’s Android OS, which touts blindingly fast camera performance as a feature.”
“The more I shoot photos with ICS phones, the better I’m getting at capturing the shot I want. But I still find myself shooting a half-dozen photos of the same shot before I find what I’m looking for,” he adds.
Nonetheless, I found the performance of the camera of the One X very satisfactory and I agree with Mashable’s HTC One X review that says that “The camera is one of the places the HTC One X really shines.”
Software (ICS and HTC Sense 4.0)
The HTC One X has Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich straight out of the box. While it is coated with the Taiwanese company’s signature HTC Sense user interface, the latest iteration of HTC Sense 4.0 is a welcome upgrade.
I found that with HTC Sense 4.0, the Sense UI has been toned down quite a bit which is a good thing as the old versions of the HTC UI were heavy at times. This doesn’t mean, however, that HTC Sense 4.0 isn’t a RAM hog, it still is. Furthermore, just like other HTC One X reviews state, HTC Sense 4.0 fails in some areas.
“But there are places where Sense 4.0 simply doesn’t go far enough, or changes stock Android functionality or design simply for the sake of changing it without any tangible benefit,” The Verge says.
“I feel like any failure on the part of an OEM to acknowledge and respect that in the design of their own skin is going to be more painfully evident than ever before,” the publication’s Chris Ziegler adds.
Nonetheless, this exercise is like splitting hairs. If you are more forgiving with your devices, you’ll find that HTC Sense 4.0 is also good.
“It’s fast and easy to use. Combine that with the excellent hardware and you’ve got a handset worthy of being a flagship device for both HTC and AT&T,” Wired says.
“In testing, the One X felt extremely responsive, with none of the occasional stutters and hiccups I’ve experienced with other dual-core Android phones,” PCMag explains.
Since the phone has been out for a few months, issues with it have surfaced since the deluge of HTC One X review articles have flooded us. This HTC One X review roundup won’t be complete – and we’ll be doing you a disservice – if we do not list these issues which have since plagued some HTC One X owners.
One of these issues is Wi-Fi connectivity. With early adopters, the HTC One X suddenly had a significant drop in connectivity via Wi-Fi. It has been reported that the smartphone lost connection or could not connect and stay connected to Wi-Fi networks.
This issue has been confirmed by HTC saying it was a hardware issue. The company has updated its software to fix this but more importantly, it promised that it would look into its manufacturing process to not have this same problem with its future superphones. Consider yourself warned about the HTC One X’s Wi-Fi problem. This problem seems to have been only for Tegra 3 HTC One X units, however, so those LTE Snapdragon S4 units should be safe.
Another problem with the HTC One X is that some users have reported that the smartphone will lose accuracy and responsiveness while plugged in and charging. Nonetheless, HTC has issued a software fix for this so an update should cure your unit if it has this problem.
The HTC One X will also burn through its 1,800mAH battery fairly quickly especially if you’re a power user. Blame the One X’s stunning display and powerful processor for this but a bug with the phones operating system – particularly how HTC configured it – was also pinpointed as the cause of this. It seems HTC managed to mess up placing one file in another folder for Android so the phone did not manage power all too well.
The HTC One X can also become quite hot when used heavily for extended periods. Be sure to not overheat the phone as it may hurt you or your wallet if ever you would be one of those rare unlucky owners who have their phones burn on them.
Months after its release, the HTC One X remains as one of the top Android phones on the market. HTC has done a great job here with outstanding design in a phone that has powerful hardware and features to boot.
I cannot stress enough that the HTC One X is one of the best-looking phones I have ever handled. Its screen also stands out from the crowd and HTC should be proud of their creation here if for that alone.
The smartphone has its problems though as we mentioned above. Certainly, HTC has some few things to learn and polish especially for its future smartphones not to have these issues. However, the fact remains that the HTC One X is a solid phone that’s well worth the money you will pay for it if you decide to make it your own.
Speaking of money, getting the HTC One X over the Samsung Galaxy S III will net you a sizable sum as it is more affordable than the Samsung-made smartphone. Nonetheless, reading this HTC One X review roundup is just half the journey in deciding whether to buy this phone. Aside from reading an HTC One X review, you should also go out and try one for yourself to decide for certain whether this is the right phone for you.