Review: HTC One X
If you like Android, the HTC One X is the phone you should lust after. It’s packed with features, has extremely powerful hardware, and is beautiful to behold.
Siobhan Keogh | Wednesday, May 09 2012
Product type: Smartphone
RRP incl GST: $999
- Quad-core processor
- 4.7-inch 720 x 1280-pixel display
- Low energy core for power saving
- Beats Audio technology
The HTC One X is damn near perfect.
If you like Android, the HTC One X is the phone you should lust after. It’s packed with features, has extremely powerful hardware, and is beautiful to behold. It is truly the best Android phone on the New Zealand market.
We hadn’t received a review device of the Samsung Galaxy S III as of writing, so I may have to revise my position soon. But for the moment, the One X is the only quad-core, Android 4.0-running phone available in New Zealand, and it’s fast. Really fast. We used the AnTuTu Benchmark app – available free of charge on Google Play – and the only Android devices that could best the One X were the Galaxy S III and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime. It performed flawlessly when running games, browsing the web, taking pictures, and just about every other real-world task you can think of.
Despite sporting a large, 4.7-inch screen, the One X doesn’t feel chunky, and slid into the small pocket of my jeans without issue. This is due to the fact that the body is slim, at less than 9mm, and lightweight at 130g. The bezel around the screen has also been slimmed down compared to the HTC Sensation XL, which also had a 4.7-inch screen, so the width of the phone is reduced.
The screen has a 720 x 1280 resolution and bright, vibrant colours, which makes pictures and games look great. Reading on the phone is also easy, as the text is smoothed and unpixelated. The size of the screen is helpful when typing text messages or emails, as the size of the keyboard has been increased for those with large or clumsy thumbs.
The One X’s body is made of polycarbonate plastic, like the Nokia Lumia 800, and it also features Gorilla Glass. As such, the whole body is resistant to scratches and bumps. In fact, when I accidentally left the phone in the same pocket as my keys, I marked up the back of the One X quite a lot and was a bit worried about what HTC would think on its return. However, all the scratches came off with a quick swipe of a wet cloth.
The lock button on the top of the device is made of plastic, and sticks out a millimetre or two. Believe it or not, this could be a good thing - the HTC Sensation XL’s indented button has already begun to break on me after only a few months of use. HTC have also borrowed the iPhone’s tactic of not letting you take the cover off the phone this time - instead, to insert your SIM, you’ll have to use a something sharp and narrow, like a needle, to pop open the SIM slot.
The one big problem with the One X’s body is the fact that the camera lens sticks out at least a couple of millimetres from the rest of the device. As such, the first sign of wear and tear – aside from fingerprints all over the screen, of course – was when I noticed an indent on the metal ring around the camera lens. The lens itself is protected by this metal ring, so it’s unlikely to be damaged, but the big circle jutting out does ruin the One X’s good looks somewhat.
Despite my misgivings about the camera’s position, it works like a charm. It’s an 8MP sensor, and the first one from HTC I’ve seen that hasn’t suffered from a huge amount of motion blur. HTC’s overlay, HTC Sense, gives the camera a sweet new ‘best photo’ feature, too. You can take a series of shots in quick succession by holding down the camera button, then pick the best one and the phone will delete the others. It’s particularly useful for capturing moving subjects at the perfect moment – like someone crossing the finish line in a race, for example.
The One X can record video in 1080p at 30 frames per second, which makes for a smooth if not stellar video experience. On top of that, you can take photos while video is recording with a click of the camera button. That said, those photos won’t be at the full 8MP resolution – they’re downgraded to 5MP.
One thing that concerns people with quad-core phones is the generally poor battery life. Many manufacturers have upgraded smartphone processors to quad-core without increasing the battery capacity to cope with the extra power usage. The One X has an extra CPU core specifically for power saving, however, so when you’re doing low-power tasks the phone essentially turns off quad-core and switches to using that fifth, separate core. That includes when the phone is in standby mode, or when it’s playing music with the screen turned off. As such, the standby battery life is awesome, but web browsing for an hour is going to drain the battery relatively quickly. With normal usage, though – web browsing during my morning commute, taking phone calls, checking Facebook – I got at least a day out of the battery, often more. Some other reviewers have had more issues with battery life – I’m not sure whether some models are faulty, or whether I have a different idea of what constitutes ‘real world use’.
The One X boasts Beats by Dr. Dre technology to boost audio quality, but honestly, aside from the Beats logo making your phone look trendy, I’m not sure the sound quality is all that far above average. I used a set of Sennheiser headphones with a wide frequency response, and while the bass might be better than your average phone, the difference really seemed negligible. I’ve also heard that audio can be buggy when Beats is enabled for long periods, but wasn’t able to replicate the issue on our review model. If you have an issue, you can easily disable Beats.
If you’re looking for a high-end Android device, you should look no further than the One X. Even though it has a couple of niggling issues, it’s easily the best Droid out as I write this. It’s fast, powerful and stylish – can’t ask for much more than that.
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