The HTC One X Review
We’ve taken our time with this review to make sure we give the phone the review it deserves.
HTC changed track this year, focusing on a few ‘hero’ phones as opposed to, what could almost be considered, too many phones / variations of the past couple of years.
First out of the gate, we have the flagship phone and the worlds first commercially available Quad Core phone, the HTC One X.
Lets not beat around the bush here, this is an epic phone and anyone should be proud to own!
Some may think this phone is too big and well, for some, it may well prove to be. It’s pretty much the same size as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, so if you’ve used / held that, then you’ve an idea of the size. Moving around the phone, on the left side, you’ve got the MHL Enabled Micro USB Port. On the top, we’ve got the Micro SIM slot (yes, it takes micro sim, so make sure you’ve one ready to go), next to that, is the power / screen lock button. The only other thing on the top is the noise cancelling microphone / stereo mic for video recording.
On the right, you’ve for the volume rocker and on the bottom, nothing but the Microphone.
There is no user replaceable battery or memory card, but it comes with 32gb of on board memory and a massive 1800mAh battery. This is becoming more and more common practice, so get used of it folks! On top of the inbuilt 32gb, HTC has done a deal with Dropbox where you get a further 25gb of Cloud Storage for the next 2 years! Dropbox is awesome, so that’s a great thing! There is also an NFC chip in there somewhere as well.
The phone is made of a solid piece of polycarbonate plastic. I know what you’re thinking, Plastic, really? But yeah, its a good choice in a high end phone of this size. It keeps the weight down. It’s structurally sound (the phone feels very solid in the hand) and it allows all the various mobile radios to communicate without interference from a metal chassis. A bonus is that it’s the same colour throughout so that if you were to scratch it, its much less noticeable.
The front of the phone is dominated by a massive Gorilla Glass Coated 4.7inch Super LCD 2 HD panel. It’s got full 720p resolution, with it clocking a resolution of 1280*720. This should be the standard going forward for high end phones. The screen is AMAZING. It’s clear, vivid, nice deep blacks and pin sharp. It’s just stunning and anyone who sees it agrees!
I’m going to cover this separately as it deserves it. I think gone is the race to have more and more megapixels in your camera (please, someone tell nokia this!), now it’s all down to the quality of what those pixels can produce. It’s all good an well have a crazy amount of MP’s on a phone, but if the phone can’t process them properly, then the pictures are going to look rubbish. Luckily though, that isn’t the case here. The HTC One X is packing a nice 8mp Camera. But HTC have upped the game in several areas of the camera. First off, they’ve given a wider aperture, coming in at f2.0, which should, and does, allow for much more light into the sensor. The Sensor its self, is a nice Back Side Illuminated (BSI) sensor that soaks up all the light that hits it very nicely and works very well in low light conditions. Finally, in it’s 1,2,3 blow to it’s competitors, HTC have included what it’s calling the ‘Image Sense’ processor. This is a separate piece of silicone that processes the RAW photo images before compressing them. This has a number of effects –
- the images output are much better
- it processes them much quicker – from lock screen to first photo in under a second
- it allows some crazy cool new features like a very impressive Burst mode where the camera takes 4 frames, at full resolution, pre second, up to 99 frames. This is done by just holding on the shutter button on screen. The phone will then either save them all, or give you what it this is the best of the bunch!
- When shooting video, you can take photos as well! At the same time! (actually, HTC have even allowed you to take photos of a recorded video should you have missed it first time round!)
HTC have positioned the onscreen controls very nicely. You can instantly see that you can record video, or take photos (or both). There’s no more fiddling around looking for the video setting. HTC have also included a bunch of photo filters that you can apply to the video as well, as it’s recording (not after the fact like some popular apps out there!)
So, do I like the camera? Yeah, I do. Its amazing. Check out the images i took in HDR mode below. They are just stunning! And the details is awesome!
Oh, HTC have also updated their LED Flash. It now has 5 stages of brightness! What does this mean, well, in short, the camera detects how close something is to it, and only lights the flash enough to light the subject, so no more photos that have been blown out by the LED Flash! (NOTE: This is the same camera that is featured in the HTC One S as well!)
The HTC One X comes running Android ICS 4.0.3, which is nice. ICS is hands down the best mobile operating system on the market today and it’s great to see that HTC is shipping their current phones (and updating a bunch of the older ones) to ICS. There are some nice new features present – The notification system where you can swipe notifications off the screen when you’re done with them. The menus have all be reworked to make them far more user friendly and the Multi-Tasking system is much, much better.
It’s just a better, more user friendly experience, but that’s not to say that HTC haven’t tweaked it. On the One X we have HTC Sense 4.0. HTC have learned from past mistakes and stripped a lot of the excess that was bloating the OS and slowing their phones. Sense 4 is a nice, fresh, and minimal skin on top of the stock ICS system. Their social integration is second to none (and miles ahead of the stock android experience – dam Google / Facebook / Twitter not getting on! ). Basically, if you’ve used HTC Sense in the past and liked it, you’ll love this. If you’ve use HTC Sense in the past and didn’t like it, I think you should give it a second look now with Sense 4.0. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Obviously, the HTC One X has Beats integrated into the system, though thankfully it’s more fully in there than on the likes of the Sensation XE. All apps can now use the Beats Profiles and you can select what sort of Headphones you have (Select from the Various Beats that are available, or from a more generic model). The audio, as always with HTC Phones, is very good, no complaints there. The speaker is much improved from that on the Sensation / XE and now produces a good bit of umph!
All this is kept flying along thanks to the Nvidia Tegra 3. The One X is packing the 4+1 Quad Core clocked at 1.5ghz with 1gb of RAM. That ‘+1’ is key here. While the Quad cores are power houses and consume anything you an throw at them, when the phone is just sitting in your pocked or doing nice simple tasks, the lower powered ‘+1’ extra core takes care of business and keeps the battery life in check.
Speaking of Battery life, there’s been alot of talk online about this and well, some of it true, some of it not. We’ve been using the One X for about 2 weeks now, so we feel we can give a good, honest, opinion on it. To a normal user, the One X will have no problems getting you through a full day. When it’s doing normal tasks or just stilling in your pocket, its scary how little power it uses. The graph just seems to stay level. BUT, if you’re playing those fancy games from the Tegra Zone, or pushing the camera to it’s limits, then you will see an increased battery drain as the 4 core and the screen consume a bit extra power. This really can be said of any phone, but because this is the flagship phone and the first commercial phone with the Tegra 3, it’s drawn particular attention. So honestly, if you have a phone at the moment, and charge it every day, then this will be the exact same. If you’re especially frugal with the power, you could even possibly get 2 days out of it!
That’s all that’s to be said on the battery front. We’ve not had any issues with it that weren’t self inflicted (i.e. When we got it, we might have been playing games ALOT and showing off HD Video to some friends, and that consumed more battery than normal daily usage!)
This is the flagship phone we’ve always wanted HTC to produce. It hasn’t stalled or stuttered once no matter what we’ve thrown at it. The Camera is, in our opinion, the single best camera in a mobile device and is pretty close to rivaling many dedicated point and shoot cameras out there. The Screen is the best screen on a mobile device, bar none (suck it iPhone 4s). While it’s a little on the large size for some people, it’s quite easily adapted to)
Basically, if you want the best phone on the market, it has to be the HTC One X. If you want the best phone on the market that’s a little more hand friendly, then the HTC One S is your only choice there (One S review here)
The HTC One X is available on all Irish networks now. Here’s the links to the various operators offers: