HTC One X Review: This Is The One (X)
After much pleading with HTC’s security staff (and promising not to break into HTC HQ ever again) the Taiwanese techlords relented and gave us a full final version of the One X. And what a treat it is too. Read on to find about the extra stuff we learned from having it in our possession for a bit longer. (They’re the bits in italics.)
The chaps at HTC have been quiet of late. Fair enough, they managed to fire out a couple of top notch handsets complete with Beats Audio last year in the form of the Sensations XE and XL, and there was of course the Evo 3D with the visual performance “Wows!” it offered, but other than that, there’s been a distinct lack of activity from the Taiwanese techlords.
It’s this downtime that made us think that they must be up to something (well, that and the continual leaks about the HTC Ville and quad-core behemoth HTC Endeavor). So, being the intrepid mobile sleuths that we are, a stealthy trip to HTC HQ (try saying that after a few shandies) was organised in order to find out exactly what they’re up to. Turns out it was quite a lot as it happens, and that quad-core device whipping the tech blogs into a speculation-fuelled frenzy does actually exist, but getting our phone-hungry mitts on it would be quite a challenge …
- 1.5 GHz quad-core processor
- 4.7-inch 1280×720 resolution display
- 8 MP camera
- Beats Audio as standard
- Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS
- HTC Sense 4.0
Design & Hardware
Now the device we managed to get our hands on wasn’t a final version, but we were reliably informed that the form factor and materials used in the outer casing are the same ones that it’d launch with, and thankfully, they were. That means that the fast-becoming iconic HTC unibody design makes a welcome return, only this time, the casing is made from an ultra-glossy white plastic as opposed to the aluminium efforts which showed up on the likes of the HTC Sensation XE and XL.
As you’ll be able to see from our exclsuive snaps, a 4.7-inch 720p display sits proudly on the front fascia and glistens like an iced over lake on a crisp winter’s morning. Unlike a frosty expanse of water, the screen provides quite an impressive viewing experience and the visuals it knocks out are crisp and vibrant. At the foot of that sit three touch sensitive nav buttons, which is quite surprising really as we’d have thought that HTC would have gone with the software keys made capable by Ice Cream Sandwich (as exhibited by the Samsung Galaxy Nexus). That said, you can’t go wrong with semi-tactile buttons, and besides, if they’d got shot of them, it’d spoil that instantly recognisable HTC look.
There’s an 8 megapixel camera on the back with a flash and it’s capable of shooting in ‘proper’ HD (more about this later) but perhaps most impressively, the One X is powered along by a hefty 1.5GHz quad-core processor, meaning that there’s not even the slightest whiff of stutter or lag and streaming video, gaming and multitasking is faultless. And that was on a prototype, so just imagine how swift the final version will be.
Perhaps the thing that most had us doing a merry dance of happiness about the One X was the performance knocked out by that screen. Yes, it’s massive an shiny, but that never feels intrusive and having done a bit more than arbitrarily opening apps and tapping at games (such as viewing fictional phone-reviewing character Dean Quinn playing with the device in a video), it’s sharpness and clarity made itself known.
Software & Multimedia
Unlike quite a few smartphones recently released by the top manufacturers, Android Ice Cream Sandwich features as the operating system. Yay! That means that there’s been a bit of an overhaul of how the insides both look and work so you can now do stuff like easily close down applications by swiping them off the side of the screen. There’s also a new version of HTC Sense to whet your appetite and this has seen the addition of a couple more themes and those swish widgets we liked so much about it in the first place.
Alongside that quad-core CPU is 1GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage, and although there’s no SD card slot for memory expansion, you do get 25GB of cloud storage courtesy of Dropbox. Just as well really because the impressive camera chops include a load of cool shoot modes and something called dual-capture – which allows you to take a snapshot whilst recording video without toggling between the two functions – so you’ll forever be snapping away.
Beats Audio comes as standard on HTC kit these days, so you’ll always have studio-quality sound whatever it is that your listening to, including YouTube vids and downloaded movies as well as your tunes. And whilst we didn’t get to test out the One X’s connectivity prowess, it is pleasing to hear that alongside the usual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is NFC3, DLNA and wireless HDMI which, when used with HTC Wireless HDMI Unit, lets you magically stream digital content to similarly enabled devices. Nice.
Another element that jumped out at us following our longer stint fiddling with the handset was the sheer speed of the thing. We sort of guessed that the One X would be a flighty little(ish) blighter owing to the quad-core processor tucked beneath the smooth white polycarbonate shell, and the fact that the dev version was blimmin’ fast (and that was supposedly not the finished product too). Gaming was responsive (standard Fruit Ninja testing) and there were no blips whatsoever when opening app, after app, after app. No slowing this one down, no matter what you ask it to do.
If you’ve watched the video accompanying this here review, you’ll have seen us testing out the camera and its many shoot modes. These really do add to the overall photography experience offered and we were particularly enamoured with the burst mode and dual-capture options.
Performance & First Impressions
It wouldn’t be fair to pass judgement on the One X without putting it through our stringent testing procedure (which generally comprises of playing with it for days on end). However, the snatched hours spent in its company were more than enough to get us salivating at the prospect of a final version rocking up at P4u Towers, especially since it’ll provide us with the opportunity to put the awesome camera through its paces and see if that quad-core business justifies the hype. So keep checking back for a full review.
After a whole two days in the company of the One X we can safely say that it is all it’s cracked up to be. The battery life is a tad disappointing, needing a charge before even the day was out, however, that was after giving it a rigorous testing and using the camera as if it was going out of fashion. All in all, the One X is one to look out for.