Six months is a long time as a flagship, and so HTC‘s top-end device goes in for a fettle and comes out as the HTC One X+, replete with a new processor and bigger battery. Now running NVIDIA’s 1.7GHz Tegra 3 AP37 quadcore – for up to a 67-percent performance boost, HTC claims – and packing a 2,100 mAh battery for up to 6hrs more talktime, the One X+ keeps the aesthetic of its predecessor (which will, in fact, stay on sale alongside it as a more affordable option) but dresses it in a matte black finish with red touches and a new Beats Audio logo.
32GB and 64GB models will be offered – you’ll need to step down to the One X if you want 16GB – and there’s still no microSD slot. The main camera is the same 8-megapixel, f/2.0 affair, but the front-facing camera gets a 1.6-megapixel upgrade and can now access the HTC Image Chip processing for better quality vanity shots. The camera app itself is tweaked, with a new countdown for photos with the front-facer, along with a display of how many stills and how much video you can still shoot; the Gallery app pulls in shots not only from the phone itself but from Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, and Dropbox.
Beats Audio now uses NFC to easily pair with compatible Beats speakers, but if you’re relying on the One X+’s internal speaker to entertain yourself, there’s a new feedback amplifier which constantly monitors and adjusts the audio so that it’s as loud as possible but without distortion. Unfortunately it doesn’t get the headphone jack amp of the Windows Phone 8X by HTC, though the power has been boosted from 0.5V to 1.5V, to drive beefier headphones.
Jelly Bean does Android duty, complete with HTC Sense 4+ with a newly resurrected version of Sense Online. That allows you to create an online account and preconfigure your One X+, including which apps you want, how you want the homescreen to look, and where widgets should be. When you log into the same account on the phone itself, it will automatically configure itself to match.
Sadly there’s no reverse sync – you can’t backup your current phone layout, for instance, only restore it to the original – but HTC tells us the online component is still very much a work-in-progress and in the early stages at that.
HTC Watch 2 comes preloaded, now offering not only content to rent and buy, but shortcuts to YouTube, ESPN, and other video providers. If you have an HTC MediaLink HD, you can use the three-finger up-swipe gesture to flick playback to your TV; if the app supports the MediaLink SDK – and HTC says it’s in talks with several developers to make sure they do add such support – you’ll be able to continue to use the phone for other things, such as checking email, while playback continues on the big screen.
The One X+ is also PlayStation Certified, though Sony’s app won’t be preloaded on the handset. Eventually, though, you’ll be able to play Sony games on the HTC.
Europe and Asia will get a UMTS/HSPA+ One X+ from October, with South Asia following on in November. There’ll be an LTE version for North America, though timing is yet to be confirmed.