HTC ONE X Review

April 2, 2012
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2011 was not HTC's year. Despite what appeared to be a strong start at Mobile World Congress in February 2011, by the tail-end of the year HTC had seen its device sales slump and rivals like Samsung steal its innovation crown, no small shock for the company which had long been known as the Android backbone. 2012, then, sees HTC become the challenger again, and the HTC One X is the powerhouse of that attack. Packing a quadcore Tegra 3 chipset in European form, it's a big, fast answer to those who said HTC had let specifications slip. Question is, does the One X do enough to leave HTC in a solid position ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S III and the iPhone 5?

Hardware

HTC has pulled out the stops with the One X, and it's a cohesive and appealing design. A combination of lightweight polycarbonate and Gorilla Glass combine - with some neat curves and join-line detailing - to make a phone that belies the scale of its display. HTC still manages to fit in an 8-megapixel main camera, a 1.3-megapixel front camera, and docking connectors for an optional cradle, along with the 4.7-inch 1280 x 720 Super LCD screen. The HTC One X addressed major complaints with pretty much the majority of HTC's industrial design of their handsets over the past couple of years.

That screen is bright and clear, and ideal for multimedia playback. Colors are clean though don't show that over-saturated artificial hue we've seen from some AMOLED panels, and the touch layer itself is responsive. Opting for plastic rather than metal has an impact on hand-feel but it's worth it: one of our big criticisms of 2011 HTC flagships was that they felt heavy and cumbersome, something we can't say of the One X.

Inside, in European form at least, is NVIDIA's 4+1 core Tegra 3 chipset along with 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. There's no access to the battery and no way to add extra memory; instead you get a pop-out microSIM tray and a free two-year 25GB DropBox account that's integrated with the various apps on the One X. Connectivity rises to quadband WCDMA/HSPA+ (850/900/1900//2100) but no LTE; for that we'll have to wait for AT&T's version, due later this year, which adds in 4G but uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core chipset rather than the NVIDIA quadcore of its Euro counterpart.

Otherwise it's a roll-call of the latest and greatest: WiFi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 complete with support for the aptX high-quality streaming stereo audio profile, DLNA and MHL-HDMI for wireless or wired HD video output (with the correct adapter, not included), a 3.5 headphones jack with Beats Audio, and NFC. The latter is currently used primarily for Android Beam, useful for firing across webpages and the like between the One X and the Galaxy Nexus, though at some point Google Wallet may make an appearance.

Finally there's the expected digital compass, g-sensor, GPS, proximity and light sensors, and gyroscope. HTC throws a compact AC adapter, a set of headphones and a USB to microUSB cable in the box with the One X.

Software and Performance

Until now, HTC devices have run on Android 2.3 Gingerbread; in fact it's only been within recent weeks that Ice Cream Sandwich has been pushed to existing users. The One Series - of which the One X is the flagship - changes all that, launching with Android 4.0 as standard, complete with HTC Sense 4.0.

The usual suite of Android apps - Gmail, the freshly renamed Play Market, Google Talk, etc. - are onboard, and HTC adds in its own Music Hub with shortcuts to TuneIn radio, local tracks and more. We were never much fans of Sense because it felt like it bogged down the system, hindering performance and chewing away precious battery life, but 4.0 changes things for the better.

HTC's custom interface started out as a desperate reskin of Windows Mobile, evolved to rub the rough edges off of early Android iterations, and gradually became a bloated, over-designed UI and app suite in more recent phones. Much of that has seen turnaround in v4.0, faster and more responsive than before and with a new batch of widgets that, though unmistakably HTC, are also useable enough to make them worth including.

Most of the alterations now seem consciously intended to speed the user-experience, rather than simply change it. Little details, like the ability to shoot photos and video simultaneously, or to quickly snap a freeze-frame during video playback for instance, along with the ease of opening an incognito tab for private browsing, right alongside the regular new-tab button. New calculator widgets pull more useful functionality direct to the homescreen, and the Evernote synchronization with the native Notes app is useful and cleanly integrated.

HTC Sense 4.0 demo

Best of all, this is a fast phone. Tegra 3 has already proved its worth in Android tablets, and the One X is little different. Apps load quickly and multitask with no lag; images open and pinch-zoom smoothly. Full HD video plays - either on the One X's display or via MHL-HDMI output - without jerking.

Camera

HTC's camera on the One X is a group effort: a new 8-megapixel backside-illuminated sensor, paired with F2.0 28mm wide-angle optics and a dedicated imaging processor. There's also a smart LED flash which is meant to adjust its brightness depending on the proximity of the subject, though we struggled to see too much of a difference.

The camera app is streamlined, with simultaneous on-screen controls for taking snapshots and shooting video. It's possible to do both at the same time, too. Up to 1080p HD video can be filmed - 720p from the front camera - with digital image stabilization and optional slow-motion.

Sample 1080p video:

HTC ONE X Sample slow motion videos:

Battery

The 1,800 mAh Li-Ion battery is non-replaceable, HTC following a trend led by its rivals and trading flexibility for benefits in design. HTC managed to slim the One X down to only 8.9mm as a result of its unibody design, but we still managed to get on an average of 7-9 hours of "regular" usage, and peaking at 12-hours and 41 minutes on less busy days.

Standby time is amazing. On a full charge we managed to squeeze out 8-hours of extremely-light usage overnight, waking up with 85-percent left over, and after which we still managed to get another 6-hours of usage. Of course, great battery life has a lot to do with NVIDIA's new Tegra 3 processor, with its 4+1 cores: four primary cores, plus a fifth core that handles low level activities such as push email in the background.

Wrap-Up

There were four key areas the One X needed to excel at, if it was to stand a chance. First there's the in-hand appeal, and the thin, lightweight phone certainly ticks that box. It's closest to "sexy" that an HTC has managed in some years, and yet it still manages to tick box two, great battery life. Pushing over ten hours on a single charge with a lot of usage is no small feat, besting phones with lesser chipsets than the One X offers.

The Tegra 3 ticks the One X's third box: awesome performance and a great user experience. The NVIDIA chipset is fast and capable, and Sense 4.0 returns HTC to its previous software form. Some users will no doubt prefer Ice Cream Sandwich untampered with, but Sense delivers a good balance of user-friendly customization without hampering speed. You may not know the difference between using a dual-core handset versus the One X until you've lived with it for about a week, and then switch back to something like the Galaxy Note, but it's noticeable.

Finally, there's the camera and multimedia, with the 8-megapixel BSI sensor, dedicated imaging chip, Beats Audio and bright, eminently watchable display earning the One X its final tick. That's four serious criteria for success that last year's HTC range failed at. It's too soon to say whether the Galaxy S III and iPhone 5 will prove the One X's undoing, but one thing is for sure: HTC has thrown down the gauntlet with its new flagship, and the One X sets the bar high.

[device id=2318]


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  • dwinsmith

    The Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5 or whatever it will be called will crush this. iOS has proven to be a platform to be reckoned with even if the fandroids don’t like what it has to offer and this doesn’t even one up the GSII so it seems HTC will have another year of slump.

    • Phil

      What negative troll you are!

      The sg2 is miles behind the one x, low res screen, bland design with average build quality, and still running gingerbread when sold. And its not quad core either and has an inferior camera.
      I could go on but rest my case.
      As for the iphone unless u like small screens with icon grids everywhere or just a technophobe u can’t seriously think ios is better than ICS.
      How about congratulating htc delivering the best phone on the market months before the SG3 and iphone5.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeffery-Johnsson/1133433364 Jeffery Johnsson

        Pretty much this.

        I’ve said this before:
        Iphone = Swipe left, swipe right, You’re done. and all you’ve seen are icons.
        HTC = Widgets, icons, and if you want a backround that moves, like water or grass.

  • Jackpeh

    1.3Mpx front facing camera…1800mah battery…which can’t be replaced…..sense UI…

    For a flagship phone to have such deal breaking flaws I don’t have to be a genius to know what’s HTC’s sales result for this year. Who cares about beats audio? Plus the one who wrote the article is openly prasing those flaws so much that they are bordering on sarcasm. For a true blue report of a tech gadget I hereby add this website onto the no-go list.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Dye/575025297 Mike Dye

      A. What kind of vain, loser cares to use the front facing camera for taking pictures.
      B. my skyrocket gets awesome battery life with an 1850 mah battery on LTE.
      C. sense is easily the best of the Manufacturer UI’s out there and scaling it down with 4.0 to use less battery and processor is just that much better. You sir are a complete moron and i hope to never read another post of your ill informed opinions. 

  • http://twitter.com/thetimchannel Tim Fuller

    I enjoy reading about all the new phones that will crush the Iphone since there are precious few stories of devices that will kill the Ipod these days.  The Zune recently committed suicide and nobody even noticed.  Enjoy.

  • TechGuy-Tech

    Sorry but a non removable battery and no card slot rule this out for me. I like my media with me rather than cloud based and often give my phone hard useage for 12 – 14 hours when I can’t recharge or “top it up”. The Samsung Galaxy Note seems a far better bet to me especially with the larger screen, FM radio and Wacom stylus.

  • soni manutd

    if i read correctly, the battery life isnt that great…

  • http://getyourgadgetsgoing.com Tristan Thomas

    I like the the One S more than the One X. Is that bad?

  • Zsantiago79

    When is the release date? I really want this cell phone (HCT X ONE). I have 3 lines with sprint 2 EVO 4G and a 3D EVO(my cell) n they are great cell phones but I can upgrade in May so I really would love to have the HTC ONE X!!!!

  • ChaCha

    I own Sprints EVO 3D and I’m hearing alot about the Amaze and Sensation when the One X is mentioned, I’m curious, why does it seem like the 3D doesn’t get much love. I think it’s an awesome phone, dual core, 1GB, super quick. Don’t get me wrong, I’m after the One X when it hits Sprint, but I’m just curious why the 3D isn’t brought up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Real-Sales/100002504852429 Real Sales

    Brand New, Unlocked, Original,   Full accessories and come with
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     Apple iphone 4s 16gb
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     Huawei Ascend D quad
     Nokia N9

     Htc sensation Xe
     HTC One X

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    for the pricing Do get us via our email:expressphonedelivery@gmail.com
     

  • Mahsoom Moosa42

    damn it…..I should have gotten a One X….had participated in an HTC contest….lost because of my friend.

  • Dan

    Is anyone else really disappointed that there isn’t a 32gb version or, failing that, an microSD expansion slot? Judging by my current memory use for apps, pictures and music 16gb isn’t going to be enough – especially since this phone features HD video recording and a screen suited to watching movies.
    The dropbox isn’t significant since I know of very few train journeys that have complete 3G+ coverage for streaming music from the cloud (not to mention that I’d rather not use my data allowance up so quickly).
    32gb and it’d be a yes, 16gb it’s a definite no.

    • aranab

      What are you talking about? It IS 32GB

      • Dan

        My bad, posted on the wrong tab – I was reading the One S review….pretty sure that one is only 16gb :-/

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Allan-Phillips/668376856 Allan Phillips

        Only 26GB usable.  That’s not enough for me, and the Dropbox “fix” really doesn’t hack it.

  • Exasperated

    Question??? this sounds the same as we were promised on Rezound as soon as last month. I have had nothing but issues with my “Brand New” Rezound. I have had 4 “warranty” replacements since feb 15 2012. ALL have similar issues.Verizon wont actually replace a defective phone they will give you a “certified” used device. if had wanted a used phone i would have bought one and saved over $300.00.tell me how does Htc make these issues right with people who buy they’re products? what guarentees that if i buy this new “one” i wont get the same runaround i got with your rezound

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3QSFISERREJMY6BUVQMY5GTMSY Wallace

    my co-workèr’s mother makes $70 every hoùr on the înternet. She has been without work for 6 moÑths but last month her payment was $21816 just wôrking on the internet for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more LâzýÇãsh5.Çom

  • SLATFSMAT

    Good thing I am on sprint and we get the ugly Evo 4G  LTE 
    why htc…why?

  • http://www.facebook.com/marc.okelly1 Marc OKelly

    Ohh well nothing to amazing here I guess i’ll be sticking with Motorola

  • Mikeadonis

    This really is a beautiful and top notch device. Even though im excited about Sprints EvoLte version of the HTC one, im wondering if we are ever going to see the quad core beast on a US carrier. Does anyone know if the European version is an unlocked cdma device and if I cpuld possibly buy that and have it activated at Sprint?

  • http://www.facebook.com/kenny.liisanantti Kenny Bräckan Liisanantti

    3 words… Asus PadPhone… Revolutionizing… 

  • Webjunky

    have no SD card is a big NONO . Why would you use  dropbox crap it only increases your data with your provider.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Allan-Phillips/668376856 Allan Phillips

    Great battery life? I don’t think so. According to the review, it was fully charged last thing at night, lost 15% by morning, and then lasted another 6 hours of not particularly heavy use, meaning it needed charging by around 2pm.  That’s anything but impressive, especially with a non-replaceable battery.

  • DCM

    Lol, great standby time meant losing 3-4% during night (~8 hours) on my Desire…
    Even on a dual core device great means less than 10% for me and as the S4 chipset crushes Tegra in every aspect I would like to see it’s power draw on 28nm and half the cores.

  • DCM

    Lol, great standby time meant losing 3-4% during night (~8 hours) on my Desire…
    Even on a dual core device great means less than 10% for me and as the S4 chipset crushes Tegra in every aspect I would like to see it’s power draw on 28nm and half the cores.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Danny-Behnk/100000261772505 Danny Behnk

    huh?
    !!!!!!!!!!!!! Where is the http://www.htconeclub.com info? It’s from the source..

  • Anthony Bell

    does it have nfc? the spec list says no but the review says yes

  • HTC One X user

    HTC one X International  is not that bad, despite only having 26GB available memory, but seems that even other phone with a 32GB SD card will only give out 25-27GB availability. But there’s no turning back for me now, and its hardware simply crush any androids that stands in its way, Quad-core processing power is simply smooth and well presented for my first time android phone.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6SHQRZXHMSCMOQY6HII5ZV2Y3I Robbie

    what Esther said I am blown away that a student can profit $5524 in 1 month on the computer. did you see this page LâzýÇãsh5.Çom

  • http://www.facebook.com/rodrigosalfer Rodrigo Salfer

    Hi there. Just received my HTC One X and it’s a really nice phone!
    One thing that really bothers me is the gigantic fonts!
    I have set the font size to “small” in the settings but when I opened up apps like Email or Messaging, the font is still sooo big. I cannot zoom out

    The font size in the email app is too big…Changing the font size in Mail Settings doesn’t do anything at all. This and some other bug definitely should be fixed!

    I think it is a shame that phone of this calibre can’t render HTML e-mail readable…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OYEDBWYSGLPNMWRUKYUVCHA27Y Eugenia

    as Norman responded I’m alarmed that a mother able to earn $6446 in 1 month on the computer. have you read this page LázÿCásh5.Çom

  • Avkalia

    So i m thinking to buy this phone things i want to clear out :- 1] is this phone is better thn iphone 4.
    2] Will this mobile run more thn 2 years

  • flyingb7

    I played with it last week and it is awesome. Mine arrives tomorrow!

  • Ramcard03@Gmail.com

    You know that extra feature on your blender that is useless? HTConeX has about 300 of those. Unless youre a Hacker.

  • Ramcard03@Gmail.com

    Let me rephrase my comment. If I was a Hacker and I knew the in and outs of using someones HTC OneX with Google Play because you’re going to have to deal with that Bitch. I would say it’s the best phone in the world to borrow from its owner who probably wont hve a cloud that AT&T, HTC and Google are using more band with from your phone than you will ever use within the Two year contract that I’m locked in. I’ve been told the phone was new from Costco but when you see that over 75% of the memory is already taken by preexisting Hacked applications that I have been dealing with Day one with this phone. Hence the name of this product. Total nightmare DAY ONE. Have not recieved any supports just regrets from AT&T. and HTC Corp. Any help from Google!? Ah well Googles just a machine… Can you type Bullshit on here? As many times I’ve tride to rate Google with a One Star.. Theres that One again. My email gets suppended. Google is a Hackers dream. no matter what sercurity I place on my phone, Google Play ramps up multiple updates (around 10 of the same updates) then clones other aps to regain control of your Mobil, blue tooth and wifi. Go to your settins and check your apps to see what I am talking about. keep your task bar app close and settings up on your screen. LOCK YOUR CAM , CALLANDER, TASK MANAGER and TWEET FACEBOOK even though Facebook isnt an app. it and many other apps show up for the specific reason to use your phohe as a communication center for HACKERS, VIP customers of the Your phone company, google and HTC.
    Yep. thats right. your paying for this phone so that others can benefit from it.

  • Hacker Victim

    President Obama confirms that a Droid phone’s processes of having the application that we become dependant on in these phones are not turned around onto their Owners as government spying devices, thus keeping with our United States of America amendmant rights as Americans in the very same perspective of a times when these amendmant rights we’re created. Course many who have complained cried foul were jailed, shot or hung. President also states that when a phones is being over_used and not being used in a manner that follows governed laws in our country then that only then our non_SOCIALIST country can take the information from your phone like this Data App chip called HTCone.X. So your Rights to Privacy not Piracy are safe… “Santa Clause Tecnology” (Copy written catch phrase “Santa Clause Technology” created on this blog 6/8/2013. By JTYdesign inc.)

    Because your forced to share your rights of non_disclosure which is another right being stolen by Third party Hackers both Proffessional from the Bill Gate’s Billionare Club. Ages ranging 5 y/o to 28y/o. And amature Hackers, the Police* who compromise your electronics and spy constanty on you and you children.

    * I joke about the Police. Theyve truly been helpfull with my case of being bullied and robbed the very first couple of hours after purchasing an MSN App OS product.