Earlier this year, HTC unveiled its flagship Android phone, the HTC One X. The One X is part of a bigger change at HTC and represents its new focus on the mobile market with its One series. The One is the next step in HTC’s innovative product design and philosophy, and clearly, the One X will be one of the most powerful devices to have come out this year. I got my hands on a One X almost a fortnight ago, and it continues to amaze me. This is an HTC One X review post, and I am going to share my experience with this beast of a phone.
The One series
The One series has three phones under its banner- the HTC One X, the One S and the One V. The One X has two more variants, the North-American version, and the One XL, which sports LTE and a dual-core Snapdragon S4 chipset. With the One Series, HTC has dedicated itself to creating a few awesome devices under one banner instead of pushing out varied devices all year round. Along with this new product lineup, the One also represents HTC’s new philosophy.
The One V is the first phone in the One series, with a 1 GHz processor, a 3.7-inch screen and Android 4.0. The One V sports the looks of the HTC Legend, and is aimed at the entry-level Android-phone market. The next phone, the One S has an aluminum unibody. It is powered by a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and has a 4.3-inch qHD (960 x 540) display. The One X is the flagship device in the One series and it a set of killer features leading up to pure awesomeness.
The One X boasts of a gigantic 4.7-inch 720p HD display with a 1.5 GHz quad-core NVidia Tegra 3 SoC infernal machine running inside it. The device is codenamed Endeavor, and was carrying that name until February, when HTC dropped the Endeavor moniker and branded it as the One X. At 5.3-inches long and 2.7-inches wide, the phone will seem gigantic in your hand on first use. The all-new HTC Sense 4.0 is a step away from the disappointing earlier version 3.6 and the visual improvements will bring smiles to the faces of HTC fans like me.
The One X is available in grey and white versions. I went for the white version because it looks classy, with the black screen augmenting the elegance. This phone is feature packed all throughout and every nook and corner screams “attention to detail”. Let us take an in-depth look at what the One X has to offer.
On the inside
The HTC One X (international version) sports a 4-PLUS-1™ NVidia Tegra 3 SoC with a quad-core processor running at 1.5 GHz and a fifth companion core running at 500 MHz The companion core offers promising battery-saver features and executes background tasks requiring low power. This lets the primary 1.5 GHz quad-core take a backseat and extends your battery life. Apart from that, the 4-PLUS-1™ also handles touch events with NVidia Direct Touch, and controls your screen brightness with the NVIDIA PRISM display technology.
Accompanying the killer SoC on the One X is a 1 GHz DDR3 RAM that keeps your phone running smoothly. The One X offers 32 GB of storage, and the GPU on the One X is an NVidia GeForce ULP. All in all, the 4-PLUS-1™ tied with the other hardware components creates a super powerhouse inside the One X.
Pros: Tegra-3 optimized games will run better than other phones.
Cons: Does not perform as good as the Dual Core Snapdragon S4.
The HTC One X comes with all the regular accessories like a USB data cable which doubles up as a charging cable when attached to the AC adapter. The adapter is extremely compact and handy. However, HTC really should have provided Beats Audio earphones to complement the beats audio sound enhancement on the handset. Nonetheless, those HTC earphones shipped with the One X are good enough.
Pros: Compact charger
Cons: Earphones could have been better
Look and feel
The One X sports kickass looks, which is bound to give you geekgasms. I own the white version of the One X and its minimalist design gives subtle hints of elegance all throughout.
The One X has a polycarbonate unibody, which gives it a higher durability than other plastic phone-bodies. Moreover, the polycarbonate body on the One X sports a matte finish that takes care of slippery hands and scratches, though compromising on glossy looks. Nonetheless, the phone has a glossy finish along the sides, allowing for a comfortable grip. The One X might seem a bit oversized on first use, but it will not take you long to get used to it.
The unibody of the One X is curved like on the Galaxy Nexus. The curved edges coupled with the sleek chassis makes the One X a droolworthy piece of gadgetry. This phone surely has an aura of elegance about it, and you will love to flaunt it anytime. However, be careful with the camera, as it bulges out from the back and glass on the camera cover is not Gorilla glass or anything. There have been reports of the camera glass catching scratches, so it is wise to place the phone on a perfectly even surface, or over a piece of cloth.
On the front, the One X uses (arguably) Corning Gorilla Glass 2, which is thinner than the original Gorilla Glass and offers the same level of fortification. The overflowing sides on the glass add to the brilliance of the overall design, and this phone is sure to turns some heads every time you bring it out of your pocket.
However, as seen in this drop test, the Corning Gorilla Glass 2 is not impact-resistant, just scratch-resistant. So, make sure your phone never falls, at least not face-down.
Nonetheless, this hammer test proves that you are getting more than what you bargained for anyway, because the Gorilla Glass is surely scratch resistant but not supposed to do this.
The One X comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and does away with the nuances of hardware buttons. The power button is placed at the usual location i.e. at the top, the volume rocker is on the right and the micro-USB port is on the left. The One X has a micro-sim card slot, which opens with a push-pin. The microphone is well placed at the bottom, and there is a 3.5 mm earphone plug placed conveniently at the top.
It is worth noting that this phone is better suited for two-handed operations, or you run the risk of dropping the phone trying your one-handed ninja skills.
Pros: Elegant and sleek design
Cons: Dirt and dust friendly
Android 4.0 and Sense UI
Like any (most) phone in 2012, the One X comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The One X has capacitive buttons for home, back and running tasks keys, instead of dedicated hardware buttons. Android 4.0 has its own awesome features like better multitasking, better notifications and improved lockscreen controls. HTC has taken extra care not to compromise the usability of any of these features with its Sense UI, and has done a good job at improving most of them.
Sense UI on the HTC One X is at version 4.0 and it enhances the usability of the phone. HTC Sense allows up to seven homescreens and allows both stock Android and Sense UI widgets on them. Sense UI has its own app drawer with customizable tabs, and a custom running-tasks menu with a carousel display instead of the list display on stock ICS. The lockscreen too is modified on HTC Sense 4.0, with quick access buttons for common tasks.
HTC’s HD media streaming facility is tied to HTC Sense, and is enabled with a three-finger swipe gesture. Overall, HTC has done an appreciable job with Sense UI, though I would prefer the stock Settings app and running-tasks menu.
Pros: Good app drawer, lockscreen controls and widget selection menu
Cons: Lags at times
The HTC One X has a 720p HD display, and has a display resolution of 1280×720 pixels, spread over a 4.7-inch screen. This gives the One X a pixel density of 312 pixels per inch. Comparatively, the Galaxy Nexus has 316 ppi, Galaxy S3 has 306 ppi and the iPhone 4S Retina Display has 330 ppi. Eventually, those numbers translate into better looking realistic pictures and videos on your phone.
The Corning Gorilla Glass 2 is extremely thin, and this lessens the space between the actual display and the glass surface, creating a livelier image. The HTC One X is characterized by a Super LCD2 screen, which offers a glare free display with a wide 180 degree viewing angles. The phone is good enough for outdoor usage under bright sunlight and the display does not feel washed out like AMOLED displays.
The display on the one X is too good to be true and the color and temperature reproductions are the most accurate I have ever seen on a phone.
The HTC One X has an 8-megapixel camera at the back and a 1.3 megapixel camera at the front. The camera on the One X truly matches its marketing tagline.
“Amazing camera, Authentic Sound, Iconic Design.”
What would you look for in a phone camera? Image quality, finer shooting controls and good focusing? HTC one X delivers all these, with amazing accuracy. The ImageSense camera application developed as part of HTC’s Sense UI 4.0 package packs a punch into the camera on the One X. With ImageSense, the One X takes amazing pictures, and the image quality is only augmented by the marvelous HD display.
The One X BSI CMOS sensor allows more unobstructed light into the camera’s sensor, thereby reducing noise and making for better shots under dark conditions. The One X camera also sports continuous HD 1080p@24fps video recording and simultaneous video and image capture, all courtesy of HTC’s ImageSense software and the dedicated ImageChip.
The One X has a really fast shutter, which clicks in 0.7 seconds and auto-focuses in 0.2 seconds, all courtesy of a special hardware. The camera on the One X is powered by a dedicated Image Signal Processor (ISP) chip called ImageChip, which is separate from the CPU or the GPU. This chip handles everything camera, including lens correction, automatic white balance, focusing and image processing.
The lens on the One X is a 28mm lens with an f/2.0 aperture. Focusing is extremely accurate on the One X and can be done in between video captures as well. Though, the most appreciable thing about the camera is quick access to most effects and features. None of the settings is buried deep down in some menu so that by the time you are ready with your camera, the moment is past.
Another impressive feature on the One X is slo-mo video capture. This mode captures 480p videos at 768×432 and 60 fps, which is played back at 24 fps. The videos are definitely not of the professional BBC documentary quality, but hey, it is something new!
All in all, the One X offers a really good camera at daylight conditions (for a camera phone), but messes up the colors at night. However, this is true for most camera phones and professional photographers do not have any plans of replacing their cameras with phones any day.
Music and sound quality
The One X touts a Beats Audio sound enhancement, which starts by enhances the bass, but there is more to it. It is worth mentioning that the sound remains distortion free at high volume, thereby giving it the feel of a studio sound. Moreover, the Beats Audio enhancement is available to other applications on the One X too, and not just the stock music player. Beats Audio surely improves sound on the One X, but a better earphone will go a long way towards truly appreciating Beats Audio. The One X comes with a run-of-the-mill earphone, which has nothing spectacular to offer, but it does a decent job nonetheless.
The built-in speakers are placed properly at the bottom near the curved back-surface. However, the speaker has a very low gain, making maximum volume on this phone quite inaudible (say when you are sitting under a fast running fan).
Pros: Richer sound, better bass
Cons: Needs better earphones and speakers
Call quality and radio performance
Whether it is about voice calls or pairing with other devices, the One X always has something to offer. This phone has a secondary microphone beside the 3.5mm plug that is used for noise cancellation thereby improving in-call voice clarity. Voice quality on calls is good enough, and mobile connectivity is fairly good too. The One X has good 3G data connectivity and Wi-Fi capabilities. It can handle data connections up to 21.1 Mbps.
Pros: Noise cancellation, good mobile data performance
Cons: Poor signals in some areas
Thanks to all the optimizations, the dedicated chip for the camera and the companion core for running background processes, the One X has a respectable battery life. The 1800mA battery is not sufficient for running the powerhouse that the One X is, but it lasts half a day with intermittent Wi-Fi and 3G mobile browsing all day and 3-4 hours of music playback. HD video playback and games are battery hogs, and HD video playback lasts for around four hours before the battery runs out completely.
I faced a weird heating problem with the One X, especially around the camera. This was caused when I left the camera app running in the background, and kept the phone on charge. The problem went away after I rooted the phone, but I never found a solution to it. From what it seems, this is a known issue and HTC released an Android update for this issue.
Pros: Lasts longer than expected
Cons: Battery should have been of a higher capacity
Mods and dev-support [for rooted devices only]
HTC released the source code for the One X kernel on May 6. Developers have always had a soft corner for HTC devices because of their simple architecture and ease of hacking. XDA and MoDaCo are the two pioneer forums for all things Android and both of them have booming HTC One X sections for both the International and the LTE versions.
Currently, I am running the Android Revolution HD ROM with a customized kernel, a custom boot animation, an updated radio from a carrier in China, a Sony display mod, a camera mod and a beats audio mod. You can find all these mods (and more) at the XDA forum.
Pros: Too many
HTC One X: Techie-Buzz Verdict
The flawless design and spectacular looks of the One X tells a story. A lot of hard work has gone behind creating this brilliantly crafted superphone and it shows equally well. While the Galaxy S3 is just another customary flagship phone in Samsung’s Galaxy S series, HTC’s One X represents an overhaul of everything that HTC does. With the One X, HTC wants to change its image and its philosophy. This is something rare and risky for a company in 2012, but HTC is doing it anyway.
HTC One X raises the bar for everyone, gives people new choices in the high-end mobile segment and creates a better mobile market with healthy competition where the consumer has a fair choice at the end of the day. I highly recommend this phone, as it offers an unimaginable Android experience and is one of the best phones to have come out this year.
Product Reviewed: HTC One X
The HTC One X boasts of a gigantic 4.7 inch 720p HD display with a 1.5 GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC infernal machine running inside it. The device is codenamed Endeavor, and was carrying that name until February, when HTC dropped the Endeavor moniker and branded it as the One X.