HTC One X – initial impressions of HTC’s flagship quad core beast

April 30, 2012

I’ve just gotten an HTC One X to play around with! After the careful unboxing I charged it up and then turned it on. As so many people have said, it’s set a new standard in smartphones, and I have to agree with that…

How does it feel to hold?

The slightly curved body is smooth and a joy to hold in hand. If it were thicker it would be rather difficult to interact with since the phone itself is so tall and wide. The photo below has my finger to give you an idea of how remarkably thin this phone is. In actual fact, it is 8.9mm thick.

The phone is incredibly light too and I wasn’t expecting that. It’s about two thirds of the weight of my Desire HD coming in at 130 grams. Each time I pick it up a part of my mind goes ‘Really?’. It’s that lightweight.

How they managed to cram in more and make it weigh less is incredible.

Beautiful display

The 1280 x 720 screen is gorgeous to look at, especially when spread over 4.7inches. Spotting individual pixels is very tricky and when holding the phone during regular use it’s impossible to pick them out. All of the applications optimised for such a high resolution also look stunning. This is the future my friends.

Below is a scaled-down screenshot of my homescreen, click it if you want to get a better idea of the true resolution of the image, 1280px by 720px!

This is essentially the Sense 4 look!

 

Amazing audio

When I started playing the sample music I honestly thought it was coming from somewhere else. The Beats Audio really makes a difference when playing music from the device. Everything is in clear crisp stereo. The same is true of games and video-chatting on services such as Skype. Everything is crystal clear and of a very high quality.

Performance

As you would expect from a quad core processor clocked at 1.5Ghz, everything runs like a train. Seemless transitions and never a wait for anything to load. I ran AnTuTu benchmark and it came back at 12000+ – This is a powerful Tegra 3 phone.

As well as basic processing power, the graphical rendering capabilities of the Tegra 3 are astounding too. Dynamic lighting and texturing has been realised, making games in particular look better than ever.

You can see in these screen captures that both the HTC One X and the alleged results from the Samsung Galaxy SIII are both above the Transformer Prime. Although I have a rating of 11128 for the HTC One X, I can’t find a number for the SGS3. For now, lets sit tight knowing that they both beat the Transformer Prime.

Camera

Honestly, for the most part the camera is no different to all the other cameras in all the other smartphones out today. The one difference which I should remark on is the ability to capture several photo’s at a terrific speed. Holding down the capture button takes up 7-9 pictures a second, each one saved separately ready for examination later.

The video that comes out of the device is 720p HD, also gorgeous. Lighting conditions cause the sharpness of things in the video to vary, but if you’ve got good lighting, you’ve got great video.

As for the front camera, it turns out 1.2MP is great for video calling. On Skype I was seen clearly rather than cloudy. The camera also does well when you want to take a photograph of yourself. The soon-to-be-revealed Samsung Galaxy S3 supposedly has a 2.0MP front camera, however whether having another 0.8 megapixels would really improve the quality is a question we will soon know the answer to.

I’ve got a few sample images here I went out and took. Click on these ones to view them in their full size.

The Auto-Focus kept opting to go for the leafs at the base of this flower.

If there is one thing the Internet has taught me, it's that everyone likes cats.

HTC Sense is still clunky

Something I really don’t like (and never have) about HTC is their clunky and bloated HTC Sense. I’m a root and custom ROM fan, and everytime I use Sense I am wondering how much more seamless and speedy the phone would be to use if it were running pure untampered Android 4.0. All the bloatware that they decide to put on just hogs up precious CPU cycles and damages the apparent speed and slickness of the device.

Due to HTC Sense 4 being loaded onto the phone, all the usual stuff like Friend Stream, SoundHound, HTC Hub and so forth are all there to use out the box. HTC also have a higher level of Google integration than before, and include applications such as Google+ and Play Books/Videos out of the box.

Battery Life

This is the big question that I am sure is on everyone’s minds. How does the dinky 1800mAh battery do? This screenshot shows how the battery’s power was delegated across the phone. Please note that it says 81% at 22m because I unplugged it from the wall at ~83%.

Although it’s only a 1800mAh battery powering a quad core beasty, the battery life isn’t too bad. This phone will last you an entire work day, that’s for sure. After work you can use a load of battery intensive applications and I expect it will still last awhile before you need to plug it in.

Don’t think you can switch to one of those high-capacity Magellan batteries though. The HTC One X has a unibody construction! Besides the microSIM card and charger, nothing goes in or out of this phone (no microSD cards either).

Extras

The One X comes with Android Beam/Near Field Communication functionality. Unfortunately there aren’t any retail outlets in England where I can test this out, since the technology hasn’t been approved or uptaken here yet.

Also, the new and improved Bluetooth 4 is within this behemoth. Faster and more battery conservative than ever before, Bluetooth has gone from a energy-guzzling slow-transfer system, to a high-speed system that you can leave on for ages without hitting the battery too hard.

HTC have also gone and included Facial Unlock in HTC Sense 4 for the One X. Whilst the software is still buggy and can have trouble picking up on peoples faces, it does work reasonably well in bright lighting.

Compared to my Desire HD (A phone that is two years old)

The most notable difference between the devices is the screen. The width of the screens are pretty much the same but the One X has nearly twice the spread of pixels across the distance. Everything is at a level of sharpness I’ve never seen before and it continues to stun me.

The speaker quality also hammers my Desire HD into the ground. Two years ago the ‘SRS’ gear in my DHD was amongst the best available. Now it sounds tinny and clunky in comparison to the crystal clear perfection of the One X.

There are of course other obvious differences such as 4 cores vs 1 core, a front facing camera on one and a lack of one on the other. Interestingly though besides the features that are showcased to us, there isn’t really much difference. I’ve upgraded my Desire HD to Ice Cream Sandwich so they both run Ice Cream Sandwich applications, they both have great battery life, and while the Desire HD hasn’t got anywhere near as good a resolution as the One X, the display remains HD and looks great.

Final thoughts

The HTC One X is an exceptionally beautiful smartphone. Real effort went into making this, and every minute of it paid off. It’s probably the best HTC have ever produced and rightly deserves the role of being their flagship model.

When I get my hands on a Samsung Galaxy S3 I will be sure to write up a detailed comparison between that phone and this one for all you prospective buyers. It’s expected that there will be a few distinct differences between the quality of the tech in the phones and I intend to do a side-by-side comparison for you when the time comes.

Comments

  • Amine Elouakil

    I’ve said this in several articals in this site, the Galaxy S3 AnTuTu Score is here : http://antutulabs.com/Ranking
    It’is the 6th position just under the One X and the score is 12060
    Why don’t you think about checking the AnTuTu Website for once to find the score….

    Also you forgot to mention which software version you are running is it 1.26 or 1.28 because the difference between both is like day and night especilly in terms of battery life: about 20% increase, software fixes and fluidity, and performance boost (about 1k more on AnTuTu).

    The One X is by far the king of Android smartphone for now, hopefully the SGSIII will pick up the challenge and push the market forward, so again when HTC released the succesor of the One X by the end of the year, it will release something beastly.

    • Mamoon Noorestani

      HTC will be releasing the succesor of the HTC One X in October. All that I know, till now is that it will come with a 5 inch Full HD display with Gorilla Glass 2 and greater specifications compared to the One X. :D

  • Fred Porter

    What is the point of showing battery performance after only 22minutes? Does it say anything about battery life?

    • Sam Cater

      I will replace that with a days worth of usage tomorrow, I am using it all day today to get a full chart to show everyone.

  • Sid Ahmed

    Really good review, there are only two things that you’ve mentioned which I don’t fully agree with. The speakers on the One x are much improved but are still not great, I feel it’s still tinney on recorded playback. I have the Sensation Xe (and now also the One X), a great phone but the audio on that is really poor compared to the Smasung Galaxy S2 or the Iphone so am pleased that HTC have recognised this problem and have worked on it. The other thing is the battery life, it is not good. Even with moderate use (few phone calls opening emails and a couple of youtube video) I can only get around 8 hours before the battery life is down to 5 percent.

    Will be looking forward to your review on the Samsung Galaxy S3

    • Sam Cater

      Thank you for a nice comment :)

      I expect very much that you are right. I have come straight from my DHD to the One X without anything inbetween, that’s probably why it seems so impressive. I will take note of this comment though for when I compare the One X to the SGS3 – See which has the best sound.

      I’ve run the phone for about two days now with light-moderate usage. Things like Google Talk, Skype, and YouTube. It lasted me from the morning to the evening, so I said it would survive a work day. Afterwards if you were to abuse it with heavy usage then yes it would certainly drop sharply.

      I look forward to delvering you another great review, and of course a comparison to the SGS3

      Happy Droiding!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jenniffer-Issabella/100001657913481 Jenniffer Issabella
  • SamsaraGuru

    I found this review very interesting. I am looking for a phone with the features and power of HTC One X has but do to several it also has wouldn’t seriously consider buying at this time.

    First amd foremost, I think it was a foolish choice for HTC to go with style over functionality by not allowing you use a high powered battery that is user changable; thin and stylish is all well and good – but if you are going to create a workhorse you don’t hobbled it with something as glaringly a weakness. That’s equivalent to outfitting a Ferrari with a 3 gallon gas tank. What were they thinking? Not only does this present an inevitable conflict between wanting to be able to continue using the device and being forced to recharge and interrupt your work.

    Not only that, what happens when the battery fails – which it absolutely, positively will according to Murphy’s law at THE most inopportune, critical movement imaginable; necessitating returning the entire unit back to the manufacturer, being without it, WHEN, if you could snap in a new battery no factory service would be needed nor would you be faced with the dubious pleasure of receiving a refurbished phone probably coming back to you among other pain in the neck problems.

    Dumb, dumb dumb.

    Also, a feature I would love to see them incorporate is the HD Voice technology that is coming out on a Spring phone sometime this year which has a remarkable ability according to the videos on YouTube to eliminate background noise of even the loud variety. This feature with proper battery power would make this one truly sweet phone capable of so much.

    Why the people designing phones don’t try to anticipate the problems they are creating for the people who are going to use their designs and devices is something I find almost mind boggling; though I do understand it.

    When I do buy, as I will, a unit with the type of specs the HTC One X has, when someone decides to actuallyget it right, I will keep and use it for a number of years and be willing to spend a fair amount for the functionality I seek, but much as I enjoy seeing a beautiful phone as much as the next guy I am not going to buy some phone designer’s “designed to pretty but become dysfunctional and force me to replace it” unit.

  • Mk Netid

    I’ve been owning this phone for the past few days. I’ll admit that this is the king of android phones. Amazing features – truly great. The biggest gripe is the battery life. for a med->heavy user like me, this drops to sub 20% by 6PM on any day with no heavy internet, music etc. just being on, checking corporate emails etc. Other than that, a great phone to own….

  • http://www.facebook.com/JudithHillGarrison Judith Garrison

    How does Skype run on this phone? That’s my main reason for purchasing.

  • Guido

    Awesome phone, I love the HTC One X kopen :D