The iPhone 5 became officially available on Friday, and everybody rushed to see how it fares against the best of the Android world. On our part, we drop-tested the new iPhone and the Galaxy S3 and brought you the results in the first ever iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S3 drop test. Plus, we showed you how the Galaxy S3 does against the iPhone 5 in our hands-on comparison video.
Now it’s time for the magnificent HTC One X to face the mighty iPhone 5. We looked at all the important stuff, from specs and hardware, to software and ecosystem. Check it out.
The displays of the HTC One X and the iPhone 5 are both IPS LCD. While the resolutions are slightly different (the One X is 720 x 1280, while the iPhone is 640 x 1136), the pixel densities are close enough to call it a tie.
The beautiful Retina display on the iPhone 5 features in-cell touch technology, but that will have little impact on the user experience. With in-cell touch, the touch sensors are built right into the display, instead of on a separate glass substrate, thus allowing for a thinner device (Apple claims the iPhone 5 is the world’s thinnest, but we are not convinced).
The much larger display of the HTC One X has been praised for its crispness and great color rendering (being an LCD, colors are less saturated than on AMOLED). HTC used a true RGB pixel pattern, which is sharper than the Pentile layout on the GS3 and other phones. Being laminated, it appears that the image floats on the glass, rather than sitting beneath a chunk of glass. That’s something I love about the HTC One X.
Build quality and design
I’ll say it from the beginning – both phones are exquisitely designed, although their design philosophies are markedly different. The One X features a sleek unibody made of strong polycarbonate, which makes it more likely to survive accidents and water splashes. HTC did a wonderful job designing their flagship, and the resulting product is modern, solid, and a joy to use.
The Apple iPhone 5 is equally solid – that aluminum casing and the front glass did amazingly well in our drop test. In terms of appearance, the only qualm you might have is the somehow boring design. The phone is essentially just an elongated iPhone 4S, so if you got bored with that, the iPhone 5 might not be satisfying. Other than that, it’s hard to find a classier phone than the iPhone.
Although the One X was launched over six months ago, the hardware on it is actually pretty similar to the iPhone 5. Apple was never on the cutting edge in terms of raw specs, and this shows with the iPhone 5. Both phones feature powerful processors: a quad-core Tegra 3 on the international version of the One X and a dual-core custom design on the Apple 5. Early benchmarks suggest that the iPhone 5 beats the One X, but again, Apple had time on its side.
In terms of features, the One X and the iPhone 5 are quite similar. Both phones feature non-removable batteries and no microSD card, so if you want that, better choose a GS3 or something else. Because of the larger display on the One X, it’s beefier 1800mAh battery will offer about the same uptime as the iPhone’s 1400mAh unit.
Software and ecosystem
HTC’s Sense overlay used to be praised as a great enhancement to stock Android, but these days, we don’t see how it improves on Ice Cream Sandwich. Anyway, some like it, and the latest variant of Sense, which is featured on the One X, is lighter and more subtle than before. Plus, HTC baked some unique features into its implementation of Android, including the Beats Audio software (a fancy equalizer basically) and ImageSense, HTC’s custom camera firmware.
The iPhone 5 features iOS6, which critics say it’s not Cupertino’s best effort in terms of software. The half-baked Apple Maps app is a particularly jarring misstep, one that has even spawned websites dedicated to exposing its shortcomings. Other than that, iOS6 is business as usual – a polished user experience that sacrifices some features and flexibility for the sake of ease of use. If you like the “it just works” philosophy, you’ll just love the iPhone 5.
Video comparison: iPhone 5 vs HTC One X
In a nutshell
HTC One X Pros
- Large 4.7-inch display
- Android 4 is a flexible, powerful OS
- Beats Audio
- A thriving enthusiast community that produce custom ROMs
HTC One X Cons
- Android updates are slow and unpredictable
- Larger and heavier than the iPhone 5 – might be a problem for some
iPhone 5 Pros
- Lightweight and thin
- Solid and stylish design
- Simple, clear updates for iOS
- Great support
- Great ecosystem
iPhone 5 Cons
- Small screen by today’s standards
- iOS is a bit dated and inflexible
- Apple Maps is poor
- More expensive if you buy it unlocked
Once again, we looked at two phones that are really hard to differentiate in terms of value.
The HTC One X has Android, a larger screen, and some unique features on its side. The iPhone 5 is a beautiful phone that is lightweight yet solid, but on the software side, it’s playing catch up. And, in terms of specs and performance, the six months old HTC One X is on par with the brand new iPhone 5.
I would definitely choose the HTC One X over the iPhone 5, although, I must admit that I really like the build and design of Apple’s phone. But I understand that some people want a smaller device, and for them I have no problem recommending the iPhone. For everyone else, go with the One X.