Samsung Galaxy S2 vs HTC One X – Last year’s best against HTC’s latest

May 6, 2012
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So now I’ve had a good go with a Samsung Galaxy S2 and the HTC One X. Both are impressive phones, and they both have people swearing by them. Which is best though? Well, I’m going to give you my thoughts on this.

How do they feel in your hand?

What’s really important to me is that a phone should be powerful, but remain easy to hold in hand. If a phone is too large then using it becomes a clumsy and awkward experience. Myself, I prefer the Samsung Galaxy S2 to the HTC One X. Yes, that’s right. The Samsung Galaxy S2 may be inferior in hardware terms, with a lower resolution screen, slower processor and all the rest of it, but it remains easy to hold and quick to retrieve from your pocket. The HTC One X is huge and doesn’t meet this basic requirement of a phone – convenience. It’s a phone trying to be a baby tablet.

As you can see in the photos below, it’s very difficult if not impossible to touch every corner of the One X when you have it in one hand. It’s a stretch but still relatively comfortable with the SGS2.

I can just about reach the corners of the Samsung Galaxy S2

but, unless you are an absolute giant, that isn't true of the One X

In regards to thickness, the phones are equal. When lined up on a table or held in hand (see pic below) there is barely a millimetre of difference. The phones do feel different to hold but this is because of the One X case being polycarbonate plastic and the S2 being textured regular plastic. The screen sizes also mean you have to shape your hand differently and whilst the SGS2 is comfortable, the One X can’t be used sensibly with one hand.

They are the same thickness, it's the length and width that makes them feel so different to hold.

The displays?

These are the exact specifications: HTC One X – 1280×720 Super IPS LCD2 display over 4.7inches. The Samsung Galaxy S2 is SuperAMOLED 480 x 800 over 4.3 inches.

In the last section I supported the GS2, now it’s flipped over to the HTC One X. As I said in my One X review the display is unbelievable. Nearly impossible to pick out individual pixels, bright and sharp. The Samsung Galaxy S2 also has a decent display. Though you can pick out individual pixels if you stare hard enough, don’t be put off because it’s still very hard to do. The display remains High Definition and a treat to look at. However after prolonged exposure to one device or the other, you do notice the difference when you switch over.

How is the sound?

Once again the Samsung Galaxy S2 has to submit to the One X. The GS2 has a single speaker on the rear of the device, and the sound that comes out of that is ‘acceptable’. At least it seems that way in comparison to the Beats audio system on the One X. The clever system in there makes sound seem like it’s coming from a small stereo speaker set in front of you. Anything you play will be heard with great clarity and quality.

Processing power, general speed and benchmarks

Samsung Galaxy S2 Benchmarks

The One X is very impressive in this regard. To test out how the phones fair against each in this regard I cold-launched my favourite Reddit application (Reddit Sync) at the same time. Whilst the SGS2 takes about one second to load the application with it’s powerful dual-core Exynos @ 1.2 GHz, the One X tramples it with an undetectable loading time using the 1.5GHz nVidia Tegra 3 chip. As soon as I press the icon for the application, it’s on my screen. Check out how much more powerful the HTC One X is below.

Benchmarks of the quad core HTC One X. Insanely powerful.

When loading the Play Store, the One X is ready with a list of my installed applications in one second, but for the SGS2 it takes about five.

Camera Comparison

Rear-Camera

Here the phones should be evenly matched, both with an 8Megapixel LED flash camera. Interestingly, I found they are neck and neck when it comes to open landscape and general photographs, but when you go for something close up, the differences can be clearly seen.

The Samsung Galaxy S2's photo.

HTC One X's photo.

There’s no doubt that the SGS2 works better in low-ish levels of artificial light (where these were taken). I also think it has slightly richer colour, don’t you?

However even if the SGS2 does beat the One X for camera quality, remember that the One X has burst shot! I also noticed that while the S2 takes about 2 seconds to take and save a photo, it’s near instantaneous.

Front-Facing Cameras

While the One X has a 1.3MP camera, the GS2 has a 1.9MP front facing camera. Not a lot of difference and low quality really, but the difference is detectable to people viewing through video chats. I’ve been in a couple with both of the phones and people have commented that the SGS2 is better. Not vastly so, but there is definitely a detectable difference.

Battery Life

This is where the Samsung Galaxy S2 undoubtedly takes the gold. The HTC One X has a 1800mAh battery and the Samsung has a 1650mAh battery, however the smaller screen, less intense CPU and a variety of other factors mean the SGS2 can go for days without needing to charge the battery, assuming you don’t use it non-stop. The One X, alternatively, can do three quarters of a day at best. A smartphone should be able to last you from when you leave for work in the morning until you come home at night.

So which one wins?

It all comes down to what you want from a phone of course, but if you placed a Samsung Galaxy S2 and an HTC One X in front of me saying I could have either one – I would take the SGS2. It’s easier to hold, lasts far longer and is still a very powerful smartphone. The One X is fun for having a sleek design and a high resolution, but it’s also hard to use one handed and doesn’t last a day on a full charge. You can’t put it in your pocket and sit down.

As for which phone is more impressive in terms of speed and hardware (and if you don’t care much about battery life), then the One X will give you great satisfaction as you use it. What are your thoughts? Are you swayed by HTC’s new quad core speed demon? Or does the Galaxy S2 still hold a warm place in your heart (and hand)? Let us know your thoughts. We’d love to hear!

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