I recently got a chance to get my hands on HTC One X, which is (rather was) the most powerful smartphone in terms of the hardware specs. We were all pretty impressed by One S but it had its own downsides. So has HTC managed to get it right this time around? Well let’s see!
I am primarily an iPhone 4S user, so you will find many comparisons being made between the features of HTC One X and iPhone 4S.
The first thing that comes to your attention when you grab hold of the phone is its design. It is a fabulous looking phone with a 4.7-inch screen, which can fit perfectly into your pocket.
The body is slightly curved and is made up of polycarbonate unibody which looks pretty solid. The camera is beautifully placed at the back and is a bit projected out, just like the other HTC phones.
There are three capacitive keys at the bottom – back, home and multitasking. HTC has worked over the design to meet the demands of the user. The screen size and fixed navigation buttons are optimized to make it easier to reach the power, volume, and three haptic navigation buttons.
The phone supports microSIM, which has become quite a norm for most of the smartphone these days, like the iPhone 4S, Nokia Lumia 800 and even the Samsung Galaxy S III. Old phone owners might have to get a new SIM if they’re planning to get the One X.
Here in India, microSIM from Reliance GSM 3G just wouldn’t work on the HTC One X. All I was told was that “the new version hasn’t come yet”. If anyone has the slightest idea as to what this means, please do let me know!
Talking about the specifications, HTC One X is powered by Nvidia Tegra 3 Quad-core 1.5 GHz processor (US variant will have Qualcomm’s 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor) and it runs Android 4.0 with HTC Sense 4.0.
The downside, which I am sure many would grumble about, is it doesn’t have a microSD slot. It was a must have feature, given the fact that one of the main selling factor for HTC one X is its magnificent 720p display that can play HD media, which obviously needs loads of space!
Coming to the display, One X sports a Super LCD (you may call it a upgraded form of LCD) which gives a rich experience of colors. The pixel density of the screen is 312 PPI, which is a little short of iPhone’s ‘Retina Display’ (326 PPI), but it’s size and the brightness more than compensate for it giving you a near perfect image.
It comes with Gorilla Glass coating. So rough users can be rest assured, it should help keep off the scratches.
Under the sunlight, I was fairly able to read the text, Glare wasn’t much of a problem.
This has been my first experience with the Android ICS. So most of my observations will be in comparison to the previous versions of Android (and Sense of course!). Sense 4.0 actually makes some improvements over stock Android, in the lock-screen, multitasking, and the camera software. The best part is if you don’t like any style, you are free to customize it as per your likings!
The notifications bar includes various phone setting options that can be toggled directly without navigating to phone settings. All the notifications now show in a much larger and easy to see manner. I really liked the way one can get rid of any notification in Android 4.0, all you need to do is a simple left or right swipe.
The application drawer is horizontal scrolled rather than the vertical in previous versions of Sense and scrolling was quite smooth, but the page number shown is too small to be comfortable for eyes. Overall the launcher is quite snappy but I wish HTC had left the ‘holo’ launcher in Android 4.0 as it is instead of moving away with its own launcher looks very Gingerbread-ish.
The lock-screen is pretty amazing and gives quick access to the dialer, messages, browser and camera other than just unlocking the phone.
Keeping my iOS loyalty aside, I also found the multitasking in Android to be a lot better than iOS. The multitasking view is just awesome where you can scroll through application previous and swipe away an app to close it.
Now talking about the other custom apps, Contacts management has improved a lot with Ice Cream Sandwich and editing contacts was never so easy on Gingerbread. It gives full control over which information is shown by default. This may not look like a big deal, but if you’ve got three different profiles (say from Google, Twitter and Facebook, as well as the phone entry) you might have multiple contact names and pictures for the same person.
HTC has once again included Contact Groups, which is a really handy feature for its devices. Unlike other phones which let you only send out group messages using this feature; HTC goes one step further letting you create a Favorites group to display on the home screen or as a tab in the email inbox to jump quickly to the important messages. I must admit this new contacts integration system is lot better than iPhone 4S.
There’s also a new feature called ‘Smart Sync’, that lets the phone decide the number of times (how frequently) the emails are checked and inbox updated.
Coming to the browser, my browsing experience with the browser was very similar to that with Safari on iOS and it’s quite smooth. It also includes a new feature called “Read” which bears a very uncanny similarity with iPhone’s Reader! It basically strips down a webpage into a clean page for a better reading experience, without any intrusive ads or other parts.
There is still no option to save websites for offline reading at the moment, but hopefully that will be added soon. Flash is still supported, but now that Adobe seems to have given up on the system, I wonder how long is it going to remain supported.
On the other hand, a few changes don’t feel as pleasant. Notable ones being the Keyboard and Calender issues! The landscape keyboard doesn’t allow you to see the message you’re replying to and the Calender has no option to show Weekly view!
HTC has put in a lot of effort to make the Camera one of it’s most promising technologies. It has developed a camera module, what it calls “ImageSense”. The 8 MP rear camera using this technology to the fullest, produces high quality photos compared to other smartphones (better than the rest but not as good as iPhone 4S). One X has a fast f/2.0 aperture that captures about 40 percent more light as compared to other phones. It has a smart flash with five levels of intensity and HDR, which allows it to take better pictures if there is a bright light behind the subject. Should work great at the sunsets!
Camera App has got a lot of settings you can tweak, to actually get the photo in the first place and then choose to make changes to the photo you just shot! You can add a variety of effects to your photos easily. The HDR mode isn’t the best if you compare it with that of iPhone 4S, it can blur very easily.
One of the most innovative new features of the One series is the ability to snap photos while recording video – I loved this feature. You used to need a special App for this even on a PC and now it’s all there in the phone, inbuilt!
The HTC One X can record in 1080p from the rear sensor, and 720P HD from the front camera. Holding the shutter button will let you take a burst of the photos as well. The default is set to a limit of 20 burst photos, but you can edge it up to 99 just in case you are too adventurous.
Coming to the not so good point of the camera, there is no dedicated shutter button. Anyway, lets see a few pics taken with the help of the HTC One X and iPhone 4S.
Few more pics from HTC One X:-
Further, it isn’t the best Camera when it comes to the Low light performance. Honestly, I found the phone a bit too big to take a snap with just one hand!
HTC One X
HTC One X
The phone was able to play almost every single music and video format I threw at it. Talking about music, the music player application included in the phone very simple and is easy to use. The music player app now acts as a hub for all of your other music apps, like Amazon MP3, Google Music, Pandora, and Spotify. There’s also a new home screen widget shows recently played songs – but I wonder if anyone will actually use it.
The application can also fetch information about the tracks from the internet. Simply tag the icon at the top of each song and you’ll be able to get lyric information, local gigs from the artist and info on the album.
The HTC One X proudly boasts of Beats Audio integration, which is basically an enhancement to music quality and bass. Unlike the previous HTC phones where the Beats enhancement was locked down to only the stock music player and was unusable with other applications, HTC has finally improved it with the One series of phone to let any application make use of beats.
Viewing HD videos on the 720p screen was a pleasing experience. The video player is capable of playing full HD videos smoothly. Now that Google Play has started supporting HD rentals and movie purchases, they would just compliment each other.
I didn’t like the way Gallery presents itself, all the videos are shown as thumbnails with no filenames or any other sorting parameter. Pretty difficult to find the precise folder/video when you have so many of them. I would recommend you to download an app called mVideoPlayer, to overcome this problem.
Must say, the overall movie playback experience is a simply fabulous. Though I did notice one shortcoming with the Super LCD technology that lower-light scenes in videos weren’t properly displayed.
Worth the money?
Inspite of the quad core processor it boasts of, I personally didn’t find it any quicker than my iPhone 4S. On the other hand, it was sluggish on few occasions, like while taking a screenshot, it almost got hung! For that matter even navigating via the Menu was sometimes snappy. You are bound to notice it during games like Temple Run, where the finger swipes are totally missed sometimes. Not expected when you boast of having the world’s most powerful processor.
Overall, It’s a great phone if you are an Android enthusiast. With Samsung Galaxy S III (having equally cool features and specs) coming into picture, which phone to go for would be more of a personal choice. Galaxy S III has an edge over HTC One X, both in terms of software (S Voice, Smart stay, etc.) and hardware performance.
So how does it fair as compared to iPhone 4S? In terms of the build and design, it’s quite better than the iPhone, but software wise, I personally think that the iPhone 4S is still a better choice than HTC One X. iPhone’s easier User Interface beats HTC One X hands down. But that’s just me!