HTC has come into 2012 with the aim of producing a more refined and less crowded range of smartphones. The HTC One X is the company’s top-of-the-range Android smartphone, boasting impressive design, hardware and software. Want to know more? Then carry on reading our HTC One X review.
HTC One X review: Design
The design of the HTC One X is in keeping with traditional HTC styling, with a curved minimalistic look. The handset is encased in a single piece of polycarbonate in either a greyish black or white colour. Visit Group test: what's the best smartphone?
Although HTC has previously used aluminium cases the One X feels strong and still has a premium feel. The One X is surprisingly light for a phone of its size. Despite its huge 4.7in screen it weighs in at just 135g. See also Group test: what's the best Android phone.
The device has a nice but subtle curve to it making it nice to hold in the hand with the only intrusion to its slender 8.9mm profile being the large camera lens on the rear.
This protrudes a couple of millimetres from the back of the phone but doesn't interfere when holding the One X normally in portrait mode. However, its position does make it trickier to support in landscape while not getting a finger in the way of its view. Five discreet metal contacts on the rear are for use with a customdocking station.
HTC One X review: Build quality
A lot of care and attention looks to have gone into putting the One X together in its one-piece shell. The screen and touch-sensitive buttons are flush with the case; the only removable part is the MicroSIM tray, located on the top of the phone.
We noticed one small issue, where the screen would ripple if the phone is squeezed on the left or right side. Even though squeezing the edge of a smartphone isn't typical practice it does make us wonder how the phone would fair after some daily use.
HTC One X review: Hardware
Being a flagship device we expected the HTC One X to come equipped with the best components – and we weren't disappointed. Under the bonnet is an nVidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz. This is the chip of choice for Google phones at the moment. It certainly ensured the speed performance of the One X was difficult to fault.
Backing up the quad-core chip is a healthy 1GB of RAM. In short, we didn't find the phone struggled with any task we threw at it.
With no removable rear cover you may have guessed that the One X’s storage cannot be expanded. So no microSD card slot - something which is becoming more common on Android handsets.
This can be an issue if you want to easily move all your media content from an old phone by simply transferring cards. However, HTC has provided a decent 32GB of internal storage as standard.
The One X is HTC's first smartphone with a 720p resolution screen. It's at the large end of the smartphone scale – at 4.7in it means a bit of a stretch to reach the top of the screen with one hand, for example.
If that proves too big for comfort, HTC also offers the One S model with its more manageable 4.3in screen.
The 720 x 1280 resolution Super IPS touchscreen is quite simply the best we've seen on an Android smartphone to date. In a similar fashion to the iPhone and new iPad, the screen has such a high pixel density it gives the illusion that you're looking at a glossy printed page instead of a screen.
The high pixel density of 312ppi means text and images are super sharp. Colours look very vibrant too.
The screen is the standout features of the phone, making it great for web browsing, gaming and video playback. However, its quality does come at a price - battery life, which we'll come to later.
A smaller hardware benefit of the One X is Beats Audio. The handset is not supplied with Beats-branded headphones but the audio quality is said to be enhanced by these designer headphones. With any earphones connected, a Beats on/off option appears in the pull-down notifications menu. The effect of switching it on is to raise the volume, and boost the bass.
The One X is well equipped when it comes to connectivity with microUSB, Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band Wi-Fi, Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) and near-field communications (NFC).
HTC One X review: Camera
A good camera is now a key element to the success of a modern smartphone, and HTC has come up trumps with the One X.
The rear-facing shooter is rated at 8Mp, about standard for a high-end device. However, it has a 28mm lens with a BSI sensor for low-light situations, an F2.0 aperture and a dedicated imaging chip.
The camera app is fluent, fast and easy to use. There are also a couple of tricks thrown in to impress. Holding down the shutter button takes continuous photos and there's also the ability to take still shots while recording video - which can be shot in full-HD 1080p.
We were very pleased with the camera which offers high quality photo and video and a number of handy features. The 1.3Mp front facing camera provides a good quality image for video chat.
HTC One X review: Android 4.0 and Sense
The One X runs Google's Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system, making it one of the first to launch with this OS since it launched with the Galaxy Nexus last November.
As expected, HTC has added the latest iteration of its Sense user interface overlay, version 4.0.
We found the interface to be flawlessly smooth and its looks great too. Compared to Google’s standard build, there's a customisable app tray at the bottom of the screen and an extensive choice of widgets.
The One X also comes with a vast array of pre-installed apps (we tested a model direct from HTC, unmodified by any telco). This makes the app menu a bit cluttered out-of-the-box but there's a wide range of apps including navigation, Dropbox, SoundHound and TuneIn Radio.
Something HTC has changed unnecessarily is the recent apps multi-tasking part of ICS. Normally this appears over the top of your current screen to switch between or close open apps. However, Sense 4.0 opens this in a separate window, almost like an app of its own, in a similar way to a Windows Phone device.
HTC One X review: Battery life
As we mentioned previously, the One X doesn't have a removable rear cover. This means the battery is not readily replaceable with a spare or a larger capacity option.
It came as no surprise to find that the screen was the main culprit of draining the battery, often accounting for more than 50 percent of our usage.
With a ‘typical’ amount of usage we found the HTC One X would last a day and require charging overnight, a common requirement for Android smartphones. Heavy users will want to make sure a charger is at close hand while light users may find the phone might even last a couple of days.